IN MY END IS MY BEGINNING
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This album, funded by Creative Scotland, is inspired by the words of Mary Queen of Scots. The lyrics are set to dulcitone and embedded with air recorded at many of the places she lived, was imprisoned and died in. With influences from French Chanson, the troubadour tradition and contemporaneous composition by William Byrd, for example, the record showcases lyrics by the doomed hunchback secretary and guitar tutor David Riccio or Rizzio and transposes sonnets and letters by Mary herself. Two pieces Quand Vous L'Aimiez and Que Suis-Je Helas? are in French - Mary Stuart's first language - to capture the exact meaning of her words, while other songs such as Dry My Hair, My Feet Are Clean are influenced by the history and settings of Mary's life. The record, In My End is My Beginning is accompanied by a poetry publication (part III of The Gaelic Garden of the Dead, Bloodaxe) of 35 sonnets (one for each step she descended on her way to execution) and fifteen minutes of 'chaw ups'; the sonnets chewed, masticated, ground up and spat out for the fifteen minutes her lips were said to move after decapitation. The dulcitone was chosen for two reasons; as a Scottish instrument (made in Glasgow in the 1800s) and for its diamantine, crystal sound in reference to Mary Stuart's frequent use of diamond imagery in her work.
Released by Antigen Records as a deluxe CD on February 8th, 2022: the anniversary of Mary Stuart's death.
Photographs by Zanne Chaudhry, 2021