Asheville-based singer and songwriter Anya Hinkle has released a video for her most recent single, “Hills of Swannanoa,” after a premiere by Americana Highways.
“‘Hills of Swannanoa’ is the story of the Great Flood of 1916,” the singer-songwriter says. “The unusually heavy mid-summer rains that year, coming in addition to heavy logging in the Carolina mountains, caused severe flooding of the Swannanoa and French Broad Rivers and heavy damage in the Asheville area. My friend, Akira, had written an instrumental tune called ‘Swannanoa’ after moving to nearby Black Mountain almost 20 years ago to start a ceramics studio, and he asked me if I might want to write some lyrics. I let my mind wander to the beautiful Swannanoa Valley, where I spent a lot of time with my daughter when she was very small. There is a mystical feeling there: vibrations from the ancient Cherokee, heavy mists that shroud the hills, generous green that carpets the valleys. It feels sacred, sad and beautiful.”
“During the quarantine summer of 2020, Gen Kogure (Tobuconqueso Studio) and I filmed all over the Asheville area, from the Swannanoa Valley to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway in all kinds of weather, on drones, time-lapse cameras, out of car windows, under umbrellas, laying belly-down on bridges,” Hinkle continues. “I decided to use an actor for the video, fiddler and cyclist Grayson Wickel, to play the main character, a young man who settles in Swannanoa to start his life. I was the narrator of the story and my daughter Sachi is the little girl that is swept away in the river (a role she is a bit dubious about). The lyrics create a series of vivid but abstract pictures that encourage the imagination; the video helps give a backdrop to enhance the visuals.”
> “Hills of Swannanoa” is currently a Featured Track on Apple Music: