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Lost and found

Jackie Morris tells Marianne Brown how music has changed the way she sees the world

Top: Jackie Morris painted portraits of the musicians “to connect [them] with the wilder world”. Instead of being ‘spirit animals’, the musicians become ‘spirit humans’ of the birds. Interspersed: Morris painted the ink sketches during the performances.

Over the last few weeks I have been playing a piece of music over and over again, picking apart the chord changes and key modulations in my head as well as committing the lyrics to memory so I can sing along. My neighbours might not be so appreciative of my enthusiasm, but the song has caught me and won’t let go.

The song is called ‘Heartwood’ and it forms the opening track of a new album, Spell Songs, released in July. The album is one of the latest incarnations of the book The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane, which began as a response to the removal of everyday words connected to Nature from a popular children’s dictionary because they were not being used enough. Gilded watercolours combined with poems (“spell songs”) were created to conjure up these words again into the public consciousness and draw attention to our growing disconnection with the natural world. The book has certainly made an impression, and since its publication in 2017 a huge variety of projects have

52 Resurgence & Ecologist

September/October 2019

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