The essence of Vela is encapsulated in the place that it was recorded; the studios of Lionheart Productions, West Cork, Ireland. This little turfed roofed, wattle and daub dwelling was built from natural materials in the surrounding hazel coppice, and recycled materials such as reclaimed doors and windows. With the dedication of his creative hands, it cost the home-builder his time and innovation more than his money to make. Similarly, Vela is skilfully fashioned from gathered sounds; from the natural world, from human wastage, and the eclectic mix of local musicians. This one-of-a-kind song collection was crafted with great friend and co-producer Rik Appleby as an organic development of tracks with quirky twists and turns that form a music in natural resonance with its environment.
Reviews on Vela
"'the music of what happens'..... Uninterrupted, perpetual, music that takes in water, wind and kitchen things, the unstructured symphony of a day, or a night, in the world.
Francesca Baines' sensitive, versatile delivery, combines with ingenious instrumentation - banjo, dulcimer, lampshade, sifting pan, matches and teacups, 'prepared piano' (Cage's invention), 'whispering forests' and harbour sounds - to give us back the world in heightened resolution.
There is the drama of her light voice wrestling with raw material, her lyrical scenarios, her wandering mysterious rhythms, sometimes abrupt and unexpected, with their "exotic" folk components - faint ghosts of gamelan and ravanhata.
The voice is remarkable for its emotional force and expressive range, from dark growl to boisterous. A thinking, innovative chanteuse, she has something of Joni Mitchell, something of Bjork. The Baines sound is a spirited and spiritual intervention in the world-music it celebrates."
"An exciting mix of modal harmonies, complex rhythms and earthy world music instrumentation, Vela is a treasure chest of myths, stories and observations that are dense in material, leavened with humour, and reward close attention."
Nicki Ffrench Davis, Irish Examiner
Vela's first published format is on a wooden key containing a beautifully illustrated adobe flash player, a variety of audio formats, video, a bonus electronic remix, and exclusive access to pre-releases. In a sustainable approach, the 2Gb key is naturally reusable.