SEAL WOMAN’S SEA-JOY/ YUNDAH

Una canzone tradizionale delle Isole Ebridi (proveniente da S. Uist da Catriona Campbell) collezionata da Marjory Kennedy-Fraser.

grey seal

Le foche (soprattutto quelle grigie) come le balene cantano anche quando sono sott’acqua (da ascoltare qui da “Encounters at the End of the World.”).
I suoni che emettono le foche in superficie sono numerosi: sembrano ruggiti, starnuti, fischi, soffi, ma anche lamenti (da ascoltare qui).

LA VOCE DELLE FOCHE

Così scrive John blogger di “The Natural Contemplative”: ” Most books about seals say nothing about their singing abilities. And I think scientists have been a little slow to accept the fact that seals sing beautiful tunes in the air. That is because the seals seem to be a little choosy about whom they sing to. But scientists do now realize that seals also sing under water. These songs are not like the tunes in the story. They are more like the songs of whales. They seem to be a way of communicating with each other over long distances. They are sung by both male and female seals, and each song is unique to the seal who sings it. That means seals can use these songs to identify each other and to find each other in the dark water.All of the music in the story comes from the seals themselves, and from the people who live on islands and coasts where there are many seals, people who know the seals very well. The song the old man sings to the seals is called “The Seal Woman’s Sea Joy,” and there are some who say that song came from the seals themselves long ago. The seals’ response to the old man, which has no name I know, is a real seal tune. And the tune I begin with, that is a real seal tune too, and was recorded about 50 years ago on the island of Skomer, part of Wales. My story is only one of many about the seal people, sometimes called Silkies, or Selkies. There are many stories told by the islanders about seals who live on the land as people; and often they help those who are kind to them. And sometimes they come to teach a lesson to those who are cruel to them. But often they are just going about their own business.” (per leggere tutta la storia qui)

Marjory Kennedy-Fraser in “From the Hebrides” (1925) così scrive: We were some little distance from the water’s edge, parallel with which out in the sea ran a long line of skerries, reefs that are covered at high tide. On the skerries were stretched, also basking in the sunlight, innumerable great grey seals, seals that visit these isles only at long intervals. My friends, great enthusiasts for Hebridean songs, who use their own string instrument arrangements of them for their students, said to me: ‘Try singing “The Sealwoman’s Sea-joy” to the seals themselves.’ I raised myself on my elbow — I was too lazily happy at the moment to stand erect — and, with the most carrying tone I could summon, sang the first phrase of the song. Instantly the response began at the southern end of the reef, and a perfect fusillade of single answering tones came from seal after seal, travelling rapidly northward, until at the further end of the reef it ceased. Then, after a moment of intense silence, a beautiful solo voice sang…The voice was quite human in character but much greater in volume than any mezzo-soprano I have ever heard. Is the song I sang really a seal song, and did the Isles folk learn it from the seals? I noted it many years ago from an old Uist woman. Did the seals mistake me for one of themselves, and had the phrase I sang a meaning for them, and did they instantly grasp it and answer it?

IL CANTO DELLE SELKIE

selkie-Lindsay-ArcherPer gli Scozzesi delle Isole Ebridi le foche sono selkie, creature metà foca e metà uomo, guardiani del mare, il popolo delle fate del regno sottomarino. continua

Ogni notte o solo nelle notti di luna piena, le selkie abbandonerebbero le loro pelli sulle scogliere per cantare e danzare sulla terra ferma, evidentemente desiderose di muoversi con agilità e bellezza senza l’impaccio della forma animale (perfetta però per nuotare negli abissi).

Ovviamente non poteva mancare nella tradizione popolare la testimonianza di questi canti, che si dice i pescatori abbiano imparato assistendo di nascosto a questi incontri o ascoltandone l’eco lontana.. come questa canzone tradizionale delle Isole Ebridi (proveniente da S. Uist da Catriona Campbell) collezionata da Marjory Kennedy-Fraser: l’arrangiamento per piano o arpa è pubblicato in “Sea Tangle some more Songs of The Hebrides” (1913) e poi in “Songs of the Hebrides for voice and Celtic Harp or Piano” (1922) di Paruffa Kennedy-Fraser a pag 12 (qui); nello spartito è riportato solo un fraseggio non-sense che dovrebbero essere i vocalizzi della selkie.

ASCOLTA Peter Govan in Devotion 2001

ASCOLTA Ananda in Cosmic Chants 2010

ASCOLTA Mary Mclaughlin Celtic Voices, Women of Song (1995). In questa versione sono aggiunte anche le strofe

Ionn da ionn do
Ionn da odar da
Hi-o-dan dao x3
odar da.

LYRICS Mary Mclaughlin
Over the waves you call to me
Shadow of dream, ancient mystery
Oh how I long for your sweet caress
Oh how I long for your gentleness.
Torn between sea mists and solid land
Nights when I’ve ached for a human hand
I’ll come to you when the moon shines bright
But I must go free with the first streak of light
TRADUZIONE  DI CATTIA SALTO
Dalle onde mi chiami
ombra del sogno, antico mistero
come mi mancano le tue dolci carezze,
quanto desidero la tua dolcezza.
Lacerata tra le brume del mare e la terra ferma,
nelle notti in cui avevo desiderato una mano umana;
verrò da te quando la luna splenderà luminosa,
ma devo andare via libera al primo raggio di luce.

I vocalizzi riportati da Marjory ricordano molto i richiami rivolti agli animali tipici dei paesi nordici (i croon scozzesi) e scandinavi (Kulning)
Continua seconda parte

FONTI
http://www.musicweb-international.com/bantock/budd.htm http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=13136 http://homepages.sover.net/~chughes/jlc/essays/seals.html https://archive.org/stream/songsofhebridesf00kenn#page/n1/mode/2up http://homepages.sover.net/~chughes/jlc/essays/seals.html https://urresearch.rochester.edu/institutionalPublicationPublicView.action;jsessionid= D4880D32953DCE531C0B60F225B615F6?institutionalItemId=24996 http://blog.naturalcontemplative.com/2009/01/singing-of-seals.html http://theroseandchestnut.com/2014/04/15/seven-tears-into-the-sea-the-male-roots-of-selkie-legends/

(Cattia Salto novembre 2014)

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