Following the release of their album Abundance Welcoming Ghosts in September, Red River Dialect have announced a string of UK tour dates for February 2020. The band also play their sold-out album launch tomorrow night, Saturday 16 November at Servant Jazz Quarters. To celebrate, they’re sharing the beautifully animated video for “RV Kistvaen”, made by animator Robin Lane Roberts.
The video is inspired by the “Money Pit” legend, one of many folktales from Dartmoor in southwest England in which someone raids a pre-historic burial chamber seeking ancient wealth, but loses something more vital in the act. A “kistvaen” is a Bronze Age tomb, made of granite slabs inlaid in the ground and covered with a capstone, and is particular to Dartmoor. The name is derived from “cist-veyn” in the ancient Cornish-Celtic language, and “cist-faen“ in Welsh; Cist meaning chest, and “veyn” or “faen” meaning stone.
In this particular tale, a jolly farmer dreams of a local kistvaen overflowing with money. He breaks open the tomb, spurred on by a mocking raven, only to find a small piece of black flint, shaped like a heart. Some speculate that this may have been a Neolithic arrowhead. He clings to this treasure and becomes cruel, morose and bitter. Only the playfulness of his child, who takes the flint out to the moors to play with and loses it, relieves this heavy curse.
The lyrics speak of a child throwing stones, ‘alone and burrowing in’, and later of a ‘kist-open mind’. David says of the song: “it was inspired by a journey into Dartmoor, and the lyrics venture into buried sadnesses of the past. Having been uncovered, these artifacts can unsettle and cause pain, but with compassion for self and others, they can be released back to the wild equanimity of the moorlands.”
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