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Singing nature back to life through the power of poetry, art and magic

Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on a stone...

Those already familiar with The Lost Words - A Spell Book by author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris, will know it as a work full of wildness, beauty and power. It is a place where poems become spells or incantations, and where art makes magic. This bestselling and award-winning book has become, as the Guardian puts it, ‘a cultural phenomenon’, finding its way into the lives and dreams of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, inspiring hope, wonder and change.

The Lost Words began as a response to the removal of everyday nature words - among them "acorn", "bluebell", "kingfisher" and "wren" - from a widely used children’s dictionary, because those words were not being used enough by children to merit inclusion. But The Lost Words then grew to become a much broader protest at the loss of the natural world around us, as well as a celebration of the creatures and plants with which we share our lives, in all their characterful glory.

Folk by the Oak are overjoyed to have commissioned The Lost Words - Spell Songs, a musical project that has grown and flourished out of the original book. Spell Songs has gathered together eight remarkable musicians, whose music already engages deeply with landscape and nature, to respond to the creatures, art and language of The Lost Words. Spell Songs has allowed these acclaimed and diverse musicians to weave together elements of British folk music, Senegalese folk traditions, experimental and classical music, and create an inspiring new body of work.

Following a creative residency in Herefordshire in January 2019 the new songs were toured at select venues in February 2019, to standing ovations from sell out crowds! Further ‘one off’ performances will follow throughout 2019, including Hay Festival on 29 May and at Folk by the Oak Festival on Sunday 14th July.

The Spell Songs CD will be presented within a beautiful hardback book format featuring exclusive new Spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris with accompanying new artwork, including new paintings inspired by the Spell Songs musicians and their instruments. The album will be out on general release from 12 July 2019, but pre-orders made before 29 May will receive an advance copy.

The Lost Words - Spell Songs is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund.