Let all that are to mirth inclined

Loreena McKennitt sceglie per il suo primo album natalizio un paio di inni antichi o poco conosciuti. “Let all that are to mirth inclined” è uno di questi, assente negli album confezionati per Natale e che corrisponde al “suo” concept-album natalizio.
Loreena McKennitt chooses for her first Christmas album a couple of ancient or little known hymns. “Let all that are to mirth inclined” is one of these, absent in the albums registred for Christmas and that corresponds to “her” Christmas concept-album.
Da bambina la mia impressione più vivida della musica invernale è nata dalle canzoni e dagli inni registrati nelle chiese o nelle grandi sale, ricche della propria unica atmosfera e tradizione. In quello spirito, mi sono recata in vari simili luoghi che ho imparato ad apprezzare nei miei viaggi”
“As a child my most vivid impression of music for the winter season came from songs and carols recorded in churches or great halls, rich with their own unique ambience and tradition. In that spirit, I have ventured into several similar locations that I have come to cherish in my travels.”

Il canto natalizio della tradizione inglese è un tipico canto del Presepe con la narrazione della nascita di Gesù in un umile grotta, l’omaggio dei pastori e dei re Magi, senonchè molti versi sono identici alla versione irlandese  “The Wexford carol”.
This Christmas carol of the English tradition is a typical song of the Nativity scene with the narration of the birth of Jesus in a humble cave, the homage of the shepherds and the Wise Men, although many verses are identical to the Irish version “The Wexford carol”.

Loreena McKennitt in “To drive the cold winter away” 1987

 

Enghish Traditional*
I
(Let all that are to mirth inclined)
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved Son
chorus
For to redeem our souls from thrall
Christ is the saviour of us all.
II
The twenty-fifth day of December
We have good cause to remember
In Bethlehem upon that morn
There was a blessed Messiah born
III
But mark how all things came to pass
The inn and lodgings filled was
That they could find no room at all
But in a straw-filled ox’s stall.
chorus
IV
Near Bethlehem some shepherds keep
Their flocks and herds of feeding sheep
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
V
With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went this babe to find
And as the heavenly angel told
They did our saviour Christ behold.
chorus
VI
Three eastern wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
Came boldly on and made no stay
Until they came where Jesus lay.
VII
And being come unto that place
Where the blessed Messiah was
They humbly laid before his feet
Their gifts of gold and incense sweet.
chorus
VIII
See how the Lord of heaven and earth
Shewd himself lowly in his birth
A sweet example for mankind
To learn to bear an humble mind.
chorus
IX
Let all your songs and praises be
Unto his heavenly majesty
And evermore amongst our mirth
Remember Christ our Saviour’s birth. (1)
Repeat I
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Fate tutto ciò che porta alla letizia
considerate bene e tenetelo in mente
ciò che il buon Dio ha fatto per noi,
nel mandare il suo amato Figlio
coro
Per redimere le nostre anime dalla schiavitù del peccato, Cristo è il salvatore di tutti noi
II
Il venticinque di Dicembre
abbiamo un buon motivo per ricordare
a Betlemme in quel mattino
è nato il Messia benedetto
III
Ma rammentate bene come andò,
la locanda e le camere erano pieni
che loro non trovarono una stanza
se non in una stalla di buoi tra la paglia
Coro
IV
Vicino a Betlemme dei pastori governavano le greggi (di agnelli) e le mandrie di pecore, si pararono innanzi gli angeli di Dio
a mettere i pastori in grande timore
V
Con cuore grato e pensiero gioioso
i pastori andarono a trovare quel bambino e come l’angelo del cielo disse videro il nostro Cristo Redentore
Coro
VI
C’erano tre uomini saggi d’Oriente da lontano
guidati da una stella luminosa
vennero arditamente e senza indugi
per arrivare fin dove stava Gesù
VII
E quando giunsero sul posto,
dove stava il Messia benedetto,
posarono umilmente ai suoi piedi
i loro doni d’oro e profumato incenso.
Coro
VIII
Vedete come il Signore del Cielo e della Terra
si mostrò povero nella sua nascita
un dolce esempio per l’umanità
per imparare a sopportare l’umiltà.
Coro
IX
Lasciate che tutti i vostri inni e le lodi
giungano alla sua maestà celeste
e per sempre con letizia
ricordate la nascita di Cristo il Salvatore (1)

NOTE
*Molti versi sono condivisi dal carol della tradizione irlandese “Wexford carol
Many verses are shared by the English carol “Wexford carol
1) la data del Natale di Gesù non fu festeggiata fino al 354 quando la Chiesa d’Occidente la fece coincidere con la festa romana e imperiale del Sole Invitto. Tuttavia in Oriente ancora per molto tempo la festa era celebrata il 6 gennaio (fino al VII secolo), così le chiese bizantine ricordano l’adorazione dei Magi già al 25 dicembre: essi rappresentavano più in generale tutto il genere umano che riconosce il Cristo come Salvatore
the date of Christmas of Jesus was not celebrated until 354 when the Church of the West made it coincide with the Roman and imperial festival of the Invitating Sun. However, in the East for a long time the party was celebrated on 6 January (up to the 7th century), so the Byzantine churches recall the adoration of the Magi as early as 25 December: they represented more generally the whole human race that recognizes Christ as Savior

LINK
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/wexford_carol.htm
http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2011/12/christmas-poems-1-wexford-carol.html
http://www.celticchristmasmusic.com/christmas-traditions/kilmore-carols-in-ireland.htm
http://www.reginamundi.info/icone/nativita-palatina.asp

Let Us the Infant Greet

Loreena McKennitt sceglie per il suo primo album natalizio un paio di inni antichi o poco conosciuti. “Let us the Infant greet” è uno di questi, assente negli album confezionati per Natale e che corrisponde al “suo” concept-album natalizio.
Loreena McKennitt chooses for her first Christmas album a couple of ancient or little known hymns. “Let us the Infant greet” is one of these, absent in the albums registred for Christmas and that corresponds to “her” Christmas concept-album.
Da bambina la mia impressione più vivida della musica invernale è nata dalle canzoni e dagli inni registrati nelle chiese o nelle grandi sale, ricche della propria unica atmosfera e tradizione. In quello spirito, mi sono recata in vari simili luoghi che ho imparato ad apprezzare nei miei viaggi”
“As a child my most vivid impression of music for the winter season came from songs and carols recorded in churches or great halls, rich with their own unique ambience and tradition. In that spirit, I have ventured into several similar locations that I have come to cherish in my travels.”

Il canto nasce nell’ Ottocento e probabilmente la melodia è un tradizionale natalizio dell’Herefordshire; è l’esortazione ai Cristiani di riunirsi in chiesa in occasione della nascita di Gesù Bambino per cantare lodi al Signore e confidare nella meritata ricompensa per una vita virtuosa e devota (dopo la morte).
The song was born in the nineteenth century and probably the melody is a traditional Christmas carol of Herefordshire; it is the exhortation to Christians to gather in church on the occasion of the birth of the Child Jesus to sing praises to the Lord and trust in the deserved reward for a virtuous and devoted life (after death).

Loreena McKennitt in “To Drive the Cold Winter Away” 1987


I
Let us the Infant greet,
In worship before Him fall,
And let us pay Him homage meet,
On this His Festival.
II
Let us to the Infant sing,
And bring Him of gifts rich store,
Let us honour our Infant King!
With praise forevermore.
III
Let us to the Infant kneel,
And love Him with faithful love,
And let our joyous anthems peal,
For Him who reigns above.
IV
Glad hymns in the Infant’s laud,
Sing we to Him while we may,
In heaven, where He is throned as God,
Our service He will pay.
V
Be we to the Infant true,
While we are dwelling on mould,
And He will give us our wages due,
A crown of purest gold (4)
Traduzione italiano Cattia Salto
I
Dobbiamo salutare il Bambinello,
cadere in adorazione davanti a Lui,
e dobbiamo rendergli omaggio riuniti,
in questa sua festività.
II
Dobbiamo cantare al Bambinello,
e portargli doni in abbondanza,
dobbiamo onorare il nostro Re Bambino e lodarlo in eterno.
III
Dobbiamo inginocchiarci davanti al Bambinello, e amarlo con amore devoto, e dobbiamo innalzare(1) i nostri gioiosi inni, per Colui che regna in cielo
IV
Lieti inni che lodano il Bambinello,
cantiamo a Lui finchè possiamo,
in Paradiso, dove Lui è in trono come Dio, il nostro servizio(2) Lui ci ricompenserà
V
(Dobbiamo) stare con il vero Bambinello,
mentre dimoriamo sulla terra (3),
e Lui ci darà la nostra giusta ricompensa,
una corona di oro zecchino (4)

NOTE
1) to peal si usa per il rintocco delle campane, o per descrivere un rimbombo, con una sola parola si visualizza il canto dei fedeli rinforzato dall’eco di una chiesa
2) il termine service (che traduce sia servizio che messa, funzione) rinforza l’immagine dei fedeli riuniti in chiesa per la Messa di Natale
3) la frase si ricollega alla Genesi quando l’uomo è stato modellato da Dio con il fango, si potrebbe anche tradurre (in senso più letterale): “mentre viviamo in questo calco” (mentre abitiamo in queste spoglie mortali)
4) in genere in questi canti natalizi è sempre evocata la morte di Gesù così la corona dei giusti richiama la corona di spine portata da Gesù  in Croce
usually in these Christmas songs the death of Jesus is always evoked, so the crown of the just recalls the crown of thorns brought by Jesus on the Cross

LINK
https://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/let_us_the_infant_greet.htm

Loreena McKennitt- Full Circle

Che cosa spinge un uomo a donarsi completamente a Dio per diventare suo strumento? Può la musica toccare la nostra memoria ancestrale?
What drives a man to give himself completely to God to become his instrument? Can music touch our ancestral memory?

E la voce di Loreena s’innalza come una nenia araba con una purezza cristallina quanto ineffabile nel brano “Full circle” (in italiano Punto di partenza) nell’album The Mask and Mirror, un brano  onnipresente nei suoi successivi live probabilmente la cifra più perfetta delle sue atmosfere rarefatte, impalpabili e fantasy.
And the voice of Loreena rises like an Arab lullaby with a crystalline purity like ineffable in the song “Full circle” in the album The Mask and Mirror, an omnipresent piece in her following lives probably the most perfect of its rarefied, impalpable and fantasy atmospheres.

Il viaggio verso la spiritualità è un percorso circolare e inevitabilmente si finisce per ritornare al punto di partenza. Più del testo parla però la musica.
The journey to spirituality is a circular path and inevitably ends up returning to the starting point. More than the text, however, speaks her music.

Loreena McKennitt in The Mask and Mirror, 1994


I
Stars were falling deep in the darkness
As prayers rose softly, petals at dawn (1)
And as I listened, your voice seemed so clear
So calmly you were calling your god
II
Somewhere the sun rose o’er dunes in the desert
Such was the stillness (2) I ne’er felt before
Was this the question pulling, pulling, pulling you?
In your heart, in your soul, did you find peace there?
III
Elsewhere a snowfall, the first in the winter (3)
Covered the ground as the bells filled the air
You in your robes sang, calling, calling, calling him
In your heart, in your soul, did you find peace there?
In your heart, in your soul, did you find peace there?
Traduzione in italiano Cattia Salto
I
Le stelle precipitavano al fondo dell’oscurità, mentre le preghiere s’innalzavano, lievi petali nell’aurora, e mentre ascoltavo, le vostre voci sembrava cosi chiare, invocavate il vostro Dio così serenamente.
II
Da qualche parte il sole sorgeva sulle dune del deserto
un tale silenzio non l’avevo mai sentito prima.
Era questo il dubbio che vi chiamava?
Nel vostro cuore, nella vostra anima,
avete trovato la pace lì?
III
Altrove una nevicata, la prima dell’inverno
copriva la terra mentre le campane riempivano il cielo
voi nelle vostre tonache (4) cantavate invocando, invocando, invocandolo.
Nel vostro cuore, nella vostra anima, avete trovato la pace lì?
Nel vostro cuore, nella vostra anima, avete trovato la pace lì?

NOTE
1) sono i canti nelle Moschee, così scrive Loreena: (23 marzo 1993, Marocco: Ramadan) Mi sveglio presto per prendere il volo di ritorno a casa e alle 5:30 sento degli uomini che cantano nella moschea, uno dei suoni più commoventi e primitivi che abbia mai sentito. Stanno chiamando il loro Dio.
March 23, 1993, Morocco: Ramadan; I wake up early to catch my flight home, and at 5:30 a.m. hear men chanting in the mosque, one of the most moving and primitive sounds I have ever heard. They are calling their God.
2) E’ il deserto come la distesa del mare, il luogo del grande vuoto e dell’eterno movimento che sembra risuonare nella memoria ancestrale, uno scampolo di divinità dentro di noi?
Is it the desert like the expanse of the sea, the place of the great emptiness and of the eternal movement that seems to resound in the ancestral memory, a remnant of divinity within us?
(19 marzo 1993, Marocco) mi facevo strada verso le dune di sabbia a un migliaio di metri oltre Erfoud, vicino al deserto algerino, e mi alzai all’alba per prendere il sole. Non penso di aver mai sentito qualcosa di così semplice eppure così potente. Mi chiedevo se la prima alba fosse proprio così.
March 19, 1993, Morocco: made my way to the thousand-foot sand dune past Erfoud, near the Algerian desert, and rose at dawn to catch the sun rise. I don’t think I have ever felt something so simple and yet so powerful. I wondered if the first sunrise was just like this.
3) (21 novembre 1988, St-Benoit-du-Lac, Québec:) sono appena arrivata in questo monastero benedettino nel Cantone orientale del Québec. Oggi era il primo giorno di neve, e i frati erano usciti a camminare per il lungo viale mentre mi avvicinavo … figure incappucciate che lentamente si dirigevano verso la Messa mentre la neve cadeva come benedizioni. Ho seguito il suono delle campane ai vespri.
November 21, 1988, St-Benoit-du-Lac, Québec: have just arrived at this Benedictine monastery in the Eastern Townships of Québec. It was the first snowfall today, and the brothers were out walking along the long lane as I approached…hooded figures slowly making their way to Mass as the snow fell like blessings. I followed the sound of the bells to vespers.
4) robe è un termine generico che si usa anche nell’espressione italiana prendere l’abito per intendere  i voti, ho tradotto più esplicitamente con tonaca, oppure anche saio

Lady Greensleeves

Leggi in italiano

Greensleeves is a song coming from the English Renaissance (with undeniable Italian musical influences) that tells us about the courtship of a very rich gentleman and a Lady who rejects him, despite the generous gifts.

It was the year 1580 when Richard Jones and Edward White competed for prints of a fashion song, Jones with “A new Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves” and White with “A ballad, being the Ladie Greene Sleeves Answere to Donkyn his frende “, then after a few days, White again with another version:” Greene Sleeves and Countenance, in Countenance is Greene Sleeves “and a few months later Jones with the publication of” A merry newe “Northern Songe of Greene Sleeves” ; this time the reply came from William Elderton, who wrote the “Reprehension against Greene Sleeves” in February 1581.
Finally, the revised and expanded version by Richard Jones with the title “A New Courtly Sonnet of the Lady Green Sleeves” included in the collection ‘A Handeful of Pleasant Delites‘ of 1584, was the one that became the final version, still performed today (at least as regards the melody and for most of the text with 17 stanzas).

The Melody

The melody is born for lute, the instrument par excellence of Renaissance (and baroque) music that has seen in England a fine flowering with the likes of John Jonson and John Dowland. As evidenced in the in-depth study of Ian Pittaway the ancestor of Greensleeves is the old Passamezzo.
By the late 15th century, plucked instruments such as the lute were just beginning to develop a new technique to add to their repertoire of playing styles, chordal playing, leading the way for grounds to be chordal rather than the single notes of the mediaeval period. One of the chordal grounds that developed was the passamezzo antico, meaning old passamezzo (there was also the passamezzo moderno), which began in Italy in the early 16th century before it spread through Europe. It’s a little like the blues today in that you have a basic, unchanging chord sequence and, on top of that, a melody is added. (from here)
The chorus of Greensleeves however follows the melodic trend of a  Romanesca which in turn is a variant of the passamezzo.

lute melody in “Het Luitboek van Thysius” written by Adriaen Smout for the Netherlands in 1595

Baltimore Consort  instrumental version in Renaissance style for dancing

We find a choreography of the dance  only in later times, in the “English Dancing Master” by John Playford (both in the edition of 1686 and then published several times in the eighteenth century) as an English country dance

The Legend

anne-boleyn-roseIn 1526 Henry VIII wrote “Greensleeves” for Anna Bolena, right at the beginning of their relationship.
A suggestive hypothesis because both the melody that the text well suited to the character, that of his own he wrote several piece still today in the repertoire of many artists of ancient music; however the poem was not transcribed in any manuscript of the time and therefore we can not be certain of this attribution.
The misunderstanding was generated by William Chappell who in his “Popular Music of the Olden Time” (London: Chappell & Co, 1859) attributes the melody to the king, misinterpreting a quote by Edward Guilpin. “Yet like th ‘Olde ballad of the Lord of Lorne, Whose last line in King Harries dayes was borne.” (In Skialethia, or Shadow of Truth, 1598: the ballad “The Lord of Lorne and the False Steward” dates back to time of Henry VIII (King Harries) and, according to Chappell has always been sung on the melody Greensleeves.

The Tudor serie + The Broadside Band & Jeremy Barlow

Gregorian“,  ( I, III, VIII, IX)

Irish origins!?

William Henry Grattan Flood in A History of Irish Music (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1905) was the first to assume (without giving evidence) the irish origins. “In a manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin … Under date of 1566, there is a manuscript Love Song (without music), written by Donal, first Earl of Clancarty. A few years previously, an Anglo-Irish Song was written to the tune of Greensleeves.
Since then the idea of Irish paternity has become more and more vigorous so much so that this song is present in the compilations of Celtic music labeled as irish traditional.

lady-greensleeves

A courting song or a dirty trick?

Walter+Crane-My+Lady+Greensleeves+-+(1)-S
Roberto Venturi observes in his essay
Already at the time of Geoffrey Chaucer and the Tales of Canterbury (remember that Chaucer lived from 1343 to 1400) the green dress was considered typical of a “light woman”, that is a prostitute. She would therefore be a young woman of promiscuous customs; Nevill Coghill, the famous and heroic modern English translator of the Canterbury Tales, explains – referring to an interpretation of a Chaucerian step – that, at the time, the green color had precise sexual connotations, particularly in the phrase A green gown. It was the dress of a woman with some grass spots, who practiced (or suffered) a sexual intercourse in a meadow. If a woman was said to have “the green skirt”, in practice it was a whore.
The song would then be the lamentation of a betrayed and abandoned lover, or of a rejected customer; in short, you know, something far from regal (although in every age the kings were generally the first whoremongers of the Kingdom). Another possible interpretation is that the lover betrayed, or rejected, has wanted to revenge on the poor woman by devoting to her a delicious little song in which he calls her a whore through the metaphor of the “green sleeves” (translated from here)

Many interpreters, with versions both in ancient than modern style (also Yngwie Malmsteen plays it with his guitar and Leonard Cohen proposes a rewrite in 1974)
Today the text is rarely performed and only for two or four stanzas, but it is a song loved by choral groups that sing it more extensively.

In ‘A Handful of Pleasant Delites’, 1584, from the collection of Israel G. Young (about twenty strophe see) all the gifts that the nobleman makes to his Lady to court her:  “kerchers to thy head”, “board and bed”, “petticoats of the best”, “jewels to thy chest”, “smock of silk”, “girdle of gold”, “pearls”, “purse”, “guilt knives”, “pin case”, “crimson stockings all of silk”, “pumps as white as was the milk”, “gown of the grassy green” with “sleeves of satin”, but also “men clothed all in green” and “dainties”!

So many versions (see) and a difficult choice, but here is:

Alice Castle live 2005

 Loreena  McKennitt in The Visit 1991 (I, III) interpreted “as if she were singing Tom Waits

Jethro Tull  in Christmas Album 2003 (instrumental version)

David Nevue amazing piano version!


chorus (1)
Greensleeves(2) was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves my heart of gold
And who but my lady Greensleeves.
I
Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously(3).
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.
II
Your vows you’ve  broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.
III
I have been ready at  your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.
IV
Thy petticoat of sendle(4) white
With gold embroidered gorgeously;
Thy petticoat of silk and white
And these I bought gladly.
V
If you intend thus to  disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.
VI
My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.
VII
Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.
VIII
Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.
IX
Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me
NOTE
1) the first two sentences are sometimes reversed and start in the opposite direction
2) In the Middle Ages the green color was the symbol of regeneration and therefore of youth and physical vigor, meant “fertility” but also “hope” and with gold indicating pleasure. It was the color of medicine for its revitalizing powers. Color of love in the nascent stage, in the Renaissance it was the color used by the young especially in May; in women it was also the color of chastity.
But the other more promiscuous meaning is of “light woman always ready to roll in the grass”. And the charm of the ballad lies in its ambiguity!
Green is also the color that in fairy tales / ballads connotes a fairy creature.
The Gaelic words “Grian Sliabh” (literally translated as “sun mountain” or a “mountain exposed to the south, sunny”) are pronounced Green Sleeve (the song is also very popular in Ireland especially as slow air). Grian is also the name of a river that flows from Sliabh Aughty (County Clare and Galway)
3) the expressions are proper to the courtly lyric
4) sendal= light silk material

in the extended version the gifts of the suitor are many and expensive and it is all a complaint about “oh how much you costs me my dear!”

“Extended version
IV
I bought three kerchers to thy head,
That were wrought fine and gallantly;
I kept them both at board and bed,
Which cost my purse well-favour’dly.
V
I bought thee petticoats of the best,
The cloth so fine as fine might be:
I gave thee jewels for thy chest;
And all this cost I spent on thee.
VI
Thy smock of silk both fair and white,
With gold embroidered gorgeously;
Thy petticoat of sendall right;
And this I bought thee gladly.
VII
Thy girdle of gold so red,
With pearls bedecked sumptously,
The like no other lasses had;
And yet you do not love me!
VIII
Thy purse, and eke thy gay gilt knives,
Thy pin-case, gallant to the eye;
No better wore the burgess’ wives;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
IX
Thy gown was of the grassy green,
The sleeves of satin hanging by;
Which made thee be our harvest queen;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
X
Thy garters fringed with the gold,
And silver aglets hanging by;
Which made thee blithe for to behold;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XI
My gayest gelding thee I gave,
To ride wherever liked thee;
No lady ever was so brave;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XII
My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XIII
They set thee up, they took thee down,
They served thee with humility;
Thy foot might not once touch the ground;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!
XIV
For every morning, when thou rose,
I sent thee dainties, orderly,
To cheer thy stomach from all woes;
And yet thou wouldst not love me!

SOURCE
https://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?id=53904&lang=it
http://greensleeves-hubs.hubpages.com/hub/FolkSongGreensleeves-Greensleeves   http://thesession.org/tunes/1598
http://ingeb.org/songs/alasmylo.html
http://tudorhistory.org/topics/music/greensleeves.html
http://earlymusicmuse.com/greensleeves1of3mythology/
http://earlymusicmuse.com/greensleeves2of3history/
http://earlymusicmuse.com/greensleeves3of3music/
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/alas-madame.htm

Bonny Portmore: the ornament tree

Leggi in italiano

When the great oak of Portmore was break down in 1760, someone wrote a song known as “The Highlander’s Farewell to Bonny Portmore“; in 1796 Edward Bunting picked it up from Daniel Black, an old harpist from Glenoak (Antrim, Northern Ireland), and published it in “Ancient Music of Ireland” – 1840.
The age-old oak was located on the estate of Portmore’s Castle on the banks of Lugh Bege and it was knocked down by a great wind; the tree was already famous for its posture and was nicknamed “the ornament tree“. The oak was cut and the wood sold, from the measurements made we know that the trunk was 13 meters wide.

LOUGH PORTMORE

1032910_tcm9-205039Loch un Phoirt Mhóir (lake with a large landing place) is an almost circular lake in the South-West of Antrim County, Northern Ireland, today a nature reserve for bird protection.
The property formerly belonged to the O’Neill clan of Ballinderry, while the castle was built in 1661 or 1664 by Lord Conway (on the foundations of an ancient fortress) between Lough Beg and Lough Neagh; the estate was rich in centenarian trees and beautiful woods; however, the count fell into ruin and lost the property when he decided to drain Lake Ber to cultivate the land (the drainage system called “Tunny cut” is still existing); the ambitious project failed and the land passed into the hands of English nobles.
In other versions more simply the Count’s dynasty became extinct and the new owners left the estate in a state of neglect, since they did not intend to reside in Ireland. Almost all the trees were cut down and sold as timber for shipbuilding and the castle fell into disrepair.

Bonny Portmore could be understood symbolically as the decline of the Irish Gaelic lords: pain and nostalgia mixed in a lament of a twilight beauty; the dutiful tribute goes to Loreena McKennitt who brought this traditional iris  song to the international attention.
Loreena McKennitt in The Visit 1991
Nights from the Alhambra: live

CHORUS
O bonny Portmore,
you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore.
I
O bonny Portmore, I am sorry to see
Such a woeful destruction of your ornament tree
For it stood on your shore for many’s the long day
Till the long boats from Antrim came to float it away.
II
All the birds in the forest they bitterly weep
Saying, “Where will we shelter or where will we sleep?”
For the Oak and the Ash (1), they are all cutten down
And the walls of bonny Portmore are all down to the ground.
NOTE
1) coded phrase to indicate the decline of the Gaelic lineage clans

Laura Marling live
Laura Creamer

Lucinda Williams in Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys ANTI 2006


Dan Gibson & Michael Maxwell in Emerald Forest instrumental version
And here I open a small parenthesis recalling a personal episode of a long time ago in which I met an ancient tree: at the time I lived in Florence and I had the opportunity to turn a bit for Tuscany, now I can not remember the location, but I know that I was in the Colli Senesi and it was summer; someone advised us to go and see an old holm oak, explaining roughly to the road; in the distance it seemed we were approaching a grove, in reality it was a single tree whose foliage was so leafy and vast, the old branches so bent, that to get closer to the trunk we had to bow. I still remember after many years the feeling of a presence, a deep and vital breath, and the discomfort that I tried to disturb the place. I do not exaggerate speaking of fear at all, and I think that feeling was the same feeling experienced by the ancient man, who felt in the centenarian trees the presence of a spirit.
SOURCE
http://www.angelfire.com/ca/immie/bonny.html
http://www.sentryjournal.com/2010/10/11/the-fate-of-bonny-portmore/
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=15567
http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/p/portmorelough/about.aspx

Loreena McKennitt – Dickens’ Dublin (The palace)

Uno scorcio della Dublino dickensiana inizia con la voce di una giovane mendicante (un povero monello di strada) che racconta la storia della Natività di Gesù e si alterna al cantato di Loreena, così questa “Dickens’ Dublin” nell’album Parallel Dreams è il sogno di una famiglia.
A glimpse of Dickensian Dublin begins with the voice of a young beggar (a poor starving street urchin) narrating the story of the Nativity of Jesus and alternating with the cantata of Loreena, so this “Dickens’ Dublin” in the Parallel Dreams album is a family’s dream.

La recitazione è stata presa da una serie di registrazioni trasmesse su Radio Eireann (la stazione radio nazionale irlandese) negli anni ’60. I bambini di Dublino della città della cerchia interna hanno avuto l’opportunità di raccontare la loro versione di certe storie, e la versione della piccola ragazza della storia natalizia che Loreena usa su Dicken’s Dublin è stata una di quelle (tradotto da qui)
The recitation was taken from a series of recordings broadcast on Radio Eireann (the Irish national radio station) in the 1960’s. Inner city Dublin children were given the opportunity to tell their version of certain stories, and the little girl’s version of the Christmas story that Loreena uses on Dicken’s Dublin was one of them.
(from here)

Una melodia orecchiabile e popolare e un tema sociale che sarà sempre presente nei suoi album: la voce degli oppressi.
A catchy and popular melody and a social theme that will always be present in her albums: the voice of the oppressed.

Loreena McKennitt in Parallel Drems 1989


I
I walk the streets of Dublin town
It’s 1842
It’s snowing on this Christmas Eve
Think I’ll beg another bob or two
I’ll huddle in this doorway here
Till someone comes along
If the lamp lighter(1) comes real soon
Maybe I’ll go home with him
Chorus
Maybe I can find a place I can call my home
Maybe I can find a home I can call my own (2)
II
The horses on the cobbled stones pass by
Think I’ll get one one fine day
And ride into the country side
And very far away
But now as the daylight disappears
I best find a place to sleep
Think I’ll slip into the bell tower
In the church just down the street
Chorus
III
Maybe on the way I’ll find the dog(3)
I saw the other night
And tuck him underneath my jacket
So we’ll stay warm through the night
As we lie in the bell tower high
And dream of days to come
The bells o’er head will call the hour
The day we will find a home
Traduzione in italiano Cattia Salto
I
Percorro le strade di Dublino/
è il 1842,/ nevica la vigilia di Natale/
credo che elemosinerò un altro scellino o due,/ mi rannicchierò in questo androne,/ finchè qualcuno passerà,/ se il lampionario arriverà presto,
forse andò a casa con lui
Coro
Forse troverò un posto che potrò dire casa mia
Forse troverò una casa che potrò dire proprio mia
II
I cavalli sull’acciottolato mi passano accanto
credo che ne prenderò uno, un bel giorno, e farò una corsa per la campagna e andrò molto lontano,
ma ora mentre la luce del giorno scompare è meglio trovare un posto per dormire, credo che dormirò nel campanile della chiesa proprio in fondo alla strada
III
Forse lungo il cammino troverò il cane che ho visto l’altra notte e lo infilerò sotto la giacchetta,
così staremo al caldo per la notte
proprio nel campanile in alto
e sogneremo i giorni a venire (quando)
le campane sulla cima festeggeranno (4) il giorno che troveremo una casa

NOTE
1) uno dei mestieri perduti, quello di andare ad accendere e spegnere i lampioni delle illuminazioni cittadine, un tempo lampade ad olio poi lampioni a gas; alcune città europee e degli States hanno tuttavia conservato (o ripristinato) l’illuminazione a gas in alcuni quartieri di rilevanza storica o a vocazione turistica.
one of the lost trades, that of going to turn on and off the street lamps of the city lights, once oil lamps and then gas lamps; some cities in Europe and the United States, however, have retained (or restored) gas lighting in some areas of historical importance or tourism.
2) la ragazza è un orfanella, ma spera (vanamente) di potersi  fare una famiglia sua, sposarsi e avere dei figli per sentirsi a casa: un desiderio irrealizzabile espresso a Gesù per Natale
the girl is a orphan, but hopes (in vain) to be able to make a family of her own, get married and have children to feel at home: an unrealizable desire expressed to Jesus for Christmas
3) il suo disperato bisogno d’affetto sarà riversato su un cane randagio con cui rannicchiarsi per dormire e condividere i sogni
her desperate need of affection will be poured on a stray dog with which to curl up to sleep and share dreams
4) letteralmente chiameranno l’ora

LINK
https://josvg.home.xs4all.nl/cits/lm/lorecd36.html

Beneath A Phrygian Sky

“Beneath A Phrygian Sky” (Sotto a un cielo frigio) è dove Loreena McKennitt ha composto questa canzone per l’album “An Ancient Muse”, ci spiega l’artista in un’intervista, che si trovava nel sito archeologico di Gordio, l’antica capitale della Frigia, la città di re Mida (Ankara, Turchia) dove si sono stratificati gli insediamenti degli antichi popoli che, uno dopo l’altro, devastavano il territorio a spese del popolo precedente. Così dopo i Frigi si sono abbattuti sulla fiorente città  i Cimmeri, i Persiani, poi l’esercito di Alessandro Magno (proprio qui si è svolto l’episodio del famigerato “nodo gordiano”); nel III secolo a.C. ci abitarono pure i Celti finchè la città venne abbandonata dopo il passaggio dei Romani. Oggi è il villaggio di Yassihöyük tutto ciò che resta dell’antica gloria.
“Beneath A Phrygian Sky” is where Loreena McKennitt composed this song for her album “An Ancient Muse”, the artist explains in an interview, which she was in the archaeological site of Gordion, the ancient capital of Phrygia, the city of King Midas (Ankara, Turkey) where the settlements of the ancient peoples were stratified, which, one after another, devastated the territory at the expense of the previous people. So after the Phrygiangs, the Cimmerians, the Persians, then the army of Alexander the Great (here the episode of the infamous “Gordian knot” took place); in the III century BC the Celts also lived there until the city was abandoned after the passage of the Romans. Today is the village of Yassihöyük all that remains of the ancient glory.
C’è un pezzo intitolato “Beneath A Phrygian Sky” che è stato ispirato dalla mia visita a un sito archeologico a Gordio, appena fuori Ankara, in Turchia, in Anatolia. E come per i vari siti archeologici che ho visitato, starei lì a guardare le pietre – da una parte sono solo pietre ma non si può fare a meno di sentire che queste pietre sono state testimoni di periodi straordinari della storia. E in questo sito archeologico vicino a Gordion sono state scoperte alcune rovine celtiche anche se l’attribuzione è incerta, potrebbe trattarsi di un insediamento celtico permanente oppure di eventuali mercenari. Perchè i Celti erano ben noti per essere guerrieri assai formidabili e che spesso combattevano le guerre degli altri. E così questo tema delle pietre, questo tema delle guerre, perché la gente va in guerra, ma anche la riflessione che sicuramente c’è tanta storia dietro di noi, e incorporato in quella storia abbastanza lezioni, che dovremmo essere in grado di imparare per migliorare e non ripetere gli stessi errori ancora e ancora. Quindi questa canzone è più una riflessione su questi temi, che un assunto definitivo. Ma si protende verso – se c’è una cosa che può e deve sostenerci- il concetto di amore.
Loreena McKennitt’s commentary on the song, taken from the transcript of an audio interview: There’s a piece called “Beneath A Phrygian Sky” that was inspired by my visit to an archaeological site near Gordion just outside of Ankara in Turkey, in Anatolia. And as with various archaeological sites that I visited, I’d be standing there looking at stones — and on one level they’re just stones but you can’t help but feel that these stones have been witness to extraordinary periods of history. And in this archaeological site near Gordion they had uncovered some Celtic ruins but it appears that they weren’t quite sure whether, in fact, this was a permanent Celtic settlement or if indeed that this was a contingency of mercenaries. For the Celts were well known to be very, very fearsome warriors and that often were off battling other people’s wars. And so this theme of stones, this theme of wars, why people go to war, but also the reflection that surely there’s enough history behind us, and embodied in that history enough lessons in it, that we should be able to be learning and improving and not making the same mistakes over and over again. So this song is as much a rumination of these threads as it is any definitive statement. But it reaches towards — if there is one thing that can and should carry us forward, it is a concept of love.

Il testo della canzone è una preghiera alla Terra e insieme una riflessione sulla pace dei popoli, il trionfo della libertà e della verità sociale (vedasi anche “Breaking the Silence“).
Il motivo musicale riprende il tema di “The Bonny Swans” del precedente album ” The Mask and Mirror”, ma non è semplicemente una “versione rallentata” di quello.
The song is a prayer to the Earth and together a reflection on the peace of peoples, the triumph of freedom and social truth (see also “Breaking the Silence“).
The musical motif takes up the theme of “The Bonny Swans” from the previous album “The Mask and Mirror”, but it is not simply a “slowed-down version” of that.

Loreena McKennitt in An Ancient Muse (The journey so far – The Best of Loreena McKennitt, 2014 )


I
The moonlight it was dancing
On the waves, out on the sea
The stars of heaven hovered
In a shimmering galaxy
II
A voice from down the ages
So in haunting in its song
These ancient stones will tell us
Our love must make us strong
III
The breeze it wrapped around me
As I stood there on the shore
And listened to this voice
Like I never heard before
IV
Our battles they may find us
No choice may ours to be
But hold the banner(1) proudly
The truth will set us free
V
My mind was called across the years
Of rages and of strife
Of all the human misery
And all the waste of life
VI
We wondered where our God was
In the face of so much pain
I looked up to the stars above
To find you once again
VII
We travelled the wide oceans
Heard many call your name
With sword and gun and hatred
It all seemed much the same
VIII
Some used your name for glory
Some used it for their gain
Yet when liberty lay wanting
No lives were lost in vain
IX
Is it not our place  to wonder
As the sky does weep with tears
And all the living creatures
Look on with mortal fear
X
It is ours to hold the banner
Is ours to hold it long
It is ours to carry forward
Our love must make us strong
XI
And as the warm wind carried
Its song into the night
I closed my eyes and tarried
Until the morning light
XII
As the last star it shimmered
And the new sun’s day gave birth
It was in this magic moment
Came this prayer for mother earth

Traduzione in italiano Cattia Salto
I
Il chiaro di luna danzava
sulle onde in mare aperto,
le stelle del cielo erano sospese
in una galassia scintillante
II
Una voce nel corso dei secoli
così ossessionante nel suo canto
le antiche pietre ci diranno, che il nostro amore deve renderci più forti
III
La brezza mi avvolgeva
mentre stavo sulla riva
e ascoltavo questa voce
che non avevo mai sentito prima
IV
Le nostre battaglie ci troveranno
e non abbiamo scelta
ma terremo il vessillo (1) con orgoglio,
la verità ci renderà liberi
V
La mente andava gli anni
di violenze e lotte,
di tutta la miseria umana,
e di tutto il marcio della vita.
VI
Ci siamo chiesti dove fosse il nostro Dio davanti a tanto dolore,
alzavo lo sguardo alle stelle in cielo
per trovarti ancora una volta.
VII
Abbiamo attraversato gli oceani,
sentito molti invocare il tuo nome
con la spada e il fucile e l’odio,
sembrava sempre la stessa storia.
VIII
Chi usava il tuo nome per la gloria
chi lo usava per interesse, tuttavia quando la libertà stava volendo nessuna vittima era persa invano.
IX
Non spetta a noi chiedere (2)
mentre il cielo piange lacrime
e tutte le creature viventi stanno a guardare con grande timore (3)?
X
E’ nostro compito tenere il vessillo
nostro compito tenerlo ancora a lungo
nostro compito portarlo avanti,
il nostro amore deve renderci più forti
XI
E mentre il vento caldo portava
la sua canzone alla notte
chiudevo gli occhi e indugiavo
fino alla luce del mattino
XII
Mentre l’ultima stella brillava
e il sole del nuovo giorno nasceva
fu in quel momento magico
che venne questa preghiera per la Madre Terra

NOTE
1) non propriamente una bandiera in senso nazionale, il vessillo della verità, della libertà o dell’amore? La libertà di pensiero, la verità della giustizia,  l’amore della fratellanza sono gli ideali della Rivoluzione Francese
Not really a flag in the national sense, so is it the banner of truth, freedom or love? The freedom of thought, the truth of justice, the love of brotherhood are the ideals of the French Revolution
2) it’s not my place= non spetta a me, non è compito mio ma anche non ho il diritto di.. usato in senso retorico, nella VI strofa dice: Ci siamo chiesti dove fosse il nostro Dio davanti a tanto dolore, e qui ribadisce: e continuiamo a chiedercelo mentre il cielo piange
3) mortal  letteralmente si traduce come mortale, soggetto a morire, ma in senso colloquiale sta per terribile, enorme, rispetto a paura mortale preferisco tradurre con enorme paura, grande timore

The Gates of Istanbul

Il commento di Loreena McKennitt sulla canzone “The Gates of Istanbul”, tratto dalla trascrizione di un’intervista audio: “Dirò loro, ‘Ecco il quadro che è nella mia mente'”, dice. “In ‘The Gates Of Istanbul’, si tratta di avvicinarsi ad Istanbul nel 1453 – ci sono cammelli, ci sono cavalli. È la fine della giornata e la campagna è andata molto bene. Tutti non vedono l’ora di superare i cancelli e vedere i loro cari. E appena entri, ci sono i meravigliosi giardini e l’acqua …”.
Loreena McKennitt’s commentary on the song, taken from the transcript of an audio interview: “I will tell them, ‘Here is the painting that is in my mind,’” she says. “In ‘The Gates Of Istanbul,’ it’s about approaching Istanbul in 1453 — there are camels, there are horses. It’s the end of the day, and the campaign has gone very well. Everyone is looking forward to getting through the gates and seeing their loved ones. And as you come in, there are the wonderful parks, and water….’(from here)

Loreena McKennitt in An Ancient Muse 2006

I
See there, past that far-off hill
A tower held in the sky
Hear there, in that dark blue night
The music calling us home (1)
II
See there, in that far-off field
Flowers turned to the sky
Feel there, in that dark blue night
The music calling us home
III (repeted)
Stars may always guide our way,
From desert sands where winds blow harsh and long
But here’s where our hearts will pray
And all our loves will slumber with a song
IV
So now, if our hearts be true
And like a pool of truth (2)  reflect the sun
We will find right honour there
And keep us safe and lead us from all harm
V  (repeted)
Then come love, let us dance all night
Until birds they waken at the dawn
Then come love, let us sing all night
And all our loves will slumber with a song
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Guarda c’è, oltre quella collina in lontananza, una torre che si staglia nel cielo; ascolta c’è, nella notte blu
il canto che ci chiama verso casa
II
Vedi là, in quel campo in lontananza,
i fiori si rivolgono al cielo
senti c’è, nella notte blu
il canto che ci chiama verso casa
III
Le stelle guideranno sempre il nostro cammino nelle sabbie del deserto dove i venti soffiano aspri e persistenti ,
ma è qui dove i nostri cuori pregheranno,
e tutti i nostri cari si addormenteranno con una canzone
IV
Così ora se i nostri cuori saranno sinceri, come il fondo della verità rifletterà il sole,
troveremo la giusta lode là
e staremo al sicuro e lontani da ogni male
V
Allora vieni amore, danziamo tutta la notte
finchè gli uccelli si sveglieranno all’alba
Allora vieni amore, cantiamo tutta la notte
e tutti i nostri cari si addormenteranno con una canzone

NOTE
1) i viaggiatori rientrano a Istanbul, in lontananza vedono i minareti e sentono il canto del muezzin per richiamare alla preghiera
the travelers return to Istanbul, in the distance they see the minarets and hear the muezzin’s chant to call to prayer
2) c’è una citazione di versi sacri che non conosco, quello che si vede nello specchio della verità è ciò che si è
there is a quotation of sacred verses that I do not know, what you see in the reflecting pool of truth is who you are.
LINK
http://www.etherealvoices.com/html/loreena_mckennitt_.html

Night Ride Across The Caucasus

Night Ride Across The Caucasus (in italiano “una corsa notturna attraverso il Caucaso”) è un brano composto da Loreena McKennitt per il suo album The Book of Secret. Il concept-album è una stratificazione di storie di viaggi dalla grande migrazione celtica in un passato remoto e quelli erratici di Loreena che le hanno valso il titolo di Lady of Adventure.
Night Ride Across The Caucasus is a song composed by Loreena McKennitt for her album The Book of Secret. The concept-album is a layering of travel stories, from the great Celtic migration in a remote past and the erratic ones of Loreena that have earned her the title of Lady of Adventure.
Loreena McKennitt  in The Book of Secret 1997

Live In Paris And Toronto 1999


Ride on
Through the night
Ride on
Ride on
Through the night
Ride on
I
There are visions, there are memories
There are echoes of thundering hooves
There are fires, there is laughter
There’s the sound of a thousand doves (1)/II
In the velvet of the darkness
By the silhouette of silent trees
They (2) are watching, they are waiting
They are witnessing life’s mysteries
III
Cascading stars on the slumbering hills
They are dancing as far as the sea (3)
Riding o’er the land, you can feel its gentle hand (4)
Leading on to its destiny
IV
Take me with you on this journey
Where the boundaries of time(5) are now tossed
In cathedrals of the forest
In the words of the tongues now lost
V
Find the answers, ask the questions (6)
Find the roots of an ancient tree
Take me dancing, take me singing
I’ll ride on till the moon meets the sea
 7)
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Galoppa
nella notte
Galoppa
Galoppa
nella notte
Galoppa
I
Ci sono opinioni, ci sono ricordi
ci sono echi di zoccoli tonanti
Ci sono fuochi, allegria,
il fruscio di migliaia di colombe
II
Nel velluto della notte
dalla sagoma di alberi muti
ci guardano, ci aspettano
sono testimoni dei misteri della vita.
III
Stelle cadenti sulle colline dormienti
danzano fino al mare,
galoppando sulla terra, si può sentire il suo tocco delicato
che ci conduce secondo la sua volontà
IV
Prendimi con te nel viaggio
dove i  confini del tempo si mescolano
in cattedrali della foresta, nelle parole di una lingua ormai perduta
V
Trova le risposte, fai le domande
trova le radici di un vecchio albero
fammi danzare, fammi cantare
galopperò fin dove la luna incontra il mare

NOTE
1) la colomba simbolo di pace sta a indicare il clima tranquillo che apre il canto: una carovana in viaggio che attraversa le montagne del Caucaso sul far della sera
the dove symbol of peace indicates the tranquil climate that opens this song: a traveling caravan that crosses the mountains of the Caucasus in the evening
2) la notte acuisce i sensi e il silenzio si fa profondo, creature della notte osservano i viandanti, ma gli occhi nella notte possono anche essere occhi guardiani di creature mitiche e leggendarie, spiriti degli antenati, creature magiche emanazioni della Natura
the night sharpens the senses and the silence becomes deep, creatures of the night observe the travelers, but the eyes in the night can also be guardian eyes of mythical and legendary creatures, spirits of the ancestors, magical creatures emanations of Nature
3) il cielo stellato visto in mezzo ad una natura incontaminata suscita dentro di noi qualcosa di estremamente potente
the starry sky seen in the middle of unspoiled nature arouses within us something extremely powerful
4) è la Natura nella sua essenza di Dea Madre nel suo volto benevolo, che da buon pastore guida le sue creature
it is Nature in its essence of Mother Goddess in her benevolent face, which as a good shepherd guides her creatures
5) passato e presente coesistono nel silenzio delle grandi foreste
past and present coexist in the silence of the great forests
6) dalla citazione di Loreena: “Una volta che hai assaporato i segreti, avrai un forte desiderio di comprenderli.”
from Loreena’s quote: “Once you have tasted the secrets, you will have a strong desire to understand them.”
7) la fine del viaggio il Mar Caspio o il Mar nero a seconda della ragione caucasica di partenza, ma in senso lato il punto di arrivo della vita
Black Sea or Caspian Sea, but broadly speaking, the point of arrival of life

Link
https://www.debaser.it/loreena-mckennitt/night-ride-across-the-caucasus/recensione

Marrakesh night market

Una notte di festa in pieno Ramadan a Marrakesh magia di suoni e sapori, atmosfere arabe da Mille e una Notte . Per il suo album The Mask and Mirror Loreena McKennitt ha attraversato la Spagna  e il Portogallo lungo il cammino di Santiago, e poi dallo stretto di Gibilterra è arrivata in Marocco. Così la melodia di “Marrakesh night market” è ricca di percussioni arabe, oud e violini gitani.
A night feast in full Ramadan in Marrakesh magic of sounds and flavors, Arab atmospheres from a thousand and one nights. For heralbum The Mask and Mirror, Loreena McKennitt crosses Spain and Portugal along the path of Santiago, and then from the Strait of Gibraltar arrives in Morocco. Thus the melody of “Marrakesh night market” is full of Arabic percussion, oud and gypsy violins.

16 marzo 1993: sono arrivato stasera a Marrakesh e resto ai margini del mercato. È il Ramadan ed è un fermento di attività tutt’intorno. Sono colpita dalle figure incappucciate degli uomini mentre passano attraverso le luci e le ombre: sono simili ai monaci. Cavalli, carrozze, macchine, biciclette e migliaia di persone sono coinvolti nelle attività della notte … una cacofonia di suoni. Mi fermo in un bar sul tetto per guardare, sorseggiando un tè alla menta … molti gruppetti di una ventina di persone sono sparsi per il mercato, ognuno coinvolto nel proprio dramma musicale, racconti, scimmie sulle spalle degli uomini o cobra convinti a “danzare” sui tappeti; “magiche” pozioni di ossa, semi, pietre e spezie sono vendute … le donne sono in gran parte velate … Sono colpita dal senso di intrigo che l’ambiente crea; quanto è nascosto, tanto è rivelato …
March 16, 1993: Arrived tonight in Marrakesh and am staying on the edge of the market. It is Ramadan and there is heightened activity all around. I am struck by the hooded features of men as they pass through the lights and shadows: they look monk-like. Horses, carriages, cars, bicycles and thousands of people are embroiled in the activities of the night…a cacophony of sound. I retreat to a rooftop café to watch while sipping mint tea…many circles of twenty or so people are scattered around the market, each involved in their own drama of music, storytelling, monkeys on men’s shoulders, or cobras being coaxed to “dance” on rugs; “magic” concoctions of bone, seeds, stones and spices are sold…women are veiled to a great degree…I am struck by the sense of intrigue the environment creates; as much is concealed as is revealed…

Loreena McKennitt in The Mask and Mirror 1994  (Live in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts 1995.)
Nel video belle foto in bianco e nero anche se scollegate dal testo
In this video beautiful black and white photos even if disconnected from the text


I
They’re gathered in circles
the lamps light their faces
the crescent moon rocks in the sky
The poets of drumming
keep heartbeats suspended
The smoke swirls up and then it dies
Chorus
“Would you like my mask?
would you like my mirror?-
cries the man in the shadowing hood(1)-
You can look at yourself
you can look at each other
or you can look at the face
the face of your god”

II
The stories are woven
and fortunes are told
The truth is measured by the weight of your gold
The magic lies scattered
on rugs on the ground
Faith is conjured in the night market’s sound
III
“The lessons are written
on parchments of paper
They’re carried by horse from the river Nile”
says the shadowy voice
In the firelight, the cobra (2)
is casting the flame a winsome smile
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Si radunano in cerchi
le lampade illuminano i loro volti
la mezza luna si dondola nel cielo
i poeti delle percussioni
tengono in sospensione i battiti del cuore, il fumo volteggia e poi si dissolve
Coro
Vi piace la mia maschera,
Vi piace il mio specchio?
-Grida l’uomo con il cappuccio calato-
vi potete specchiare

guardarvi negli occhi
e potete guardare il volto
il volto del vostro dio

II
Le storie si intrecciano
e i destini sono raccontati
La verità è misurata dal peso del vostro oro, la magia è sparsa
sui tappeti stesi a terra
la fede è evocata dal suono del mercato notturno
III
“Gli insegnamenti sono scritti
su pergamene di carta
e trasportarti a cavallo dal fiume Nilo”
dice la voce nell’ombra
nella luce dei falò, il cobra
guarda la fiamma con un sorriso seducente

NOTE
1) letteralmente il cappuccio che fa ombra; è il commerciante che cerca di vendere la sua mercanzia
it’s the merchant who tries to sell his wares
2) gli incantatori di serpenti sono ancora molto comuni nei mercati arabi
snake charmers are still very common in Arab markets