Scottish folk-noir balladeer.
Hailing from the Scottish highlands, Rachel Sermanni is an enchanting singer-songwriter, whose performance and lyrics draw from a deep well of mysticism, dreams, nature and the simple-complex experience of being human. A contemporary folk musician influenced by a wealth of genres including jazz, rock, old-time and traditional, she is announcing today her newest foray into her sonic subconscious, Dreamer Awake.
Inspired by the works of Nan Shepherd, and the parallel experience of the Heroine's journey as one of descent, as opposed to the glorified heights of the archetypal Hero, Dreamer Awake is, as Sermanni tells us, about the journey of someone skimming the surface of their experience, resisting the pull of the earth initially then slowly descending into the dark and the unknown with fear, willingness and curiosity. Becoming pregnant, giving birth and crossing the threshold into motherhood is exactly this. Channelling the metamorphic experience of becoming a mother, and processing the demise of a long-term relationship, Sermanni dove deep into her psyche and returned with songs that have a sharpness, an acuity of feeling, and that capture the fluidity of our mind and the depth of our emotional experience.
To realise Dreamer Awake, Sermanni decamped to Middle Farm Studios, Devon with co-producer Peter Miles. Recording live to tape with people that, most of the time, are jazz improvisers, the sessions were conducted with an almost Lynchian approach, with Sermanni choosing to flow through [the experience] like a dream. The result is an album that captures the intimacy of the room, and the immediacy of these songs that transform thought, memory and emotion into such wondrous light. Shared with us now, the first glimpse of this experience, Jacob, explores the break-up that preceded the album, the complex realisations that followed, and the important step of practising, or regaining, self-love. In Rachel's own words, This is a song that reflects on an ended relationship and the growing I'm doing thanks to therapy, a lovely therapist called Jacob and the very simple & clear tools he is offering me to help me see & understand old habits. Again, a kind of coming into power. A simple act of recognising that I'm loved, and worthy of love.
Rightly described by critics as a folk noir gem (Mojo), 'stately, poetic (Clash) and folk of the highest order (Time Out), Rachel Sermanni has been making music for over a decade and has developed her artistic voice over her many releases, each time pushing boundaries and experimenting with different musical textures while maintaining the raw emotional connection, to herself and others, that defines her music. Her previous work includes the albums Under Mountains (2012), Tied to the Moon (2015) and So It Turns (2019), which was inspired by her time studying and volunteering at a buddhist monastery in the borders of Scotland and was recorded in Berlin. Rachel Sermanni has toured the globe, played alongside artists such as Mumford & Sons, Fink, Ron Sexsmith, John Grant, The Staves, Karine Polwart, The Maes and many more at venues and festivals all over, most recently playing with Charlie Cunningham. She also runs a songwriting workshop called Cultivating A Creative Life and her podcast, Rachel Sermanni's Finger That Points To The Moon, similarly explores her relationship to creativity and inspiration, with the hope that it will help point in the direction of truth for herself and those listening.
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