Although based out of the rural valleys of Wales, Samana, the duo of Rebecca Rose and Franklin Mockett, found their musical mojo while embarking on a year long journey, “across the natural wilderness and distant cities of Eastern Europe”. Inspired by a sense of freedom the pair set-about tapping into the environment around them, songs written in the vast isolation of the natural landscape were performed in the various towns and cities they’d stumble across on their journey. Now back on UK shores, via a brief sojourn to a recording studio in France, the pair have set to putting those songs to tape, resulting in October’s EP, The Spirit Moving, as well as their latest single, Live For The Road.
Samana’s music seems to exist at the meeting point of a variety of genres, one second they’re dipping their toes into the psych-folk sounds of the 1960’s, the next they’re channelling Mazzy Star-like dream pop, or twanging nods to the Delta Blues. Despite their magpie-like approach to genre-hopping, the pair always seem to find a way to root their music into the idea of connection, their songs are stories of humanity, nature and the pursuit of understanding. The band’s latest offering, Live For The Road, could in many ways be considered their most straight-forward statement to date; as you’d expect from the title it’s a love song to exploration and freedom, “in the vastness of this land I own my departures, as I travel down this open road”. The track is set to a backing of reverberating slide-guitars and tambourine led percussion, sounding like a particularly well produced camp-fire sing-along, as Rebecca’s rich, smoky vocal takes centre stage throughout. Samana’s music seems to tap into something that’s almost out of fashion in music now; a wide-eyed desire to explore freedom, the natural world and community, to tap into something bigger than the self and to find a different way to live life outside of the everyday.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Samana?
Samana are a multi-disciplinary project living in the rural valleys of Wales. Our music is an eclectic assemblement of poetry, audible landscapes and instinctive orchestration. We are musicians who create from our subconscious, in a very ritualistic and emotional plane of creation. Our music is a conversation with the soul.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Well, when we first started out together, we were journeying across Eastern Europe in an old van, writing music in the isolation of nature and then busking our way through the cities, towns and villages. There are many beautiful moments I recall from this special time. The first that comes to mind as I am writing this, is a set we performed in a Munich park as the skies shifted to red. It drew an eclectic collection of people from many different walks of life. It was a very beautiful and poignant intertwining of connectedness. To the side of the audience were two men, arm in arm, smiling and swaying with eyes closed, taring into the sunset. After the performance, a man approached us and told us that these two men were both homeless and treated each other with distain for the 10 years he himself had lived there. It was the first time in his life he had seen them near one other, let alone showing deep companionship for each another.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Music is a shamanistic entity. It allows for a deep release, a deep connection. It is a powerful journey that is undertaken across the process of creating and performing music. It is a mirror to emotion and a mirror to the soul. However, we do immerse ourselves in other art forms such as poetry, darkroom photography, film, sculpture and music production, and this can be seen in every creative element that makes up Samana, from the filming and editing of each video, to the fine art and conceptual work behind each release.
FTR: What can people expect from the Samana live show?
Intensity, honesty, transcendence. The ability to deeply feel, to mourn, to love, to hope and to dream. Our shows are often woven with improvisation and poetry, so every live performance is full of instinct and devotion. If we move, or inspire that is enough.
FTR: What’s next for Samana?
Well during this incredibly strange time we all find ourselves in, where live shows have been suspended for the foreseeable future, we are currently busy working away on building our analogue recording studio in Wales – ‘The Road Records’ (www.theroadrecords.com). For the next twelve months, we are releasing a song a month. Expect a profound musical journey of intimate expression and audible landscapes of transformation. Hopefully live music will return to us all soon, for which we eagerly await to be connected with you all again.
They Listen To…
Yo La Tengo – Green Arrow
Minutemen – Cohesion
Tim Maia – Where Is My Other Half
John Martyn – Small Hours
Ted Lucas – Plain & Sane & Simple Melody
Click HERE for more information on Samana.