New album out now ! Limited bundle with a Handmade 7′


My new album is out today, and I wanted to propose something special to all the people who follow my work and my label Beating Drum, whether it be via the newsletter or a live show or even via Facebook and other social networks.

As you know with Beating drum, we love the ceremony of making very hand made and beautiful limited edition objects, so after much reflection, here’s what I came up with this time!

Invariably when making an album, you can end up with too many songs and having to make some tough choices. Finishing I Dreamed An Island was no exception and I can’t tell you how many hours I spent juggling track lists and shifting songs up down the order hunting for the perfect fit.
Sometimes I hit on the right list straightaway like with the last album Between Dogs and Wolves but this one was a harder nut to crack.
 So after much deliberation and with some invaluable advice from trusted friends, I made the cut and two songs were left off the album. 
Even though I really liked them, I knew it was the right call, they just didn’t quite fit.

But rather than confining these songs, “I Need A Brother” and “Ship Of Fools”, to oblivion, we decided to make a limited edition 7″ to release at the same time as the album. 

For the artwork for this limited edition 7″, we made stamps based on drawings that I made of all the musicians that played on the two songs and then printed all 250 of them by hand!

The 7″ inch is available only as a bundle with the new album and on Beating Drum Shop only.




I Dreamed An Island is also out on all music services (iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, Google Play etc.):

Listen to my new single ‘Bring Down The Wall’

Check out my song ‘Bring Down The Wall’ the first single from my new album out Oct 21st

[Single also available on Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music]

More and more walls are springing up around the world. If they haven’t already been built, they’re being talked about, and proudly championed, like the forthcoming great wall of Calais or Donald Trump’s even greater wall of Mexico.

It’s strange how the word ‘great’ is often applied to the walls human beings have built throughout History. Unlike Hadrian’s wall in Britain, or the Great Wall of China’s, today’s walls don’t even have the benefit of some architectural merit. There’s nothing remotely great about them. They seem, instead, to be depressing proof of our inability to coexist. They are sad edifices to exclusion and enmity, nationalism and warmongering.

And there are other kinds of walls too. These are not necessarily made of stone, brick or barbed wire, but they are no less imposing. They are the mental walls we erect between us and others, the walls some construct inside their minds, to shut out their fears, to let their inhibitions and opinons go unchallenged, to keep their bigotry and intolerance safe. How many of such walls do millions of people all over the world come up against on a daily basis?

So whatever the adjective is that’s the opposite of great, I’ll keep it in mind to tag the growing number of walls, be they physical or metaphorical. Nationalism and xenophobia are once again omnipresent, fear and demonisation of the other are the new political and social reality.

On my dreamed up island, a million utopian leagues away from Trump’s vindictive sneer and Brexit’s backward step, they sing, ‘bring down the wall, break it, stone by stone, bring down the wall shake it, to the bone.’

SONGS I LOVE #23: BELLA CI DORMI (ft. Mauro Durante)

Click here to download the track for free

It’s been a while since I’ve released a new cover from the ongoing Songs I Love series so here’s a version of the beautiful southern Italian serenade “Bella Ci Dormi”.

I first sang this song in 2010 when my friend Mauro Durante invited me to perform with his band Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino at the festival Le Notte Bianca in Puglia. ‘Bella ci dormi’ was traditionally sung by musicians under the balconies of women who were being proposed to but the tradition of the serenade and the custom of paying a musician to sing as a gesture of love has all but disappeared. Even if the concept of the serenade could do with a little C21st tweaking, I can’t help thinking that making a mixtape or a digital playlist for someone doesn’t have quite the same romantic quality as being sung to under a balcony in the light of the full moon but I may be wrong!

Mauro visited me recently at home as we were writing the lyrics for a song on the new album called “Bring down the wall”, my words in English, his in the Salentino dialect. In between writing lyrics, we also found the time to record together a new cover for Vol II of Songs I Love.

Here’s ‘Bella Ci Dormi’, as always it’s a simple, no frills recording with Mauro on violin and me on guitar. I really hope you’ll enjoy it!

Compilation, Refugee – Various Artists

I recently contributed a new song to the benefit album Refugee. There’s a stellar cast of musicians on the record including Bonnie Prince Billy, Linda Thompson, Alasdair Roberts and fellow Beating Drum artist, Jenny Lysander to name a few. All proceeds from the record go to MOAS, the migrant offshore station who provide search and rescue assistance to refugees and migrants in distress at sea.

The idea for the song ‘This Morning The Birds’ that I wrote for the record was inspired by a conversation I had with my two sons. We live in rural southern France and news had come in that a small number of Syrian families would be allocated housing near to the village where our sons go to school. For a brief moment, the village even became a cause celebre in the local press with Front National activists arriving with their leaflets and inflammatory rhetoric before being firmly booted out by the villagers.

As a family we talked about how people become refugees, we talked of war and famine and of the things that make people desperate enough to risk their own lives and the lives of their own children. We talked about poverty and economic migration and I told them more about their great grandparents who’d come to Britain as economic migrants from Italy, Ireland and Eastern Europe.

More than anything that night we talked about empathy and how the world changes when we see through its lens. We even looked it up in the dictionary. “Empathy is the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.”

The next day I wrote the song “This Morning The Birds” and my sons recorded it and sang it with me.

Listen and buy the album Refugee:

You can find out more about MOAS here: