Secret Lives

The Songs.

Learning the Ropes: A working life.

The Andrea Gail: In memory of the crew of a Gloucester, Massachusetts, fishing vessel, lost on the Grand Banks in the perfect storm of October, 1991.

The Garden: The English Garden: an image forever tainted by the Great War of 1914-18.

Clewers Hill: Peter Cluer was murdered at Waltham Chase, Hampshire, in the early eighteenth century. He now lies buried a few miles away in Droxford churchyard.

Smalltalk: A conversation.

Britannicus: A history of the Roman invasion of Britain and a comment on our confused national identity.

Stand & Deliver: The story of Dick Turnip, the less well known cousin of the famous highwayman.

Farewell To Old England: The rise and fall of the Royal Navy, from the time of King Henry VIII to the present day.

Jack’s Lament: In former times many who served in the Royal Navy were not volunteers but victims of the Press Gang.

Scotland: This song is dedicated to the Incredible String Band.

Iceman: The story of Utzi, the Iceman, discovered in 1991 beneath a melting Alpine glacier.

The Meeting: Choices made and to be made – a familiar stranger ?

Listen to the songs on You Tube 

Buy a copy of Secret Lives here.

Reviews :

Hampshire Chronicle 11 May 2001

Fanciful musings put to music are all very well but there’s a special fascination about folksongs based on fact.

Take, for instance, the story of Peter Cluer, who lies buried in Droxford churchyard, having met a violent end nearly 300 hundred years ago.  In a case of mistaken identity, he was set upon by two brothers and shot by an accomplice at a spot near Waltham Chase known to this day as Clewers Hill.  His killers were tried at the Assizes and hanged.

When songwriter, Ivor Bundell (45), from Colden Common, came across the tale in a local history, it captured his imagination, moving him to put pen to paper.  Clewers Hill is one of the tracks on “Secret Lives”, an album that he and brother, Kevan (46), from Botley, have just released.  It keeps a foot in both camps – traditional and contemporary – with songs, all Ivor’s, that span a wide variety of subjects and influences.  There’s passion and patriotism and, yes, history, throughout, with points of reference ranging from the Roman Invasion, the rise and fall of the Royal Navy and the price of war to a real life tragedy at sea and the discovery of a perfectly-preserved 2000-year-old corpse beneath an Alpine glacier.

For Ivor and Kevan, the CD represents something of a comeback.  Although they are well known in Hampshire for their charity performances, it’s 25 years since, with friends, they last made an album.  Both multi-instrumentalists, they will be at the Winchester Folk Festival this weekend and at the city’s Hat Fair in July.  On Saturday, May 19th, they’ll be taking part in a charity concert at the Friends Meeting House, Southampton.

The CD “Secret Lives”, by Ivor and Kevan Bundell, price £10, may be obtained through or at their performances.

Revolution 12

Ivor & Kevan Bundell – Secret Lives

Like many folk artists, brothers Ivor and Kevan Bundell – multi-instrumentalists both – have a passionate interest in the lives of working people today and in history.  (They were inspired by Robin Williamson and The Incredible String Band, another thing they share with countless performers in the folk world and beyond.)  Small Talk says so much about our frequent efforts at saying virtually nothing, while opener Learning The Ropes touchingly charts a life of hard work, modest rewards and tragic loss, emphasising that we never stop learning often difficult lessons until the day we die.  If this deals with the everyday type of life then The Andrea Gail deals with death in a manner that was utterly real but light years away from most of our realities.  Based on Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm (the searing, compassionate book rather than the film) it captures one of its main themes.  Many of the fishermen know that death at sea is almost inevitable if you keep pushing the odds by going out again and again, and that fish are bought with men’s lives.  The sea also features strongly in Farewell To Old England, which charts the rise and decline of the Royal Navy, and Jack’s Lament, an unflinching look at the conditions facing the thousands of press-ganged sailors who served in that navy.  Elsewhere Ivor’s song-writing and rich lead vocals turn him into the highwayman Dick Turnip(!!), a host of Romano-Brit’s and Utzi, the prehistoric Iceman recovered 10 years ago from an Alpine glacier.  Accompaniment from Kevan on vocals and a host of instruments is superb and more familial help is to be found in Shamini Bundell’s fine keyboard work, Paul Gateshill (acoustic and electric guitars) and Lindsay Brown (vocals) rounding off the accomplished support.  For information – including how to get hold of this gentle, thoughtful album – go to

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