Today, the Official Charts Company in partnership with English Folk Expo reveal the Top 40 best-selling and most streamed folk albums released in the DECEMBER reporting period. The chart is first announced to the public at 7 pm GMT as part of the Official Folk Albums Chart Show presented by Folk on Foot via their YouTube channel.
There are seven new entrants this month with a brand-new Number 1. Two releases celebrate the Christmas season with extraordinary recordings that go far beyond the usual Christmas fare, plus two very exciting new collaborations. There are no fewer than six re-entries, perhaps indicating that gifting music at Christmas is alive and well.
Straight in at No.1 is Henki (Weird World), the collaborative recording from Geordie singer-guitarist, Richard Dawson with experimental Finnish rock band, Circle. Known for his boundary-pushing, eccentric style, Dawson is true to form. Songs shine a light on special plants and botanists throughout history. Tracks are long, unfolding, imaginative and lyrical with Dawson’s distinctive voice matching the musical virtuosity of the band. Clashing guitars drive a powerfully charged collection of 7 truly epic songs making it, quite possibly, the greatest flora-themed, hypno-folk-metal recording you’ll hear this year!
Following at No.2 is Spell Songs II: Let the Light In (Quercus), the musical companion to the acclaimed books ‘The Lost Words’ and ‘The Lost Spells’ by renowned author Robert Macfarlane and award-winning artist Jackie Morris that give voice and presence to birds, animals and flora. The folk heavyweight ensemble of Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter and Jim Molyneux bring a wealth of vocal talent and multi-instrumental virtuosity embracing a diverse range of instruments with musical influences spanning from Orkney to Senegal. A truly collaborative work combining folk, world, experimental, alt-country, classical and traditional elements interwoven with spoken voice and sounds of nature to create a powerful and magical listening experience.
As testament to their enduring popularity and committed fanbase, The Levellers 2020 release ‘Peace’ has maintained a position in the chart since its inception. Yet due to Covid restrictions, the band have been unable to tour the album, so they came together in the studio to record a set, as it happened, live. The Lockdown Sessions (On The Fiddle) in at No.6 is a collection of electrifying songs taken from ‘Peace’ alongside old favourites. The excitement of being back together is palpable – old friends doing what they do best. Having a riot.
Landing at No.16 is the second new entry that features an exciting collaboration, this time, the meeting of two gifted writers: Mercury-nominated, folk inspired singer-songwriter, Kathryn Williams and celebrated poet laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Midnight Chorus (One Little Independent) is an album ruminating on the Christmas season with obvious affection and a joyous, honest tenderness which never shies away from the darkness beyond the light. From uplifting festive celebrations to more tender songs, the album’s twelve emotive tales combine beautifully heart-warming, classic instrumentation, dexterous musicality and layered harmonies in an album of folk-chamber-pop.
December’s second new release celebrating the festive season is Strange Wonders, The Wexford Carols, Vol. II (Heresy Records) from singer Caitríona O’Leary. In at No.23, the collection of 11 carols represents the astonishingly rich, yet rare, tradition of Irish Christmas music and features a cast of folk, classical and traditional music luminaries that include Seth Lakeman, and John Smith alongside a choir and an array of acclaimed instrumentalists. Astonishingly, the collection stems from O’Leary’s investigation into lost tunes born from writings of 1684 and 1728, others of which form a tradition of carol singing in County Wexford. Sung beautifully, this deeply moving collection focuses on the spiritual and mystical aspects of the Christmas story.
The Official Folk Albums Chart Show from Folk on Foot, this month features an interview with Robert Macfarlane and Julie Fowlis about the emotional creative process behind the second Spell Songs album. There’s also music from Celtic Woman, Treetop Flyers, Kathryn Williams and Carol Ann Duffy, The Levellers and Richard Dawson and Circle. Plus a beautiful Wexford carol from Catriona O’Leary and friends.
The show launches on the Folk on Foot YouTube Channel and podcast at 1900 GMT on Tuesday 11 January on the Folk on Foot YouTube channel and podcast.
Official Folk Albums Chart – DECEMBER 2021
The full Top 40 list can be Seen Here
|Richard Dawson & Circle
|Spell Songs II – Let The Light In
|Flying Into Mystery
|We Get By
|Make Your Mark
|The Lockdown Session
|Lost in the Cedar Wood
|Johnny Flynn / Robert Macfarlane
|Still As Your Sleeping
|Karine Polwart and Dave Milligan
|Live At Barrowlands 2020
|Peat & Diesel
|Hand Me Down
|Kathryn Willians /Carol Duffy
|Spiers & Boden
|The Eternal Rocks Beneath
|Off Off On
|This Is the Kit
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