Hey dear people! 🙂
The song I have for you today is the title track from the Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton’s last year’s album To The Awe. It was recorded during the Covid lockdown, and, interestingly, as Rachel writes on her Bandcamp, her vocals were recorded in her bedroom wardrobe. Recording this album in such circumstances must have been difficult, but I like albums that were recorded in some unusual way or setting etc. and how people can be creative and resourceful about it. It is all about women, from a historical angle, because all of the lyrics here are old ballads or poems. On the contrary, the arrangements feel more contemporary, more than was the case with her previous albums, and with quite rich instrumentation.
As for this particular song, it was inspired by a poem called The Rock of Cader Idris, written by the English poet Felicia Hemmans. The poem, in turn, is inspired by the mysterious Welsh mountain Cadaer Idris, whose name translates to Idris’ Chair into English. Its name comes from Idris, the medieval king of Meirionnydd, who, according to Welsh folklore, was a giant, so huge that he could view his entire kingdom from the mountain, sitting on it as if in an armchair. There’s also a rock on top of the mountain that resembles a chair. According to the legend associated with Cadaer Idris, when you spend a night on the mountain, you’re going to wake up either dead, or frenzied, or possess the gift of poetic inspiration. And that’s what both Felicia Hemmans’ poem and Rachel Newton’s song are about. I have actually already shared one other musical piece about Cadaer Idris on here, recorded by The Harriet Earis Trio.