Vashti Bunyan

It’s one of those appealing music stories. A forgotten folk singer from the sixties is rediscovered and starts recording again. In recent years there have been various acts and singers that have been brought to the light again. Some examples are Changes, Shirley Colins and Simon Finn, to name but a few. The story of Vashti Bunyan is certainly fascinating too.

in 1967 In the mid-60’s, after quitting art school to concentrate on music, she was discovered by The Rolling Stones’ guru, Andrew Loog Oldham, signed to Decca and recorded a single written by Jagger / Richards. In 1969 she recorded the album ‘Just Another Diamond Day’ together with several well-known folk musicians, inspired by her experiences on the Isle of Skye, where folk singer Donovan had set up a creative colony. After a while Bunyan went on to live in Scotland and Ireland and disppeared into obscurity. The record, which was only issued in a small pressing, somehow managed to achieve a cult status.

In the late ’90s, Vashti Bunyan typed her own name into an internet search engine. To her surprise she discovered that people were still interested in her record. The rights to the recordings were obtained and ‘Just Another Diamond Day’ was reissued in 2004, to huge critical acclaim. Many contemporary musicians asked her to collaborate, like Piano Magic, Simon Raymonde, Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective. Meanwhile Bunyan was also writing new songs again.

album cover Fat Cat may be an unlikely label to release a new album of Vashti Bunyan. This label from London has mainly built up a reputation with IDM, experimental electronic and post-rock music. But recently they are more and more active in traditional acoustic corners. Examples are new and upcoming releases by Songs Of Green Pheasant and Amandine.

Expected on October 17 is “Lookaftering” by Vashti Bunyan. 35 years after creating her first album, the singer returns with her first new solo work. It’s produced by Max Richter and it features several interesting guest contributors. On first listening I find it a fragile and moving piece of work… You can listen to some samples at the releasepage.