Seal​-​Woman's Lament

from by Kate Fletcher & Corwen Broch

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Fishe or Fowle is Kate and Corwen's new double CD.

    Stylistically straddling Traditional Folk, Dark Folk and Psych Folk, Fishe or Fowle features a stripped down instrumentation of ancient and historical instruments including lyre, bowed lyre, gusli, kantele, pedal harmonium and sundry pipes, horns and percussion.

    Disc One has 15 tracks on the theme of shape-shifting and transformation. Four of the songs are newly composed (including our hit: Song for Suibhne aka "The Horns Song") and eleven are interpretations of traditional material including several songs never before recorded.

    Disc Two is the first recording for 30 years of The Play o' de Lathie Odivere, an ancient and hauntingly beautiful Orcadian ballad, sung in five parts.

    This is the dramatic story of a woman torn between two lovers, one of whom is a shapeshifting Selkie (seal-man). This ballad seems to be the origin of the well known song the Great Silkie of Sule Skerry, which closely resembles one of its sections.

    Fishe or Fowle is beautifully packaged in a double fold cardboard pack, with 8 page booklet, all illustrated with Corwen's photography.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Fishe or Fowle via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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From a book 'The Songs of John Mac-Codrum' by William Matheson. This song was apparently sung by a Seal somewhere near North Uist. A hunter was aiming at a seal with his gun when it began to sing this song. Upon hearing this the hunter retired, astonished at what he had heard. In that part of the world, seals were once believed to be the children of a Scandinavian king enchanted by a spell.
Sample: Seal song and Lark imitation by Annie Johnston of Ersary, Barra. From Folktrax FTX-301 'Diddle Daddle – Mouth Music of Britain & Ireland'. With special thanks to Topic Records.


Seal-woman's Lament

Ho i ho i hi o ho i
ho i hi o ho i i
ho i ho i hi o ho I
Cha robh mi'm' aonar an raoir (Last night I was not alone)
Sad the land is, sad the land,
People prey upon our clan
Boiling on a cooking fire
Is the chief of all our men

I am the child of Hugh MacEwen,
I know the skerries and the sea
Woe to him who'd do me wrong
A lady from a far country.

Come the mavis, come the thrush,
Come each bird that seeks its nest,
Come the salmon o'er the sea
'Til that day I will not rest.


from Fishe or Fowle, released January 5, 2017
Words & Music: Trad, arr & translated by K Fletcher & C Broch



all rights reserved


Kate Fletcher & Corwen Broch Scotland, UK

Kate was raised on porridge and song in a family of eccentric musicians in Reading. Wrote my first song at 19. Bought a Narrowboat to live on. Everyone said it was a phase. I still have the boat.

Corwen grew up in Dorset with his grandparents who were The Last Of The Victorians. He was instilled with a love of spartan living, open fires and outside toilets.

They make beautiful music together!
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