The Banshees of Bunworth – Searching for Rowan

“Searching for Rowan” is a modernized version of the old Irish reel “Drowsy Maggie” (it’s a reel not a jig as often reported) with simply some electric guitar added over the top. Plus a nursery rhyme. Its a simple twist but has always been my favorite instrumental in the whole film.

Unlike the other songs which tend to lend themselves well to solo interpretation, this was one where I really felt we needed a band. However, with the bands you have complications like getting everyone together at the same time, rehearsing, recording, mixing. Then it’s got to fit in with existing recording, touring and recovering schedules. Also, harsh fact of modern musical life, day jobs.

My brain went through a lot of pain on this one and then the answer hit me so hard. I went to Willie Stewart and Natalia Beylis. I’ve lost count of how many times they played the Calder Valley as part of Woven Skull. Everybody who met them thought they were grand musicians and awesome folks.

Natalia runs Sofia Records. Willie runs Nyahh Records. Together they did the Hunters Moon Festival in Carrick-on-Shannon, Ireland. They even turned their home into a venue sometimes. Everyone loves them. So it was simple, rather than ask a band, just ask Willie and Natalia to get a squad together

Naturally, Willie is on the percussion. Natalia, following on from the immense album linked above, is on the organ. Then they’ve got Matt Warren on the guitar, Ultan O’Brien on viola and Zoe Basha on vocals. So on paper, they’re all set to do it totally faithfully which they do except there’s a much greater sense of exuberance. It feels joyously alive. Then comes the bit when you’re expecting “Baa baa black sheep” to come and the unexpected happens, plus it feels like someone put their foot on the pedal.

It’s a fucking blast.

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