We have a particularly very fine Song of the Day from Scottish singer Alasdair Roberts who has just revealed his new video for In Dispraise of Hunger from his self-titled album out now on Drag City Records.
The song is about communities that rely on the harvests surviving lean times. The mood of the song is perfectly captured in the new video directed by Joseph Briffa. You see the silhouette of Alasdair and a tree on a dark night through which you can just make out the distant hills. It has a wintry feel as Alasdair sets the scene with with just the sound of plucking strings and Alex South’s bass clarinet who slowly comes into view. He sings of the harvest cycles when bounty is followed by harder times: Lammas, traditionally the first harvest festival of the year, then the lenten fast after harvest. Then Nollaig (Christmas) followed by the ‘hunger gap’ until ‘dawns a morning when earthly plenties will spread uncounted, spread uncounted in every lap.’
The song is far from a weary one, the tone is an optimistic one which is lightened still further by the addition of The Crying Lion which features members from Trembling Bells & Muldoon’s Picnic who performed a special session for Folk Radio UK a couple of years ago (listen here). Like Alex they also appear slowly in silhouette heightening the feel of the song and visualising the singing for food mentioned in the song – “In time of lack we’ll travel south and croon it from a leaner mouth.”
There is a beautiful warmth to this song despite the sparse arrangements which are very fitting considering the subject. Like the folk he sings of Alasdair will indeed be heading south to sing and Folk Radio UK will be hosting one of his tour dates – an evening in Somerset at Bridgwater Art Centre on 27 March 2015 8:00pm. This is part of our ongoing Levels Collective events so please come along and spread the word. You can get your tickets for the night here.
A solo UK tour begins at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Birmingham on 26th February and continues through the month of March. A full list of Alasdair tour dates can be found on his website here: www.alasdairroberts.com/live/