In 1996, Jay Ansill put together an album that should have been a classic, but within a year of it’s release, the record label folded and years went by before Ansill could recover the unsold stock. A LOST WORLD is a collection of poems by Robert Graves (I, Claudius, Goodbye to All That, The White Goddess) set to music. Jay put together an incredible collection of singers and musicians, all of whom have outdone themselves in helping to bring the music and words to life. Featured on the CD are Anne Hills, John Gorka, Richard Shindell, Johnny Cunningham, Priscilla Herdman, Seamus Egan, John Roberts and Tony Barrand, Ken LaRoche, Larry Cohen and others.
Jay’s central instrument is the Celtic harp, but this is not a “harp album”. The music is written and arranged to fit the poems. There are songs with guitars, violins, bass, drums, songs with string quartet and harp, there are flutes, trumpets, a French horn, a hammered dulcimer, mandolins and various percussion instruments.
Already having established himself as one of Philadelphia’s leading folk musicians, Jay Ansill’s compositions combine his vast knowledge of a variety of folk styles with classical sensibilities to create a new kind of music.
The poetry of Robert Graves makes for a perfect match with Ansill’s music. Graves, whose father was a collector of Irish folksongs, was deeply influenced by traditional ballads, and, having been one of the War Poets of WWI, and through his collaboration with the American poet Laura Riding, Graves became one of the great Love Poets of the 20th Century.
A selection of fourteen of Graves most compelling poems, along with brilliant performances from some of the best singers and players in the folk world, along with Jay’s unique musical vision combine to make an important addition to the contemporary folk music scene.