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Listen: Dead Rat Orchestra's Tyburnia soundtrack

May 2015

Stream a soundtrack by the folk group Dead Rat Orchestra for a film about places of public execution in the UK

Tyburnia is a soundtrack by the folk group Dead Rat Orchestra for artist James Holcombe's film Tyburnia: A Radical History Of 600 Years Of Public Execution. Shot on 16mm, the film looks at the history and legacy of London's Tyburn Gallows, the city's principal place for public executions for 600 years.

Dead Rat Orchestra's Tyburnia mixes historical and contemporary forms such as 16th and 17th century execution ballads, electroacoustic techniques and field recordings from different execution sites. A selection of the songs contain lyrics written in Thieves Cant (also known as Rogues Cant or Peddlers French), a secret language used by ne'er-do-wells and underworld cohorts.

From 27 May–5 July Dead Rat Orchestra will perform the soundtrack live at (or near) gallows sites across the UK. Each screening will be followed by presentations, Q&As and discussions with local historians and human rights activists. The launch of the tour is Wednesday 27 May at London's The Carpenters Arms in Marble Arch. Click here for full tour information.

The soundtrack is released by Antigen Records and accompanies a book featuring images from Holcombe's film and the lyrics of the ballads in the recordings.

Click here to watch a trailer of the film

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