Music / April 29, 2021

Loah reimagines 1920s poetry for ‘The Body to the Soul’

Photo credit: @the_nakedstudios
Music / April 29, 2021

Loah reimagines 1920s poetry for ‘The Body to the Soul’

Words: Dylan Murphy

In honour of Ireland’s Poetry Day, Loah has shared a new song called ‘The Body to the Soul (Eva Gore-Booth)‘.

In a topsy-turvy year that saw everyone’s lives flipped upside down, Loah had her dreams of moving to the States to further her music career dashed. Not one to rest on her laurels, she worked tirelessly as a pharmacist in the midst of the pandemic and put music on the back burner for a while.

Following a period of focusing on her work on the frontline, Loah received support from the Arts Council for a covid response project. She’s subsequently created a body of work that sees music set to poems from 100 years ago.

The first song to be released is ‘The Body to the Soul (Eva Gore-Booth)‘, a reworking of a poem from  Irish poet, dramatist, and a committed suffragist Eva Gore Booth.

Speaking on the new single on Instagram Loah said:

“Why on Earth am I putting out a mini album of poetry from the 1920s set to music?! Well… Last year, in the very first week of lockdown I was supposed to emigrate to the States. I had the next few years mapped out, I was gonna make my first record, go hustle and try a taste of the American dream pie… obviously ‘Rona made sure none of our plans worked out. But I had the good fortune of getting back my old job a few days a week in the pharmacy I worked in years ago. So I’ve been frontlining for a year. It’s been tough at times for us all. I put off the album, I just wanted to share stuff that felt more immediate and responsive in the midst of this craziness, sorrow and forced introversion.

The @artscouncilireland put out a lifeline as a covid response project and I decided to do something I thought I would do in like 10-15 years. I often write poems before music, I respond in poetry to books I read, films I watch, then the melodies often come afterwards. So to set poems from 100 years ago and take them as my own felt like letting all the elders in to my natural, private process. I wanted to know how Langston Hughes or Georgia Douglas Johnson or Yeats condensed the madness of their time into lines on their page. I would come home from being a pharmacist and try and carve sense of the moment bashing my piano gently… So… 7 poems, 6 writers later, Irish, American, Sierra Leonean. I wanted to spread my wings with my voice and live in the worlds they created. I wanted to leave the house on their turns of phrase !”

Listen to ‘The Body to the Soul (Eva Gore-Booth)’ below and follow Loah on Bandcamp here.

Elsewhere on District: Here’s the 21 albums we can’t wait for in 2021.