[streaming] Burd Ellen – Hela’r Dryw Bach

Taken from “Says The Never Beyond”, out November 27th 2020.

Burd Ellen have announced their second studio album “Says The Never Beyond”, release date 27th November 2020. The record is a collection of carols and wintersong that occupy the liminal space between sacred and secular, connecting to the deep seasonal traditions of Britain and Ireland. Available to pre-order on LP, CD or digital release via Bandcamp from 2nd October.

Burd Ellen is a project featuring Debbie Armour (Alasdair Roberts, Green Ribbons,) and Gayle Brogan (Pefkin, Electroscope). The duo uses innovative instrumentation, drone and sound-wash to support detailed vocal work and create a unique sonic atmosphere. For Says The Never Beyond they have continued their long-term collaboration with Jer Reid (Sumshapes, Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra), bringing him out from behind the studio desk to play guitar on most of the tracks. The album also features contributions from Scottish Album of the Year Award nominee Rachel Newton (The Shee, The Furrow Collective) and Luke Sutherland’s (Long Fin Killie, Bows) current project Rev Magnetic.

Scheduled to go in the to studio over the summer, lockdown restrictions meant that the album was recorded remotely across Scotland and pieced together by engineer Jim McEwan (barkbarkdog studios). Debbie Armour says of the process: “I was in a period of what felt like grief for the record I thought we were going to make. It took me weeks to get to the point where I was ready to track the vocals, and many false starts beyond that. I can’t quite believe how magically it has grown in to this big, swirling thing we’ve all made together. Jim and all the musicians who’ve worked on it have been so, so patient with me and so open-hearted to the changes and challenges. I could not be more thrilled with the outcome.”

Of the song choices she says: “Winter songs are the joy of my repertoire. I love the very old, very earthy carols and ritual songs. There’s real emotional weight to them, and an immediacy in their conjuring of the landscape. When we made the final decisions about what to include, I also noticed how many of the songs talk about the quiet joys of Mary’s motherhood. I have adored spending so much time with my children this year, and have been reflecting quite deeply on my own mothering so it’s not a huge surprise to see it come up in the work. But it definitely wasn’t a conscious choice.”




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