On a day of soft light with Imbolc not long passed there is a stirring of Spring in the air and the heart begins to dream of roving.
Though it’s a fraught time in which it seems that the broken disaster politics of greed, denial and the will to death has tightened its grip, we try not to spin off in despair. We tune in to the darkness, resistance and resolve are purified and strengthened and still we bear witness to the possibility that love, compassion, desire, the imagination can be tended and brought to fruition in this land.
The Winter has held some fine adventures and encounters for us. On tour in England we played a house show in Sheffield where a world expert in wax cylinder recordings was in attendance and made a recording of us during the show on a Thomas Edison machine from the early 19th century using a wax cylinder he had made himself. We sang into a horn and our faces were still with wonder as we listened back through the same horn to the eerie, moving sound of our own voices from a distant time. Elsewhere a house show blossomed into a cracking late session with new-found friends, we drank deep of some ancient South Downs faery magic at the unique Brushmakers Arms Pub in Upham and also strengthened our connection with the thriving folk scene of London with gigs at Islington Folk Club and just recently at the newly established but excellent Dulwich Folk Club.
In December a few dreamy days were spent at Tim Lane’s studio in the countryside south of Edinburgh recording the work of our collaboration so far with the amazing Trio Mythos string ensemble and Provencal vocal troupe Tant Que Li Siam. The recording features Sophie Renshaw’s breathtaking string arrangements of songs by ourselves and TQLS and will be available to listen to soon. At the end of the recording process we all travelled south for a concert in our homelands in Humshaugh village hall and in the morning walked up Wall Fell together in Winter sunshine. It seemed another thread was woven between the hills of Northumberland and the slopes of the Ventoux and our hearts were invigorated by the warmth of true camaraderie. We’ll be developing this collaboration over the coming year and plans are afoot to work on more material and do a tour together further down the line.
We’re excited for the possibilities of the coming year. In March and April we’ll be going on tour in Holland and Germany and shall be playing at Costa del Folk in Ibiza not long after our return. Further off on the horizon we’re also planning tours in Ireland and Southern Germany/ Switzerland. In the Summer months we’re looking forward to getting in touch with the spirit of the land and opening to the blessings and uncertainties of the road with some musical adventures around Britain by foot and bicycle.