A World Music Magazine

The Furrow Collective
"Davy Lowston" from the album Fathoms
Audio feature by Cliff Furnald, editor

The Furrow Collective is an English/Scottish quartet with Lucy Farrell on viola, voice, tenor guitar & saw; Rachel Newton on harp, fiddle, piano, percussion & voice; Emily Portman on banjo, concertina, harmonium & voice; and Alasdair Roberts on guitars, keyboards, banjolin & vocals. Their recording Fathoms (Hudson Records, UK) might very well be one of the best folk recordings from the Brisish Isles in 2018. I emphasize folk, because this quartet focuses on tradtional story telling, from classic to lesser known, performed with a lot of spirit. The arrangements are personal and direct, with few contemporary embellishments.

I chose to feature "Davy Lowston" for our feature because it strikes such a deep chord of humanity and despair, in a tale about whale hunters stranded in New Zealand by their captain:
    I'll return, men, without fail!
    But she foundered in the gale
    And went down, and went down, and went down.

and the moral?
    Come all you lads who venture far from home,
    Where the icebergs tower high,
    That's a pitiful place to die,
    Never seal, never seal, never seal.

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Photo by Seth Tinsley



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