‘Tales Of Eyam’ from Oka Vanga - adding vocals to the threads of an intricate musical web(October 15, 2015)
The utterly mesmerising guitar work that personifies folk and roots duo Oka Vanga (Angela Meyer and William Cox) produced ‘Pilgrim’ one of the finest albums of virtuoso acoustic guitar music. Now they’ve added vocals to the threads of their intricate musical web through ‘Tales of Eyam’ a concept EP based around the tale of two lovers caught in the harrowing story of the village of Eyam.
The story of Eyam is one of sacrifice that is hard to comprehend in today’s largely self-centred world. In 1665, the residents of this Derbyshire Dales village willingly and selflessly isolated themselves during an outbreak of bubonic plague caused by flea-infested bundles of cloth from London. Rather than let the infection spread, their rector William Mompesson introduced numerous precautions to slow the spread of the disease, including open-air church services, however the best-known decision was to quarantine the entire village to let the plague run its course.
The engaged couple were Emmott Sydell and Rowland Torre, he from another village, she from Eyam. He outside worrying about her safety, she inside watching villagers die. It’s their story that moved and inspired Oka Vanga to write songs dedicated to their memory. Oka Vanga forge these songs across a tapestry of strings to build the foundation for the words - ‘The Song of The Dell’ relates the agony of the villagers gathering in smaller numbers, 'The‘Witching Hour’ examines Emmott’s fears as superstitions surround the plague. The bleak sadness and longing of ‘’Til the End (Emmott’s Song)’ reflects through the exquisite composition of music and lyric, while ‘Beyond This Life (Rowland’s Song)’ shows some tiny measure of hope after all. To close Angela and William treat the istener to ‘Out Of the Shadows’ a gentle requiem to the EP and a further example of their talent.
‘Tales Of Eyam’ is principally a human story - love and loss, resolution and self-sacrifice – each part of the human condition. Oka Vanga have recreated those qualities through sensitive music and song, and they’ve done it incredibly well.
Find Oka Vanga and more information about ‘Tales Of Eyam’ here: www.talesofeyam.co.uk
Review: Tim Carroll