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First Watch: Darlingside, 'God of Loss'

I have found myself watching and re-watching this video over and over since I first saw it. It takes a simple idea — a story that unfolds via paper cut with an X-Acto knife and backlit to create intricate and stunning silhouettes — and shapes it into something that honestly feels divine.

The music, a song called "The God of Loss," is by Darlingside, a band I just recently discovered at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville. The Massachusetts quartet's rich harmonies are just one of the keys to its power. The subject of the song is another. Auyon Mukharji, who sings and plays mandolin in Darlingside, told me in an email that the song's title and tale are based on the Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. "The character Velutha is tangled in a web of familial, cultural and romantic loyalties. The lyrics for 'The God of Loss' were inspired by Velutha's attempts to preserve his humanity in the face of those competing forces."

Andrew Benincasa did the extraordinary paper cutting. Auyon says, "The final storyline was largely Andrew's vision. Although we as a band were not previously familiar with shadow puppetry, we found the medium to be an excellent fit – the stark, black-and-white presentation combined with Andrew's richly detailed paper-cutting imbues the song with an almost mythological depth."

It's a perfect introduction to an exciting and talented young band. "God of Loss" can be heard on Darlingside's new record, Birds Say.

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