Carolyn Hillyer & Nigel Shaw

Love Songs to the Wild Earth. An album inspired by the untamed edges of landscapes, including the Scottish mountains and the Siberian tundra. Songs that have been woven from wind and water and silence into the bones of the land.

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Love Songs to Wild Earth…

This collection of songs, created in our twentieth year of working together, was three years in the making as we travelled to the untamed edges of landscapes that, in different ways, were singing to our souls – the western highlands and islands of Scotland, the Atlantic coast and mountains of Ireland and the far northern Siberian tundra.

We listened to wind and water and the silence of places that are remote from human hearths; we gathered up threads and fragments of melodies and words from ocean and high loch and deep valley and ancient migration routes; then we brought these threads home and wove them into the Dartmoor landscape that we wear inside our bones. We sought music that would express our huge gratitude and ever-deepening love for the landscape where we roam; we made songs upon the wild earth’s loom.

These are gentle and pulsing songs. The threads for some of the melodies we used were drawn from Nigel’s album Dartmoor Symphony and spun anew; some songs reached forward into as-yet-unformed new strands of work. We also chose two older songs (Heron Valley and Heron Fly You Home) that have represented key moments in our Dartmoor lives and reworked them for this collection.

The album was recorded on many old and traditional instruments, including ten stringed instruments: piano, Celtic harp, violin, cello, guitar, salterio, bowed and plucked dulcimer, Hungarian gardon, Shetland lyre and hurdy-gurdy. Hand-carved wooden flutes, tin whistles, small pipes, skin drums and percussion (including herding bells, sled bells, reindeer toe and bone rattles) were also used to create the landscape of melodies on which these songs were laid. Guest musicians: Emily Burridge (cello), Pat Orchard (guitar) and Paul Sax (violin).

TRACKS: Weaving the Land, Moon and Moss, Mountain Wings, Still Waiting to be Heard, Heron Valley (Daughter Song), Ivy Spell (Then Sip Soft Darkness), She Draws the Dreamers, Grey Down Stones Dance, Not Only the Rivers Run Free, Sa Ley Yav (Tundra Love Song), Dusk and Dawn, Forest Yarn, Fare You Well (Heron Fly You Home)
Album length: 75 minutes. Released in 2011.

FIlm that accompanies the title track Weaving the Land