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Loah debuted an EP, When I Rise Up last year, which took work from 1920s poets from Ireland, the United States and Sierra Leone including Eva Gore Booth, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Gladys Casely-Hayford and W.B. Yeats, and set them to acoustic-rooted music, to stunning effect.
Since then, Loah has co-hosted the RTE music show The Heart of Saturday Night with Úna Healy, and starred in Conversations with Friends, which also featured her singing on an episode.
To mark the vinyl release of the EP collection, Loah and collaborators including director Bobby Zithelo have made a moving video to the song ‘Your World’ which celebrates feminine poise, strength and grace, starring Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle, Vithória Escobar, Reeta Cherie and Loah.
“Your World is a dreamy poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson that I adored writing music to in the middle of lockdown, back when all we could do was dream, feel, sleep, repeat. It gave me this feeling of soaring above the world and it’s been so gorgeous to actually enjoy real life soaring since! Travelling and seeing family and friends and all the stuff that makes our world worth being in.”
Of the video, Loah says:
‘“We wanted to capture that feeling of finding freedom inside yourself and sailing away on the wings of the imagination! I feel like Bobby captured this so well and all the performers are visions of beauty and grace and feminine freedom! It was an unbelievable amount of good craic getting transformed into these fantastical versions of myself (the creative team were just so fab) and living and moving from the dreamworld. Take me back!”
Watch the video here:
Full info, credits, lyrics and background below.
See loahmusic.com for release info.
Director | Bobby Zithelo
DOP & Colourist | James Clarke
Producer | Susannah Appleby
Editor | Adam O’Dwyer
Focus Puller | Ian Birney
Makeup | Tobi Bello
Stylist | Andrea Williams
Photography | Niamh O’Reilly and Susannah Appleby
Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle
Music – Loah
Lyrics – Georgia Douglas Johnson
Vocals – Loah
Piano – Johnny Taylor
Guitar – Niwel Tsumbu
Production & Mixing – Cian Finlay
Recording Engineering – Cian Synnott at Windmill Lane Recording Studios
Mastering – Ruadhraí Cushnen at Camden Recording Studios
The 1920s were, much as we are experiencing now, a time of great challenge and change internationally. In Ireland the Rising had shaken the foundations of our nation, leading to the War of Independence. The Women’s Suffrage Movement was beginning to see its parliamentary goals achieved globally. Stateside, the Harlem renaissance was setting the tone for a century of African American intellectual emancipation and self-expression, with its genesis in the literary arts. This decade truly presented a zenith of post-war hope and aspiration before the Great Depression of the 30s. This is represented powerfully in the writings of the time.
The differences and parallels of where we are a century later set the tone for this song cycle series. The poets chosen were very much writing from the lived experience of these great, existential travails, and much solace can be taken today from their elegant processing of and reflections upon the complexities their people were facing.
“While the poets I’ve chosen worked and published extensively throughout many decades, I chose to centre the series on works specifically published during the 1920s, with two exceptions. Taking the form of the folk song to bring the poems alive connects the past to the present in this most ancient means of storytelling, and certainly brings them alive for me personally.”
Your world is as big as you make it.
I know, for I used to abide
In the narrowest nest in a corner,
My wings pressing close to my side.
But I sighted the distant horizon
Where the skyline encircled the sea
And I throbbed with a burning desire
To travel this immensity.
I battered the cordons around me
And cradled my wings on the breeze,
Then soared to the uttermost reaches
With rapture, with power, with ease!