When it comes to the world’s big issues music has shown time and time again that it has the power to bring folk together and focus and energise them into doing extraordinary things in the name of a common cause. Or at the very least raise awareness and get people thinking.
When Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday is one such project – bringing together musicians, artists and practical knowledge to imagine a future in a more sustainable world. Folk singer Jo Mango along with Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow), Craig Beaton (The Unwinding Hours) and Adem Ilhan joined with researchers from the Universities of West of Scotland, Manchester and Edinburgh, as well as sustainability groups Creative Carbon Scotland, Manchester: A Certain Future and Julie’s Bicycle to form a project that would allow art to explore the emotional connections to nature and create a platform for change.
The gravity of the previous paragraph gives a glimpse of how serious this project was taken and also gives a hint at the kind of folk music that was the result – weighty, demanding folk music.
The project involved three songwriting sessions which resulted in three songs, each looking at separate phases of this sustainability imagining. Phase 1: How things are now, Phase 2: Realising something needs to be done but feeling helpless, and Phase 3: How it could be.
The first song, ‘Better Lands’, features Jo Mango, Louis Abbott and Craig Beaton and is a remorseful look at our environment with the realisation that our future is very uncertain and that something really needs to change. Mango’s haunting voice interacts well with that of the more earthy Abbott and Beaton over acoustic guitar to create an emotional piece of thought provoking music.
On ‘If I Could Choose’ Mango is joined by Adem Ilhan and has the duet agonising over wanting to help but finding it too difficult to do so. There’s a real feeling of rising panic on this track overshadowed by that ever present darkness of doubt and helplessness.
The final track is ‘The Ceasing’ and it is a beautiful vision of a world with no ticking environmental clock. Mango and Abbott harmonise beautifully on this track which contains some lovely acoustic guitar.
This project doesn’t provide any answers to the very complex issues it tackles but it certainly draws attention to them and highlights them as extremely important, pressing matters in a manner that is both sensitive and emotional.
More information on When Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday is available from this link and from the short video below. The three tracks are also available from Jo Mango’s Soundcloud.