Mumford & Sons


While I normally frequent the news and science sections of NPR, I decided to browse through the arts section. There I discovered this piece about the British band Mumford & Sons. This story is interesting because it alludes to a few scenes in the piece and for the story of its central character, the band’s lead singer.

The story starts by recreating some of the band Mumford & Sons “road-testing”, playing just-written songs on the road by playing new music. This creates a scene through music that reminds the listener of a concert. This technique is particularly suitable for a band profile, which this piece is. It is used to introduce new music, which is what the band does on the road according to the story.

This piece also uses characterization well. The piece starts by characterizing Mumford & Sons. Lead singer Marcus Mumford starts by explaining what the band is not. It is not a bluegrass band because it “is not American” nor is it an Irish band because they are British.  Mumford does admit he likes the interviewer’s description of the band as a quartet, an accurate description because the band has four members.

The band is a character in and of itself because the band is its own separate entity from the musicians. Individually, they are four musically inclined persons; together they form the band Mumford & Sons. This is an interesting characterization because the characters in a story or article are usually the people involved. Here the band is a character too because it is the focus of the story, a very complex one because its character is built from other characters in the piece, the musicians.

Mumford is one of two band members interviewed in the piece, so it goes into his background in some depth. The interviewer refers to him as a “preacher’s kid”, a label that alludes to the biblical reference in the song/album title “Babel”. Mumford is also a songwriter, so much of his quotes are about the process of bringing a song from words to the album. It casts him as an important character within the band, one of the people heavily involved in creating new songs.

Characterization is important to this piece because it is a profile, a story about characters. Good journalism is full of these characters because it adds dimensions to the story. After all what is storytelling without characters?

Comments are closed.