Ruairidh Anderson is confirming his reputation as the premier London folklore singer and songwriter.
Ruairidh Anderson is confirming his reputation as the premier London folklore singer and songwriter. A writer who celebrates London and its heritage with every verse and melody.
The response he has received from London media such as Londonist editor Matt Brown (‘Impressively compelling’) as well as from BBC radio hosts Ros Atkins (‘Wonderful project’) and Nicki Bedi on the “Robert Elms Show” who described his art as ‘Amazing & extraordinary’ underlines the fact that Ruairidh Anderson’s London songs and live performances are really something quite special.
His collection of historical songs had their beginnings in 2011 after Anderson undertook the challenge of writing a song a week. Working under the moniker Songs From The Howling Sea (inspired by 19th Century novelist Arthur Morrison’s description of London’s East End as ‘a howling sea of human wreckage’),he conceived the idea of producing 52 songs over 52 weeks, drawing from a range of musical genres and all inspired by East London history—places, characters, and the old London life as it was centuries ago.
Resourceful and endowed with rare creative inspiration, Ruairidh Anderson’s songs all have a particular story to tell; some speak about disasters, others about old East End traditions or even macabre tales, but they all have something to tell to the audience. A great part of his songs have been inspired by particular characters and people who actually filled the streets of London and who now live on as legends in the city’s folklore.
“Where The Two Halves Meet”, from the Songs from the Howling Sea – East End! album, is inspired by the tale of Ikey Solomon, a 19th Century Houndsditch trader, crook, and the inspiration behind Charles Dickens’ Fagin. “O’ Eliza,” included on the same album, is another wonderful piece inspired by Eliza de Marchepane, one time Wapping prostitute who elevated herself to Europe’s highest social circles, seducing Mozart on her way before eventually introducing England to marzipan.
Other songs such as “Into The Dark,”written in honour of Elizabeth Fry and featured on The Five Boroughs album, draw from historical events springing from the Boroughs that recently hosted the London 2012 Olympics.
All the songs share a particular story about a specific character or event from London’s history whom we didn’t learn about in history class yet who still played such a major role in the way in which London has shaped its identity up to the present day.
Due to the wide appeal of his subject matter, Anderson has been invited to perform on many occasions all around London and the UK. Performing as Songs From The Howling Sea at the opening of the London Olympic Aquatic Centre attended by the Mayor of London was a particular highlight in a year that also took in shows at the Bath Fringe Festival and numerous London Historian events as well as live performances on BBC London’s “Robert Elms Show” and the BBC World Service’s “World Have Your Say”New Years Eve Special.
Ruairidh Anderson is a folk teller in its truest meaning, skilled in the art of combining history and music together into a moving, and at times humorous, unique live performance. With the skilful blend of inventive arrangements, stirring vocals, and emotive tales, Songs From The Howling Sea’s popularity continues to flourish, captivating audiences on a national scale.