The Flood: new music from ancient words
The Lyre Ensemble – Stef Conner (singer/composer), Andy Lowings (harpist/creator of the Gold Lyre of Ur Project) and Mark Harmer (producer/harpist) – create ethereal contemporary vocal music from the world’s oldest poetry, accompanied by reconstructed 4,500-year-old instruments.
Their debut album ‘The Flood’ (available now) is the first full-length CD of new music in Sumerian and Babylonian, for voice and reconstructed ancient Mesopotamian instruments! You can order a copy from the Lyre Ensemble website, iTunes, Amazon or Discovery Records.
Stef, Mark and Andy formed the Lyre Ensemble because they shared a passion for the rich and fascinating corpus of Mesopotamian literature, as well as a desire to make music using reconstructions of beautiful ancient instruments; they were driven by the belief that new music is a powerful tool to forge empathetic connections between people in the modern world and voices from the deep past. When they came together to make the album, none of the group had a precise plan or firm idea of what to expect from the collaboration – they just met in a little medieval church near Andy’s house, with a collection of ancient lyres, a box of random resonant metal objects, some Mesopotamian poems and a stack of recording equipment, and started to improvise! By the time the album was recorded, everyone involved was surprised and somewhat awed by what they had collectively created. The incredible Mesopotamian poems and beautiful Gold Lyre of Ur have inspired some of the strangest, rawest and most gripping, otherworldly songs you will ever hear, as well as some fun, amusing and often downright bizarre little excursions into the ancient Mesopotamian world, which reveal that in many ways, people in the remotest of ancient civilisations were actually a lot like us!
You can hear the title track from the album – a sung version of the flood narrative from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh – below. Enjoy!
Image ⓒ Mark Harmer