Keep Smiling Through, a new album from Dame Vera Lynn, will feature one of her final recordings, as well as other previously unreleased and re-orchestrated versions of classic songs, writes Nick Benson.
A National Treasure we sadly lost in June 2020, Dame Vera Lynn’s iconic voice has raised the nation’s spirits and given us pride and strength, through many difficult times.
Now, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, her legacy lives on in a brand new album, which seeks to bring the nation together to sing in the spirit of community.
Keep Smiling Through features brand-new, never heard before versions of re-orchestrated classic Vera Lynn songs with her beautiful, timeless and inspiring vocals. The album also features one of the last known recordings, her recital of High Flight: a moving poem written by a WWII fighter pilot read by Dame Vera and accompanied by music. There is also a specially recorded medley and a brand-new version of White Christmas as bonus tracks.
In a tribute to Dame Vera and to celebrate the album release, on Sunday 8thNovember, communities of care home residents across the UK will unite in isolation to join in a virtual mass sing along with The Smiling Sessions brought to you by Shapeshifter Productions, a registered charity, to sing We’ll Meet Again. Not since the songs original release in 1939 and subsequent war years that followed, has it ever held a more appropriate meaning and message of hope for the nation.
Care home residents have been the hardest hit by the global pandemic, with shielding precautions still in place today. Many of them have had their lifetimes immeasurably enhanced by Dame Vera’s wonderful songs. The Smiling Sessions who, under normal circumstances, host weekly sing-alongs within care homes across the UK – have switched to hosting the sessions virtually with a weekly broadcast into care homes throughout lockdown to connect and bring enjoyment to the isolating residents.
Dr Arthur Cassidy C.Psychol, Chartered Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society highlighted the importance of singing for health.
“I cannot highlight enough the profound significance of The Smiling Sessions initiative in its attempt to improve the overall physical psychological health and well-being of those residents in care homes and sheltered housing,” he said.
“The Remembrance Sunday sing a long will undoubtedly enrich the brain processing speed of all residents and will potentially influence in a positive way, their mood regulation state and both episodic and semantic memory processing.
“The resonance of We’ll Meet Again, together with the colourful visual effects of fellow isolating members of their generation on screen, will facilitate happy memories of events in their entire life span and add meaning to the quality of their everyday lives.”
Featuring The Royal Air Force Squadronaires, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, The D-Day Darlings and The Alex Mendham Orchestra, Keep Smiling Through is the perfect commemoration of Dame Vera Lynn’s incredible life through her songs and music.
Keep Smiling Through by Dame Vera Lynn is released on Decca Records on 6th November 2020.
To join in with the Remembrance Sunday Smiling Session, see: https://www.smilingsessions.com