Artist in Residence Hannah Hull produced an EP, called DIRT, as part of the Echoes of Holloway Project.Volunteer Sam Marland writes about the EP Launch Event:
Artist in Residence of the Echoes of Holloway Prison project, Hannah Hull, took to Newington Green’s historic Unitarian Church with her band Burning Salt to launch their concept EP Dirt on September 7th 2018. It was a fitting venue for the EP’s intensely powerful songs which focus on the stories of Holloway’s past inmates, having famously had Mary Wollstonecraft as a congregant in the 18th century. Wollstonecraft’s legacy is spread across Newington Green in the form of stencil art and blue plaques, and you can’t help but feel that she would have approved of such an event taking place in a location that she once regarded as home.
Hannah has previously said of the oral histories she used as inspiration for the EP; “Many of the stories left me in tears. Not just because of the horror contained within them, but also the strength”, and it was hard not to share this sentiment as Burning Salt made their way through the EP’s six carefully crafted songs in front of a back drop of accompanying music videos and projected artworks. The powerful subject matter of the songs was only aided by the venue’s intimate setting, lit almost exclusively by candle light and watched by a silent audience, transfixed by Hannah’s distinctive low register vocal and the excellent musicianship of Bobby Williams (electric guitar) and John Parker (double bass).
‘The Worst Place I was Ever Scared Of’, a love letter to the prison, and newest song ‘Born Again’, every lyric of which is taken from the transcripts of ex-prisoners, were notable highlights. The Chaps Choir waited in the wings, rising to offer backing vocals on F2052SH and filled the chapel with chanting voices in this powerful song named after the form used to report self-harm or suicide in prison.
If the Echoes of Holloway Prison project’s purpose was to capture the stories of the prison, then the DIRT EP has managed to bring these stories to life in an alternative fashion. These emotive songs help the stories to resonate in a unique way, and never more so than when showcased live in this most perfectly suitable of settings.
DIRT is available on all major streaming platforms, and for digital download via www.burningsalt.com.
Please get in touch with Roz.Currie@islington.gov.ukto receive a free download code.
View 3 music videos from the EP here.
Hannah also produced a limited edition booklet entitled ‘Echoes’ which includes a series of short poems and a selection of photographs of the prison taken by Roz Currie just after its closure in 2016. This is available for free at Islington Museum.