Caught by the River

Thankful Villages Vol. 2 #2

Darren Hayman | 2nd April 2017

Darren Hayman is back, with a second volume of songs resulting from his Thankful Villages project. The second village is Norton Le Clay, Yorkshire.

Norton Le Clay, Yorkshire – Thankful Village #20 from Darren Hayman on Vimeo.

The day after Cundall, me and Emma drove to Norton Le Clay. The church was decommissioned, there was a sharp bend in the road, and almost as soon as you entered the village you were driving out of it.

I was thankful to be there though. I didn’t want to be at home anymore and Emma was being an exceptional friend. We found a huge greenhouse with shattered glass and shards hanging from it. It was sitting there right in the middle of the village like a broken temple.

During this project I have often felt it important that you hear that I am outside and therefore included the random sounds that bleed into the microphones: birdsong, wind rumble and the chance meetings with people. However, it’s still easy to make music that sounds close and near even when you are outside. We laid out a blanket and plugged iPads into our recorder. It was raining so we cocooned ourselves in blue plastic ponchos. With our heads encased in headphones and hoods, we felt incubated from the weather.

We made an odd hiccupy tune in a peculiar key.

Then I let it lie there on my hard drive for almost a year. I knew I wanted to write something about a Belgian refugee who had ended up in the village during the war. She became accepted in this place and stayed here until she died. Her name is on a bench.

A year later the EU referendum was taking place and it is on the eve of that referendum that this is being written. I finally wrote a lyric and twisted the chords into a more conventional sense. I wrote a song about opening doors and letting people in. Helping those that need help.

It’s what we used to do. It’s what Norton Le Clay did.


Thankful Villages Volume 2 will be released on Rivertones on 26 May. Preorder a copy here.

Darren plays a special release day gig at London’s Horse Hospital, with support from Luke Turner, Spaceship Mark, and DJ Frances Castle. Tickets are available here. He will also play Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, on 2 June — tickets here.

Previous Thankful Villages posts on Caught by the River/Darren Hayman on Twitter