‘The bright young Russian that dared to leave the church…dared to use first names for great men. She, an equal. The truth seeker in a madding crowd’. – ‘Truth Seeker in a Madding Crowd’, Fall In Green (2022).
It’s always a pleasure to cover bands and artists who appear to have a unique identity; one that doesn’t fit into the norms of mainstream creative output, but who successfully emit a strong, individualistic vibration. The duo, Fall In Green, certainly fall into this category. They consist of two highly-creative artists, namely poet/’writer Deborah Edgeley and musician/artist Mark Sheeky. Anyone living within and around Crewe in North-West England may well be aware of their work, especially those fortunate to have attended Fall In Green’s artistic, thought-provoking, live performances. Outside of the musical world, Mark is a phenomenal artist who has had many public exhibitions, while Deborah is the head of a publishing company called ‘Ink Pantry’, who seek to encourage upcoming writers/poets, as well as producing books of her own work. December 2nd sees the release of their latest album, ‘Lou Salomé – Empathy With Daisies’ (Cornutopia Music) and I was lucky enough to grab some time with the couple to ask some probing questions for Joyzine, concerning this new musical release. But first, let’s learn a little more about this duo. I asked Mark to give some grounding on how everything began.
Mark: ‘Fall in Green consists of myself, Mark Sheeky, and Deborah Edgeley. I tend to do the music parts and Deb the writing parts. I’d been performing for a couple of years in an experimental art capacity at local open-mic events, and I’d started to play piano with spoken words and video. I met Deb when I hosted the local radio show ArtsLab and we instantly clicked. Deb had recently finished her poetry book, ‘Testing the Delicates’, about mental health, and we decided to perform it to music in a two-hour show in a local church. Soon after, we were invited to perform at a music club for a mental health charity, and we needed a stage name, so Fall in Green was born. The name comes from the lyrics in the Kate Bush song, ‘Wuthering Heights’.
Naturally, I’m intrigued by the nature of the new album and what aspects lay behind its founding inspiration(s). Deborah takes over the performance microphone from Mark and shares her thoughts.
Deborah: ‘I met Italian author Stefano Santachiara through Ink Pantry in 2018 when we helped to promote his play, Loving Lou Salomé. In June 2022 he enquired about Fall in Green, and asked if we were interested in performing an adaptation of his work. So I wrote the poems inspired by his play, then Mark composed the music. Stefano came to the UK for the first time to witness the premiere performance in Congleton this August. The album consists of 12 poems/pieces about the life of Lou Salomé. Born in Russia in 1861, Lou Andreas-Salomé is remembered for her friendships with the great thinkers of her day. As well as being a poet, author, narrator and essayist, Salomé was the first female psychoanalyst, and muse to Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Rée, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Sigmund Freud. The title, Lou Salome Empathy With Daisies, reflects on Salomé’s work on narcissism and how it can be a positive inspiration for creativity. It’s about the duality of narcissism, which is not just self love, but surrendering yourself to all. We are all flowers!’
Lou Salomé was indeed a fascinating character, who was certainly way ahead of her time (especially within such a male-dominated historical era) and I’m wondering how Fall In Green uniquely chose to express their intentions in paying fitting tribute to such a highly-inspirational figure.
Deborah: ‘We combine piano (and numerous synthesisers and other instruments!) with spoken word poetry, different accents, projections, sound effects, and elaborate costumes and props. By separating the music and words in this way, we think we can get the best of poetry, and the best of music in ways that conventional songs can’t. Our pieces are much more complex than contemporary pop songs, and more theatrical than classical lieder’.
So, to the album itself. From a performance perspective, the opening track, ‘Lou Salomé Remembers’ is very clever, as sound effects are utilised to make the listener feel that we are within a live environment, before Mark’s piano begins to weave lively, intricate forms, soon backed by orchestral sounds to complement the main piano melody. Sound effects are further used in the second track, ‘Truth Seeker in a Madding Crowd’, which adds a powerful sense of theatrical regality and an organ-led, church/cathedral atmosphere, before Deborah’s delicately-toned voice enters into proceedings, adding harmonious depth to the performance.
This most-pleasant combination of Mark’s musical composition/performance and Deborah’s delightful delivery of poetic verse, runs effortlessly throughout the sixteen tracks of this album, including a long piece, ‘Intermission’, which places the listener at an actual intermission of one of Fall In Green’s recent gigs in Congleton, Cheshire, where we are literally eavesdropping on people’s conversations, as Mark and Deborah discuss creative ideas for the live set. It’s brilliantly done, adds a personal touch and was so convincing that it genuinely made me want to leave my seat to get a pint from the bar.
I asked Fall In Green what lay ahead in the future for the highly-creative duo.
Deborah: ‘This will be our fourth album, and we will continue to promote that, so maybe a few more live shows. There are several pieces that we love performing and need to record. We also plan to publish the sheet music. We’re never short of ideas!!!’
This album is definintely something which stretches the mind and ears, with the creative pincer attack of Mark’s music and Deborah’s words. If you’re in the Crewe vicinity and looking for a very different night’s entertainment, please check them out. You won’t be disappointed and you might even end up on an ‘Intermission’ track from their next album.
Follow Fall In Green: https://deborahedgeley.com/fall-in-green
Follow Mark Sheeky: https://www.marksheeky.com/index.php
Review by Kevin J. Milsom