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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Griff says; The way through the woods

I often find when I'm composing these blogs that, quite unintentionally, themes recur, repeat and persist in what I'm writing. I suppose that's partly to do with my returning to draw repeatedly from the well that holds the refreshing, gentle and melancholy store that is modern indie-folk, but there's more to it than that, I think. For instance, it's funny how often symbolism related to journeying through the woods shows up in the art that I'm drawn to. Long-time readers will recall my previous blog on wistful, Swedish indie-folk band Mellow Dramatic Avenue; on the release of their album 'Through the Woods, Divided'. The title to that blog referenced one of my favourite works of the poet Robert Frost, and had I not used it on that occasion then I would certainly be considering it today. However, I have used it, and so I'm using the title of another beautiful and evocative poem about a visit to the woods for today's title. As always, award yourself 100 lovely 'Streetlamp' intellectual pretension points if you recognise it. For those of you who don't, 'The Way Through the Woods' is the title of a Rudyard Kipling poem. Now I know that Kipling, with his imperial associations, is a poet that you wouldn't normally associate with The Streetlamp, but I must admit to having a bit of a soft spot for him despite this. Here's the poem:

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.

Now, you may be wondering what the point of this lengthy preamble is, and wondering too when I'm going to get to the music; so, let me get to that right now. Today, in line with the poem above, I have a literate and pensive offering for you, an EP entitled 'The Woods'. This recording is the product of an indie-folk band from the south coast of England, which goes by the name of Wise Children. Wise Cildren was originally created by song-writer Robin Warren-Adamson (pictured), who mainly plays solo but is sometimes accompanied by other musicians. Their eponymous debut EP was released in 2008. The Woods is their latest, 7-track, EP and, as with all of their output to date, is available as a free digital download from bandcamp. Those of you who read these 'Griff says' pieces to get the best in well-crafted, contemporary, acoustic folk will really love this one, I suspect. Robin employs a thoughtful, witty and, above all, intimate song-writing style, which is similar to Streetlamp favourite Laura Hocking. I'm embedding simple videos of two of the tracks from the EP below to give you a flavour.

Wonderful! I hope you enjoyed those as much as I do. As well as their bandcamp site, Wise Children also have a portal to their various websites 'here', and their music can also be streamed and downloaded on In keeping with contemporary mores, they also have a facebook page. A visit to this will provide information on upcoming live shows in the south of England, if you happen to be in that neck of the woods (excuse the pun).


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