Our First Signs of Love feature is about that moment you think you’ve found a new artist to love. This week we shine the spotlight on ilonalowe.

Introducing ilonalowe

An independent indie-folk artist, London-born and Sussex bred, returns to the world of alternative music with a pseudonym that plays on her natural introversion. “Ilona”, the childhood nickname lovingly given to Marnie Burt by her parents, is Hungarian for “queen of the fairies.”

“I would dance around aimlessly in an amazing dress and lose myself in all the beauty of everything,” ilonalowe explains. “I think the world has done well to retain some sense of childlike wonder this year. If my songs can help people to drift off into their dreamworlds, even if only for a moment, I’ll consider it a job well done. One needs one’s daydreams for lockdown company.”

Holy The Night and New Year’s Day

Whilst the release of a Christmas track as an artist’s debut may well be pretty unorthodox, ilonalowe isn’t phased by breaking the norms. A contemporary spin has been put on the traditional Christmas song format, with ilonalowe’s release of Holy the Night, and B-side track New Year’s Day. Featuring gorgeous vocals and festive vibes, the tracks explore the looming reality of a lockdown Christmas period.

Holy The Night focuses on the regrets of not making the most of previous Christmases with loved ones. New Year’s Day is an extension of the same sentiment, but set to a reharmonisation of Auld Lang Syne.

For many, Christmas songs will feel overwhelming this year, with the continuation of lockdowns and harsh restrictions. However, ilonalowe’s debut release, with its touching homage to the dire circumstances that we are all facing, feels like a refreshing and encouraging embrace.

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Words Rachel Makinson