Wisperau is the new album from Darren Black. Consisting of vocals, acoustic guitar and fiddle, and recorded over Spring/Summer of 2017, it is an album about the Seasons. Darren says of it:
“Wisperau is my journey through Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, with a nod to the Hampshire countryside in which I live. A song and a pair of fiddle tunes for each season – timely in their arrival but each dealing an increasingly unpredictable hand. I can remember weeks of snow in the Winter, months of parched lawn in the Summer. Odds were still on for a white Christmas. Mixed grassland with livestock grazing on pasture, hedgerows and hedgehogs. But, everything changes over time and this isn’t a misty-eyed reflection on what has been, more an appreciation of what still is. I love the transition, the colours and the contrast, the native and migrating birds. Each season has its own distinct charm and beauty, and that is what inspired me to write and record this album.”
Contemporary, yet rooted in the acoustic folk tradition, Darren’s music has a unique sound which captured the attention of the British Library where it is now stored for preservation in the National Sound Archive. His first album Silent Poetry was recorded in 2007 at legendary fiddle player Dave Swarbrick’s home studio and gained rave reviews. His 2008 follow-up Thinkers & Fools went a step further, featuring a smorgasbord of guest musicians including Joe Broughton, Kevin Dempsey and Dave Swarbrick. 2014’s Rise Above The Mumblings was recorded with Kevin Dempsey at the controls and on guest guitar. Lord Abergavenny’s Hills was released in 2015. Also featuring Lennie Harvey on slide guitar it is based around stories and tales from the South Wales mining industry where Darren was born and where his grandfather worked for nearly a quarter of a century.
Aside from his solo work, he was in Black Peak which he formed with ex-Bluehorses fiddle player Deborah Peake. Their album In Times Back When was released in 2011, having previously been runners-up for Best Debut in the Spiral Earth Awards. He has also guested on other recordings including Naomi Bedford’s album Tales From The Weeping Willow, which also features Paul Heaton, Alasdair Roberts, Justin Currie and Paul Simmonds.
Darren is also part of the In A South Downs Way cast. This is a performance of dialogue, poetry and music – singing alongside actors Hugh Bonneville, Christopher Timothy and Juliet Howland. It is a show based around composer Damian Montagu’s album of the same name, also featuring ex Paul Weller sideman Stewart Prosser and the Tippett Quartet. It premiered two sell-out shows at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester in late 2016.
Wisperau will be released with an intimate show at the Hyde Tavern, Winchester on Friday 6th October 2017. See Darren’s website for details and tickets.
Until then, here is an oldie from the folking archive:
Artist’s website: www.darrenblack.net