Instrumental arrangement of the Sussex Folk song, Low Down in the Broom, for the soundtrack of the feature film Armageddon Gospels:
‘Ritual’ was specifically composed by Jo Burke to accompany a pagan ritual scene in the film Armageddon Gospels. The piece includes some Bulgarian influenced singing from Jo Burke and members of the London Bulgarian choir, Alex Gibson and Viv Boucherat. The other vocalists are Guy Hayes, Dan Stewart, Mary Hampton, Jenny Howell, Katie Brayben and Frances McGillivray.
‘Cold is the Hand’ is another original composition for the soundtrack of Armageddon Gospels. This piece accompanies another ritual of death and resurrection and the music is inspired by the singing style and wonderfully morbid lyrics of the Sacred Harp hymnal. This track feature many Brighton singers including members of the shape note singing community. The soloist is Frances McGillivray (Jo’s mum!)
Written and performed by Jo Burke for the sound track of Armageddon Gospels, ‘Norse’ accompanies the opening scene of the film; the arrival of refugee Gods washed up on the shores of Albion. It is performed on a traditional Norwegian hardanger fiddle:
This is an extract from the traditional song ‘The wife of Usher’s Well’ arranged and performed by Jo Burke and used in the soundtrack of Armageddon Gospels. The length of the scene and it’s content dictated the verses chosen (the middle verse is pinched from ‘The leaves of life’ and slightly altered):
‘Salt’ is snother piece composed specifically for Armageddon Gospels and features some tuned glass courtesy of Lee Scott Newscombe. A wounded knight seeking guidance from a Spanish fortune teller while a wild beast growls angrily, trapped in a circle of salt…
An extract from the traditional song ‘The Leaves of Life’ used in the soundtrack, arranged and performed by Jo Burke. Again the length and content of the scene dictated the verses selected.
‘Hare’ is a mostly an improvised piece featuring Jo Burke on koto and James Parsons on percussion. Again this piece was created for the soundtrack of Armageddon Gospels. The koto is uniquely tuned by Lee Scott Newscombe according to a system of micro-tonal scales which he has developed:
Another version of the traditional Sussex song, Low Down in the Broom arranged by Jo Burke and sung by Ollie Tate accompanied by Jo Burke on harmonium:
‘As I walked Through the Meadows’ is a traditional song from Somerset collected in 1906 by Cecil Sharp from a singer called Federick Crossman. To gather may is to pick hawthorn blossom. The hawthorn being a magical tree most potent in the month of May. Wash your face in the dew of the hawthorn before sunrise on May Day eve and you shall be bestowed with ever lasting youth and beauty. You may also spot an elfin queen and her train while you’re there should you happen to dose off while under the hawthorn’s branches!
It was the custom for young people to spend the eve of May Day in the woods, fields and meadows. At dawn they would bring back the ‘may’ to decorate may-poles and to adorn towns and villages. Puritans however, thought that this ‘pagan’ ritual encouraged immoral behaviour and sort to stamp out these customs by banning the may-pole…
Full version of ‘The Wife of Usher’s Well’: