The hanging dead, Spring-Heeled Jack, Ratcliffe murders, Blakean visions and the Highgate Vampire. London’s old myths and murders are ripe territory for performance. Composer John Harle and singer Marc Almond have collaborated on a new song cycle that brings these tales to the fore. Tyburn Tree, named after the famous gallows that once stood near modern Marble Arch, will be premiered at The Barbican on Sunday 2 March with guest spots from Iain Sinclair and Sarah Leonard.
It’s an unusual concoction of folk music, sea shanty, laments, nursery rhymes, electronica, opera, horns and sax. Half way through, king psychogeographer Iain Sinclair shares his menacing poem To The Crow The Spoils. On bonkers highlight The Vampire of Highgate, Almond informs us that ‘red eyes peer from gloom of a recently opened tomb…He’s the vampire of Highgate…he’s had centuries to wait”. Jerusalem sets William Blake’s famous poem to martial rhythms, while Fair Lady bleakly embellishes the familiar refrains of London Bridge is Falling Down. You never know what’s hiding round the next musical corner.
Tyburn Tree, preceded by a performance of Harle’s Songs of Earth, is at The Barbican 2 March, 7.30pm. Tickets are £15-£25 plus booking fee. Look out, also, for a range of events as part of Barbican Weekender, 1-2 March 2014.
More info on the album and future tour dates here.