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EWAN MCLENNAN & GEORGE MONBIOT - Breaking The Spell Of Loneliness

EWAN MCLENNAN & GEORGE MONBIOT - Breaking The Spell Of Loneliness
Fellside Recordings FECD277

Monbiot is a well-regarded writer and activist and columnist for The Guardian who’s authored best-sellers campaigning for better treatment of the environment; his book, Feral, was one of the inspirations acknowledged by Nancy Kerr on her recent CD, Instar. McLennan is an award-winning Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist whose work is strongly inspired by traditional models while remaining keenly aware of, and responsive to, contemporary issues. The two men both believe that we live in an age of loneliness of epidemic proportions, and that its all-pervading spell can be broken by music’s unique power. The viral reception accorded Monbiot’s Guardian article about loneliness led its writer to approach McLennan to propose a collaboration, the result being an album of music to unite and delight – a mixture of ballads and anthems, all sharing the aim of breaking the aforementioned spell of separation.

This collection of songs (and one instrumental piece) is both intimate (speaking directly and personally to the listener) and engaging (stirring the listener into action). Beginning with a telling reflection on mankind’s stated modus vivendi (Such A Thing As Society), and ending with a gently moving rendition of We Shall Overcome, the musical programme passes in the interim through persuasive and thoughtful commentaries on issues like the relationship and interaction between nature and mankind (The Child Inside), the politics of altruism, and above all our propensity for cooperation and achievement of unity. Helped along by contributions from Lauren MacColl, Sid Goldsmith, Donald Shaw and Beth Porter, this is an admirable, right-minded exercise.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.