Released on bandcamp on 3 February 2022
Hidden in the Irish manuscript Lebor na hUidre is the story of Princess Li Ban (paragon of women) who becomes a mermaid (half salmon) surviving the flood, with her faithful lapdog who becomes an otter.
There is so much to say.
Her story has held me captive for about 9 years. From wells and lakes to library archives… church fonts and seacaves to castle ruins. My sore feet and dazzled mind have journeyed like a winding river, while my heart and soul were softly torn to ribbons and woven anew.
Li Ban is the transformer. Enter her mythology and your life begins to shapeshift..
Where words fail, music always arrives.
This is the longest song I have written, a 9 minute composition in several parts ~ the well/ lough, the river and the sea .. and an otter appearance.
It emerged all by itself, as songs and poems seem to do, springing from my journey into the lore of Li Ban and my affinity with her symbolism.
I wrote it on the lyre, made from cherry wood by Sam Irwin on the North Coast, and a 100 year old mandolute (birthday gift from Dad 8 years ago).
The ocean sings on here too, below Dunluce Castle. These field recordings informed the piece, as Lough Neagh informed the initial lyre melodies and the River Bann the mandolute section.
Thierry Michel journeyed to the sea with me to play with sound in Mermaid’s Cave ~ you can hear his beautiful flute (low whistle) which expresses so much so purely. Thank you for the magic Thierry.
I recorded and engineered the rest in my home studio, setting up microphones next door in a candlelit bathroom ~ wetting the tiles just so to make space for a watery song to flow.
Then it sat on a computer hard drive for 5 years, as things do.
Fortunately my brother is a sonic wizard and mastered the recording for me this week ~ brilliantly, delicately and quickly so I could release it now on this cross quarter day of imbolg 2022 !
Check out Genie Mastering, thank you Jon.
There is an in-depth book about Li Ban/ Muirgen sprawled inside my computer. 5 parts 44 chapters so far. Writing a book is possibly beyond me, we will see.
For now, this song carries essences of Li Ban. Feelings and movements which can’t be expressed in a book. The book and the song are like twins, seemingly similar but in truth very different. They need each other.
I hope you enjoy the music. Personally the last year has been the most intense year of my life. The spiritual work of many lifetimes coming to a boil without warning (please give humans advance notice of your flaming Heart) putting me back in the psychiatric ward (twice!) and pulling me from loved ones.. I’m amazed to have survived and to be able to organise the release of this song. For Her.
The song is distributed to all music stores (apple, itunes, spotify, amazon etc) so go forth and stream the mermaid ..
I have previously released three albums of home made music. My last album which this was intended to be part of is called ‘Sea Star’.
By tooth and claw.
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released February 3, 2022