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Robert Macfarlane is the author of a number of bestselling and prize-winning books including The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Holloway and Landmarks. His work has been translated into many languages and widely adapted for film, television and radio, and his essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta and the Guardian. Most recently, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the EM Forster Award for Literature 2017. Robert Macfarlane is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and is presently completing Underland, about underworlds real and imagined.Jackie Morris grew up in the Vale of Evesham and studied at Hereford College of Arts and at Bath Academy. She has illustrated for the New Statesman, Independent and Guardian, has collaborated with Ted Hughes, and has written & illustrated over forty books children's including beloved classics such as Song of the Golden Hare, Tell Me A Dragon, East of the Sun, West of the Moon and The Wild Swans. Jackie Morris lives in a cottage on the cliffs of Pembrokeshire.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | A book to make you think and feel, this is an important, beautiful, spellbinding treasure. Words from nature are disappearing, being removed, left to one side to be forgotten. Some words are in real danger of being lost forever, this book reveals those words, sings them, shows them, reminds us how to love them. Spell-weavers Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris have created a bewitching ode to nature, reminding us of the danger of absence, highlighting beauty, whispering to our soul. It feels as though the words, the poems, and vividly beautiful pictures are as one, the essence of the word, of the being, escapes the page to wrap itself around you. ‘The Lost Words’ is suitable for all ages, and should find a special place in all homes, all libraries, all schools, all hearts. Do read the spell-poems out loud, listen, look, feel, touch, allow your awareness to open and receive these gifts. I found myself entranced, I fell completely under the spell of ‘The Lost Words’, I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. ~ Liz Robinson
The Lost Words: Spell Songs is a 112 page book with 14 track CD of new works. In 2018 Folk by the Oak Festival commissioned Spell Songs, a musical companion piece to The Lost Words by author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris; a celebrated `spell book' rich with poetic rhythms and imagined birdsong that naturally invited a musical response. Spell Songs gathered together eight remarkable musicians whose music engages deeply with landscape and nature, to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words. Spell Songs allowed these acclaimed and diverse musicians to weave together elements of British folk music, Senegalese folk traditions, and experimental and classical music to create an inspiring new body of work. In February 2019 Spell Songs enjoyed standing ovations at sell-out performances at major venues around the including QEH at the Southbank Centre; shows in 2019 include Hay Festival, and a prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Here are 14 songs which capture the essence of The Lost Words. Spoken voice, whispers, accents, dialects, native languages, proverbs, sayings, birdsong, river chatter and insect hum all increase the intimacy of the musical world conjured by the songs. Inspired by the words and art of the original book, each musician brings new imaginings, embellishments and diversions which are rooted in personal experience, a deep respect for the natural world, protest at the loss of nature and language or appreciation for wildness and beauty. Art inspired music and music inspired art. Jackie Morris immersed herself in the musical residency where she generously created new iconesque artwork of each musician and their instruments portrayed in an unexpected and enchanting way. These new paintings, along with stunning photography by renowned photographer Elly Lucas, from the residential gathering, the recording of the album and the sell-out tour, fill this book with beauty. Writings by Robert, Jackie and Karine elaborate on the project itself and its eco-musicological message, further exploring the relationship between art and nature, music and conservation. There are songs here that would live with me for the rest of my years, even if I'd had no part in their making. , Robert Macfarlane