I remember when the email came through with Lark, for The Lost Words. I remember reading it for that first time, sitting in an armchair by the window at Moundsey. I remember thinking, it was odd, because in a sense the word ‘astronaut’ brought the human in to the book in a way it hadn’t been before. And I read, re-read, as you need to do, until it sinks into the soul.
And it came with notes as to where it was written and why and how it connected to a deep depression, not Rob’s but a close friend. And haven’t we all at some point, at some age, felt that deep rift that as humans we fall into? And isn’t, at the moment, ever, and always for the human condition ‘the world more full of weeping that we can understand”.
To lift with the lark, it takes strength, it takes muscle, it takes such work, and to sing at the same time? How utterly perfect to see Lark in this way.
And I remember the first time I heard Little Astronaut, from the Spellsongs team, sitting on a sofa at Monnington House in January of this year. I’d missed the first singing of it, the shaping, but I felt something happening in the house, a crackle like static electricity. An intake of breathe, a sigh. Caroline walked in, hand over mouth, crying a little. So I sneaked into the room and sat quietly and listened as they ran through again. And how hard it was to breathe. How very hard.
How can music do this? Cut straight to your soul? Give you permission to grieve? To feel? Connect you with the human condition and leave you cleansed?
Working at home now, and listening to the Spellsongs master tape, the lark has come a long way from where it was written, to where it was read, and how it was shaped in to song. The cd is available by pre-order from Folk by the Oak. It comes with extraordinary sleeve notes and includes new artwork from me, new spells from Robert, wonderful photos from Elly Lucas, words from all the makers involved. Alison O’Toole has made it into a thing of great beauty. The inclusion of photos from Monnington and the stage open up the making of the work, invite you to enter and share the process. And Eva John and Caroline Slough are working on school notes in the hope that it will deepen the experience of The Lost Words for children.
There will be an LP too, for those like me who love vinyl.
And guess what? It won’t fit on a cd shelf! Because it’s the size of a small hardback book.
( I tried to get them to do the record/lp in pro, but Adam said we had to draw a line somewhere!)