A round-up of recent EPs and singles that have come our way

SINGLES BAR 15 Dec 2015 ANGE HARDY releases a seasonal single, ‘When Christmas Day Is Near’, all multi-tracked a cappella full of joyous optimism which is something we all need plenty of these days. The tune insistently reminded of something I couldn’t quite identify but which I eventually pinned down as ‘Three Jolly Rogues’. It’s coupled with ‘William Frend’ from her album Esteesee leading neatly into a short plea for ‘Solidarity’ written in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

SINGLES BAR 15 Dec 2015 ROSA REBECKA is a Swedish-American singer who came to Devon to study and stayed to work for Wren Music. Home is her first recording for Folkstock records although far from her first outing. The opening title track has a beautiful melody. That’s followed by the traditional Swedish ‘Det Står Ett Träd’ which is a complete contrast. The top is probably ‘Jonah’s Song’ in which Rosa is reminiscent of a young Joni Mitchell as her voice soars into the stratosphere. The final track is the traditional Jewish ‘Sh’Ma’, as Rosa pulls the threads of her heritage together. For collectors, Home is also available as a guitar shaped USB stick with bonus tracks from her debut album.

SINGLES BAR 15 Dec 2015 CHRIS WHILE & JULIE MATTHEWS take a hard-hitting approach with their single ‘Are We Human?’. Written by Matthews it’s an attack on our collective inhumanity in the face of the refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East. It features Neil Marshall, Ken Nicol, Liz Frencham and Christine Collister and all the proceeds will go to Migrant Offshore Aid Station. The song put me in mind of ‘Jewel In The Crown’ which she wrote more than twenty years ago and similarly attacks the political mind-set of this country.

SINGLES BAR 15 Dec 2015 ‘Lampedusa’ is a download single from EWAN McLENNAN – another not very festive seasonal offering – but its proceeds will go to Médecins Sans Frontières. Lampedusa is also an island roughly midway between Sicily and the North African coast and a place where many refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean find themselves. With songs of migration a major feature of Scottish song this is a natural subject for Ewan and although the title is very specific the theme and sentiments are universal. Finger-picked guitar is backed by slide and fiddle – ‘Lampedusa’ is a fine song, a serious subject and a worthy cause.

Ewan McLennan releases charity single

Lampedusa.jDigital Download Single released on 15th December 2015 via Bandcamp

For years I’ve sung traditional songs of emigration, thinking them some of the most powerful ballads I’ve ever come across. These songs – whether Scottish, Irish or English – tell the tales of times when life was so hard people were forced to leave their homes and families in search of a better place, a tolerable place. Very often the protagonist mourns the separation from the land of her birth and longs one day to return. The songs invariably deal with the subject of emigration with a deep sympathy and compassion.

It is with these songs still ringing in my ears that I’ve watched the migrant crisis unfold and intensify. Huge numbers of people have been landing precariously on the shores of Southern Europe. In the most part they have been escaping conditions in their home countries that have become perilous and unbearable.

With all this in mind I thought I would try and write a simple song that described the plight and the journey of a migrant today, hopefully with some of the sympathy and compassion of our own tales. Here is the song I wrote, ‘Lampedusa’.

I am releasing this track in conjunction with Doctors Without Borders, an incredible organisation rescuing migrants stranded in the Mediterranean. All the money raised from the download of this track will go direct to them. Thanks for your support.

Artist’s website:

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders

We are Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF). We help people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare. In 1999, we were awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and in 2014 we provided over eight million medical consultations in more than 60 countries.

At least 1,900 people have died crossing the Mediterranean in 2015. So far this year, our teams have rescued 16,350 people. Our search and rescue operations are paid for by our general funds and your donation will support MSF projects such as this.

We are very pleased to be part of this project.