George Monbiot & Ewan McLennan


‘Breaking the Spell of Loneliness’

About a year ago, author and journalist George Monbiot wrote an article for the Guardian on the personal and social effects of loneliness that quickly went viral. His first inclination, to write a book on the subject, soon gave way to the idea that the topic might be better conveyed through song. With this in mind he approached folk singer and songwriter Ewan McLennan and suggested a collaboration.

They began to send back and forth narrative sketches that touched on the themes and stories behind loneliness and social isolation, the politics that underpin it and the ways people and communities overcome it. From these sketches Ewan began to craft lyrics, melodies and finally, as the end goal, songs.

The project, entitled ‘Breaking the Spell of Loneliness’, will see Ewan arranging and recording an album of original songs that have grown out of the initial sketches, to be released in the Autumn. The recording will go hand in hand with notes from George that describe the stories and themes behind the songs and discuss the topic in general.

To coincide with the release of the album George Monbiot and Ewan McLennan will be performing a limited number of live dates, in which together they will showcase the various facets of the project. Singing ‘a cappella’ and accompanying himself on guitar and banjo, Ewan will perform each of the songs that appear on the album, which will be interspersed with George’s depiction of the human stories behind the songs and discussion of the broader subject. Expect a unique and one-off interplay of songs and stories that will be at once poignant and rousing.

‘…a powerful, poignant set.’ **** 4 stars The Guardian

‘After writing about loneliness, George Monbiot teamed up with Ewan McLennan to put his words to music. The result is a charming evening’ St George’s, Bristol (Live Review), The Times

‘Breaking the Spell of Loneliness doesn’t merely tackle the issues raised, it offers solutions; it offers hope. It’s a moving, thought-provoking work that has relevance for all of us.’ Folk Radio UK

Tour Dates

07/08/2017Sidmouth FolkWeekSIDMOUTH