jackie oates

Hyperboreans – LIVE

26 August, 2009 | Posted in: journal

To accompany this live video performance of the title track of my new album, ‘Hyperboreans’, I thought I’d muse a little on its background. The song was written by master songsmith, Alasdair Roberts, who is a good friend of mine and one of my most favouritist performers. I would strongly recommend visiting his website: www.alasdairroberts.com.

The concept of Hyperborea and the Hyperboreans has fascinated writers, philosophers and artists across the centuries. They are a tribe of peoples who dwell in a northerly, utopian land beyond the north wind, where the sun shines virtually all year and there is no disease or warfare. Many Greek legends and mythologies have centred around the quest for reaching this land and becoming one of its kind, but it is hugely difficult to get there: ‘Never on land or by sea will you find the marvelous road to the feast of the Hyperborea‘ (Pindar, Tenth Pythian Ode).

Alasdair’s song is inspired by the accounts of Heredotus, and features shrovetide, which is a hinge time of year, as Boreas the north wind annually attempts to uproot the Hyperboreans from their dwelling.

To identify yourself as a Hyperborean is to suggest that you are in some way removed from the banality of the every day. I decided to use this as the title for my album, as I was drawn to the motivation behind the artists’ and writers’ obsession with Hyperborea. My album is a collection of songs which are full of pathos and sometimes, yearning. I have come to see the characters in the songs as collectively striving for something which was beyond the realms of life as it was when they were first collected or written.

I hope you enjoy the performance.



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