Scarlet Starlings

An alternative folk band of cousins and significant others

Tag: scarlet starlings

Can Art Save You?

We’re looking ahead to our next project! This time, it’ll explore art and how important it is in our lives, especially in the wake of the pandemic. We’ll be doing an exciting collaborative project with a group of artists and creators, highlighting the importance of creativity in nurturing our souls and hearts!

The premise is: Can art save you? Sara-Mae and her band Scarlet Starlings set out to write a song that could actually save you… well, in a mental health sense. And while we’re at it, we ask other artists to create a piece they hope can save someone too. Do you think art has this sort of power? AmyBaker thinks so. Enjoy this gorgeous teaser she made with the gorgeous Urte Ugne Juodvirsyte.


New album coming soon! The Murmuration…


Grab a sneak peak of our new album with this adorable video for ‘THE STARS WAIT FOR US’ involving some of the most adorable kids and babies we know.  Confined to their homes during lockdown, they still find a way to escape through their imaginations…

We’ll also be collaborating on a new podcast with Sara-Mae’s award-winning indie podcast company Fable Gazers in 2021, but our album will be coming out in September/October with 14 brand new tracks exploring the idea of fairy tales for this dark new age, and themes which resonate with the turmoil of the current times.

Until then, here are some cute babies! (You’re welcome 😉

Why we write love songs

Valentine’s day is blooming and before the frost of unrequited love or stale chocolates or Tesco’s discount carnations can send you reaching for the vodka, we recommend that you reach first for your Spotify/iTunes fix.

Listening to love songs with a bad case of the broken hearts could be seen as a masochistic exercise, but hear us out. Or rather listen to what Elliot Smith, Bon Ivor, Roy Orbison and Neutral Milk Hotel have to say about it. It’s bound to be better than sending that ill-advised drunken text to your ex.

Not all of these songs are happy, mind. Love isn’t all about fluffy candy floss and sometimes we get spinach in our teeth or bad breath in the morning. Some of the best love songs embrace the brokenness of love, how it can rip you to pieces before putting you back together again.

And, of course, we’ve put Bon Jovi’s Bed of Roses on there as well because we know what the people want. And we give it to them.

Check it out here: Valentine’s playlist 

Otherwise here are some video samples:

Scarlet Starlings – Anyone Can Say I Love You

Elliot Smith – Say Yes

Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats

Skinny Love – Bon Ivor

Gino Paoli – Senza Fine

David Bowie – As the world falls down

So why do we write love songs? Maybe it’s about reaching for the common experience. Our favourite love songs just articulate what we’re feeling so much better than we can. We all go through heartbreak in our lives, just like we all (unless we’re very unlucky or have really bad B.O., in which case do something about it, fool) experience the bliss of being stuck on someone. Sometimes a love song is the only prescription for what ails you.

Here are some quotes about it from some people who might know more than us:

John Lennon
: “We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” (Right on, John.)

Billy Joel: “Musicians want to be the loud voice for so many quiet hearts.” (Sing it, Billy.)

Victor Hugo: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” (Preach, Vic.)

Maya Angelou: “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” (Yup. Indeedy, Maya)

Nick Hornby: “It’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favourite films wouldn’t even speak to each other if they met at a party.” (Hey, we listen to Bon Jovi ironically, OK?)

Whether you celebrate it with whips and chains ala 50 Shades or a nice box of chocs or a trip to Paris or hastily written card, make sure you spend it with someone you love. Or really like, like.


The Starlings

Gorgeous gig poster for Softly Softly gig

15Feb softly softly Isn’t it pretty? We’ll be featuring some new musicians on the day, including Khalid Ham on bass. Khalid showed up one day and wowed us with his bass skills. We plied him with tea and compliments and he’s agreed to stick around. Come and meet him and say hi to the rest of the band at this remarkably intimate and warm event run by the lovely and talented Annie Windley. We’ll be playing with Bity Booker ( and Robert Lane ( both of whom will wow you with their acoustic stylings. Hope to see you all there…

The Starlings x

2015, Here We Come

Scarlet Starlings

It’s a fine new year.

There is so much possibility ahead. So far, we’ve been playing with some new people, gingerly anticipating applying for festivals and looking forward to recording and gigging.

The newness of it is so enticing – like a shiny silver coin (which used to mean something when we were kids, but now? Can you even buy anything for less than a pound?). So many interesting projects brewing in our brains and so much great music to still be listened to – imagine that, your favourite song might still be waiting out there. Maybe you’ll hear it on July 1. Or October 22. Maybe you’re listening to it right now.

So, to give you some inspiration/enliven your day (almost wrote en-loven, which is also good, come to think of it), this is what we’re listening to on this day in 2015:

Little Green Cars – Harper Lee

Lucius – Go Home

Esme Patterson’s new album, ‘Woman to Woman’: – It’s made up of response songs to famous tracks about woman by men. You can see her performing ‘Tumbleweed’ a response to Town Van Zandt’s ‘Loretta’ here.

2015 – fantastic. Until it isn’t. And then you can write a song about it…


Our debut CD is pressed and ready

Scarlet Starlings debut CD front

We’re bursting out of our boots with excitement about the new cds! They arrived this morning in two large boxes. We were hesitant to rip open the ‘Fragile’ tape (what if it looked horrible and cheap? All that work for nothing….!!)

…but they looked fantastic.

The art is by Cathy Tuson (80% of the band member’s mother). We love the ‘suuumbolism’ of the bird (is it in or out of the cage? Is the cage an imaginary construct? Is my life a cage? Aaaargh *brain explodes). We invite all interpretations as well as lengthy academic treatises in exchange for free copies…

Kudos and big sloppy kisses to Chris and his team at Demo Master HQ. They were super efficient (I don’t believe they ever sleep. I sent about 80 ridiculous and pernickety emails on a Saturday and they answered every one – and all without a trace of snark – miraculous!). Plus, and more importantly for bands and musicians out there; they were the best value.

So feast your eyes on the new album and if you fancy a copy, come to our album launch on April 24 @ the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green. Otherwise the digital version, alas not quite as gorgeous, being intangible…will shortly be available on Spotify, iTunes etc.

Much love darlings,

From the starlings

Scarlet Starlings debut CD back

Anyone Can Say I Love You – the video

Who needs big budgets and slick production? A lot of laughter, tears (from laughter) and sneezing (you won’t believe the dust in an old wooden house) was involved in the making of our new video for the single from our up and coming debut album – Anyone Can Say I Love You.

We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it. We’ll soon be sharing some ridiculously funny out-takes too.


Scarlet Starlings – Début EP

Scarlet Starlings are very happy to share our début EP with you. It features four songs from the up and coming début album – Anyone can say I love you, So glad you stayed, You give it all away and Montauk.

For a limited time only we’ll make all tracks available to download from our Soundcloud, yay!

Scarlet Starlings début EP listen and download here.

Watch this space for release on Spotify and other digital hangouts where you can listen, buy or share until the long awaited album release.

We really hope you enjoy this little taster.

Love Sara-Mae, Mike, Talitha, Joe & Jen

Scarlet Starlings Début EP

Debut album coming soon

studio recording

Recording with the starlings

It’s taken us a while and we’ve taken many routes to get to our destination, but we’re finally nearing our goal of getting the album out.

Every musician knows what a wonderful, frustrating, time-consuming, inspiring (and many more adjectives!) process this is.

Capturing that elusive magic quality is tough no matter how great your environment or equipment is. Having a good producer is one thing – the person who gets the job of corralling a bunch of musicians into a cramped space and squeezing them of their creative juiceswhile walking the line between supportive musical midwife and gun wielding terma-gent (or terma-lady?). Then you have a variety of volatile temperaments to contend with. More than one songwriter? Check. Strong personalities? Some semblance of democracy? Check. Check.

Jason King, who worked with us up at Shed Studios in Oxford for some of the tracks, achieved his black belt in Advanced Diplomacy while we cooked soup and made salad in the luxury kitchen waiting our turn to do vocals or instruments. We chatted, wrote more songs and generally had a great time in the time capsule/space ship atmosphere created.

Then you have the mixer. This isolated soul (in our case John Laurence of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Daniel Green of Laish) has to listen to scores of tracks, sifting through the bum notes and the glottal stops and performing their digital wizardry. A thankless task when you have a band asking for you to ‘sort it out so it sounds good’. Reverb, equalising, panning…there’s an alchemy to it.

Mastering…don’t get us started.  Who even knows what happens during that process. Geraint Jones and Daniel saw to our tunes but we’re buggered if we know how they did it.

With the goal in sight you start to feel nostalgic about the genesis of each track. Where the inspiration for each song first came from. Has it survived the process intact? Sometimes you never manage to recapture the special something you had when you recorded the song on your phone.

Hopefully, the Scarlet Starlings debut keeps its glimmerings of musical madness.

The Scarlet Starlings debut album launches in March 2014. 

Baby Gone Gone live recording

Scarlet Starlings have done some new live recordings. One of the songs is based on the tragic shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, in South Africa earlier in 2013. Sung by Sara, Mike and Talitha.

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