Fee Fie Foe Fum

Last week I went for a marvelous little concert at the International Community Church in Allston. Laura Marling and friends were performing there, in the parish hall. I think it was the first (secular) concert I had attended in a church. The place reminded me of my school days. Christmas plays and choir events and so on. Laura Marling is 18 years old, and as you might expect, the crowd consisted in large part of teenage girls. The youthfulness of the crowd reinforced the scholastic vibe. For a long while my friends and I were the only non-white people in the crowd, which was interesting.

Mumford and Sons were the opening act. I had never heard them before. They were a revelation. Wonderfully passionate and folky. Thrilling vocal harmonies. There was a timeless air in that church hall — it could have been forty years ago perhaps.

The second act was Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit. Their tunes were a bit more elaborate, but they were having some technical difficulties. All-in-all, it was a decent set. Johnny Flynn explained that they had rented some instruments. I realized how these acts were eking out a tour and would probably just about manage. They were going to travel across the US and Canada in a bus they had rented. Old-fashioned touring. (Despite the small-scale quality of the tour, Laura Marling was nominated for the Mercury Prize this year.)

Laura Marling‘s set was magical. In real life she seems like a child, but her words are the words of an old soul. I was thoroughly enchanted. I think this concert confirmed the album as one of my all-time favourites. Mumford and Sons were her backing band. They even shared a banjo with Johnny Flynn’s band — they were clearly a tight-knit group. She closed with the title song “Alas I Cannot Swim” which appears on the album as a hidden track at the end. She even did the countrified coda that I saw on youtube — a perfect end to a perfect concert. I immediately bought her CD, a Johnny Flynn CD, and a tour poster. (Sadly, Mumford and Sons didn’t have a CD out.) This was the first time I paid for music since 2005, when I bought the last Oasis album. The concert really was that good. Plus I felt like these young troubadours really needed the money!

Boston was the first leg of their North American trip — the’re calling it the “British Folk Reclamation Tour“. I like how that title means two things — the reclamation of British Folk, and the British reclamation of folk in general. I hope they all do really well for themselves. This British take on folk, country and bluegrass is thoroughly exciting.

Mumford and Sons — Roll Away Your Stone

Johnny Flynn — Tickle Me Pink

Laura Marling — Shine

Laura Marling — Your Only Doll (Dora) + Alas I Cannot Swim


I find myself relating very strongly to the song “Alas I Cannot Swim”. Here are the lyrics:

There’s a house across the river
But alas I cannot swim
And a garden of such beauty that the flowers seem to grin
There’s a house across the river
But alas I cannot swim
I’ll live my life regretting that I never jumped in

There’s a boy across the river
With short black curly hair
He wants to be my lover and I want to be his peer
There’s a boy across the river
But alas I cannot swim
I never will get to put my arms around him

There’s a life across the river
That was meant for me
Instead I live my life in constant misery
There’s a life across the river, but I do not see
Why I should please those who will never be pleased

There is gold across the river, but i don’t want none
There is gold across the river, but i don’t want none
Gold is fleeting, gold is fickle, gold is fun
Gold is fleeting, gold is fickle gold is fun
There is gold across the river but i don’t want none
I would rather be tried then held up by a golden gun
Saying work more earn more live more, have more fun
Saying work more earn more live more, have more fun
Saying work more earn more live more, have more fun


8 thoughts on “Fee Fie Foe Fum

  1. Marling is too slow for me, and her voice could be further trained, I think. That Across The River song and the Mumford Boys song reminded me of the Juno soundtrack. I love the name ‘Mumford and Sons’, though! I think Salil would like their music.

    You don’t need to say the One Man’s Meat line! =)

  2. I think her voice is quite lovely. Too much control makes a voice a bit sterile — like an opera singer or something.

    Did you have that Rabindranath Tagore poem “Broken Song” for ICSE?

  3. Hello. Thought I’d show a bit of appreciation after all the delightful music I’ve gotten off this blog.

    I love Laura. And this makes 5 songs of hers that I’ve gotten of Zonuts. Most grateful for this revelation.

  4. Hello BitterQ. Glad the blog has been of service!

    You should download the whole Marling album. (If the email ID you used to fill the comment form is right, I can send you a link.)

  5. Hi Han!
    I know this is three years after this post was made, but I was wondering if there was any way you’d be willing to sell your Fee Fie Foe Fum tour poster. It’s my best friend’s birthday coming up and those three bands are absolutely her world. Let me know if you’d be at all interested.

  6. Hi Julia. I wish I could sell the poster…but it’s an interesting souvenir that I bought at the show, so I’d like to keep it. Sorry! I hope you find a nice poster for your friend! Cheers!

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