You Are Wolf, the alt-folk project of award-winning composer and vocalist Kerry Andrew, who has featured previously on FRUK in session, has shared a new video for Breathe In Breathe Out (also our Song of the Day) from her new album KELD. Since her first EP Hunting Little Songs (2011) and her 2014 debut album Hawk To The Hunting Gone, a record that explored British birds and folklore, Andrew’s has dazzled listeners with innovative folk twists alongside a raw honesty that’s ever-present in her creations, her latest project is no exception.
KELD, which takes its name from an old Northern English word meaning “the deep, still, smooth part of a river” – is an album that explores and develops the theme of freshwater. Wild swimming is a key passion and inspiration of hers, and she can often be found dipping into lochs, lakes, rivers and the sea in all weathers. On ‘Breathe In Breathe Out’ she celebrates her (and other people’s) love of swimming outside… it mixes archive film footage with contributions from other swimmers, including members of the Outdoor Swimming Society.
It was an aim of Kerry’s to find songs that featured an array of strong female characters, and KELD includes traditional songs about waterfall banshees, killer female water sprites, drowning boys and powerful witches. Original songs are inspired by wild swimming, vengeful rivers, nymphs and naiads, and even an Anglo-Saxon charm. You Are Wolf brings these ancient songs and stories into the present, with bold arrangements inspired by leftfield pop, new classical music and electronica.
The album is produced by MaJiker, best known for his work on French alt-pop queen Camille’s Victoire-winning albums. He has also remixed/worked with Fever Ray, Nitin Sawhney and Gaggle, and brings an experimental pop sensibility to the album. Where Hawk To The Hunting Gone was heavily vocal, with lots of vocal looping – inspired by the likes of Camille, Bobby Mcferrin, Meredith Monk and tUnE-yArDs – KELD is more expansive. With a wider palette of sounds including drums, ‘cello, vibraphone, trumpet, found sounds and field recordings, it’s an album that not only draws from innovative contemporary folk artists including Lisa Knapp (who features here on “The Weeper”), Sam Lee and The Unthanks, but also by music outside the folk sphere: everything from minimalist composer Steve Reich to PJ Harvey, traditional Central African Pygmy music and Julia Holter. The brilliant poet Robin Robertson also appears.
You Are Wolf is a regular on Radio 3’s The Verb and performed her debut short story with music on BBC Radio 4’s Stories From Songwriters series. Elsewhere, as Kerry Andrew, she is a composer of experimental vocal music and choral music has a PhD in Composition and is the winner of four British Composer Awards. Kerry has written for The Guardian and is an occasional presenter on BBC Radio 3. Her debut novel, Swansong, based on a folk ballad, is published by Jonathan Cape on January 25th 2018. The novel has been praised by Robert Macfarlane as “spiky, strange and contemporary, but always with a dark undertow of myth and folklore tugging at its telling”, and by folk legend Shirley Collins as “a subtle, supernatural tale told in a present-day voice.”
KELD is Out Now on Firecrest Records. Order via http://www.youarewolf.com/