Words By Kevin Bourke
Folk that goes bump in the night
Opera North, who originally commissioned this project as a live, touring event, clearly have a refreshingly broad idea of what constitutes opera. Over the course of a subtly theatrical evening, Lau’s accordionist Martin Green, along with Becky Unthank, singer and multi-instrumentalist Inge Thomson from Karine Polwart’s band and Swedish nyckelharpa player Niklas Roswall, explored ghostly and unnerving tales of the folk tradition past and present. Full of murdered lovers, ravens bickering over which bit of a corpse to eat first and spouses who turn out to be other than human (we all know what that’s like), it was an eerie and wintry concept, which might make it seem slightly incongruous to have it finally appear in album form just as summer begins to loom. Still, as Green observes, our fascination with all things undead has persisted for centuries and it seems unlikely that it will cease anytime soon.
Mixed by Adrian Utley of Portishead, it’s scarily enthralling to hear Becky Unthank’s ethereal voice intertwining with Inge Thomson’s equally unearthly tones. The music, sometimes provided by newly invented instruments, evokes a deep, dark place you might not think you want to explore but which is so strangely alluring that you can’t help yourself.
Track to Try: ‘Some Living’
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