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Poet Laureate Simon Armitage tells Q About his Music Project 'Blossomise' for World Poetry Day

Armitage’s band LYR have released a five-track music-and-poetry EP as part of a project with the National Trust’s annual Blossom campaign.

lyr blossomise
Source: Angela Harding

'Blossomise' is a unique collaboration between the Poet Laureate's band and the National Trust.

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LYR, the band fronted by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, has released a five-track EP, Blossomise, and announced a limited British tour.

Blossomise is the product of a collaboration with the National Trust as part of the charity’s annual Blossom campaign. The band also worked closely with various other artists, including choirs and young filmmakers, who created the music videos for each of the songs. You can watch them here.

LYR, comprised of Armitage, singer-songwriter Richard Walters, and multi-instrumentalist and producer Patrick J. Pearson, is a project dedicated to bringing together music and spoken-word poetry. Their debut album, Call in the Crash Team, was released in 2020 to uniformly positive reviews, with Louder commenting: “It still seems bizarre a poet appointed by the Queen could be part of such a dark and compelling album, but Armitage has never taken a conventional approach to populating verse. Call In the Crash Team melds high quality verse and smart instrumentation to forensically examine the ups and downs of living in today’s Britain.”

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lyr simon armitage
Source: Bijorn Franklin

LYR is a coming together of Armitage's poetry and the music and vocals of Richard Walters and Patrick J. Pearson.

Speaking exclusively to Q, Armitage explained how the coming-together of poetry, music and the National Trust came about.

Blossomise is the culmination of probably about 18 months of work,” he said. “The National Trust were looking to artists who would create work that would provide a connection between the human world and the natural world. I proposed to them that I would write a bunch of poems and that some of those would be repurposed to song lyrics and with LYR we'd make a suite of work and also make films with young filmmakers.

“I've written 20 poems and they've been published in the book Blossomise, which comes out today, and we’ve made five tracks with LYR. And then we're doing a series of shows with the poems and the tracks sung with choirs, starting in Plymouth and ending in Newcastle.

“It's intended as a great celebration of blossom. I've described it as nature's cheerleader, this ecstatic explosion of color, but I also wanted to get into some of the environmental things around blossom as a signifier of how the weather's changing and the environment is under pressure.

“The concerns about losing nature aren't just sentimental ones. Nature is such an astonishing thing. It enlarges our imagination, it makes us better thinkers, it tells us that there are these bigger systems and more elaborate ideas in the world.”

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Source: © Gordon Armstrong : Durham BRASS Festival

The EP will be supported by a book of poems by Armitage and a series of live dates across Britain.

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The five track Blossomise EP is available to pre order and stream on digital platforms now here.

Tickets for the tour are on-sale on the National Trust’s website today.

The currently confirmed LYR Blossomise performance dates are:

Saturday 20th April – Plymouth, Market Hall

Sunday 21st April – Coventry, Charterhouse

Saturday 27th April – Greater Manchester, Quarry Bank

Sunday 28th April – Newcastle, Wylam Brewery

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