Georgia Shackleton’s debut solo album is a celebration of East Anglian traditional singers, and the music and musicians that inspire her own work. ’Harry’s Seagull’ is a collection of songs and tunes that paint a picture of the landscape of the region and the communities that are a part of its history.
A bouquet of songs of empowerment, love, loss, land and sea, peppered with tunes from the region. The title is taken from the lone self-penned tune on the album, ‘Harry’s Seagull’ – a dedication to Harry Cox, one of the most influential folk singers of the twentieth century.
Imaginative arrangements using stripped back instrumentation of just fiddle and harmonium to support Georgia’s pure and distinctive voice, keep the sound close as possible to a live solo performance.
The album begins with ‘Twenty Eighteen’, a spirited song of rejection, collected in Attleborough, Norfolk. A song collected by Lucy Broadwood, one of few female folk song collectors who was collecting songs from women in their home environments. Another song from a woman’s perspective is ‘The Blacksmith’. Hailed by Shirley Collins as ‘one of the greatest love songs in the English Tradition’. Georgia learned this from the singing of Suffolk based traveller, Phoebe Smith. The Blacksmith sits next to ‘Small Birds Whistle’ learned from the singing of Jasper Smith, Phoebe’s brother. One of the many traditional songs conveying the tragedy of a woman unfortunate enough to have a child out of wedlock.
The East Anglian step dancing tradition is celebrated in the form of hornpipes. ‘Watson’s Hornpipe and Swanton Abbot Hornpipe’. from The George Watson manuscript, originating from Skeyton, near Norwich. Georgia’s own tune, ‘Harry’s Seagull’ (a dedication to Harry Cox, who kept a wounded seagull as a pet) follows the popular step dancing tune ‘Yarmouth Hornpipe’. These tunes complement Harry Cox’s ‘What Will Become of England’ – which sadly doesn’t lose relevance.
Songs from Walter Pardon and Peter Bellamy are Come, Little Leaves – learned by Walter at his primary school in Knapton, and immortalised on his Bright Golden Store record, and ‘Rambling Robin’, a broadsheet set to music by Bellamy.
A record of material from East Anglia would not be complete without songs from the sea. Harry’s Seagull features ‘Yarmouth Fisherman’s Song’, which paints the picture of hard life aboard a Yarmouth drifter. It was written by one of Harry’s father’s shipmates. Harry sings this as best as he can remember from his father’s singing, but some of the verses probably come from Harry.
The album concludes with ‘Windy Old Weather’, a song popular with the East Anglian fishing community. Sometimes known as ‘Up jumped The Herring’ or ‘Happisburgh Light Song’, it will forever immortalise Happisburgh and its iconic lighthouse, which owing to non-existent support for sea defences make the future of this rapidly eroding coastal village very uncertain.
Georgia is excited to present this celebration of the music which has inspired her writing and work with The Shackleton Trio’ over the last eight years. The band have been played on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4, with gleaming ★★★★★ reviews, and appearances on Cambridge Folk Festival’s prestigious main stage, as well as a host of UK and European festivals and international tours…and many miles in the Mondeo. Georgia will continue to rack up the miles on the Harry’s Seagull’ tour, which begins in September. First shows are in Denmark, Belgium and England, before heading back across the water to France and Switzerland in October and winding back across the UK from November – January. The album is released on Friday 3rd November. There will be an album launch party in Norwich on 30th November at the beautiful Octagon Chapel.
Artist’s website: https://georgiashackleton.co.uk/
‘Windy Old Weather’ – official video:
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