Desert Songs – Dawn Landes and Piers Faccini

Desert Songs

Desert Songs was released by Beating Drum on January 15th 2016 in Europe and in North and South America by Six Degrees. It will be released digitally as well as on limited edition 12” vinyl.

The two songwriters, Dawn Landes (US) and Piers Faccini (UK) met in 2013 when they recorded a Lead Belly song for Faccini’s cover project, Songs I Love. Later that year, Piers invited Dawn to France to perform in a 12th Century Romanesque Chapel in the remote Cevennes region of the south of France near Piers’ home and studio. Inspired by their first experience of performing together, they met up a few months later to write and record the intimate suite of songs that would become the EP, Desert Songs.

The bare autumnal skies and rugged mountainous landscapes provided the perfect backdrop for their collaboration. In between sessions, they walked the footpaths in the hills around the studio, swapping tales of the mystics and seekers that inspired the stories and lyrics in Desert Songs. Where Dawn would quote the Desert Fathers or Thomas Merton, Piers would would cite Sufi poets Rumi and Hafez or the poems of St John of the Cross. Dawn and Piers wove the arrangements together using the rich collection of instruments in Piers’s studio, a Malian Kora, a 1930’s National resonator guitar, West African percussion and an Indian dulcimer and tampura. Back in her Brooklyn studio a month later, Dawn recorded drum parts with Ray Rizzo. Desert Songs was then mixed in NYC by Pat Dillet.

Both songwriters have released critically acclaimed albums to their names, Piers Faccini’s most recent album Songs of Time Lost was in NPR’s top 10 world music albums of the year as well as in Songlines UK’s 10 best albums of 2014. Dawn’s most recent album Bluebird won the 2015 IMA award for “Folk/Singer-Songwriter album of the year” and featured guest appearances by Norah Jones and members of Bon Iver. In 2015 she was invited to give a TED Talk and perform in Lincoln Center’s prestigious American Songbook Series.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ websites: http://www.dawnlandes.com/ / http://www.piersfaccini.com/?cbg_tz=0

‘Heaven’s Gate’ – official video:

Jenny Lysander – debut album, Northern Folk

Northern Folk

In September 2012, nineteen-year-old Swedish songwriter Jenny Lysander posted a cover of Piers Faccini’s ‘Time Of Nought’ on YouTube. A couple of months, and several Facebook messages later, Piers and Jenny decided to meet in London.

Listening to Jenny’s demo – and despite the hum and hiss of her home Garageband recordings – Piers was immediately excited to hear an original songwriter’s voice. Their next meeting was at Piers’s home studio in the south of France – and their very first session together was the basis for Jenny’s EP, Lighthouse, released on Faccini’s own label Beating Drum in the Spring of 2014.

Jenny Lysander’s songs have an eerie otherworldliness to them. They seem to come from Nordic ice-blue horizons, and a dim winter sun that briefly rises before setting again. There is a melancholy tint to them too: as in the haunting ‘Blackbird’, and ‘Jag Malade’ sung in her native Swedish. But this melancholy is filled with warmth and tenderness. It is as if Jenny’s quietude produces a delicate kind of joy.

“I have always liked dark and mysterious things.” Lysander says, “Melancholic things ground me, give me a sense of depth, as well as a strange feeling of safety.”

Having helped launch the career of the Brazilian singer and cellist Dom la Nena (producing her acclaimed album, Ela), Faccini has once again found himself uncovering and then guiding a young talent towards the limelight. Piers and Jenny recorded Northern Folk over two sessions in the summer months of 2014. Hidden away in the Mediterranean landscape, deep in the woods, far from the noise and interference of any city, Faccini’s rural studio felt like the perfect setting for recording Jenny Lysander’s songs.

Lysander began writing her own songs at the age of thirteen. She describes her recording process with Faccini as a kind of apprenticeship. “When I started listening to his music,” she says, “I didn’t know what ‘folk’ meant, I just knew I loved what I heard and I sensed a sort of authenticity and wisdom in his way of writing songs. That he happened to be the one producing my songs was just a very happy coincidence.” Piers, too, was drawn to Jenny songs from the very first moment. “Her talent,” he says, “is astonishing and the depth of her writing belies her years. It has been a wonderful privilege to record her songs.”

Jenny Lysander’s debut album opens with ‘A Painter’s Brush’. The title is an apt one as the album feels like it is played with soft touches, reminiscent of an artist’s brush. As Faccini says, “if this album were a collection of paintings they would surely be a suite of northern landscapes.”

Hoping to give Jenny’s songs something broader than the stark beauty of an accompanying guitar, Faccini worked on weaving the songs together with a variety of different acoustic tones. In songs like ‘Mind Me’, or ‘Giving Thanks’ dulcimers, koras and mandolins drift into glissando choirs – and twelve-string and resonator guitars slide behind Lysander’s voice and agile guitar work. To bring further rhythmic intensity to the album, Faccini enrolled Italian drummer Simone Prattico, and convinced renowned English bassist Pat Donaldson to come out of retirement. Songs like the beguiling ‘Dancing On The Edge’, or even the title track ‘Northern Folk’, bring a pulsing syncopation to the album and complement the soft intensity of Jenny’s voice.

Timeless and unique as Lysander’s music is, it reveals the influence of songwriters such as Sandy Denny, Joni Mitchell or even Kate Bush. Bringing Donaldson into the fold – who played alongside Sandy Denny in the 1970s in the group Fotheringay – allowed the album to build a fascinating bridge between different generations of female songwriters. Of today’s songwriters, Jenny Lysander’s profound and poetic voice bears some comparison to Laura Marling, whose own recording career also began at an early age and with a style that defied simple categorisation. Lysander’s songs similarly don’t seem to belong to any particular age. From beginning to end, though, Northern Folk is undoubtedly folk, Swedish even, and confidently sings to the whole world.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://jennylysander.com/

‘Lysander echoes the same understated beauty as folk music greats like Nick Drake and Fairport Convention, with a modern tint that draws comparison to Agnes Obel and Ane Brun’ Drunken Werewolf

Jenny Lysander – ‘Time Of Nought’:

Jenny Lysandser: debut EP and album

Jenny LysanderHailing from Stockholm, where between traveling and playing Jenny is studying Chinese philosophy, her music has an eerie other worldliness to it, her songs like the bare Nordic shores where she comes from.

In 2013 the English singer-songwriter Piers Faccini started up his own label Beating Drum. After releasing his fifth album Between Dogs & Wolves to critical acclaim, the artist run label, Beating Drum, is slowly but surely building a following for its lovingly produced music, design and artwork.

The recordings from Lighthouse, Jenny Lysander’s EP, bring together her beautifully crafted songs with Piers’s subtle and complimentary skills as an arranger and producer. More recording time has been booked this summer for Jenny’s debut full length album that will come out on Beating Drum at the end of 2014.