Hailing from the Scottish highlands, Rachel Sermanni is an enchanting singer-songwriter, whose performance and lyrics draw from a deep well of mysticism, dreams, nature and the simple-complex experience of being human. A contemporary folk musician influenced by a wealth of genres including jazz, rock, old-time and traditional, she is announcing today her newest foray into her sonic subconscious, Dreamer Awake.
Inspired by the works of Nan Shepherd, and the parallel experience of the Heroine’s journey as one of descent, as opposed to the glorified heights of the archetypal Hero, Dreamer Awake is, as Sermanni tells us, about “…the journey of someone skimming the surface of their experience, resisting the pull of the earth initially then slowly descending into the dark and the unknown with fear, willingness and curiosity. Becoming pregnant, giving birth and crossing the threshold into motherhood is exactly this.” Channelling the metamorphic experience of becoming a mother, and processing the demise of a long-term relationship, Sermanni dove deep into her psyche and returned with songs that have a sharpness, an acuity of feeling, and that capture the fluidity of our mind and the depth of our emotional experience.
To realise Dreamer Awake, Sermanni decamped to Middle Farm Studios, Devon with co-producer Peter Miles. Recording live to tape with people that, “most of the time, are jazz improvisers,” the sessions were conducted with an almost Lynchian approach, with Sermanni choosing “to flow through [the experience] like a dream”. The result is an album that captures the intimacy of the room, and the immediacy of these songs that transform thought, memory and emotion into such wondrous light. Shared with us today, the first glimpse of this experience, ‘Jacob’, explores the break-up that preceded the album, the complex realisations that followed, and the important step of practising, or regaining, self-love.
In Rachel’s own words,
“This is a song that reflects on an ended relationship and the growing I’m doing thanks to therapy, a lovely therapist called Jacob and the VERY simple & clear tools he is offering me to help me see & understand old habits. Again, a kind of coming into power. A simple act of recognising that I’m loved, and worthy of love.”