The sixth monthly Yarrow Acoustic Sessions is Capernaum: a poem written by Lewis Spence in the 1930s and set to music by Ed Miller in the 1990s. Ed gave me this song last year and I worked on it with the 60+ voices of RCS’s Sang Scuil.
Spence draws parallels between the past atrocities of Edinburgh and the biblical town of Capernaum. His imagery, in Scots, is devastating, beautiful in it’s stark honesty. This song is recognition of damage and suffering against people in Scotland created by our society and religious bodies. It’s part of us, cannot be undone and will continue forever in our history.
Duncan Lyall plays stunning double bass on this track (make sure you can hear the low stuff with decent speakers or headphones).
Poem by Lewis Spence
Melody by Ed Miller
Arranged by Lori Watson
Vocals by Lori Watson
Double bass by Duncan Lyall
Recorded and mixed by Duncan Lyall at Red Deer
Mastered by Iain Hutchison at Glo Worm Studios
Dark and brooding, windswept, contoured, joyful, turbulent, sparse: Yarrow is an evolving collection of traditional and original songs and new music by Lori Watson.
Yarrow is an exploration of human connections to nature and one another, through time, inspired by the Yarrow valley in the Scottish Borders. The project centres on the development of a contemporary album that carries these themes beyond conventional folk sounds, and as part of the exploration a series of acoustic singles will be released (Yarrow Acoustic Sessions).
“With Yarrow taking place over a couple of years, I can give more time and space to allowing the music to develop towards the final album and share the experience as we go in the monthly acoustic singles: so yeah there’s an element of risk in that I don’t quite know what’s going to evolve.”
“I’m interested in unfinished works and fragments, whether traditional or original. They’ve always been inspiring starting points for me. In Yarrow I’m creating and interpreting fragments; crafting something that expresses the connections between us and our environment spanning hundreds of years: and then it’s filtered by what inspires and resonates with me right now.”
Scots Singer of the Year, Lori Watson is a fiddle player, singer and composer. She has drawn on the rich tradition of the Scottish Borders throughout her artistic life, including experimental works and a PhD thesis and creative folio exploring innovation and contemporary traditional music practice.
A folk musician with considerable pedigree, Lori is touring and recording with Boreas, Iain Morrison and a range of other solo and collaborative projects, and has six albums in circulation, including two critically acclaimed albums with her trio Rule of Three. But this is Lori’s first significant song work and she aims to let us in on the process as well as the finished products.