The Monday Tune today is "John Barleycorn Must Die," an old Anglo-Scots folksong personifying the growing, reaping, and brewing of barley. The song is believed to be rooted in the stories of Beowa, a barley god from Anglo-Saxon myth, and is best known through the version that Robert Burns published in 1782.
The little video above is an introduction to the characters in John Barleycorn Must Die, a graphic novel by Howard & artist Rex Van Ryn. The imagery comes from the JB Tarot deck. The song was recorded by David Wyatt (artist, and musician with Nosey Crows), who also played many of the instruments on the track. The vocals are by Howard and Amal El-Mohtar (writer, folklore scholar, and editor of Goblin Fruit), with fiddle by John Young and authentic "scythe scraping" by Rex.
The video comes from today's John Barleycorn blog post, celebrating Howard & Rex's return to the Internet after a period of hiatus (due largely to the Life Stuff that Howard and I were dealing with). The lads haven't been idle in the meantime. Next week's post is a discussion with Brian & Wendy Froud on artistic collaboration; after that, they talk to Amal about stories, symbolism, and reading Tarot. The comic itself is slated for summer publication...which is very soon now. Three cheers for it all.