Tunes for a Monday Morning
Monday, June 28, 2021
Above: "Là Luain/The Day That Never Comes" by Rachel Walker (from Skippinish), a singer/songwriter based in the Scottish Highlands. Walker collaborated with Gaelic poet Marcas Mac An Tuairneir on the lyrics, and James Graham provides additional vocals. (Full music and animation credits can be found at the end of the video.) The song appears on her most recent solo album, Gaol (2020), which is a beauty.
Below: "Tìr is Sàl/Land and Sea," another songwriting collaboration between Walker and Mac An Tuairneir. It's a Gaelic waulking song, she explains, "about the ties we have to the land and the way working the land is often a love passed from generation to generation." Walker is accompanied by Aaron Jones (of Old Blind Dogs), filmed in Glasgow last autumn.
Above: "Streets of Forbes," an Australian folk song performed by Varo (Lucie Azconaga and Consuelo Nerea Breschi), a French/Italian duo based in Dublin. The song appears on their first album, Varo (2020), which displays a range of influences from Irish and world folk to medieval, baroque, and classical music. It's gorgeous.
Below: "Sovay," a traditional British folk song, also known as "The Female Highwayman." This one, too, can be found on the duo's debut album.
Above: "Three Ravens" (Child Ballad #26), performed by Hannah James & Toby Kuhn. James, an accomplished English folk musician and dancer, has performed with Lady Maisery, Maddy Prior, Songs of Separation and many others in addition to her solo work. Kuhn, a wandering cellist from Burgandy, has performed with Bipolar Bows, The Wild String Trio, Old Salt and Zamee, among others. The video above was recorded in Gent, Belgium in 2020.
Below: "The Vine Dance," with music by Toby Kuhn and dancing by Hannah James. It is, they explain, "an original tune written in the Turkish spring under a bougainvillea and recorded in the Slovenian autumn under an apple tree" (2021).
One more, to end with....
Below: "Oblique Jig and Miss Heidi Hendy" by the Anglo/French folk-dance band Topette!! (Andy Cutting, James Delarre, Julien Cartonnet, Tania Buisse, and Barnaby Stradling). The song appeared on their second album, Rhododendron (2019); the video was filmed at the Sidmouth Folk Festival that same year, pre-pandemic. (A limited version of the festival is returning this summer, provided no further lockdowns occur.)
The imagery today is by two artists whose work I love beyond measure: "St Kevin and the Blackbird" by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, based in Wales; and "We Are Bird" by Rima Staines, based here on Dartmoor.