There are musicians who are part of our everyday London environment, and we have experienced first-hand their artistic growth since the very first steps they took in the British capital. For this reason, it’s exciting for us to announce the debut EP of a good friend of Rhythm Passport: Merlyn Driver.
His music, as much as his life, has always been connected to his roots and “unconventional island upbringing” (as he explained in a recent interview on Radio Orkney). Merlyn has grown fond of his Orkney and Celtic background and has cast his creative gaze even further, across the North Sea towards Scandinavia and the Arctic Region, becoming an expert in Sami joik music.
This is the Corner of a Larger Field is all this and even more because Merlyn didn’t end his music exploration above the 58th parallel North, but has also refined his repertoire enough to relate to West African sounds and to investigate the relationship between music and nature on a continent a world away from the frozen north. His songs are as close as you can get to honesty and genuineness, and they arguably should be awarded a Protected Designation of Origin certification.
Jokes apart, to better introduce you to Merlyn Driver’s new EP, we asked the man himself to tell us a bit more about its genesis and evolution.
“This Is the Corner of a Larger Field is the first collection of songs that I’ve properly recorded and released, so my main aim was to introduce people to what I’ve been doing with my music over the last five years (you can probably tell from my singing voice that I grew up surrounded by Celtic and British folk music).
Secondly, it reflects my passion for the natural world (via field recordings and lyrical content) and for musical traditions from different cultures. I’ve got an ongoing love affair with Sámi joik and one of the guest artists on the EP is the brilliant joiker Marja Mortensson, from Norway. More recently though I’ve been studying the ‘buzz aesthetic’ of musical traditions throughout Africa and this interest in multi-textured and sometimes “buzzy” sounds can be heard on some of the tracks too.
These are all influences that I want to explore more in the future, so my EP is the first step I suppose – and I’ve been delighted at the response it’s received so far (from BBC 6 Music and others)“.