Song of the day (13th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “Down By The Sally Gardens”.

Here is another song by Loreena MCKennitt that I love and want to share with you. Originally, it was a peoem written by William Butler Yeats – Irish 20th century poet and Nobel Prize winner (it was “Down By The Salley Gardens” in the original I believe). – Apparently, Yeats based some of it on a folk ballad “The Rambling Boys Of Pleasure”. It’s been recorded as a song by many artists though, and especially those making Celtic music. I think Loreena’s version is one of the best I know. b

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Song of the day (12th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “Annachie Gordon”.

Hi hi hi lovely people! πŸ™‚

It feels like I haven’t written anything in quite a while again, so let’s first catch up on some music, as I haven’t posted any music for a particularly long time.

I’d like to show you a few songs of one of my very first favourite Celtic music singers – Loreena MCKennitt. – Alongside Enya, Aine Minogue and a few others, she was keeping me sane during a time that was particularly difficult emotionally in my life, and she was one of the first artists associated with Celtic but also generally folk music that I’ve started to listen to a lot, and one of the first harpists whose music I’ve heard. I really like her dramatic soprano, my friend Jacek from Helsinki loved her and he used to say her voice is chil inducing, it indeed is very very expressive. I love the wide range of inspirations Loreena uses in her music, she’s not only into Celtic music but also oriental music, she has adapted various poems or pieces of literary work into pieces of music or has written her own music inspired by literature, legends, myths, historical/legendary figures etc. It’s like her each album has a bit of a theme that is going on throughout the album. I like how self-sufficient she is. Apart from being a singer, songwriter, composer and harpist, she has also her own record label – Quinlan Road – and also plays a few other instruments other than harp, she’s her own manager and seems to like running the show just on her own. And I like her harp play so very much. She’s one of the better Celtic harpists out there in my opinion.

Loreena MCKennitt is from Canada, she has Irish and Scottish roots (and her father’s name was JACK! that explains everything, doesn’t it? πŸ˜‰ ) and she currently lives in Ontario.

The song I want to show you in this post is a ballad called “Annachie Gordon”. If I remember well, this is one of the balads in the collection of Child’s Ballads, and it is English. I like many contemporary versions of this piece but Loreena’s is the best, because of her vocals and because of the magnificent harp! It was also the first version of this song I’ve heard, and I immediately fell in love with it. The plot of the ballad is quite, um, cliche, and now as I’m older than when I discovered “Annachie Gordon” it’s hard for me to listen to it without my sarcastic brain commenting and criticising the storyline (I basically think looking at it from these days perspective, the heroine, Jeannie, makes an impression of someone quite manipulative, I understand her pain when she was faced with having to live being married to a man she didn’t love instead of her beloved Annachie, but the scene where she falls on her knees before her father and dies looks, well, yeah, manipulative, you start to wonder if she’s going to suddenly rise up as soon as everyone leaves her alone and run away with Annachie as far from lord Sulton and her family as possible. πŸ˜€ I know, I know, I’m crazy and overanalysing). I also think life would be so easy if we really could just switch off and die when life throws sh*t at us as in the case of Jeannie and Annachie. But well, it is a ballad. And still, it is a beautiful one. I remember being absolutely fascinated by it, and for some reason because of it I really loved the name Annachie, which, you must admit, is a very unusual name, I’ve never heard in any other context or on anyone other than Annachie Gordon. I’ve even named a character in one of my short stories Annachie after him. Though now my tastes have changed and I think it lacks masculinity and looks like a fancy elaboration of Anna in the style of Annalee or Annamae, but of the more kreativ kind. πŸ˜€ Well, I guess it was apparently recreated from some old feminine name actually. Anyway, here’s the song. Hope you’ll enjoy it too. πŸ™‚

Kate Rusby – “Benjamin Bowmaneer”.

Kate Rusby is one of my most most most favourite English folk singers. I know her music for yers, practically ever since I’ve began immersing myself in celtic music and then even more when I delved deeper into English folk music as such. I love her crystal clear, light vocals and her very distinctive Yorkshire accent, and generally her approach to folk music suits my tastes I think. Here’s a song from one of her newest albums “Life On A Paper Boat”, it is a traditional English ballad.

Catrin Finch – Lisa LΓ’n (Fair Lisa).

Hi! πŸ™‚

Another tune from Catrin Finch I want to share with you. It’s just so stunningly beautiful. Not so long ago, I showed you the same song performed by the band Alaw and my current music crush, Gwilym Bowen Rhys. That one was a song, not an instrumental, so if you haven’t seen it before, you can check out, as well as the lyrics

here

Catrin Finch’s version is a harp solo arrangement of this traditional Welsh love song and it’s very creative and beautiful and relaxing and just so sooo beautiful it makes my brain melting and falling to pieces almost as much as Gwilym’s version.

Here it is:

Question of the day.

If you could bring to life one type of fantastical entity, be it a fairy or a dragon, what would it be?

My answer:

I think I’m gonna be a little bit predictable, for those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while, so I think I’ll give you a chance to guess lol. Do you have any ideas, what entity am I thinking about?

*** *** ***

My actual answer: πŸ˜€

The answer is… Jaaaaaaaaaack Frooooooost!!! πŸ˜€

For any newbies who probably are a bit confused, I’ve always had a weird liking for people named Jack, Jackie, or Jacek, or Jac, or almost anything beginning with Jacek, or names related to the name Hyacinth. Being a very socially anxious being, very often i somehow end up getting along with Jac- people, sooner or later, and most of them really do deserve my liking. There is just something very special about them. Can’t explain.

So yeah, Jack Frost… Fantastic topic for Easter time, huh? But we had snow a few days ago, so I feel kind of justified. πŸ˜€ As long as I know about Jack Frost, I like him. My contact with Jack Frost started with hearing Kate Rusby’s song “Jack Frost” which I really liked and wanted to get to know who Jack Frost is. So as I found out, my first thought was something like: “Wow, he sounds so cool. I’d love to meet him. He’d be so interesting and funny and cute, why don’t we have him in Poland?” Or actually, why so few people here know about him, as he isn’t our tradition? Yeah, I just like Jack Frost for his mischievousness and how artsy he must be.

But I also have another idea. I’d love to bring Selkies to life as well! I love Selkies! Again, my relationship with Selkies started with song – this time with Aine Minogue’s “The Selkie”. I loved the lyrics but i was curious what this Selkie actually is and it took me quite a while to find it out. I guess Selkies are much less popular than Jack Frost, so let me tell you a bit about them.

Selkies are mythical creatures of Celtic regions and Scandinavia. They are told to be seals, which can shed their sealskin when on the land and then become humans. There are legends about female selkies that were forced to marry a man who then was hiding her sealskin, not wanting to let her go back to the sea. Apparently, Selkies were very good housewives and mothers, but as they were seals primarily, they still wanted to go back to the sea and missed their true home. When such unhappy Selkie finally found her sealskin, she came back to see and to never leave it again, only to play or breastfeed their children. I don’t actually know why I like Selkies so much. Apparently there are also male Selkies, but I don’t know much about them. And I also love hulders, which are similar beings, but living in the Scandinavian forests and only females, and I would also bring them to life willingly.

And there’s still one more entity… The Sandman! OMG Sandman is so inspiring for me. I am generally easily inspired by dreams and stuff like this, so I just love everything about the Sandman. I would really, really like him to be real, maybe if I could bring him to live, he would take all those scary dreams from me and my fantastic friend named Sleep Paralysis who decided to visit me last night and make this week even more of a shit for me than it already was. Awww it would be so great… And I love that Enya’s song – “Song Of The Sandman”, too.

So, as you see, I can’t decide. I’m too in love with folklore and different mythological beings to pick just one, I could talk about them for ages.

And hence I’m very curious what your choices would be. πŸ™‚

Bella Hardy – Cruel Mother.

Oh, how I love English folk ballads! I could listen to them… don’t know for how long, there are still other brilliant kinds of music, but anyway I just love them. I like folk ballads in general, but British have something special to them. I could actually even put them among one of my smaller interests, I had the stage in my life, when I was reading Child and Roud ballads all the time and comparing different contemporary version of them. Because of both these collections – Child’s and Roud’s – British ballads are very popular among folk artists, even not British, and they can be truly inspiring, beautiful, weird, magical, and so on.

This one is very interesting and amazing and picturesque. It is a murder ballad. About a mother killing her children, so the topic may seem a little bit scary. But the song is wonderful, and I chose my favourite version, sang by English artist, Bella Hardy.

What’s your favourite?

Thanks for hosting to Eve over at Revenge Of Eve

. This week she asks us about favourite fairytales.

It was a pretty hard choice because although I’m not a child anymore I read fairytales pretty often and I love them. I read fairytales from all around the world and I suppose I could pick my favourite fairytale from every or almost every culture. I think I have it after my Mum who also loves lots of fairytales and she read many of them to me.

As a little girl, I loved Little Red Riding Hood. I don’t really remember why I loved her so much. I just could listen to it over and over and over again. So now I am not as big fan of it as I was back then because it’s not so interesting for me now since I’ve listened to it so much in my early childhood. Which doesn’t mean I don’t like this fairytale at all.

So as my all time favourite I think I would pick a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, but since I always read it in Polish, I’m not sure its English title, its Danish title is “Ole LukΓΈje” and it was based on the myth about the Sandman, a creature who was believed to give dreams to children. I’ve loved this fairytale my whole life and was always kind of inspired by sandman in general.