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Little Hallingbury

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Spell Songs (Folk Songs Inspired by The Lost Words)

THE SNOW HARE

The mountain hare, or snow hare, the only truly Arctic animal of Scotland is under threat due to rapid ecological shifts. A creature that has evolved winter camouflage becomes immensely vulnerable when the snows don't come as they used to. This song, led by Julie Fowlis and Karine Polwart, speaks to that fragility.

Charm on, Goldfinch

Composed by Beth Porter, these lyrics were inspired by regular walks in Wigtown along the Martyrs' Stake where she sees goldfinches along the path and in the trees, and by the haunting end to Robert Macfarlane's new Goldfinch Spell, which forms the chorus: Charm on Goldfinch, charm on Heaven help us when all your gold is gone Jackie Morris weaves her watercolour magic in the video, conjuring goldfinches to charm us all.

Selkie-Boy

We invite you to rinse your ears clean of human chatter and join our Spell Singers as they summon Selkie-boy. Songs and tales of the seal people are a big part of Hebridean folklore, especially in North Uist, the home island of Julie Fowlis.

The Lost Words Blessing

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.

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.

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