Ritual Land, Uncommon Ground; the Cunning Folk album will be released on March 24 2017. The album is my journey through some of the ritual landscapes of Britain. In the run up to the album release I will be writing a blog about each song & will put out snippets of each song for your listening pleasure.
The first song is called “This Is How It Starts”
We live in a world of rituals.
A ritual is a ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. It may have a religious significance.
If you have been to a wedding or a funeral you have taken part in a ritual.
A ritual can also be an action arising from the habits of an individual or group at work or at home.
For example I have a morning coffee ritual which I start my day with.
I put water in the espresso maker & switch on the machine, spoon espresso coffee into the dripper & get a small cup to place under the dripper. While waiting for the water to heat up I switch on the radio. Naturally I am a Radio 4 listener. The dripper is switched on & I fill my cup & listen to the Today show for a while.
On one occasion, while listening to the radio, I heard a gentleman called Robert Macfarlane reading excerpts of his book, “Landmarks”. Landmarks is a series of essays about folk who have interacted with British landscapes through art, walking, swimming & ornithology. It also has extensive glossaries of language specific to particular geographies.
I found the book relevant because over the past few years I have been troubled by the rise of nationalist identity politics & these essays & discussions felt like a way of finding an identity defined by landscape & our relationship with it. Identity not confined by borders on maps but by shared heritages refined by our environments & how we relate to them.
Those of you who have heard my songs may know that they are often site specific. The first location is my kitchen chair next to the radio at the moment when I decide to make a journey.