EMILY BARKER, the British-based, Wallander theme-gracing singer-songwriter, has released a beautifully animated lyric video for her track “The Woman Who Planted Trees”, ahead of her new album, A Dark Murmuration of Words, which Thirty Tiger will be releasing on September 4th.

And Emily, who grew up in Western Australia, brought an African ecological activist and childhood memory to bear in her new dendrophiliac song, as she explains.

The lyrics are inspired by the Kenyan Wangari Maathai, who founded The Green Belt Movement in order to reforest degraded land to provide food and empower women in her community.

Emily added: “I grew up planting trees with my family along the Blackwood River to help prevent erosion, and in barren paddocks that had been cleared for livestock during colonisation.

 “Those lessons stuck with me and I’ve continued to support tree-planting schemes, especially in Australia, where there are huge problems with salinity due to swathes of land being cleared by the early settlers.”

The beautifully stylized line-drawing short film accompanies Emily bell-clear paean to these silent leafy giants. “I can tell my age by the height of trees / By the years they’ve stood growing over me”. It’s quietly lovely, affecting, and inflected with that strain of acoustic Americana that led her to her Artist of the Year award at the UK Americana Awards two years back. 

This isn’t Americana that seeks to play in the cliched motifs of the form; it takes that acoustic melodicism and all its dusty savannah, folk song redolence to fashion new tales.

Emily’s A Dark Murmuration of Words is available to pre-order now.