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Singer songwriter Anna Smyrk took time out from her ‘Swim’ EP tour preparations to answer Six Quix for us

Anna Smyrk has come a long way since growing up on a lavender farm in Central Victoria. She has toured widely across Australia over the last few years (including appearances at Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Queenscliff Music Festival), juggling her music with her work in international development. In January she toured the UK for the first time, playing to packed out folk clubs and earning herself invitations to return in 2020 for festival and headline appearances.

Her debut EP, Song of the Silver-tongued Magpie, was described as “exquisite” by ABC Radio National, while Rhythms Magazine called it “a slow-burning gem”.

‘Home’ – the first single from Anna’s forthcoming second EP – was released earlier this year and has been getting love on Double J, ABC, BBC and community radio. It was ‘Track of the Day’ on AU Review with author Jodie Sloan calling it “a glorious piece of musical storytelling”. Tiana Speter from the Soundcheck said it “packs a heart-rending and elegant punch.”

With the lyrical imagery of Sharon Van Etten, lush vocal harmonies reminiscent of Seeker Lover Keeper, and a rousing arrangement worthy of The Decemberists, Anna’s latest single, ‘Alight’, is an alt-folk anthem for our times. The song came out of a dark place despite being written during the two & half years Anna lived in the Solomon Islands.

“There was so much going on in world politics making me miserable, and in the Solomon Islands I was seeing first-hand what it looks like as the world starts to go underwater” Anna

It was a book that turned Anna’s mind around: Hope in the Dark by US activist Rebecca Solnit.

“I wanted to write a song that conveyed the feeling this book gave me” says Anna. “It talks about how hope can be an axe we can use to break down doors. Hopeful actions can seem meaningless against all the darkness and uncertainty, but the book shows how, historically, those small acts have added up to huge changes.” 

Glowing with rich layers of vocals, ‘Alight’ was recorded in a Central Victorian farmhouse in the middle of a dry, brown summer when Anna was visiting home for a couple of weeks. It features a band of old friends on violin, banjo, dobro, double bass and drums and Anna’s sister on backing vocals.

“It’s always super energizing to play this song live, and recording it felt the same” says Anna. “There were quite a few air punches in the studio that day.”

The music video for ‘Alight’ was shot at an abandoned mansion in Tagaytay, Philippines by award-winning Phillipino film-makers Sheron Dayoc (producer) and Sonny Calvento (director). Their latest film won Best Full-Length Feature at Cinemalaya Festival in the Philippines and is currently competing in the Busan International Film Festival in Korea.

‘Alight’ is the third single to be lifted from Anna Smyrk’s sophomore EP, Swim, out on Nov 1st 2019. From the sapphire waters of the Solomon Islands to crumbling Cambodian towns, the EP is a collection of songs about Anna’s time spent living in wild places.

The next 12 months will see Anna splitting her time between advocacy work in the Philippines and touring her new EP around Australia and the UK.

Anna’s website:

The Lost Ones – Ballarat, VIC 
Nov 16th, 2019
Macedon Railway Hotel – Macedon, VIC
 Nov 22nd, 2019
Spotted Mallard – Melbourne, VIC
 Nov 27th, 2019
Illawarra Folk Festival – NSW
Jan 16-19, 2019
Newstead Live Music Festival – VIC
Jan 26-27, 2020
Terang Live – VIC
Feb 6th 2020
Wheatsheaf Hotel – Adelaide, SA Feb 7th2020
Stone Pony – Adelaide, SA Feb 8th2020

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