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Theo Brown
Theo Brown and the Folklore of Dartmoor
Folklore Tapes
Catalogue Number
Release Date
October 15, 2021


The upland area of southern Devon, England — also known as Dartmoor — is home to countless myths and legends; of beastly domestic animals and cruel fates, of wailing spirits and the devil himself. Theo Brown was a vital figure in documenting and popularising these tales, penning multiple monographs and essays on the folklore of the region in the time of stuffy-collared male dominance in the field. Theo Brown and the Folklore of Dartmoor is a musical tribute to her life and work, developed by musicians Ian Humberstone and David Chatton Barker using her unpublished research as a leaping-off point into a bizarre world of cinematic sound.

Taking inspiration from early film soundtracks and 20th century composer-outsiders like Pierre Henry and Karlheinz Stockhausen, Humberstone and Barker craft a perfectly strange sonic accompaniment to Dartmoor’s wealth of folkloric tales. These take shape as impressionistic pieces of time and place, manifesting as off-kilter early electronic patters on the likes of ‘Old Crockern’ and ‘The Hungry Dart’, folk songs like ‘The Sow of Merripit’ and ‘The Last Wolf’ and immersive set pieces such as ‘The Publicans Wife’ and ‘Jan Coo and the Piskies’.

It’s a striking record of limitless invention, and a perfectly strange tribute to Theo Brown, a woman who spent her life exploring the perfect strangeness of local storytelling.

Track List

  1. Two Bridges: Old Crockern
  2. Two Bridges: Wistman’s Wood
  3. Postbridge: The Snaily House
  4. Postbridge: The Hairy Hands
  5. Widecombe-In-The-Moor: Ball Lightning
  6. Widecombe-In-The-Moor: Jan and the Devil
  7. Hexworthy: The Publican’s Wife
  8. Hexworthy: The Piskies’ Holt
  9. Merripit: The Sow of Merripit
  10. Merripit: The Warren House Inn
  11. Dartmeet: The Hungry Dart
  12. Dartmeet: Jan Coo and the Piskies
  13. Brimpts: Dolly Copplestone
  14. Brimpts: The Last Wolf

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