Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Music of the waters

Water -- ocean, river, lake, waterfall, or rain -- is one of the earliest sorts of music people ever heard. The sounds made by waters have inspired musicians from classical composers to rock bands to bluegrass ensembles to Gaelic singers to those who make music in the languages of the First Peoples. Whether your experiences are landlocked or water borne, take a trip out on the waters with these songs.

Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh is from Donegal in Ireland’s far northwest, a place where people are well acquainted with the many moods of the sea. Ni Mhaonaigh ‘s father, Francie, wrote a song celebrating the freedom of sailing out on the waters. Whether you understand Irish or not, still, the message of freedom and celebration come clear in Seolta Geala.

Bill Staines is from another part of the world well acquainted with the ways of the sea and the people who live along it -- he’s from New England in the United States. His song, too suggests the connection with nature and freedom to be found at the ocean’s edge inSalt Air

The Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico are the waters Del Suggs navigates in his music. Saltwater music it is, and on Break in the Weather he speaks of finding a way on sometimes rough and uncharted waters, all the while seeking a safe passage home.

Cathie Ryan knows those rough passages, too. While walking by the sea in Ireland and seeing the things cast up on the strand she realized that there could be a lesson in this -- and a song, which became Be Like the Sea.

Ryan often chooses images from the waters in her work. Another song well worth you listening, and which also came from Ryan’s time living in Ireland, is the graceful story of grief, loss and resilience told inThe Farthest Wave.

Through all the ideas these songwriters offer there is a sense of lessons learned and hope renewed with the turning of the tides and the winds upon the waters. As Claire Lynch sings. when a good wind blows your way, Be Ready to Sail.

you may also wish to see
music, meditation, and weather
music, history, and Heisgeir
cathie ryan: the farthest wave

Photograph of the Irish Sea is by Kerry Dexter and is copyrighted -- which means you must ask and receive permission if you wish to use it. Thank you for respecting this.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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