What does it sound like?:
Kerry Andrew is an interesting character. She has a PhD in music composition, specialising in choral works. She is also a novelist and loves a story song. No wonder she is drawn to traditional Folk Music. In her spare time she sings in You Are Wolf. Their debut focussed on the folklore of birds. This time, it’s inland waterways, rivers and lakes. Keld is an olde English word referring to the deep, still, smooth part of the river. It’s a suitable title because the music herein is serene and exquisite disguising eerie hidden perils. The joys of outdoor swimming and frolicking with nymphs on the riverbanks are tempered with cautionary tales of drownings, infidelity and murder. For every ray of sunshine there is a brooding dark cloud.
Her voice is as crystal clear as the droplets in the babbling brook that opens the a capella introduction to the album, The Baffled Knight. Sam Hall provides atmospheric instrumentation and Peter Ashwell imaginative percussion. They do so with elegance and grace. There are found sounds, field recordings and multi-layered vocals, especially for the chants and incantations, in keeping with Andrew’s compositional background. Folk singer, Lisa Knapp duets on The Weeper. Scottish poet, Robin Robertson, provides an authoritative contribution to the finale, Let Them Be Left. The tone is deeply rooted in ancient Folk Music but the character of Keld is absolutely modern 21st Century. The producer is MaJiker, the man behind Camille’s beautiful collages of percussion and minimal vocal textures. As a result, Keld is a real aural pleasure, each sound occupying its own space but contributing to a coherent whole that is both sensual and unsettling.
Six of the songs are traditional and six original, equally poetic and intriguing. They are best experienced sequentially, as they meander like a stream, the mood shifting with the currents and the vagaries of the sky, the listener not quite certain what’s round the next twist and turn. On the way, we meet pretty maids, jilted lovers, skinny dippers, ghosts, murderers, youngsters coming of age, witches, a grieving widow and drowned bodies, all contained within an enchanting musical landscape.
Keld is magical and immersive. Treat yourself.
What does it all *mean*?
You Are Wolf have produced a confident and magnificent piece of work.
Goes well with…
A day in the British countryside, swimming in a lake or boating down a river.
Might suit people who like…
Original music of the highest quality.
This is labelled as Alt-Folk. It is undoubtedly the least Folk Folk album I’ve heard. Even if you aren’t keen on Folk Music, you may well like this. It is simply wonderful music, transcending genre.