The lead track from the album Lady Franklin is a broadside from the 1850s. After the disappearance of her husband, Lady Jane Franklin sponsored several expeditions to discover his fate and worked hard to keep the search going for decades. When explorer John Rae returned with Inuit stories of cannibalism, she refused to believe them, but they’ve subsequently been proven largely accurate. In fact the recent discovery of the two Franklin ships is mainly thanks to Inuit oral histories, which were mocked by the British Navy at the time of the ships disappearance
Following their acclaimed debut Kings Of The South Seas (DWink Records 2014) this second release by Kings Of The South Seas vividly brings to life the music left by these events and their cultural fallout. Lady Franklin features Canadian Voyageur paddling songs, English folk ballads and songs composed onboard ice-bound wintering ships to Victorian parlour pieces – all delivered in powerful, foreboding and effecting style by this unique band.
The British expeditions in search of the NW Passage through the North of Canada and in particular the loss of Franklin’s expedition to the ice during the 19th Century affected many. The Navy and families who waited at home, the Inuit encountered and the British public who looked on from afar and seemed to signal the beginning of the end of British Empire. These losses and failures left a large wealth of musical, theatrical and literary material as the nation tried to make sense of events. The material was also derived from printing presses and musicals created on board some of the icebound ships during those long, brutal winters.
Lady Franklin was recorded in St Andrews Mission Church in Gravesend under the glow of stained glass windows dedicated by Lady Franklin (wife of John Franklin) to the sailors who lost their lives on his last voyage.
Kings of The South Seas are:
Ben Nicholls – vocal, concertina, organ, banjo (The Full English, Seth Lakeman Band, Nadine Shah Band)
Richard Warren – guitar (Spiritualized, Mark Lanegan Soulsavers)
Evan Jenkins – drums (Neil Cowley Trio)
Artists’ website: www.kingsofthesouthseas.net
‘Lady Franklin’ – official video:
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