Anna Calvi announces the release of 'Peaky Blinders: Season 5 & 6 (Original Score)'

In less than a decade Anna Calvi has been shortlisted three times for the Mercury Music Prize, nominated for a BRIT Award, received praise from the highest quarters and established herself as an artist fearless of examining identity and passion. The three Anna Calvi albums to date are dark-inked essays in turbulence and drama. Today, Anna Calvi is pleased to share new song from the forthcoming release, the propulsive 'Black Tuesday' underpinned by her unmistakable guitar.

Now, Anna Calvi garners further respect after her first foray into scores. A brave and rewarding undertaking, Calvi wrote and performed the scores for Season 5 and Season 6 of the BBC One show Peaky Blinders and we are pleased to announce her captivating and atmospheric compositions will now be released for the first time and in full-on January 26th 2024 via Domino Soundtracks. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Peaky Blinders broke BBC iPlayer streaming records in 2022 nearing nearly 7 million streams for the first episode of Season 6 and going on to reach 30 million streams for the season plus over 55 million streams for the boxset. 

Talking about her work on the score, Calvi says “Composing for Peaky Blinders was about atmosphere and space. There’s so much nuance when it comes to scoring to picture. It’s more about what you leave out than what you leave in. I had to let the voice of the actors do the talking but find ways of bringing out the emotion within that. I became completely obsessed with Tommy Shelby, I dreamt about him every night whilst I was working on the scores, I had to really inhabit the show."

Having been initially commissioned to write the score for Season 5 in 2019, Calvi’s remarkable arrangements were an impeccable match with Peaky Blinders and led her to being brought back on board to work on the show’s final ever season. Calvi explains further: “There is a duality to the show, of beauty and brutality, which I had been exploring in my own music. I’m fascinated by the manipulation of emotions with sound, it’s so mysterious. I really tried to explore this with Peaky Blinders, sometimes putting the opposite music than you would expect on a scene had the most impact.”

Peaky Blinders: Season 5 & 6 (Original Score) comprises 37 tracks taking in different members of The Shelby Company Limited as well as newer characters such as Oswald Mosley. The album also includes the previously released original songs 'You’re Not God' and the swaggering 'Ain’t No Grave' as well as Calvi’s cover of 'Red Right Hand', the Peaky Blinders theme song by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. These all highlight Calvi’s visceral guitar but elsewhere, there are also tender, delicate moments of piano accompanied by her compelling voice as well as shadows of foreboding as the show enters a turbulent time in British history.

On Season 5, Anna composed everything herself and performed it largely herself including vocals, guitar, violin, piano, percussion and harmonium. Talking about the process, Calvi says: “For Season 6 I wanted to bring more musicians on board for a fresh take, and I wanted to find a new musical voice for Tommy. I decided to bring in Nick Launay to work with me – he had produced my last album ‘Hunter’. We faced several challenges on this score as it was during the Coronavirus pandemic, and I was also late into the pregnancy of my first child. The combination of such intense work whilst being heavily pregnant was challenging. I didn’t want it to be seen as affecting my work. Yet at the same time it felt strange to believe, because of the pressures of our society, that I should hide any difficulty I was having. I felt aware that I can’t be the first pregnant person to be conflicted in this way.”

Anna continued working on the score until the night before the birth of her son Elio in November 2021, before swiftly returning to work and racing to finish the whole score as the season’s first record-breaking episode aired all whilst in the early stages of motherhood and adjusting to her new life.

“What I learnt most from writing for Peaky Blinders is to trust my instincts. I realised I shouldn’t be afraid of simplicity, and I shouldn’t assume that if something happens quickly, that the quality is compromised. This whole experience was so wonderful and so intense. I’m so proud of my scores for Peaky Blinders and I would love for this work to be a signpost for future generations of female composers.” The completion of the score marks a tremendous achievement for Calvi and showcases a composer and artist still unlocking and unveiling their full capabilities.

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