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With obvious reference to Dylan Thomas’ ‘play for voices’, In the Milkwood are a two-piece ensemble hailing from below the creaking floorboards of bygone times, whilst gleefully defying logic and floating about the South West of England’s outer stratosphere. Yet whilst their soaring, lark-like soprano voices relate disembodied tales of werewolves, ships and beloved postmen, In the Milkwood remain decidedly grounded by the compelling rhythmic force of the mandolin and 10-string lyre.
To begin at the beginning, in the second paragraph, In the Milkwood is more specifically the Bristol-based brainchild of folk-inclined duo Polly Staple and Emily Phelps. Intent on brewing up a heady mix of blood-curdling folklore and disharmonious harmony, In the Milkwood intricately integrates elements of vocal acrobatics, gesture and story telling to hopefully beguile and bemuse even the attention-deficit among us.
The striking blend of Polly and Emily’s theoretical and vocal collaboration results in a phantastical set of their own songs interwoven with re-interpreted traditional folk ballads. Despite their contemporary leanings, the music remains firmly routed in folk tradition via busking about the dingy street corners of British cities, hoping only for enough pennies to swap for a pint of Somerset’s finest, sweet cider-nectar of the Old Gods! In the Milkwood has recently supported Diane Cluck at the Grain Barge, Bristol, performed at Pill Music Festival, Bristol, collaborated with Dogface Sockets and shadow puppet company Gongoozler within a theatrical production at the Cube, Bristol. Past performance venues have included Bristol’s Grain Barge, The Cube, The Folk House and the monthly Folk Tales event at the Scout Hut, Bristol.