Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo, Nostalgia and Wallander
Wallander. While some of you in the US will have no idea what I’m talking about, my friends in Sweden and the UK certainly will. Just a few short days ago I had not a clue either, but thanks to browsing Netflix I discovered the BBC version of this award winning TV show. With three seasons of three shows each, running in the 90 minute range, this British series is adapted from the Swedish novelist Henning Mankill’s Kurt Wallander novels, starring Kenneth Branagh as the eponymous police inspector. While there is also a Swedish version of these films/shows also available on Netflix, I sat last weekend and watched all of the first nine BBC shows in a fourteen hour marathon. Yes…there is an OCD streak in me.
In the BBC Magazine’s Radio Times, Branagh describes Wallander as “an existentialist who is questioning what life is about and why he does what he does every day, and for whom acts of violence never become normal. There is a level of empathy with the victims of crime that is almost impossible to contain, and one of the prices he pays for that sort of empathy is a personal life that is a kind of wasteland.”
Filmed mostly in Ystad, Sweden, the visual images are incredibly striking, and everything is shot using Red One, a digital camera that some directors love and others complain about. I include the link to Wikipedia for those of you interested in reading about such things. As a viewer with High Def, the images are captivating
So with that preamble done, this post is not about digital cinematography, crime shows or the wide variety of options that Netflix offers their streaming subscriber base.
It’s about the title song to Wallander titled “Nostalgia”. A slow, simple tune from Emily Barker and released with her band the Red Clay Halos on the album Despite The Snow, recorded almost five years ago. (The title song was re-recorded and a shortened reprise can also be found under title “Anna” although it’s not released.)
Emily is a singer-songwriter from Bridgetown, West Australia, and she and the band have produced two other albums including Photos. Fries. Fables. (2007) and Almanac (2011). The band’s albums are entirely self-financed and released on Emily’s own imprint Everyone Sang, with Almanac being jointly funded by spareroom.co.uk and a pledgemusic.com fan-funded campaign.
Tram wires cross Melbourne skies
Cut my red heart in two
My knuckles bleed down Johnston street
On a door that shouldn’t be in front of me
Twelve thousand miles away from your smile
I’m twelve thousand miles away from me
Standing on the corner of Brunswick
Got the rain coming down and mascara on my cheek
Oh whisper me words in the shape of a bay
Shelter my love from the wind and the rain
Crow fly be my alibi
And return this fable on your wing
Take it far away to where gypsies play
Beneath metal stars by the bridge
Oh write me a beacon so I know the way
Guide my love through night and through day
Only the sunset knows my blind desire for the fleeting
Only the moon understands the beauty of love
When held by a hand like the aura of nostalgia
I have found it impossible to explain why certain notes, lyrics and mood can strike one’s aural intricacies, which is one of many reasons I often shy away from the critical review. It drives me crazy…but I cannot tell you why this song haunts me and plays in my head over and over and over. I can’t explain why I want to put my hand on Emily’s shoulder, bend over and whisper “thank you” into her ear. So all that I’m left with, and really the best I can offer, is sharing. Putting the music out there for you to take if you’d like, and hope it touches you as much as it does me.
Or not. Because that’s the mystery and beauty of musical adventure…and which makes our lives unique and distinctive. But there is a pleasure one gets in the act of sharing, and the acknowledgement of a nod of your head, the tapping of a foot, a smile.
So here is the song, a reprise re-cut for a scene, some other tunes, and links for you to explore.
Jo Silverston – cello and backing vocals
Gill Sandell – accordion, flute and harmonies
Anna Jenkins – violin and backing vocals
Emily Barker – main vocals and guitar