On Earthrites Radio: Stellamara
One regret dear world, that I am determined not to have when I am lying on my deathbed is that I did not kiss you enough. – Hafez
A nice weekend, though the weather has been chilly. Blessed with phone calls, and visits from my nephew Ethan, friends Ed and Janice and Richard & Leana as well on Saturday. Tom Beckett came by today (Sunday) with some excellent pastries! Tom and I got into a wonderful discussion on origins, and tracing the path of social movements tied in with populism. It is always a pleasure to have time with friends for these discussions. By the time you are finished, your mind has expanded and there are just so many new ways to look at what is going on in the world.
I even got out for a walk yesterday, though bitter cold it was! I have been working on the Invisible College, and talking to friends via Skype in Europe. I luv’s da Skype! What a great bit of technology.
I started to assemble this entry about 10 days ago. Got side tracked by all the events of last week, but I have been eager to share with you one of my abiding passions: Anne Briggs. I have jerry-rigged a couple of videos (sorry no moving pictures of her) and a few links that you might flesh out the story a bit.
You will also find poetry from that great Irish Poet: Patrick Kavanagh. I love his work I have included his very famous “Raglan Road” and two others worth your reading. I find reading them out loud is the best method. You will also find an excellent Folk Tale from Japan, “The First Rabbits.” We also get to visit with a hero of mine… Henri!
On The Menu:
Anne Briggs -Along The Deepening Path: Commentary, Links & Videos
The First Rabbits
Poetry: Early Spring – Patrick Kavanagh
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Anne Briggs: Along The Deepening Path
The subject matter of this little foray revolves around a figure (Anne Briggs) not often recognized in the stream of “influences” that I so love to talk about. Before the internets, and all our communication revolution, the only way you might find out about someone like Anne Briggs might have been at an import section of an obscure record store, or a mention in an underground newspaper from the UK. Luckily we are in an age where if you look about, you can find these stories.
Anne is a figure of much mystery. She came out of nowhere it seems,at the age of 17 with the “Centre 42″ travelling theatre group and blazed across the firmament and vanished after working on her solo albums in the late 60′s, early 70′s to the wilds of Scotland. She lived with Bert Jansch at the beginning of his career and managed to influence the likes of Pentangle, Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin, Maddy Prior, June Tabor, The Oysterband, The Incredible String Band and countless others. Her voice and her early appropriations of ignored idioms of folk music profoundly influenced Jansch and John Renbourn who in turn… you get the story? Imagine for a moment if Dylan or Baez had recorded but 2-3 records, and then walked away from it all. There is something here that begs understanding about the Muse one would think.
So, after 10 years or so in the periphery of The British Folk Scene, she abandoned it all and moved to Scotland after just 2 solo albums and some collaborative works, and very sporadic live performances. She has sung maybe twice since then (1971) which is a deep loss for all.
So.. with that said… here is a bit about Anne. Enigma, Voice, Muse… and Free Spirit that was brave enough to walk away.
Anne Briggs Links:
Thoughts on Anne Briggs as Traditional Singer
Anne Briggs – She Moved Through The Faire…
Anne Briggs – Living By The Water
The First Rabbits
The children in the sky were all crying. “Boo-hoo,” said one. “Boo-hoo,” said another. “Boo-hoo,” said the rest.
“Children, children, what is the matter?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“We’ve nothing to play,” replied one. “There’s nothing to do,” said another. “We can’t play for there’s nothing to do,” said the rest.
“Why don’t you twinkle the stars?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“The star lights are all put out,” sobbed one. “The sun is shining and the star lights are out,” sobbed another. “We can’t twinkle the stars when the sun is shining and the star lights are out,” sobbed the rest.
“Why don’t you beat the thunder drums?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“The thunder drums are all broken,” sighed one. “We’ve beaten all the thunder out of them,” sighed another. “We can’t beat the thunder drums for the thunder is all beaten out of them,” sighed the rest.
“Why don’t you shake the snow out of the snow sieves?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“It won’t shake through the sieve,” said one. “We’ve made the snow into balls,” said another. ” We can’t shake the snow through the sieve when its all made into balls,” said the rest.
“Why don’t you roll the snowballs?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.
“Oh, we will!” cried one. ”Yes,we will,” cried another. “Of course we will,” said the rest.
Away they ran to the snowball field.
“Let’s throw them,” said one. “Let’s toss them,” said another. ”Let’s catch them,” said the rest.
Up and down, this way and that way, back and forth, how the white balls danced and flew!
“Oh, look! They’re falling through the sky floor,” cried one. “They’re all falling through the twinkle holes of the stars,” said another. “They’re falling through the holes down on to the earth,” said the rest.
Away the snowballs jumped and bobbed. The star children all began to cry again.
Just then the fairy mother of the sky came with a torch to light the star lamps. “Crying again?” she said. “What’s the matter now?”
“Our snowballs all fell through the sky floor,” said one. “They all fell through the twinkle holes of the stars,” said another. “They’ve fallen though the holes down on to the earth,” said the rest.
”You naughty, naughty snowballs,” said the fairy mother of the sky. So she threw her torch after them, but it only scorched their tails and turned them black.
Down on the earth they are hopping still, these soft white balls with their little black tails, and you children call them the rabbits.
Early Spring – Patrick Kavanagh
On Raglan Road
On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay –
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay –
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.
Stony Grey Soil
O stony grey soil of Monaghan
The laugh from my love you thieved;
You took the gay child of my passion
And gave me your clod-conceived.
You clogged the feet of my boyhood
And I believed that my stumble
Had the poise and stride of Apollo
And his voice my thick tongued mumble.
You told me the plough was immortal!
O green-life conquering plough!
The mandril stained, your coulter blunted
In the smooth lea-field of my brow.
You sang on steaming dunghills
A song of cowards’ brood,
You perfumed my clothes with weasel itch,
You fed me on swinish food
You flung a ditch on my vision
Of beauty, love and truth.
O stony grey soil of Monaghan
You burgled my bank of youth!
Lost the long hours of pleasure
All the women that love young men.
O can I stilll stroke the monster’s back
Or write with unpoisoned pen.
His name in these lonely verses
Or mention the dark fields where
The first gay flight of my lyric
Got caught in a peasant’s prayer.
Mullahinsa, Drummeril, Black Shanco-
Wherever I turn I see
In the stony grey soil of Monaghan
Dead loves that were born for me.
They laughed at one I loved-
The triangular hill that hung
Under the Big Forth. They said
That I was bounded by the whitethorn hedges
Of the little farm and did not know the world.
But I knew that love’s doorway to life
Is the same doorway everywhere.
Ashamed of what I loved
I flung her from me and called her a ditch
Although she was smiling at me with violets.
But now I am back in her briary arms
The dew of an Indian Summer lies
On bleached potato-stalks
What age am I?
I do not know what age I am,
I am no mortal age;
I know nothing of women, Nothing of cities,
I cannot die Unless I walk outside these whitethorn hedges.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
“Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly that you feel you could die of it.”
“In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new.. they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves.. novelty is seldom the essential. This has to do with one thing only.. making a subject better from its intrinsic nature.”
“I have tried to do what is true and not ideal.”
“I paint things as they are. I don’t comment. I record.”
“Of course one should not drink much, but often.