Lisa Knapp: Till April is Dead – A Garland of May review – fearless folklore

(Ear to the Ground)

Lisa Knapp completes a trio of extraordinary albums with a celebration of May Day, its songs, dances, fertility rites and wyrdlore. The songs are traditional, but dressed in the artful arrangements of Knapp and partner/producer Gerry Diver. Acoustica, electronica, birdsong and speech interweave among whirring clocks and chimes, dropping us through time. Staines Morris comes from 17th-century theatre, Bedfordshire Carol, a duet with Mary Hampton, is Sunday school Edwardiana. Knapp’s fearless vocals – think south London Björk – concern flowers, lambs, hot young love and sad, false romance. The closing Padstow May Song, with its “Unite and unite” refrain, moves from playful cut-up to thunderous anthem. All hail the May Queen.

Contributor

Neil Spencer

The GuardianTramp

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