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Spell Songs is a musical companion piece to The Lost Words: A Spell Book by author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. This mixed media CD is accompanied by sumptuous illustrations from Jackie Morris, new 'spells' by Robert Macfarlane, enlightening thoughts by Robert, Jackie and Spell Singer Karine Polwart and stunning photography by Elly Lucas. In 2018 Folk by the Oak Festival commissioned Spell Songs because of their love of The Lost Words book. Spell Songs comprises eight remarkable musicians whose music engages deeply with landscape and nature; musicians who are perfectly placed to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words. They spent a week in Herefordshire bringing this music together in the company of Jackie Morris. Art inspired music and music inspired art. Jackie Morris immersed herself in the musical residency where she generously created new iconesque artwork of each musician and their instruments portrayed in an unexpected and enchanting way. These stunning new artworks accompany the CD. Spell Songs allowed these acclaimed and diverse musicians to weave together elements of British folk music, Senegalese folk traditions, and experimental and classical music to create an inspiring new body of work. Here are 14 songs which capture the essence of The Lost Words book. Spoken voice, whispers, accents, dialects, native languages, proverbs, sayings, birdsong, river chatter and insect hum all increase the intimacy of the musical world conjured by the songs. Inspired by the words, art and ethos of The Lost Words book, each musician brings new imaginings, embellishments and diversions which are rooted in personal experience, a deep respect for the natural world, protest at the loss of nature and its language and an appreciation for wildness and beauty. In February 2019 Spell Songs enjoyed standing ovations at sell-out performances in major venues across the UK culminating at The Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, London. Spell Songs was a highlight of The Hay International Literary Festival 2019 and in August 2019 they were invited to perform at the BBC's Lost Words Prom in the Royal Albert Hall. They will continue to tour each year. "There are songs here that would live with me for the rest of my years, even if I'd had no part in their making". Robert Macfarlane
After a terrible storm, the Kingdom of Birds is looking for a leader. Will it be the bird with the loveliest song, or the brightest plumage? The fastest in the air, or underwater? The bird who flies highest, or those who stick together and work as a team? All across the sky, birds are flocking together. Nightingales and robins, barn owls and blackbirds. The eagle, the flamingo, the birds of the moor. Curlews and cuckoos and herons and hoopoes. And Wee Jenny Wren. Let the contest begin!
A young girl and her mother settle in the woods for a night's sleep, after a long and tiring journey. But who will keep them safe from harm? A wee bird is watching from the trees. And he knows just what to do. A vividly illustrated telling of a folk tale that speaks to themes of displacement, migration and protection.
Selection of live song performances from the folk singer Karine Polwart, filmed in the Scottish Borders.
An immersive musical essay. A meditation on sanctuary. A moor walker's journal. A personal memoir of maternity. An archaeology of flight science and football, medieval medicine and compassion. A wonder tale. Karine Polwart's Wind Resistance is co-produced with the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and was originally presented in association with Edinburgh International Festival 2016, supported through the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund. Winner of the Best Music and Sound Award at the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) 2017.
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