Words by Julian May
Mynd is the apt title of this excellent album, an Old English word meaning both ‘act of commemoration’ and ‘intellect.’ The second release from the Devon-based duo opens with ‘Silbury Hill’, a song that links contemporary Britain with the prehistoric earthworks that shape its landscape. Several tracks commemorate historical characters and events. The story behind ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’ is charming: if she ever found herself in a garden she considered was below par, this Victorian gardener would secretly sprinkle seeds. These songs are not, however, whimsical. ‘Last Broadcast’ is a memorial to Marie Colvin, the foreign correspondent killed at Homs, Syria, last year. The lyrics are drawn from her final article and there are also songs inspired by Toni Morrison and Graham Swift novels. Keen, curious and concerned intellects are at work here.
Hannah Martin is an enthralling singer and violin, viola and banjo player. Phillip Henry plays all manner of guitars and also the harmonica terrifically; he studied slide guitar with Debashish Bhattacharya in Kolkata and ragas, reggae, blues and gospel all make their presence felt. Matt Downer’s contributions on double bass are also invaluable. These arrangements are rich and textured; anyone who thinks English folk isn’t world music should hear Mynd.
TRACK TO TRY: ‘Last Broadcast’