How To Begin Again: Nick Mulvey Writes For Clash
It's fair to say that these are strange, and often deeply distressing times.
COVID-19 has wreaked global havoc, up-ending the music industry in the process.
Amid all this, though, artists are still yearning to be heard, still creating art that speaks about universal truths.
Take Nick Mulvey. New EP 'Begin Again' will be released on July 10th, and the music on it speaks about moving past trauma, and accepting the essentially communal nature of humanity.
Writing for Clash, he expands on this, and looks to the lessons that may be gleaned from dark times.
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In times of crisis, how do we choose to Begin Again?
The pandemic certainly caught me by surprise. Just a week before lockdown, I had been in Cornwall working on new songs, listening for what was wanting to come through. One song in particular was arriving with clear energy and emotion.
It had begun a year before, when an intense desire to know more about my maternal grandmother arose in me. With this came tears that surprised me, I didn’t know why I was crying them except that they were ‘for Mary’. All this was strange to me as I never knew my mum’s mum Mary, she died before I was born, and she was not spoken about all that much as I grew up.
But now I was full of this, alive with the words “Mary was my mother’s mother and my sister too” as they came to me (my older sister is named after her).
I asked my mum if she would write me some lines about Mary (when was she born? what was she like? what did she love?) and as luck would have it she was going to visit her siblings the next day and this sparked deep sharing between them, all of them in their 70s.
In Cornwall, as I read my mum’s words about Mary, the song and lyrics started to flow and, as they came, the words arrived interwoven with images of our native animals, landscapes, rivers, and grief.
Grief for what has happened to our waters and soil. Grief for what has happened to our more-than-human animal relatives. Grief for the loss of sacredness in our relationships with ourselves, each other, our land and our ancestors. Grief for our forgetting of the interdependence of life on Earth and our rightful place in it.
I am in the city, in the forest and the field. I am in the bounty, come on know me as I yield!
I am in the falcon, in the otter and the stoat, I am in the turtle dove with nowhere left to go.
And in the moment of blind-madness when he’s pushing her away, I am in the lover and in the ear who hears her say:
“Can we begin again? Oh baby it’s me again. I know you are so different to me but I love you just the same”.
If there’s anything that we’ve learned from this pandemic it’s our interconnectivity. Corona has revealed how deeply connected we are with each other and the natural world, and how when one member of the Earth community suffers we all do. As Robin Wall Kimmerer has said so beautifully, “you, right now, can choose to set aside the mindset of the coloniser and become native to a place, you can choose to belong”.
To me, the notion of ‘saving the Earth’ is nonsense and more overblown human hubris. We must appreciate the majesty of it, recognise what we are a part of and raise ourselves up to match it.
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Nick Mulvey will release new EP 'Begin Again' on July 10th.
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