Photo credit: Ben Hughes
Burd Ellen is a project featuring Debbie Armour (Alasdair Roberts, Green Ribbons) and Gayle Brogan (Pefkin, Electroscope). The group uses traditional song to explore and evoke dark landscapes and deep stories. Innovative instrumentation, drone and sound-wash support detailed vocal work to create a unique sonic atmosphere.
They self-released their debut album Silver Came in Feb 2019, on limited edition CD. A record exploring women's narratives in British folk song, silver came investigates ideas of persistence, defiance, devotion and transformation. Their second album, Says The Never Beyond, is a collection of carols and wintersong that occupy the liminal space between sacred and secular, connecting to the deep seasonal traditions of Britain and Ireland. The record was critically very well received, finding it's spot in the top 10 of 2020 for many publications including The Guardian and Folk Radio UK.
Working with Thread Recordings, Burd Ellen have just released (pre-order) The High Priestess & The Hierophant. This limited 7 inch single introduces a new conceptual body of work. Debbie Armour says: “I’m a long time collector and lover of tarot, and I’ve recently become drawn to the idea of finding parallels between interpretation of traditional song and the art of divination. Gayle and I are bringing together a new collection of songs that reflect the ideas, archetypes and imagery of the Major Arcana. The High Priestess & The Hierophant is the first of these works. It’s a version of Fair Annie (Child 62), a song which looks at patriarchy, arranged marriage, the complexities of maternal love and the bonds of sisterhood.”
Burd Ellen are carving out a sonically adventurous niche, but one that is informed by a deep love and respect for traditional song.
"dripping with strangeness and unease" - 5*, The Guardian (Top 10 Folk Albums 2020)
"a thrilling and utterly hypnotic ride" - Folk Radio UK (Top 10 Albums of 2020)
"the idea of Burd Ellen is to discover new ways to explore the British folk tradition and this record certainly accomplishes that ... haunting" - The Wire Magazine
"a kind of front-room, palm-sized form of Penderecki, Branca, or early Swans" - Rock and Roll Globe (Best Artists of 2020)