Quote of the Day
The secular sacred

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Illustration for The Wild Swans by Helen Stratton

Today, women's voices from England and Scotland:

Above, "Dh’èirich mi moch, b’ fheàrr nach do dh’èirich" by Julie Fowlis, from the Isle of Uist in the Outer Hebrides. The song appears on her magical new album, Alterum -- named for a Latin word that means "otherness" or "the other."

The mythical, dreamlike video (directed by Craig Mackay) was conceived as a spiritual and otherworldly interpretation of loss. "My own work is steeped in tradition and historical reference specific to the Highlands," says Fowlis, "with a leaning to many beliefs and cultures," so the video features both sea and land, "the two most contrasting elements we exist in." The owl feathers symbolize journeys, transitions, and silent flights through the dark of the night, used in a headdress to link them to these more ancient associations.

Below, "The Swan Swims" by Ione Fyfe, a fine singer and ballad collector from Aberdeenshire in north-east Scotland. The song is a variant of Twa Sisters (Child Ballad #10), and will appear on Fyfe's much-anticipated new album, Away From My Window (March 2018).

Above and below: two songs from Emily Mae Winters' stunning new album, Siren Serenade (2017). Winters was born in Birmingham, raised on the south coast of Ireland, and is now based in London.

The first is the album's title song, inspired by the sirens of myth, with backing vocals by Lauren Bush, Hannah Sanders and Lauren Parker. The second is "Down by the Sally Gardens," with lyrics by William Butler Yeats, from a poem published in The Wanderings of Oisin, 1889.

To end with, two classic songs by Robert Burns sung by two more wonderful Scottish singers...

Above: "Ae Fond Kiss" by Robyn Stapleton, from Stranraer, on the south-west coast.

Below: "Green Grow the Rashes, O' " by Siobhan Miller, from Penicuik, near Edinburgh.

Wild Swans by Helen Stratton

The art today: two drawings for Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans" by Helen Stratton (1867-1961). Stratton was born in India, raised in Bath, and spent  her adult life in Kensington, London, working as an illustrator.

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