Undying Heads is a travelling band, made up of duo Frank Ryder and Sam Wilkinson, and they play an eclectic mix of original acoustic folk music.
Undying Heads first began in 2018, as part of the busking scene in Lagos, when Sam and Frank met and then they went on to meet double bass player, Kev Saunders, who unfortunately left the band in 2019.
Frank Ryder is from Dublin, Ireland and is a songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and most uniquely he plays the mandola. Frank has been part of the bands Far Canals in Galway, Ireland and The Rocking Horse of Oisin in central Portugal as well as making electronic music, under the name 3bass in Barcelona. Frank told me that “Undying Heads started after the big fire, in October 2017, things really changed because my home and all my belonging got destroyed by the wild fires and I did not feel like sticking around and got back on the road. Even my van burned and I had to get a new van and new guitar before deciding to head down to Lagos.”
In 2018, Sam Wilkinson from Cirencester, UK, joined Undying Heads. Sam is a vocalist and plays the Bodhran and Mandola. Sam started singing at age 15 and was in a new wave band called Enzone. She went on to sing in “the Gloucester Community Folk Choir in 2005 which was a great lesson in singing technique as well as a brilliant way to learn some obscure folk songs from around the world.” After meeting Frank, she was inspired to take up singing again as well as learning the bodhran and the lockdown led her to take up guitar again and learn the mandola. Undying Heads went on to perform all over Europe including at Freekuency festival and Total Resistance festival.
We went on to speak about their latest album ‘A Break in the Country’, where Frank told me “A lot of it was written in the first lockdown, whilst we were in Morocco. The album talks about the pandemic and the issues we are facing in the world, with honest and catchy lyrics. We started production in the van and finished in my house in the centre of Portugal. I started writing when we were stuck in a lovely fishing village in Morocco for the first five months of lockdown and I found that time inspiring for song writing and the village is actually featured in the last track.”
I also asked Frank, about how ‘A Break in the Country’ compares to their previous album and Frank told me that “what is different about this album is that because we weren’t doing gigs, normally the songs for a gig have to have a start, middle and an end because we are performing live and it is harder when it comes to recording them as you aren’t used to playing them from start to finish. I also used a drum machine which I used years ago when I did electronic music.” You can most definitely expect a different experience when they perform this album live!
Undying Heads are kindly offering The Portugal News readers a 50% discount off their new album, ‘A Break in the Country’. You can get their album by going to https://undyingheads.bandcamp.com clicking on the link to buy the album and entering portugalnews in the discount code box. It is important to note that this code expires on 31 December, 2021. Additionally, for more information and to keep up to date with tour announcements please see www.undyingheads.eu.