“A TABLE FORGOTTEN” is the first taste in an ongoing series of projects by Dawn McCarthy on a theme that's been largely unexplored in recent times: the age-old practices of tending a home and its immediate impact upon our day to day lives. It is an invitation to return to our kitchens and homes with reverence, to enjoy a largely overlooked sanctuary in the modern age.
After the Faun Fables record release of THE TRANSIT RIDER in 2006, Dawn was invited to be Artist In Residence with Idyllwild Art Academy’s Interdisciplinary students in the San Jaciento Mountains of southern California, where she began delving into this longstanding theme of interest. Drawing from her own personal experience and research into historical patterns plus the students’ concerns about family and home, a musical theater performance debuted on the Idyllwild Arts campus in May 2007. Since that production, she has continued developing and performing this material plus other new songs with the Faun Fables band.
Within this theme, the music is largely shaped by the spirit, tools and movement of physical kitchen work- and by dimensions of housekeeping that are positive, pivotal, even revolutionary. The tools of basic chores become instrumentation and choreography: the opening track “With Words and Cake” takes place at a table with bells to ring, kettles to whistle and dishes and utensils to hit.
The EP’s title track depicts a person awakening to a neglected home; words from the mouth of a adolescent, or an adult looking back. The lyrics were culled partially from a writing project Dawn led with teenagers at the Idyllwild Arts Academy when she was an Artist In Residence there. The song also suggests the deeper implications in families gathering around the table and our roots with historical folkways: O here they gathered / here they withered / here they thrived / where stories begin and stories survive.
The two other tracks offer up textural contrasts: “Pictures,” a plaintive lullaby about capturing time, and “Winter Sleep,” an epic piece rooted in the landscapes of Iceland and McCarthy’s friendship with producer/composer Valgeir Sigurdsson, who co-wrote the song with her. Continuing from previous Faun Fables material, vocals are strongly featured throughout; surprising melodies, contrapuntal harmonies, breath and unison chants.
But along with McCarthy & long-time collaborator Nils Frykdahl’s guitars, percussion and wind instruments, the recording features the talents of new members violinist Meredith Yayanos, and multi-instrumentalist Kirana Peyton on harmonium, vocals, and the Irish Bodhran drum. This new release is also imbibed with the additional delightful sounds and manipulations of Matt Waldron (Irr.App.(ext), Nurse With Wound) who co-produced the EP with McCarthy and Frykdahl.
WITH WORDS AND CAKE
A TABLE FORGOTTEN
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