Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mordekkers CD work

I've just been up in Wales for a few days, helping The Mordekkers put together the artwork for their new CD. This has been quite an interesting challenge, with limited software and an unstable computer, but we now have something that everyone's happy with. The title took a while to come up with ("Do you mean murderers?" was one whimsical suggestion, this being what Google used to respond when asked to search for "Mordekkers"). It's ended up as "Wild Roots". The cover features one of Stef's seemingly-kinetic op-art Celtic mandala paintings, and the inside pages of the sleeve involve photomontages of the band but also images reflecting where Stef and Peni are coming from with the music - St. Catherine's Hill, Winchester (adjacent to Twyford Down), Tipi Valley (near here, where Peni started piping), Pentre Ifan (the local dolmen), and some of the Dongas Tribe camped at Maiden Castle.

Mordekkers 'Wild Roots' CD inner sleeve
Mordekkers 'Wild Roots' CD inner sleeve

Listen Here

We also got up to Llanidloes on Saturday for a gig they were playing (a party for some recently married mid-Wales heads). When I walked across Wales in the summer of '97 with Inge, Andy and Pete, we had a most excellent few days around Llanidloes, remember it fondly. I recorded that one on MiniDisc for them, and it seemed like another storming set to me (Ed Headmix came up to do the sound, very effectively), but Stef and Peni were both a bit frustrated by tuning problems brought on by the damp weather. Sadly, after weeks of blazing sunshine, Becky and Drew's party was scheduled for the most miserably wet Welsh kind of day - but people around here are used to it, and there was a good vibe despite the weather.

Mordekkers 'Wild Roots' CD cover art
the cover art - painting by Stef

There's not been a lot of time for jamming while I've been up here, but in a few hours we're off down to the Big Green Gathering, so hopefully there'll be a bit more time for that sort of thing (part of the urgency with the CDs was so that they'd have a stack to sell there and at the Sidmouth Folk Festival where they're playing a few days later).

What else has been going on lately? Not a lot of blogging. A couple of weekends Vicky and I went up to Glastonbury for an "eco-folk" night put together by Nathan, hosted by Pok, and built around Whistler Jim reading from his new book Nine Miles about the Newbury protest. It was called "Knot of this Earth". The audience was unfortunately a bit small (a lot of the Avalonian types being off at the nearby Buddhafield Festival), but still very enjoyable. Before Pok finished with a few songs, someone called Pamela Wynn Shannon got up with a guitar - I was expecting yet another identikit sensitive singer-songwriter, but she was of an entirely different order (both the quality of her voice and her songwriting). She sung three songs all nature/seasonal-based (the last one was about the goddess Flora), what Robert Graves would classify as "proper poetry" according to his criterion in The White Goddess. Her accent sounded Canadian to me, but I've since discovered she's from New Jersey of all places. The real hightlight was a completely unexpected bit of magic which occured when Jimoona (Djamoona?) was called to the stage by Pok. He's a Liverpudlian psychedelic Krishna devotee who I've heard all kinds of stories about for years but never met. He shuffled onto stage with an mbira and a can of beer - I was expecting a bit of a ranty-poem accompanied by semi-random plinking - but what we got was an outpouring of enchantment. I can't remember much of what was spoken - there were references to Twyford Down and Solsbury Hill and the events there in the 90's, but then it flowed off into something much more general and really quite profound. What really struck me and Vicky about this was the completely uncontrived quality of what he was doing. No artifice whatsoever, it was just flowing out of him with a deep authority that one might associate with, say, African tribal elders. We got 60 litres of spring water from the Chalice Well and White Spring (for mead-making, mostly) and went up the Tor in the moonlight - I played a bit of saz until my fingers were too cold - and then back to Exeter.

Glastonbury eco-folk night flyer
"Knot of this Earth" eco-folk night flyer

The next weekend it was my old friend Dave's 50th birthday celebrations in his arboretum home near Canterbury. I got the coach down for that, arrived with a stack of mix CD's he'd asked me to put together - all Dave's favourite soul, funk, reggae, ska, punk, rock and psychedelia. This provided the soundtrack for most of the weekend, but I also had a couple of nice jams: a late night one guitar and saz session with Miles, Dave's Christian-Anarchist friend (also a professional forager), doing a few of his songs plus a load of great covers : "Brown-Eyed Girl", Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower", "Love Minus Zero" and "I and I", etc. The next day it was saz and mandolin with Nick, my carpenter friend from Faversham, who's got a lovely new Ozark rather like the one Stef played throughout the 90's.


Post a Comment

<< Home