Eight Lost Songs
By Iain Biggs, author and artist, designed and assembled by Jonathan Ward for MakingSpace Publications. Book published in a limited edition of 50. 16 pp Paperback 190mm x 170mm price at £100 plus £10 post/packing. Included is a CD of specially commissioned music, written and played by Gary Peters with lyrics by Gary Peters and Iain Biggs and a printed silk map along with 8 loose printed images by the author. (ISBN 1-900999-22-6)
Eight Lost Songs is a response, in words, images and music, to such information as we have about a set of eight lost songs, linked as far as we know only by their connection to the parish of Sowdun. We know almost nothing about these songs beyond what is set out in Alison Oliver's notes, reproduced below. No attempt has been made to literally 'reconstruct' the songs – as figures like Sir Walter Scott might have done in the past – not least because there is simply not the information available to us to do so. Instead, we have simply responded, on the basis of what information we have and a degree of empathetic imagination, to the spirit of such sparse facts we do have, particularly to the enigmatic trace of the various individuals whose lives provided the focus around which the original songs appear to have taken shape.
This is the second of Iain's books to draw on the Sowdun Project, which was based on an interest in the landscape and traditional ballads of the Scottish Borders and pre-occupied him between 1999 and 2004. The book's focus is the story and background context of the eight lost songs of the title that are celebrated (but, being lost, not reproduced) on the CD.