Album release: 'Keld' by You Are Wolf
Release date: 23 March 2018
Label: Firecrest Records
More info: Artist website
You Are Wolf is the alt-folk project of award-winning composer and vocalist Kerry Andrew. Releasing her second album 'Keld' in March, it is the follow-up to her 2014 debut 'Hawk To The Hunting Gone', a record that explored British birds and folklore. Now working as a trio with multi-instrumentalist Sam Hall and percussionist Peter Ashwell, 'Keld' - 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. Though there are countless traditional songs about the sea, there are less about our inland waterways, and Kerry decided to use this as a challenge: to source traditional material and write originals all inspired by freshwater folklore.
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 Sahwney 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 palate 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.”
Press reaction to date
“English avant-folk at its finest” – The Guardian
“Imagine Bjork working her magic on the English folk tradition” – Uncut
“Her voice is a thing of beauty and clarity… [she is] reconfiguring British folk as a music not only of the past, but of the present and future” – Prog
“one of the most original albums of traditional folk songs you’ll hear this year - fRoots
‘a truly beautiful voice” – Drowned In Sound
As heard on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4
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