🌟New Video🌟 A Furlong of Flight | The Rosie Hood Band
Here's the first of two new videos of The Rosie Hood Band! We recorded this on a cold afternoon at the beginning of January at Underbank School Room on the edge of Sheffield and the Peak District. The building is a beautiful Victorian school room overlooking the Loxley Valley and conveniently only about 10 minutes away from my house! The multi-talented Kate Griffin recorded the videos but you may know her better as the clawhammer banjo player in global folk collective Mishra or transatlantic neo-folk band The Magpies, and my partner and producer Tom A Wright (also drummer of The Magpie Arc and formerly of The Albion Band) recorded and mixed the sound. After a bit of a bumpy start to the day involving me trapping my right hand in an incredibly heavy microphone stand and there being tears before we even started, we decorated the room for the first video (Les Tricoteuses by Jenny Reid, to be released soon!) and got to enjoy the beautiful acoustics while we played. Fuelled by cups of tea and many biscuits (Jammie Dodgers proving most popular,) we decided we would just have time to record a second video. So as it started getting dark, and with the bruise on my hand developing nicely into a deep purple hue, we rearranged the space so that it felt like a cosy rehearsal with us sitting in a circle and playing to one another. What you hopefully can't tell from the video is how cold it was! I regretted not wearing a jumper but I really like my William Morris jumpsuit and enjoyed that it matched the blinds in the School Room! After a couple of run-throughs we recorded this video. It's all from a single take of video and audio, so other than a little rebalancing of the instruments and vocals it's exactly what it sounded and looked like when we played it live two months ago.
If you haven't heard me introduce this song before then you might not know what I wrote it about a monk called Eilmer from my hometown of Malmesbury in Wiltshire who made the first recorded flight in the Western world in around 1005. 100 years or so after the fact the historian William of Malmesbury wrote of Eilmer "He was a man of good learning for those times; of mature age and in his early youth had hazarded an attempt of singular temerity: he had by some contrivance fastened to his hands and feet in order that he might fly as Daedalus, and collecting the air, on the summit of a tower, had flown for a distance of a furlong (200m); but agitated by the violence of the wind and a current of air, as well as the consciousness of his rash attempt, he fell and broke both his legs, and was lame ever after. He used to relate as the cause of the failure that he had forgotten to provide himself with a tail." Apparently Eilmer was planning to make another attempt after this but was banned from flying by the Abbott. It's a story that I've known for most of my live and I've thought about writing a song about it for a long time but it really got off the ground (oh dear, accidental pun I promise!) at a songwriting retreat organised by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) in 2015, the year that I was an EFDSS BBC Fellow. At the retreat one of the songwriting exercises (either led by Nancy Kerr or Suzie Ungerleider, I can't remember which of them!) was to write a letter. This could be from yourself, a real person, a character in your mind, anyone you wanted really, and written to anyone else. I wrote a letter from Eilmer to the Abbott, begging him to be allowed to attempt a second flight. I found this a really helpful tool to put myself into someone else's shoes and a lot of the final lyrics emerged from that letter. For the melody I used the beautiful tune Simply, written by Simon Geilen, which I first heard played at the Shakespeares tune session in Sheffield, and that I went away and learnt on my fiddle. I tweaked the tune a little for the chorus to make the lyrics sit well and was helped by the wonderful singer and writer Emily Portman to finish the song.
A Furlong of Flight is recorded on my first album The Beautiful & The Actual in a different arrangement so there's no plan for it to be on the band album that's coming later this year but if you're all interested I might put this live version available to download on Bandcamp. I hope you enjoy it! Rosie x