Spoken word poet Bob Jensen has joined forces with Tony McManus to release The Swallowtail for Christmas. McManus, who is touted by many critics as the greatest Celtic guitarist in the world, is originally from Scotland but now resides in Elora, Ontario.
The Swallowtail is a true story. In 2015, Jensen took a frozen spruce into the house to decorate for Christmas and a couple of hours later, a beautiful yellow butterfly emerged, remaining in the house for the duration of the holidays. A dish of fruit was set out for the newly wakened visitor, and it spent many hours on some broken orange pieces, which seemed to sustain it. “He was to me, a living metaphor for those who are lonely at Christmas,” says Jensen. “How could I not write a poem about him?”
And so he did. It was originally recorded by PEI’s Lennie Gallant, but Jensen wanted to release his own version with music this year and recorded the poem in October with well-know Charlottetown guitarist and producer, Chris Corrigan, who has worked with artists such as Natalie MacMaster and Rita MacNeil, whose last album he produced. MacManus adapted a traditional keening song from the Isle of Barra for the piece, and recorded the guitar part in Woodstock, New York at the studios of Jerry Marotta. Jensen and MacManus are planning to release a full CD of Christmas poetry, short stories and music in November of 2019.
The Swallowtail is being released as a holiday single to CBC, campus and community radio across Canada, as well as into some international markets. It is available for sale and live streaming on digital platforms, including Amazon, Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify.