The Campaign to End Loneliness is proud to announce its support for a remarkable collaboration between writer and campaigner George Monbiot and leading folk singer and musician Ewan McLennan. Breaking The Spell of Loneliness is born out of the shared belief that nothing has greater potential to unite and delight than music. Monbiot and McLennan seek to use music to open up the issue of loneliness, and to bring people together with their performances.
The project began with an article George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian, about the age of loneliness. The article went viral, and several publishers asked him to write books about it. But George had a different idea.
He approached Ewan McLennan – a musician whose work he greatly admired – and proposed a collaboration. Together they have written a mixture of ballads and anthems, some sad, some stirring, whose aim was to try to break the spell that appears to have been cast upon us; the spell of separation. The album touches upon issues as varied as our relationship with nature, our capacity for altruism and co-operation, the politics that lie behind loneliness, and the ways people are together overcoming this social malaise.
Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, Marcus Rand, says: “Nothing conveys a message quite like music, and nothing brings people together better than the shared experience of listening to and responding to music and the spoken word. What better way to bring the issue of loneliness to the fore? Loneliness is an unwelcome, painful, feeling of lack or loss of meaningful human connection. With this wonderfully creative project, George and Ewan are not only highlighting the issue in a way that taps into our emotions, but they’re encouraging us all to be part of the solution too.”
The resulting album, entitled Breaking the Spell of Loneliness, features nine tracks that touch upon all these themes and more. With the CD release of this unique and original body of work, Ewan’s music is accompanied by a short essay and extensive song notes written by George.
Alongside the album’s release George and Ewan will perform a small number of special concerts. George will narrate the show, describe the ideas behind the songs, and encourage members of the audience to engage with each other, both then and beyond the concert. Ewan will sing the songs and perform the music that has emerged from this innovative collaboration.
Wednesday 12 October: Durham Book Festival
Tuesday 18 October: Bristol St Georges
Thursday 20 October: Liverpool Philharmonic
Friday 21 October: Live At All Hallows, Leeds
Saturday 22 October: Sheffield Firth Hall
Sunday 23 October: Ludlow Assembly Rooms
Friday 04 November: Bridport Arts Centre
Saturday 05 November: Southampton Berry Theatre
Saturday 03 December: London Kings Place
Breaking The Spell of Loneliness track listing:
Such A Thing As Society (3:28); The Child Inside (4:23); My Time And Yours (3:30); Reclaim The Street (4:06); These Four Walls (5:32); Unknown Lament (2:51); The Night Desk (3:13); I’m Coming Home (4:49); We Shall Overcome (4:33).
George Monbiot writes a column for the Guardian and is the author of several best-selling books. He campaigns for the better treatment of the living world, and a kinder, fairer society.
Ewan McLennan is an award winning singer, songwriter and guitarist at the forefront of his generation; a troubadour, balladeer and storyteller cut in the old style; a singer that can move audiences with his passion and pathos and a songwriter for whom social justice is still a burning issue.
Find out more about the gigs at www.ewanmclennan.co.uk/gigs