Caught by the River

Vashti Bunyan

23rd October 2008

For many cult artists, rediscovery comes to them too late, they never live to know that their art has been reappraised, is being loved by generations not even born when they were at work. In the case of Vashti Bunyan, the “Godmother of Freak Folk” (New York Press), 30 years of obscurity ended with the rediscovery in 2000 of her lost classic album “Just Another Diamond Day” and her subsequent reintroduction into a mainstream she was never part of in the first place. The fact that that record was inspired by a very British road trip – an end to end journey across the country by horse and carriage -has only helped mythologize Vashti’s life and career.

This weekend sees the premiere at the London Film Festival of Finisterre’s co-director Kieran Evans’ acclaimed new feature length documentary on alt. folk heroine Vashti Bunyan. Four years in the making, the film follows Vashti as she retraces the original journey through the UK that she took with her boyfriend Robert all those years ago set against her return to a major performance at The Barbican. We see her revisit places for the first time in over thirty years sparking fascinating memories and moving recollections.

Clearly a labour of love, the real beauty of the film is that it combines an emotional depth with a strong visual edge to offer up an intimate and revealing portrait of an artist who clearly is revered by so many.

Screenings are all at the BFI Southbank.

Saturday 25th Oct at 18.45 in NFT 1 followed by Q&A with Vashti and Kieran
Sunday 26th Oct at 19.30 in STUDIO
Monday 27th Oct at 16.00 in NFT

“Imagine a world without irony or sarcasm. A world where people dream of leaving the city and living in a gypsy caravan with only their families and other animals for company. Imagine a world that’s never heard of cocaine, Hip-Hop, Internet porn or WAP phones. Sounds shit, right? Well, on this evidence, it’s fucking great. Recorded in 1969 with many of the people who assisted on the Nick Drake albums, ‘Just Another Diamond Day’ revels in its own, unwitting, uncoolness. Vashti sings in an unhurried, totally pure voice, accompanied by piano, guitar and whatever else that was around. It is a forgotten Brit-folk classic and you need it more than sleep or money.”

Rob Fitzpatrick. JADD Album Review. Sleaze Nation 2000