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alison cotton-engelchen lp (rocket recordings / feeding tube)

Price: $30.99


alison cotton: engelchen

"Engelchen" literally translates as "little angels," and for many in the febrile, dangerous era of the 1930s in Nazi-occupied Europe, as they wrote letters to arrange their paths out of danger as refugees, these were Ida and Louise Cook. Ida and Louise spent much of their early years in Sunderland, and in adulthood lived in a suburb of London with their parents. They were enormous fans of opera, and led relatively quiet and unfussy lives, Ida working for the civil service as a secretary and Louise as a writer of Mills & Boon romances under a pseudonym. Yet secretly these resourceful and eccentric women were using their musical obsessions as a means to help dozens of refugees escape with their lives. Their secretive heroics now almost beggar belief, and when Alison Cotton, herself from Sunderland, first discovered their story, she couldn't understand why it wasn't more widely known. Furthermore, she was inspired by their courage, fortitude and derring-do to compose Engelchen, a musical tribute to the duo's lives and work, first performed at Seventeen Nineteen Holy Church in Sunderland and now a full-length release by Rocket Recordings. Engelchen is a work which builds a bridge between the emotional intensity of the music that inspired the Cook sisters and the bravery and jeopardy of their lives. This story is relayed by Alison Cotton, whether acapella or by means of richly emotive string arrangements, with a deftness of touch, sensitivity and intensity that matches the feverish nature of the experiences and the unforgiving environs in which they took place. Summoning foley work to sum up the atmospheres of the sister's journeys (from train noises to the sound of gulls on the English coast, to the ominous military drumbeat) Engelchen is a transporting work whose spirit is situated in a very specific time and place. In putting together Engelchen, Alison met up with refugees living in the UK today via the charity North East Rise to discover the challenges they've faced on their journey, and those experiences ultimately found their way into a new version of the piece's eponymous track, connecting the Cook sisters' story to 2024. This is more than merely an inspirational tribute to two mavericks who beat the odds in an unforgettable feat of altruism. It's a celebration of the human spirit, one that reflects a universality in its narrative which transcends the boundaries of history and impacts very urgently on our daily lives. Whatever attempts may be made to tell this story, it's hard to imagine one that resonates deeper than Engelchen. Co-release with Rocket Recordings.

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