Honeypaw got the idea to record an album entirely on trees when we were given the opportunity to house-sit a vacant Lithuanian summer camp near Wasaga Beach. We chose nine songs from the 19th and early 20th century field collections from Karelia, Ingria, and Lithuania, each containing forest imagery. We constructed the tree harps in hollow trees on the property. The harps were mostly installed in cedar stumps, but we were sure to include the trees that we were singing about as well – the linden in Turėjo Liepa, birch in Berželi beržuti and Liudi berželis, pine in Iloidaaks müö ihmeen noored, and oak in Panin hanhon tarhasehen. We are interested in the historical connection between the Finnic and Baltic cultures put forward by folklorists like Aukusti Niemi and Matti Kuusi. The album name Ninth Tree Standing refers to the symbols found in the songs of both cultures, where land is cleared for agriculture, but one tree/branch is left standing for the cuckoo’s perch. We have investigated the connection musically by using the harmonies from the Lithuanian sutartinė tradition including close seconds and sharp microtones in the Finnic songs, and the Finnic tradition of heterophony, or mutually improvised melody, in the Lithuanian songs.
Released October 3, 2021
Jurgita Zvinklyte - Trees, Vocals
Matti Palonen - Trees, Vocals