"Dark folk doesn't particularly mean anything to me, certainly not anything religious or political. I chose to use the term like the dark ages: a time of cultural development that was assumed not to have happened because nobody wrote about it. It's exactly what has happened with this music. The media assumes because they aren't covering the music, it doesn't exist or grow. There are those who fuse psychedelic music, paganism, folklore, rock and other aspects with folk that makes it sound unconventional, strange or experimental. This may be seen as curious in comparison with traditional folk performed using the authentic instruments. I think folk music can possibly be traced back in some way to our lives on these Islands tens of thousands of years ago through the song motifs, symbology, simplicity and communal basis. The past is dark, unknown and strange to us so dark folk is I suppose on this release, me trying to trace these threads back to our past via the songs."
Thus Mark Coyle, compiler of Dark Britannica's exploration of the John Barleycorn myth. Barleycorn, barley personified, encounters great suffering before succumbing to an unpleasant death - all this corresponding to the various stages of barley cultivation, such as reaping and malting. The theme is well chosen. It captures the British Isles on the turn from Pagan to Christian: Barleycorn dies so that others may live and enjoy the reviving effects of drinking his blood.
Whicker man or vicar man?
(Update: There are two further CDs of this series available at The Real Nitty Gritty. Big thanks to Anon in comments for this one!)
(Great review to be had at terrascope online)
Oddi wrth y brawdtinkers