The Lost Words: Spell Songs at RNCM

Johnny James, Managing Editor

The Lost Words: Spell Songs at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester 10 February 2019 Tickets from £20 — Book now

The Lost Words: Spell Songs brings together eight remarkable musicians who have created responses to the creatures, art and language in Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’s awe-inspiring children’s book The Lost Words. Published in 2017, the book is a work of wilderness, beauty and power, and a place where poems become spells and art becomes magic. Described by The Guardian as “a cultural phenomenon”, it now finds new life in the form of a live performance, which you can watch at the RNCM on the 10 February.

“Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no-one noticed – fading away like water on a stone…”

Author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris created The Lost Worlds in response to the removal of everyday nature words – among them “acorn”, “bluebell” and “kingfisher” – from a widely used children’s dictionary. Quickly gaining momentum, the book grew into a much broader protest at the loss of nature, not only in our minds, but in the physical world around us. This protest comes in the form of a joyous celebration of the creatures and plants with which we share our lives.

An inspiration to thousands of children and adults alike, the significant and timely book has been re-imagined by eight musicians whose work already engages with landscape and nature: Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever, Kerry Andrew, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter and Jim Molyneux. Commissioned by Folk by the Oak, they have woven together elements of British folk music, Senegalese folk traditions, experimental and classical music in order to create an inspiring new body of work. Excitingly, at the RNCM Jackie Morris will be creating live illustrations in tandem with the music, making for an audio-visual delight.

Preceded by an illuminating talk by Morris, this enchanting performance will serve to remind us – both children and adults – of the irreplaceable magic of nature, and that, in our increasingly screen-based world, is something of real significance.

The Lost Words: Spell Songs at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester 10 February 2019 Tickets from £20 Book now

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