Featuring Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever, Kerry Andrew, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter and Jim Molyneaux
In 2018 Folk by the Oak Festival commissioned Spell Songs
, a musical companion piece to The Lost Words
by author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris; a celebrated “spell book” rich with poetic rhythms and imagined birdsong that naturally invited a musical response. Spell Songs
gathered together eight remarkable musicians whose music engages deeply with landscape and nature, to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words
: a multi-award-winning songwriter and musician, a theatre maker, storyteller, essayist, and published writer, whose script for her award-winning show Wind Resistance
was picked by Robert Macfarlane for The Guardian’s Best Books of 2017.
: mostly singing in the Gaelic tradition, Julie is known for her crystalline and intoxicating voice. Winner of BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2018.
: an exceptional and charismatic musician. Arguably the most influential and inspiring Kora player (22 stringed West African harp) of his generation.
: one of Scotland’s finest and most prolific songwriters, a member of award-winning folk trio Lau, and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Folk Singer of the Year 2017.
: an astonishingly perceptive musician, composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and author.
: a singer and harpist with a reputation for “haunting and compelling”
(The Guardian) performances and was awarded BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year in 2017.
: a well-known cellist on the UK folk and acoustic scene and a one half of The Book Shop Band, who write songs inspired by books that are frequently performed at book shop gigs.
: a prodigious talent in many instruments, with an ear for a variety of genres from folk through to jazz and hip hop.
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. In 2019 Spell Songs
has enjoyed standing ovations at sell-out performances at major venues around the UK, including London’s Southbank Centre and the main stage of Hay Literary Festival:
'one of the most sublime evenings you will ever enjoy. The magic of these superstars onstage - the art, the music, the sheer, ravishing beauty of the language... one of the greatest concerts we've ever had at Hay' Peter Florence, Festival Director, Hay International Literary Festival
The Spell Songs
performance captures the essence of The Lost Words
. 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 and art of the original 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 language or appreciation for wildness and beauty.
The 8 incredible artists who created Spell Songs
will be joined on stage by the acclaimed and award-winning artist Jackie Morris, one of the authors of the original Lost Words
book, will be painting live on stage during the performance, conjuring magic with ink and brush!
£27.50; 25 and under £17.50 (inc £1.50 booking fee per ticket)