Emily Scott Robinson will release Built on Bones, an EP-length "song cycle for the Witches of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth," on October 28 via the late John Prine's Oh Boy Records (pre-order). Here are more details:
Originally commissioned for the Telluride Theatre, these songs first came to life on stage, with Robinson directing the music and performing in the role of Hecate. Following a profuse fan response, Robinson joined forces with producer Brandy Zdan and fellow artists Alisa Amador and Lizzy Ross (of duo Violet Bell) to record these modernized adaptations. Across the six tracks, Robinson, Amador and Ross emulate the play’s three Witches, singing the tragedy of Macbeth in striking three-part harmony. In continued support of the project, Robinson has partnered with Paladin Artists to find a new theatrical home for the adaption. Additional details to come.
Reflecting on the project, Robinson shares, “In the spring of 2021, I was asked by my friend and theatre director Colin Sullivan to compose music for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The Witches of MacBeth are traditionally cast as scary, ugly and evil creatures to which we attribute the darker magic of the show and Macbeth’s descent into madness. Our theory was this: What if the Witches were instead beautiful, tempting, sexy, powerful and playful? What if the Witches held the capacity, just like Macbeth, for both light and dark magic? After all, in the time of King James I and the witch trials in England, the ‘witches’ targeted by the Crown were not supernatural beings—they were folk healers, spiritualists and teachers. We envisioned a version of the show where we gave the Witches a powerful voice, and in doing so, belied the history of violence against women and their magic. In making this record, Lizzy, Alisa, Brandy and I held in our hearts the intention to heal the lineage of women who came before us and declare that our power and magic cannot be controlled or snuffed out by a violent patriarchy of fearful men.”