SONGS – havenā€™t I heard you somewhere before?

Taylor Swift’s latest song owes quite a lot to Lorde’s Royals, to my ears anyway…

You need to calm down

And Royals


Musical Mood šŸŒ¦

Earlier in the week we were all…

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas – Heat Wave

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MUSIC – The Lost Words – Blessing (and book of spells!!)

This weekend, my dad sent me on the most beautiful song. It’s one of the most evocative and soothing sounds I’ve heard in a very long time.

BLURB (from youtube)

The album concludes with The Lost Words Blessing. It is offered both in hope and light, and in grief for the losses and dark times yet to come. We are proud and delighted to share this beautiful video of the creative journey. Filmed by Elly Lucas Photography and edited by Ben Davis.

Karine Polwart suggested the idea of a blessing that borrows images and phrases from many of The Lost Words spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris (Bluebell, Dandelion, Fern, Heather, Heron, Kingfisher, Lark, Otter, Raven and Starling), as well as from new spells (Goldfinch and Grey Seal). The form is inspired by blessings in Scottish Gaelic, particularly from a beautiful collection of charms and incantations called Carmina Gadelica.

This will be the last track of The Lost Word – Spell Songs album, set to be released on the 12th of July. (I’ve pre-ordered!)
Now, the website is absolutely gorgeous, so I would heartily recommend that you have a look at it – HERE!

The song then lead me to The Lost Words Spell Songs by Robert Macfarlane (author) and Jackie Morris (illustrator and artist).

My dad had attempted to explain what the book was about via whatsapp, but it was late and I didn’t really get it, conceptually.

Spell-poems written in response to the Oxford Junior Dictionary? A quick google and suddenly all becomes clear. A few years ago, the OJD introduced new words – primarily technologically based – and removed or reduced several words relating to the natural world. In 2015, the naturalist Lawrence Rose composed a letter to the dictionary, signed by several heavy weights in the literary and artistic fields – including (as you might have guessed) author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris.

The words cut out are ones that I grew up with, that describe a natural world that completely enhanced my formative years – acorn; blackberry; conker; kingfisher and bluebell. I can’t fathom a childhood without bluebells (in this country and context etc etc). This book is therefore an attempt to restore those words so ignobly cut from the younger generations , with glorious looking images accompanying each one.

A proportion of the profits will go to Action for Conservation, a charity that works with ā€œdisadvantaged and socially excluded childrenā€ and is ā€œdedicated to inspiring young people to take action for the natural worldā€.

All over the country, there are words disappearing from children’s lives. These are the words of the natural world – Dandelion, Otter, Bramble and Acorn, all gone. The rich landscape of wild imagination and wild play is rapidly fading from our children’s minds.

The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood. It is a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke. With acrostic spell-poems by award-winning writer Robert Macfarlane and hand-painted illustration by Jackie Morris, this enchanting book captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.

Now I just can’t wait to grab a copy for myself!!

Read Jackie Morris’ reaction to the Lost Words: Blessing song HERE 

Lyrics to Blessing

Enter the wild with care, my love
And speak the things you see
Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you travel far from heather, crag and river
May you like the little fisher, set the stream alight with glitter
May you enter now as otter without falter into water

Look to the sky with care, my love
And speak the things you see
Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you journey on past dying stars exploding
Like the gilded one in flight, leave your little gifts of light
And in the dead of night my darling, find the gleaming eye of starling
Like the little aviator, sing your heart to all dark matter

Walk through the world with care, my love
And sing the things you see
Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you stumble through machair sands eroding
Let the fern unfurl your grieving, let the heron still your breathing
Let the selkie swim you deeper, oh my little silver-seeker
Even as the hour grows bleaker, be the singer and the speaker
And in city and in forest, let the larks become your chorus
And when every hope is gone, let the raven call you home

MUSICAL MUSINGS – The ‘Becoming Neevil’ Years

{This post was found unpublished in the archives. Not sure why I didn’t post it – presumably I had more to add. But as that appears unlikely – here you go}

First song I remember my dad singing to me:

Fair RosaĀ – an Irish sleeping beauty fairy tale.

This is not my dad. This is a lady from youtube.

First song that made me cry:

Puff the magic dragon

(Mind you, I was by no means the only person that has an unexpected emotional response to this song. When I was about 12 years old; some family friends popped over for dinner and a natter. They brought with them their beautiful little girl. When I stuck my loyal and trusty tape into the player; her father – a BFG of a man – burst into tears. HeĀ hadn’t heard the song in years andĀ and ended up having his own formative years flashback. Naturally, he ended up leaving with the cassette! )

First album I learned by heart:Ā 

The Simpsons –Ā Sing the Blues

First Album I bought for myself:

The Lion King Soundtrack (AND IT’S STILL PERFECT!!!)

First Album Crush:

The drama of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours just captured my imagination and my heart. Stevie Nicks remains a constant fascination to this day.

MUSIC VIDEO – Surjan Stevens

The Child with the Star on His Head

MUSIC – Balcony Scene – Craig Armstrong

From Romeo + Juliet 1996 


MUSIC VIDEO – November, November – Auto de Fe


When I was little, Irish new-wave group Auto de Fe were part of the rotation of tapes played in the car.

This was my particular favourite track from the album Tatitum – I found it so haunting and beautiful and sad.

auto de fe

Subsequently, IĀ heardĀ somewhere that the song wasĀ about abortion – necessarily oblique due to the politics of the time. However, I can’t find anything online about it…so taking that with a pinch of salt.


MUSIC – Current TV Theme SongsĀ 

As a bit of TV nerd, I’ve written before about my love of soundtracksĀ –Ā in particular theme songs (see various Playlist pages if you don’t believe me!) – previously.Ā Personally, I find the un-theme of Supernatural – Carry On Wayward Sons by Kansas – to be one of the mostĀ effective defacto TV theme songs EVER.Ā I’ve even blogged on some seriously dodgy soundtracks just because they thematically tickled me – Stalker – take a bow!Ā Ā Recently, Ā I’ve been blown away by the brilliance of the music utilised in Fargo (especially season 2), Justified and Sense8.

So naturally, I’veĀ purchased some of those ‘music from TV’ cd’s and found myself disappointed at how dated they all are. No Orphan Black, Game of Thrones or Utopia (not a huge fan of electronic/house/dance/whatever that was but it was a REALLY effective soundtrack!) – in fact the most recent additions are usually Dawson’s Creek and Ally McBeal; which – no offence to the respective artists involved – hark back to my school days and are therefore more antique than cassettes*

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Day 11 Mass for 5 voices – Gloria – William Byrd

Mass for 5 Voices – Gloria
William Byrd

I included this purely to have an English composition representative of the Early Renaissance period. It was a choice made purely on (incredibly feeble) academic grounds, based entirely on internet research. I had *no idea* the fascinating history ahead of me. I mean, intellectually, I knew that the time period was rife with religious persecution, but had never really considered how that would impact musically.

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Day 10 Spring – The Four Seasons – Antonio Vivaldi

Spring – The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi

The Four Seasons are Vivaldi’s best known body of work and were written in 1723 and published in Amsterdam two years later. Spring was the first of four violin concerti and a firm favourite of King Louis XV.

Each of the movementsĀ provide a musical expression for a particularĀ season of the year.

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