The Ensemble of the Golden Bough – The Name

The ensemble takes its name from the seminal work by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James Frazer entitled ‘The Golden Bough’. Readers may recognise the name from W.B. Yeats’ poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ or from the countless other poets, musicians and artists like D.H. Lawrence who were profoundly influenced by Frazer’s work. The book explores myths from cultures right across the world and the way in which ritual and ceremony is used to harness the power of the unconscious.

The Golden Bough - Jeroen van Valkenburg
The Golden Bough
Jeroen van Valkenburg (1973 – )

Though in Britain we are accustomed to examining other cultures in this way, we are less accustomed to approaching our own cultural, religious and magical rituals with the same sense of reverence.

The Ensemble of the Golden Bough is a means of turning the magnifying glass back on ourselves; though the druids have long since disappeared from these isles, artists still have a recognised role in contemporary society as gateways to the mystery of existence beyond the realms of rational description. In this spirit, and in spirit of the folk song which forms the core of our debut album, we have striven to capture spontaneous live performances rather than relying on endless takes, splices and recording software.