Literary-folk duo, Gawain and the Green Knight, have unveiled their latest single, “Birds & Wine,” with a premiere on Folk Alley, along with an animated lyrics video.
The song comes from the forthcoming EP, A Sleeping Place, which will be released on June 21, 2021. Like many of the songs on A Sleeping Place, “Birds & Wine” takes inspiration from Greek mythology—a nod to singer and guitarist Alexia Antoniou’s Greek heritage.
Antoniou examines the connection between Aphrodite, whose name comes from the Greek word for foam, and the sea:
There’s something I really like about taking the abstract and divine – a god – and distilling them into these concrete images. It’s part of the reason why, when thinking about what supplicants might bring to a sacrifice for Aphrodite, I went with ‘birds and wine’ instead of ‘doves and wine’ – I liked the image of someone pulling up to Aphrodite’s altar with a roast chicken, grease and bones.
Originally written in a moment of insecurity, the song evolved into “a big, completely over-the-top boast from the perspective of the goddess of love and beauty herself.”
Antoniou’s bandmate, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Mike O’Malley elaborates, “I referenced neo-soul tracks (like those from Lake Street Dive and Alabama Shakes) for the percussion textures and Vulfpeck for joyous clarinet solos.”
“Alexia’s choice of chords lent a lot of opportunity for melting, diminished harmony, so there’s a lot of that in the winds – the feeling of being perpetually gooey-eyed in someone’s presence.”
Inspired by the etymology of the Greek word for cemetery, which simply means “a sleeping place,” the record sits comfortably in the deep, sometimes dark, parts of the subconscious, arranged in such a way that you remember why life can be so joyful in the first place, its tempo anything but sad.
“I think of this EP as a love letter, full of desperate affection, to anyone who has ever been alive and been scared to die,” Antoniou states. “Death is loud, but it doesn’t mean you were never heard.”’
“Birds & Wine” from Gawain and The Green Knight is available for listening on all streaming platforms.