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The Lost Words: Spell Songs


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Table of Contents

1 Creating Spell Songs 2 Introduction, Robert Macfarlane 3 Introduction, Jackie Morris 4 Introduction, Kerry Andrew 5 Introduction, Kris Drever 6 Introduction, Julie Fowlis 7 Introduction, Seckou Keita 8 Introduction, Jim Molyneux 9 Introduction, Rachel Newton 10 Introduction, Karine Polwart 11 Introduction, Beth Porter 12 Heartwood 13 Selkie-boy 14 Kingfisher 15 Heron 16 Little Astronaut 17 Acorn 18 Ghost Owl 19 The Snow Hare 20 Conker (Magic Casket) 21 Papa Keba 22 Charm on, Goldfinch 23 Willow 24 catterseed 25 he Lost Words Blessing 26 In Conversation Jackie Morris and David Weir 27 Barn Owl 28 Egret 29 Goldfinch 30 Peregrine 31 Snow Hare 32 Grey Seal 33 Karine Polwart essay, The Space Between Us

About the Author

Robert Macfarlane is the author of prize-winning and bestselling books about landscape, nature, people and place, including Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination (2003), The Wild Places (2007), The Old Ways (2012), Holloway (2013, with Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards), Landmarks (2015), The Lost Words: A Spell Book (with the artist Jackie Morris, 2017) and Underland: A Deep Time Journey (2019). Jackie Morris is a British writer and illustrator living in Wales. She won the prestigious 2019 Cilip Kate Greenaway Medal and The Shadower's Choice Awards. Her illustration of The Lost Words was recognised by UK booksellers who voted it the most beautiful book in 2017. She is a recipient of the Tir na n-Og Award. Her books include The Lost Words: A Spell Book (w. Robert Macfarlane, 2017), The White Fox (2016), The Seal Children (2016), The Snow Leopard (2017), Queen of the Sky (2015). Kerry Andrew is an astonishingly perceptive musician, whose Wren Song composition inspired us to pursue the idea of a musical companion piece to The Lost Words. Her love of nature and folklore combined with her innate musicality are key reasons why we are delighted that she accepted our invitation to join Spell Songs. Kris Drever is one of Scotland's finest and most prolific songwriters. He is a fiercely talented guitarist; rated among folk's best, and a singer whose voice is rich with both clarity and resonance. A key collaborator within the multi-award-winning trio Lau and a sought-after solo artist, Kris' presence in Spell Songs is highly valued and gladly welcomed. Julie Fowlis often sings in Scottish Gaelic and is deeply influenced by her early upbringing in the Outer Hebridean island of North Uist. Her crystalline and intoxicating voice fills this project with genuine beauty and her Gaelic heritage brings another layer of language and experience into the Spell Songs ensemble. Seckou Keita's solo work reveals his exceptional skill on the kora and his collaborations leap over cultural barriers, discovering unforeseen affinities. He is counted among the most influential contemporary kora players. He himself is a source of great inspiration with generations of musical history informing his playing and we are overjoyed that he is a member of Spell Songs. It is not only Jim Molyneux's prodigious talent in so many instruments and his experience as a producer that made him so important for the Spell Songs collaboration; we were also impressed with his mastery of many musical genres from classical and folk to jazz and hip hop. Rachel Newton was a member of one of our previous folk music collaborations - The Elizabethan Session, and we were thrilled when she accepted our invitation to join Spell Songs. An exceptional harpist, singer and composer, her generous creativity reverberates through her collaborations and her sensitivity to word and music shines through her solo work. Robert Macfarlane picked out Karine Polwart's script for her award-winning show Wind Resistance for The Guardian's BEST BOOKS of 2017. The appreciation of each other's work is mutual and, naturally, we were eager for her to be a part of Spell Songs and overjoyed when she accepted our invitation. To add depth and range to the ensemble we invited Beth Porter, a superb cellist and singer. We were drawn to her work on numerous collaborations from a variety of different musical genres as well as her involvement in The Bookshop Band where she expertly turns literature into song. A sensational cellist with a timeless voice.


"Spell Songs is a work of vision and brilliance..." - fRoots *****;"complex and beautiful and an absolute joy from start to finish"- RnR *****; "exquisite musical reimaginings and settings ... an outstanding production and keepsake" - Songlines ****; "beguiling"- The Sunday Times****; "there's magic in these songs"- Songlines ****; "a delightful homage to nature" - The Times****;'A brave and magical creation' - The Observer;"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;"...the art, the music, the sheer, ravishing beauty of the language.. one of the greatest concerts we've ever had at Hay. Long, rapturous standing ovation. People weeping for joy" Peter Florence, Director Hay International Literary Festival;Spell Songs is a musical companion piece to The Lost Words: A Spell Book by author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. This CD is accompanied by sumptuous illustrations from Jackie Morris, new 'spells' by Robert Macfarlane, enlightening thoughts by Robert, Jackie and Spell Singer Karine Polwart as well as stunning photography by Elly Lucas. In 2018 Folk by the Oak Festival commissioned Spell Songs because of their love of the The Lost Words.

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