Recorded in Northumberland, Cumbria and Durham counties. Where the borders meet, in a valley, by the waves and surrounded by the Holy Island. I found a second hand guitar and recorded, without preparation, some of my closest songs with the open fire as company.
Since making these recordings I discovered the following folklore on fire:
"Fire gazing was one of the simplest and most popular methods of foretelling the future. Tired people gathered about the hearth, would peer into the glowing caverns of fire and conjure omens from haphazard movements of coals and burning soot.
Cinders jumping from the fire can carry many meanings. Generally, an oval-shaped cinder is regarded as the sign of birth; an oblong cinder spells good luck and prosperity. Sometimes people spit on cinders. If they crackle, it means a full purse in the near future - if not, it means a shroud.
When chimneys smoked or the fire refused to catch, many housewives blamed the occurrence on witches or demons. Cold iron and a cross were the usual antidotes and, even today, many people are convinced that an iron poker laid across the grate will cure a troublesome fire.
Another means of preventing witches from entering the house was to stud a sheep's or bullock's heart with pins and nails and place it up the chimney. The heart was a powerful charm against the forces of evil, and the practice may have stemmed from far-off memories of ritual sacrifice." - Folklore Myths and Legends of Britain
Lovely............ I think I'm not very superstitious but I do like a nice fire so I've made sure the fire can be heard in these songs as well as the other surrounding noises that I recorded. I've used the natural reverb of the space where the songs were performed and each song is recorded in a different place.
released November 12, 2016
All music by Lisa McKendrick
Cover artwork by Lisa McKendrick