ANDREW Kerry, Fruit Songs

Kerry Andrew


Kerry Andrew is a London-based musician, and author. Her debut novel, Swansong, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2018 and her second SKIN in 2021. She made her short story debut on BBC Radio 4 in 2014 with One Swallow and was shortlisted for the 2018 BBC National Short Story Award.


Kerry is the winner of four British Composer Awards and is best known for her experimental vocal, choral and music-theatre work, often based around themes of community, landscape and myth. She sings with Juice Vocal Ensemble and has released two albums with her band You Are Wolf: Hawk to the Hunting Gone (2014), a collection of avian folk-songs re-interpreted, and Keld (2018), inspired by freshwater folklore.


© David Higham Associates


Fruit Songs

I mango
II plum
III blackberry
IV cherry
V apple

I never treat a poem as a ‘straight’ setting: ‘mango’ is fairly schizophrenic in nature, with sections of percussive phonetics interspersed with sung chunks of the whole text. ‘plum’ is simpler, only picking out ‘forgive me’ as a refrain. In ‘blackberry’, I chose an 11-note row, with 1 quaver pitch to a syllable, which is then deconsructed. ‘cherry’ examines a range of extra-vocal techniques using only the word ‘Oh!’, and has a more theatrical interplay between singer and guitarist. For ‘apple’, I stripped down the Drinkwater poem to what I saw as its essentials. Particular musical influences for these songs include Björk, Meredith Monk, Sheila Chandra, English folk, Japanese, West African and Indian music.


© Kerry Andrew


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