Alf Whitby – ‘Dampen the Fire’

Alf Whitby has shared ‘Dampen the Fire’, his first new music since last year’s debut album ‘Sistine Dreams’. The piano-based piece finds Alf exploring the role his grandmother has played in family gatherings over the years- and the fear of what will happen once she is no longer there: ‘I wrote this song at Dublin airport, after visiting my grandma for what might have been the last time. That feeling was pretty awful; also pretty strange. I didn’t know how to feel, but I wanted to write. The song reflects her role in the family – the fire around which we gathered, the common experience we shared. I was definitely scared of how things would be after her death, whether it would give the family less cause to be together. The song became a rallying call to remembrance, to reflection, to refuelling and to the stoking of a fire that needn’t go out.

With a melancholic and baroque tone reminiscent of Loney Dear, Joni Mitchell and Hayden Thorpe, the emotive song opens in a spacious fashion that gives the lyrics time to really tug at your heartstrings – ‘If it transpires these are the last words, I don’t think the fire will keep’ – before genteel guitars and subtle drums add extra depth. It’s a personal tale that will resonate with anyone listening.


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