photo: laura may grogan 2021 shoot
About Charm of Finches
Charm of Finches are baroque-folk sisters Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes from Melbourne, Australia. They peddle honey-dipped harmonies, haunted folk tunes woven together on many stringed things.
Their third full length album Wonderful Oblivion was released in October 2021 on New York City label antifragile music.
blood harmonies fit for stargazing
“folk purity…affecting and emotional” the music
“Melbourne sister duo charm of finches radiates an otherworldly temperament. it’s as if their music and words bear ancient fruits of wisdom from the past, present and future all delicately intertwined to create timeless and masterful compositions that touch the depths of your soul.” Earmilk
posted by charm of finches on Spotify
What were your favorite songs growing up?
As kids we listened to a lot of celtic folk music and americana and appalachian mountain music.
We loved the soundtrack to the film “o’ brother where art thou” and our favourite song from that was “the highways and the hedges” which was sung by three little girls in three-part harmony - the peasall sisters. We used to ask our parents “can we listen to the kids singing?” we also loved dancing to the putumayo celtic dreamland compilation CD - there was auld lang syne sung by Dougie Maclean and a few songs in Gaelic that sent us twirling around the living room floor choreographing dances.
What was it like to produce an album in your bedroom for the first time during lockdown?
It was mostly fun, sometimes difficult! We had recorded strings from home for our previous albums and this time we actually just couldn’t get into a studio due to lockdown so we decided to try recording it all from home. We recorded it all with one microphone in a makeshift vocal booth made from microphone stands draped in blankets - to get rid of the echo of the room like in a recording studio. We worked with canadian producer Daniel Ledwell for the first time - he lives over in nova scotia. we would record our tracks and send them over to him to mix. There were a lot of early morning zooms to account for the time difference! recording at home was both a blessing and a curse; we had the leisure of recording any time we wanted, but that meant we could also procrastinate or get stuck on one vocal take, and record it one hundred times! That's the perfectionist in us both. It was good to have each other to bounce off, and be the engineer for each other. While one of us was recording, the other would make notes, doing a tick or a cross for each line - we have a book full of ticks and crosses … as siblings, we can be pretty brutally honest with each other!
What are your favourite songs on "Wonderful Oblivion"
We are so proud of this album and it’s actually kind of hard to pick a favourite! we do really like Gravity - we really wanted to explore capturing specific little moments and memories in our lyrics - like vignettes. We think this song does that pretty well, it’s very personal. We were both writing about how we had experienced false hope and toxic positivity - in a romantic relationship as well as coping with a close friend dying.
We also really love the arrangements and production on gravity. We felt that it was important for the instrumentation to really cushion the vulnerability of the lyrics so there are a lot of plucked strings in there - nylon guitars, banjo, ukulele, harp, violin and cello. We actually put bits of foam under the strings to get that delicate, muted sound - this is a little trick we suspect Sufjan Stevens has used a lot!
Which song on the album was the hardest one to write?
The song we found hardest to write was probably Heavy - that’s another song we are also extremely proud of. We actually had a totally different chorus originally but it just wasn’t quite right and we’re so glad we kept exploring and didn’t just settle with it. The song is about the heavy feeling we have when we think about the climate crisis and growing up with this sense of doom about the future. it was important to us that the song captured that feeling.
That's the most powerful thing about music - conveying the essence of a feeling, and it was important to us that we communicated that feeling rather than get all preachy about the issues. it took a lot of exploration to find that in the song.
What album have you listened to the most last year?
We’ve listened to maple glider a lot! She is a singer/songwriter here in melbourne and her debut record is so dreamy and whimsical. We have it on vinyl and have been playing it quite a lot!
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Our all time musical hero Sufjan Stevens - it would be a dream come true to collaborate with him! We think sonically we would mesh really well and lyrically we’d blend sad stories seamlessly.
Also, Laura Viers - her songs stir something deep within you. Her album years of meteors is another album that competes as the album we’ve listened to most this year.
You grew up in Australia, what’s your most beautiful memory of growing up there?
Mabel: yes, we’ve lived in Melbourne, Australia our whole life. When I think about my most beautiful memories of childhood I think of a road trip we took with our parents and grandfather in a "troopie" 7-seater around kakadu national park up in the northern territory. We sat in the very back seats watching the dusk swirl on the red dirt roads and the pandanis trees and paper bark trees passing by. The land up there is captivatingly beautiful and special up there!
I wrote songs about the huge waterfalls we visited, the natural hot springs and camping under the stars. one of those songs, truly beauty, is on our 2016 debut album staring at the starry ceiling.
What kind of connection do you have to nature?
We’ve always felt very inspired by nature - it seems to reflect human emotions perfectly. Whether it’s the ocean, floating, drowning or treading water … or the quiet watching of stars or the whispering of trees as they stir in a gentle wind.
We’ve spent a lot of time in nature and we find it’s the perfect place to contemplate and clear the mind as well as pour it all out into a song. At school we went on lots of hikes. We hiked the sublime great ocean road, the rocky crags and bushland of the grampians and the incredibly dramatic high country alps. We are so excited to visit the forests from fairy tales when we go to Europe later this year!
You will go on tour this year! Which countries will you tour in, what will you miss about Australia and which cities are you the most excited for?
We are touring the UK in April/May; then to the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, with more shows yet to be announced. people can find tickets and more info on our website (https://charmoffinchesband.com). when we used to busk as kids, we had a sign that said “busking for Ireland '' - all the celtic fairy tale audiobooks we listened to definitely had us dreaming about Ireland with hidden tombs below rolling hills and crumbling castles! it’ll be great to finally get over to that part of the world.
thank you for the interview Charm of Finches!
18th of January 2022
review on the album wonderful oblivion
by Charm of Finches
Charm of Finches touches your heart with their charming and angelic singing.
They take you on a journey to the depths of nature and fairytale-like places. It is hardly possible not to get emotional while listening to their songs as they carry stories that are waiting to be unfolded.
While listening to their songs, I was longing for nature, for childhood memories and for home.
I felt warmth and cold at the same time as well as sadness and joy.
But most of all i feel understood.
It is a beautiful experience.