A Royal Game | Kungsleden

from Mountscribe by Rowan Piggott

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You may have heard a version of this on Georgia Lewis' album The Bird Who Sings Freedom. I wrote the song after reading Stefan Zweig's novella The Royal Game, and began to see parallels between Zweig as a political refugee and the persecuted monarchist in the book. Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) was a Nazi directive – the phrase pinched from Wagner, but by some cruel twist of irony, Zweig ended up an avid collector of Wagner's manuscripts... Anyway, that's all in there somewhere! I wrote the polska (The King's Trail) while on tour in the north of Sweden.


A restless king is sat all alone
He fears that he may lose his throne,
For from afar he can see a host
Of darkened soldiers come from the coast.
As they approached his castle then
They met a rank of brave footmen
Whose duty bound them to remain
Though fate would play their lives in vain.

The battle rages for e'er an hour,
The king he hides in his ivory tower,
While all the clergy say their creed
And every horseman mounts his steed.
As night and fog obscured them all
They sured the gate and the old stonewall
In fear and trembling there laid low
Without an ally to slay their foe.

Our king sat wooden in his keep
As if in some enchanted sleep
But as he stood to survey the scene
He saw them take his beloved queen.
His men lay strewn 'cross the battlefield
And all alone now our king must yield
As circling rooks foretold his fate
He heard his foe call aloud, "Checkmate!"


from Mountscribe, released January 14, 2018
Rowan Piggott – Voice / Fiddle
Felix Miller – Guitar
Anna Tabbush – Fiddle


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Rowan Piggott Sheffield, UK

Rowan is a fiddle-singer, writer and tunesmith who grew up in the foothills of the Burren on the west coast of Ireland, surrounded by traditional music. The author of two successful tunebooks, he has also written articles for The Living Tradition magazine and led fiddle workshops at festivals all over the country. In 2016, he won the Future of Young Folk Award at Bromyard Folk Festival. ... more

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