I headed out on a run at the weekend, and reaching the top of the downs a few miles from my house I was met by a group of crows sitting on a fence close to the summit - they’re clearly called ‘a murder of crows’ for a reason. Thankfully for me, but disappointingly for them, I was able to retrace my steps without collapse.
Finnish musician Catself has clearly been considering the plight of crows for some time, and in her own unique style she’s recorded her song ‘Crows Must Eat’, where she considers that the battlefield is almost a necessity for the survival of the crow.
I’ve written about her before, an ‘alternative folk’ musician who uses the natural surroundings for inspiration in everything she writes. In my mind she even lives in a tiny wooden house surrounded by huge meadows full of flowers and wildlife, with a few fairies and maybe the occasional pixie for company. The reality, sadly, is probably a little bit more mundane.
‘Crows Must Eat’ was written by Catself a while back, there’s a lovely recording of her singing the song in an Amsterdam Boat Session in 2018. She spends a fair amount of time writing and performing there, but the realities of Covid forced her back to Finland, and that gave her time to record and master the track.
As expected from Catself, the result is charming but that little bit unusual. There's an urgency in the vocals and guitar that suggests those crows really need to hurry on down to the battlefield, contrasting with the strings that add an elegance to the sound. Melodically it has a medieval feel which conjures images of ancient battles, but it’s soft, wistful and poignant too. In particular she hits the mark with the lyrics.
You're mess and we're cleaners, so life roles are dealt;
Your fight's our salvation, your rot is our wealth.
Those crows must have seen some sights in the meadows, and I guess the fairies must have too.