Vashti Bunyan: snapshot moments since returning to music after a self-imposed 30-year exile

19.01.15

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Vashti Bunyan's latest album, 'Heartleap', arrived nine years after her last, 2005's 'Lookaftering' – but that's hardly a long time in her world.

The English singer-songwriter's story should be well-known by now: in 1970 she released her first album, 'Just Another Diamond Day', to little fanfare. Disappointed by its indifferent response, she abandoned the music industry and raised a family in Scotland, only for the record to slowly develop a cult following over the decades – entirely unbeknownst to her. 

Eventually the album received a re-release in 2000, leading her to meet and collaborate with musicians like Animal Collective, Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, and Kieran Hebden. 'Heartleap', however, was recorded almost entirely by Bunyan, and almost entirely at her home studio in Edinburgh.

It took nearly seven years to put together its 10 songs: the recording was interrputed by the passing of Robert Kirby, who arranged three songs on 'Just Another Diamond Day'. Bunyan and Kirby had intended to work together once again, and it took her two years for her pick back up on making the arrangements herself.

'Heartleap' is Bunyan's most reflective album, and although she is still likely to be recording music into the future, it's likely to be her last full body of work. It's in this spirit of reflection – of the closing of a chapter – that Bunyan looks back on some of the defining moments from her time since returning to making music. It's a story of an artist fortunate enough to work with the contemporary musicians of two very different generations.

FatCat Records released 'Heartleap' on October 6th 2014 (buy).