Heligan’s ‘Names on a Wall’ inspire EP to commemorate the fallen.
The EP, which is being recorded in Cornwall, will be released on Armistice Day 2016 in a year that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Written and recorded by Tanya Brittain and Sam Kelly of award-winning Cornwall-based folk collective The Changing Room, the EP’s final track will be sung in Cornish. Tanya’s poignant and well-crafted lyric writing and BBC Folk Award winner Sam Kelly’s stunning vocals perfectly capture the essence and mood of the story.
“One hundred years ago today, men my own age were fighting for their country and fighting for their lives in WW1. What they went through is unimaginable. It’s a privilege to be involved in this project and to help keep their memory fresh in our minds,” says BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winner, Sam Kelly.
The title track, Names on a Wall, tells the story of the Heligan gardeners, who signed their names on the wall of the Thunderbox Room above the date August 1914, before they went off to fight for their country. Their departure marked the beginning of decline for the gardens at Heligan, and it wasn’t until 1990 when the Thunderbox Room was excavated that their names were discovered and their story came to light. The wall bearing the gardeners’ names is now recognized by the Imperial War Museum as a ‘Living Memorial’.
Candy Smit, archivist for The Lost Gardens of Heligan said “There were 22 outdoor staff on the books at Heligan in August 1914 – and only half remained a year later; little more than a third by 1917. So far we have researched the histories of 13 Heligan men who went to war – and only four survived. Their fading signatures are a constant reminder, both of the ultimate sacrifice that was made and of our responsibility to them to find another way today. These arresting new songs performed by passionate, professional musicians hit hard with beautiful simplicity.”
Annie Binding, the Royal British Legion‘s community fundraiser for Cornwall, added:“The joint project by The Changing Room and The Lost Gardens of Heligan to produce a Cornish EP to commemorate the lives of the Heligan gardeners who served in The Great War will act as a poignant reminder of their sacrifices. The Lost Garden of Heligan’s support for The Royal British Legion over the past few years has been fantastic, and we hope to keep our partnership strong for many years to come as we continue to keep alive the memory of the fallen and support the future of the living.”
For more information on the project visit THE LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN