Forest Bathing: Songs To Change The World (and some which won't)
1962 marked the year of a traditional folk revival in Bristol and surrounding counties. I was half of the folk duo, The Crofters, the other half being Martin Pyman and the formation of our duo coincided with the ‘Centre 42’ movement initiated by London playwright Arnold Wesker whose aim it was to ‘bring folk music back to the people’. This objective was not entirely successful, but it helped to eventually bring about the formation of a number of folk clubs in the area. For us it was of immense importance as we were being sent out to very unlikely pubs to sing alongside the likes of Francis McPeake, Louis Killen, Bob Davenport, Cyril Tawney and other top traditional singers of the day. I started songwriting around this time – songs mostly now long forgotten.
The ITV station of the day (TWW – Television Wales and the West) picked up on this ‘new’ music and ran the series ‘At the Cider Apple’ and The Crofters were fortunate to be on each programme. The TWW connection lead to a commission for me to write a song to commemorate the opening of the first Severn Bridge crossing in 1966 which we performed on the day and the scratchy old version with its bucket reverb reproduced on this album is probably that very performance. Apart from three early most of the remainder of the songs are 2017 to 2019 compositions with some based on early drafts from around 1985. Gef Lucena
There is something that enriches, touches the soul just that little bit more and specially, when it has ‘local’ (for want of a much better word) in its provenance. We love farmers markets, meeting the people who drove the tractor and baked the cake. To know the person who is acting in a drama we have seen, or who made the news with their work, perhaps it’s something to do with them being part of one’s very own world, neighbourhood, your personal society. Gef lives nearby, just the other side of Hawkesbury near the wonderful wilds of Lower Woods. He is a folk composer, lyricist, multi instrumentalist with a wicked sense of whimsy, a profound relationship with nature, and a rich knowledge of a simpler, better, purer life. If you’ve ever walked in Lower Woods, you may feel, once you have listened through Forest Bathing (or even just read the lyrics as poetic prose) that you too know Gef. [The Dyddi Magazine]