Till April is Dead – A Garland of May

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LABELS: Ear to the Ground
ALBUM TITLE: Till April is Dead – A Garland of May


English folk luminary Lisa Knapp’s Till April Is Dead: A Garland Of May builds brilliantly on her slim discography. It’s a boldly innovative concept album featuring a dozen startling takes on traditional English May songs that confirms her status at the cutting edge of British folk music. Knapp’s thorough research of conventional folkloric and sound archives was supplemented by colleagues and friends, and the material even broadens into May song traditions and sayings from Spain, France, Germany and Ireland. Her sleeve notes praise the efforts of her multi-instrumentalist producer and partner Gerry Diver. Together, their fierce imaginations colour in these old songs with enormous zest, capturing the vibrancy of summer’s keenly awaited arrival. A fine singer who can juxtapose delicacy and power, Knapp could easily be compared with Björk or Kate Bush, as much for her voice as her boundless flair for experiment. Sounds of nature add to the seasonal feel – owls hoot, insects and cuckoos call – and there’s judicious use of noises from the human world such as clocks, a barrel organ and a music box. It closes with a field recording of the townsfolk of Padstow performing their local Obby Oss May Song.


Jon Lusk