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Oracles

by Ana Silvera

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about

Praise for Oracles (2018)

'Some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard...it's incredibly orchestral, it’s intelligent, lyrically complex and interesting…just absolutely wonderful' - Alex Preston, Saturday Review, Radio 4

'Such a quality voice from a great new record' - Nick Luscombe, Late Junction, Radio 3

'Ethereal and beautiful' - Katie Derham, In Tune, Radio 3

'More than worth the wait...a cathartic emotional heft' - Uncut Magazine 7/10

'A powerful work of acceptance and integrity by an extraordinary vocalist'
- We Are Cult

Since the 2012 release of her debut album, 'The Aviary', singer-songwriter Ana Silvera's work has garnered broad acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Her uniquely ethereal brand of alt-folk has seen her perform at SXSW, Iceland Airwaves Festival, Liverpool Royal Philharmonic and more, whilst recent collaborations include composing for Royal Ballet, duetting with Imogen Heap and singing original songs with early music consort Concerto Caledonia.

Now six-years after her last full-length record, Silvera is about to release her sophomore album, ‘Oracles’. Poignant, dreamlike and beautiful, and written following a period of intense grief, ‘Oracles’ was Silvera’s way to transmute her emotions into a cathartic work of art. In 2011, the song-cycle was debuted with REC, and the following year was performed as part of a sold-out concert on the Roundhouse Main Stage, earning Silvera a nomination for a British Composer Award. She then returned to the Roundhouse Theatre to make a live recording of the piece, which forms her second full-length album.

The recording features Silvera as a soloist, a choir led by Josephine Stephenson and a stellar line-up of guest musicians including pianist Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy), double bassist Jasper Høiby (Phronesis) and drummer Jacob Smedegaard (Fiction, Du Blonde) as well as Simran Singh (violin), Anne Chauveau-Dhayan (cello) and Naomi Morris (percussion).

The result is a haunting yet life-affirming collection of songs whose lyrics explore loss, love, salvation and the journey towards acceptance, themes that are underscored by beguiling, weaving choral lines, mellifluous Debussian piano melodies, subtly off-kilter percussion and rapturous strings. All is unified by Silvera’s dynamic vocal style which evokes the delicate yet theatrical prowess of Kate Bush, combined with what the Arts Desk described as a “Björk-like spontaneity’.

credits

released July 6, 2018

All songs written and arranged by Ana Silvera
Track 1 and 7 instrumentals: co-arranged with Jon Cottle.
Track 1, 4, 5: co-arranged with Alex Curtis.

Solo voice – Ana Silvera
Piano – Bill Laurance
Double Bass – Jasper Høiby
Drums/Percussion – Jacob Smedegaard
Additional drums/percussion – Naomi Morris
Violin – Simran Singh
Cello – Anne Chauveau-Dhayan

Sopranos: Josephine Stephenson, Héloïse Werner
Altos: Rose Martin, Joel Newsome-Hubbard
Tenors: Ruairi Bowen, Kieran Brunt
Basses: William Marsey, Dan D’Souza
Choir directed by Josephine Stephenson

Additional vocals: Signe Trylle (Track 5)
Additional instruments: Harmonium - Ana Silvera (Track 2, 7)

All photos by Alice Williamson (except back sleeve from Ana’s family photos).
Engineered by Matt Parkin at The Roundhouse Theatre.
Mixed by August Wanngren at Oui Studios, Copenhagen.
Ana Silvera is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Music Creators

Mastered by Darrel Sheinman and
Caspar Sutton-Jones at Gearbox Records.

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Ana Silvera London, UK

'Haunting grown-up fairy tales' - Metro

'Stunning...magical storytelling' -The Guardian

"Beguiling...
ravishingly sung' - The Scotsman

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Track Name: Tears Of Oak, Fist Of Willow (The Sorrow)
I stood under the bridge
On the eve of his birthday
And I watch the snow drift
Past these houses and walkways
How I watch the snow drift
Past these hundreds of ghost days
Night unclenches a fist
Night breaks bread as this town sways

I stood under the bridge
On the eve of his birthday
And I watch the snow drift
From these clouds on their bright parade
Day burns down to a wisp
Cinders white as his bones are laid

And tears of oak
Fist of willow
Won’t bring him back
Won’t bring him back
If I grow rich
Or fade tomorrow
It won’t him back
Won’t bring him back

I stood under the bridge
As I sang out this sorrow
And the city sang with
Beating time that was borrowed
And this sky turned to bliss
And his hands turned to swallows
Track Name: Skeleton Song (The Awakening)
Four limbs, four limbs
But no flesh to cover
Pull these hooks out from my limbs
Start to shake and shudder
And shudder…

Hollow as a mandolin
Weightless as a feather
Shoals that pluck my eyes and skin
Jewel my skull with treasure

When I heard the news
My voice -
Rolling out like thunder
White noise -
When I heard the news
My voice
Came rolling out like thunder
White noise
When I heard the news
I was only,
The only one

Wandering as a ghost rigged ship
And wedded to the weather
She caught me in a brace of lints
And hauled me each cold measure

Stubborn as the death I am
I would not show my pleasure
She struck a flint to warm my back
And pieced my bones together

She rubbed my joints with oil and rags
Until they shined like leather
She laboured till my blood began
To murmur like a river

And sang to me both night and day
That no life is forever
And pressed two stars into the sky
And sister and brother...
Track Name: When The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (The Search)
When the heart is a lonely hunter
Travelling with a thorn in its side
When the heart is a lonely hunter
With no hope or succour in its sight
I call for peace and I call for shelter
And I call for mercy one more time
As arrows rain from this dark welter
How can I find peace, for this heart of mine?
Track Name: Circle of Chalk (The Test)
Went down to the river, but the river wasn’t one that
you would know
Drew my face to the river and I shivered that the
devil’s face would show
Carved your name with a silver-lipped axe and then I
planted it with cherry stones
Shook the staves of the trees until they whispered
every secret in their bones

I keep walking and walking down by the riverside
When the first stems of April come to deliver, I’ll be
delivered, oh I -

Draw you in a circle of chalk and wait,
Wait for the rise of the yellow moon
Biding my time gently down to sea
Like love in an old rowing boat, it’s true
I wasn’t meant for this life at all
But you make me want to do, to do

You saw a chest made of copper, made of silver,
made of every precious stone
You held your hand till it ached and it quivered and
declared which chest to own
While others dreamt of riches, fair stitches and a
casket filled with gold
You knew well the only crown were my kisses, and
my body that would be your throne

I keep walking and walking down by the riverside
When the first stems of April come to deliver, I’ll be
delivered
Track Name: Pearls And Thieves (The Rapture)
I woke up in your arms
And the world was reformed
Glowed like pearls in my palm
We were not wearing words

I’d slept lips to your brow
Steeped in your dreams somehow
Shadows cast off their spell
They were glad to go

I love you so hard I feel my heart break
I love you so hard I feel my heart shake

I woke up in your arms
And the world was new dawned
Burst its throat into song
Was the sweetest balm

Furies, fears in our hands
Turned to shingle and sand
Turned to ashes, this land
Was a chain strung with charms

I love you so hard I feel my heart break
I love you so hard I feel my heart shake

I woke up your arms
And the world was reborn
Unfurled wet like new fern
They were glad to grow

White gold chrysalis trees
Bow your flame to the east
Hiding flowers from the thieves
That would cut you low
Track Name: I Grew Up In A Room, Small As A Penny ( The Returning)
I grew up in a room, small as a penny
I was certain of love but we didn’t have money
At the end of the garden, a lawn spread with honey
I was soothed by the pines, it was endlessly sunny

In that cool dark room, I lined up my soldiers
And marched them to lands of ochre and cobalt,
And read about sailors who dreamed about Jenny
And Jenny had L-M-N-O pearls by the many

I was certain of love but we didn’t have money
Certain of love and we didn’t want for any

I grew up in a house that was neat as a button
With the shiniest bell and a lap made for sitting
And a door well hidden by the tall green reeds
That made ablutions with the dew nightly

We went stealing about when the walls were asleep
We were watched by the china on the mantelpiece
There’s a jewel of devotion so high in the eaves
I still hear it humming, oh humming on the breeze

I saw spring uncombing her hair by the quays
Had a hundred score sailor men weak at the knees
She turned and she scattered the dandelion seeds
Made time’s pulse quicken and strain at the seams

I wrote: I and my child and my mother long dead
Her eyes like a haunting appear on this head
There are ghosts who wait in the chambers of breath

I sang this song as I sat by the bed
I sang this song as I sat by the bed
Track Name: Catherine Wheels (Acceptance)
Catherine wheels
Flaming gold
Never leave the earth -

And though they turn
Dreaming of
Some more skyward love

They remain
Simple stars
Giving fire to dark

Catherine wheels
Flaming gold
Never leave the earth

And though they burn
Dreaming of
Some more skyward love

They remain
Simple stars
Giving fire to dark

And roman roads
Steadfast bows
Never change their course

And these long rows
Of country stone
Never cleave apart

Sticks and stones
Faithful bones
Oh your certain heart

Catherine wheels
Flaming gold
Never leave the earth

And though they burn
Dreaming of
Some more skyward love

They remain
Simple stars
Giving fire to dark

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