In 2018 Folk by the Oak Festival were overjoyed to commission Spell Songs, a musical companion piece to The Lost Words by author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris; a celebrated ‘spell book’ rich with poetic rhythms and imagined birdsong that naturally invited a musical response.
Spell Songs gathered together eight remarkable musicians whose music engages deeply with landscape and nature, to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words:
Karine Polwart: a multi-award-winning songwriter and musician, a theatre maker, storyteller, essayist, and published writer, who’s script for her award-winning show ‘Wind Resistance’ was picked by Robert Macfarlane for The Guardian’s 'Best Books of 2017'.
Julie Fowlis: often singing in the Gaelic Tradition, Julie is known for her crystalline and intoxicating voice. Winner of BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year 2018.
Seckou Keita: an exceptional and charismatic musician. Arguably the most influential and inspiring Kora player (22 stringed West African harp) of his generation.
Kris Drever: one of Scotland’s finest and most prolific songwriters, a member of award-winning folk trio Lau, and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Folk Singer of the Year 2017.
Kerry Andrew: an astonishingly perceptive musician, composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and author.
Rachel Newton: a singer and harpist with a reputation for “haunting and compelling” (The Guardian) performances and was awarded BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year in 2017
Beth Porter: a well-known cellist on the UK folk and acoustic scene and a one half of The Book Shop Band, who write songs inspired by books that are frequently performed at book shop gigs.
Jim Molyneux: a prodigious talent in many instruments, with an ear for a variety of genres from folk through to jazz and hip hop.