Sephine Llo - The Phoenix And The Olive Tree
Sephine Llo is the work of Josephine Lloyd-Wilson, a classically trained and multi award-winning artist (with the AMS Neve award for creative recording accolade, among others); and holder of a coveted First-Class Honours degree from the world-renowned Tonmeister course, University of Surrey. Her sound is an innovative and rich tapestry of 18th Century UK folk roots, neoclassical flourishes and organically created glitchy electronica.
New single The Phoenix and the Olive Tree is Sephine Llo’s first release since debut album I, Your Moon (October 2017, Tape Club Records), which garnered attention from the likes of Wonderland, 405, Clash, BBC3 Late Junction and Radio X ‘Xposure’. The new single is an old unreleased track newly reworked and lyrically laced with a new and unforeseen poignancy. It was originally penned as a wedding present to Lloyd-Wilson’s late husband and music collaborator Robert Lloyd-Wilson (of Autumn Chorus) who tragically died of cancer in 2017. The release date of 4 June marks the 2-year anniversary since Sephine Llo’s performance at a charity memorial concert honouring her late husband and raising over £2.5k for Kidscan Children’s Cancer Research charity, a performance undertaken with the artist pregnant with their first child. In a wonderful symmetry, Sephine Llo will be marking the release of her new single with another fundraising gig, at The Harrison, London on 7 June, a gig that will be performed once again pregnant as Lloyd-Wilson is expecting the couple’s second child (thanks to the wonders of IVF).
The song was written before Robert Lloyd-Wilson’s diagnosis but still written with deep emotion exploring as Sephine Llo expands “how all of the pain of our pasts had been washed away by finding each other, like being reborn into a new life of joy and happiness.” The Phoenix and the Olive Tree references previous songs from both artists, at the start it nods to Autumn Chorus' track Bye Bye Now, written about Robert Lloyd-Wilson losing his own mother to cancer. The song also alludes to Sephine Llo’s album track Barren Heart and explores finding the capacity to love again despite thinking it impossible. This symbolism of grief and rebirth has evolved over time with Robert’s passing and with the birth of their first child Laurence, and now the life cycle soon to repeat again with the birth of his sister.
Each year Sephine Llo raises money for the aforementioned Kidscan Children’s Cancer Research charity, last year 6k was raised by a sponsored head shave. The video for Phoenix and the Olive Tree, directed by Jessie Rodger, captures this moment with the song’s themes of loss and rebirth found in the Sephine Llo’s stunning transformation, with the 27 inches of hair shaved off donated to The Little Princess Trust.
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