Song for Suibhne

from by Kate Fletcher & Corwen Broch

/
  • Compact Disc (CD)

    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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     £12 GBP or more

     

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

     £1 GBP  or more

     

about

A song about running away and living in the wild.


Suibhne Geilt (pronounced “Sweeny Gelt”) was an Irish noble cursed by a priest to wander in madness, flying from tree-top to tree-top. “I think I could turn and live with animals...

lyrics

Fishe or Fowle kate Fletcher and Corwen Broch

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 Silkie (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.



Sound samples and lyrics are below.


Pre-order now for despatch in early January.
This double CD is £12 and worldwide postage is £2.


DISC ONE
listenSONG OF THE TRAVELLING FAERIES A Manx lullaby, calling upon the birds to protect the infant from the faeries.
listenTHE SEAL WOMAN'S SEA JOY A song sung by a Seal-Woman upon returning to the sea.
listenFISHE OR FOWLE A song about shape-shifting and communing with the natural world.
listenTHE EARL OF MAR'S DAUGHTER A young man changes into a bird to seduce women, but for once there is a happy ending.
listenYOUNG HUNTING A talking bird reveals a murder...
listenCLERK COLVILL A lecherous nobleman is undone by a treacherous shape shifting mermaid.
listenFISHERMAN'S SONG FOR ATTRACTING SEALS The words of this ancient song are sadly lost, but the tune survives.
listenTHE FOWLER A man mistakes his true love for a swan and shoots her, luckily she comes back as a ghost to clear his name.
listenPICA PICA A song stitched together from Magpie rhymes.
listenSEAL WOMAN'S LAMENT The Silkie Folk are believed by many to be a King and his court, living under a curse..
listenTHE LAILY WORM AND THE MACHREL OF THE SEA What can you do when your stepmother turns you into a fish?
listenSONG FOR SUIBHNE A song about the atavistic urge to return to the wild. I think I could turn and live with the animals....
listenSWALLOW'S WINGS A beautiful Dorset folk song collected by a vicar's son travelling the county by bicycle in 1906.
listenSONG FOR MRS HIDDLESTON A meta-song, dedicated to Mrs Hiddleston, one of the sources of the Lathie Odivere ballad.
listenBIRD SCARING SONGS Songs from the time when a small boy with a rattle was cheaper than a scarecrow.

DISC TWO

listenTHE PLAY O' DE LATHIE ODIVERE I (accompanied version) A beautiful woman refuses all suitors until one uses magic.
listenPART II A lover from her past returns while her husband is over the sea, his visit leaves her pregnant with his child.
listenPART III A Her child is born, the mysterious lover turns out to be a silkie, he takes the child.
listenPART IV Her husband returns, kills the child (in the form of a seal). Her secret affair is revealed, she is sentenced to death.
listenPART V Can her silkie lover save her from the pyre?
listenTHE PLAY O' DE LATHIE ODIVERE I (unaccompanied version)
listenPART II
listenPART III
listenPART IV
listenPART V

Fishe or Fowle ~ Lyrics

Disc One

Song of the Travelling Fairies

One night in the glen, in the glen of Balcomish
The blackbird will come there to build her own nest
Sleep now my baby, the travelling fairies will come
Hush now my bairnie, the bird I will call

One night on mount Rushen, up high in the mountains
The falcon will come there to build her own nest
Sleep now my baby, the travelling fairies will come
Hush now my bairnie, the bird I will call

One night on the rocks of the steep Spanish headland
The seagull will come there to build her own nest
Sleep now my baby, the travelling fairies will come
Hush now my bairnie, the bird I will call

They'll come to Gordon and therein all cosy
Will little Jenny-wren build her own nest
Sleep now my baby and don't you be fearing of them
Hush now my bairnie, the bird I will call
Sleep now my baby, the travelling fairies will come
Hush now my bairnie, the bird I will call

Seal-woman's sea-joy

Ionn da, Ionn do
Ionn da, Odar da
Hio dan dao, Hio dan dao
Hio dan dao, Odar dah

Fishe or Fowle

I went down to the water's edge,
There put on my coat of seal skin
Crept between the reeds and sedges
Dipped my toe in icy ocean
I went down to the water's edge
There put on my coat of seal skin
Crept between the reeds and sedges
Slipped into the briny ocean
I will swim, and I will dive and
Sing the songs the sea has taught me
I will swim, and I will dive and
Sing the songs the tide has brought me

I went up to the mountain high
There put on my cloak of feathers
Climbed into the tallest tree to
Feel the wind and watch the weather
I went up to the mountain high
There put on my cloak of feathers
Climbed into the tallest tree and
Leaned into the wind and weather
I will sing, and I will fly and
Tell the tales the birds have taught me
I will sing, and I will fly and
Tell the tales the wind has brought me

I went down to the water's edge
There I wore my coat of sealskin
I went up to the mountain high
There I wore my cloak of feathers
I will swim, I will fly
Tell the tales the birds have taught me
I will swim, I will fly
Sing the songs the sea has brought me

Earl of Mar's Daughter

Oh Coo my Dove, my love so true
If you'd come down to me
I'll give you a cage of good red gold
Instead of a simple tree.
But when day was done and night was come
About the evening tide
This lady spied a sprightly youth
Standing by her side

I am a dove the live-long day,
A sprightly youth by night;
This to make me appear more fair
In any maiden's sight.
And he has stayed in bower with her
For six long years and one,
Till six young sons to him she bore,
And the seventh son she's brought home.

And he has stayed in bower with her
Twenty years and three;
'Til there came a lord of high renown
To court this fair lady.
But all his proffers she refused,
And all his presents too;
Says, "I'm content to live alone
With my bird, Cow-me-doo."

"My seven sons in seven swans,
About their heads to fly;
And I myself to a gay goshawk,
A bird of high degree."
And nothing could the company do,
And nothing could they say
For they saw a flock of pretty birds
That stole their bride away.

Young Hunting

SHE has called to her bower-maidens, She has called them one by one:
“There is a dead man in my bower, I would that he was gone, gone
I would that he was gone”

They have booted him, and spurred him, As he was wont to ride,
A hunting-horn about his waist, A sharp sword by his side, side
A sharp sword by his side.

Then up and spake a bonnie bird, that sat upon the tree:
‘What have you done with Earl Richard? You was his gay lady
You was his gay lady”

And she swore by the grass so green, so did she by the corn,
That she had not seen Earl Richard Since yesterday at morn, morn.
Since yesterday at morn.

‘Come down, come down, my bonnie bird, and sit upon my hand;
And you shall have a cage of gold, Where you have but the wand, wand
Where you have but the wand”

‘Away, away, ye ill woman, No ill woman for me;
What you have done to Earl Richard, So would you do to me, me
So would you do to me”

And she swore by the grass so green.....

“There is a bird intill your bower that sings so sad and sweet;
There is a bird intill your bower, kept me from my night’s sleep, sleep
Kept me from my night’s sleep”

‘Go bend to me my bow,’ she said, ‘And set it to my e'e,
And I will make that bonnie bird Come quickly down to me, me
Come quickly down to me”

‘Before thou bend thy bow, lady, And set it to thy e'e,
O I will be at yon far court, Telling ill tales on thee, thee
Telling ill tales on thee”

And she swore by the grass so green... x2

Clerk Colvill

CLERK COLVILL and his lusty dame
Were walking in yon garden green;
The belt around her stately waist
Cost Clerk Colvill crowns fifteen.

‘O promise me now, Clerk Colvill,
Or it will cost you muckle strife,
Ride never by the wells of Slane,
If you would live and brook your life.’

Oh speak no more my lusty dame,
Oh speak no more of that to me;
Did I ever see a fair woman,
That I would sin with my body?’

And He’s taken leave of his lusty dame,
Not minding what his lady said,
And he’s ridden by the wells of Slane,
Where washing was a bonny maid.

‘Wash on, wash on, my bonny maid,
That wash so clean your sark of silk;’
It's all for you, my gentle knight,
My skin is whiter than the milk.’

And he’s taken her by the milk-white hand,
And likewise by the grass green sleeve
And he's laid her down upon the green
Nor of his lady asked he leave

Then loud, loud cries Clerk Colvill,
‘O my head, my head, it pains me sore;’
‘Then take, then take,’ the maiden said,
‘And from my sark you’ll cut a gore.’

And she’s given him a little bane-knife,
And from her sark he's cut a share;
She’s tied it round his whey-white head,
But ay his head it ached more

And louder cry’d the Clerk Colvill,
O sorer, sorer aches my head;’
And sorer, sorer ever will,’
The maiden cries, 'Till you be dead.’

So out he drew his shining blade,
Thinking to stick her where she stood,
But she is vanished to a fish,
And away she swam, a fair mermaid.

‘O mother, mother, braid my hair;
Come lusty lady, make my bed;
O brother, take my sword and spear,
For I have seen the false mermaid.’
Fisherman's song for Attracting Seals
[instrumental]

The Fowler

One midsummers evening, the sun being gone down
Young Polly went a-walking by the side of a pond
She sat under a shady tree a shower for to shun
With her apron wrapped around her as white as a swan

Young William went a-hunting with his dog and his gun
Young William went a-hunting as the evening came on
Down among those green rushes as the evening came on
He shot his own true love in the room of a swan

He threw down his gun and away he did run
Crying “father, O father can you believe what I've done?
Down among those green rushes as the evening came on
I shot my own true love in the room of a swan”

“Stay at home dearest William 'til your trial do come on
That you may not be banished to some foreign land
On the day of your trial your father will appear
With fifty bright guineas if that will you clear”

And all the girls in the county were delighted you know
For to see lovely Polly a-laid down so low
But you could take all them pretty girls, and line them up in a row
And her beauty would outshine them like a fountain of snow

On the day of his trial young Polly did appear
Crying “people, O people, let William go clear
For with my apron wrapped around my head as the evening came on
He shot his own true love in the room of a swan”

Pica Pica

1 for sorrow, 2 for mirth
3 for a wedding, 4 for a birth
5 for silver, 6 for gold
7 for a secret never to be told
8 for a wish, 9 for a kiss
10 for a time of joyful bliss
Pica pica, sorrow, mirth, the mingled strain of life on earth

1 for sorrow, 2 for joy
3 for a girl, 4 for a boy
5 for silver, 6 for gold
7 for a secret never was told
8 for a wish, 9 for a kiss
10 for a bird that's best to miss
Pica pica, sorrow, mirth, the mingled strain of life on earth

1 for sorrow, 2 for mirth
3 for a letter, 4 for a birth
5 for rich, 6 for poor
7 for a bitch, 8 for a whore
9 for laughter, 10 for crying
11 for sickness, 12 for dying
Pica pica, sorrow, mirth, the mingled strain of life on earth

1 for sorrow, 2 for mirth
3 for a death, 4 for a birth
5 for a fiddler, 6 for a dance
7 for England, 8 for France
9 for Heaven, 10 for Hell
More for the Devil's very own self
Pica pica, sorrow, mirth, the mingled strain of life on earth (x4)

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.

Laily worm and the mackrel of the seal

I was barely seven years old
When my mother she did die;
My father married the worst woman
That ever your eyes did see.

For she has made me the laily worm,
To lie at the foot of the tree,
My sister Masery she has made
The machrel of the sea.

There's seven knights that I have slain,
Since I lay at the foot of this tree,
And were you not my own father,
The eighth one you should be.

Sing on your song, you laily worm,
That you did sing to me
I never would sing my song before
But I will it sing to thee.

Every Saturday at noon
The machrel comes to me,
She takes by my laily head
And lays it on her knee,

She takes me by my laily head
And lays it on her knee,
She combs it with a silver comb,
And washes it in the sea.

He has sent for his lady,
As fast as send could he:
'O Where is my son that you sent from me,
And my daughter, Lady Masery?’

'Your son is at our king’s court,
Serving for meat and fee,
your daughter’s at our queen’s court,
The queen's lady to be'

'You lie, you ill woman,
So loud do I hear you lie;
My son he is the laily worm,
That lies at the foot of the tree,

My son you've made the laily worm,
To lie at the foot of the tree,
my daughter, Lady Masery you have made,
machrel of the sea!’

She has taken a silver wand,
Given him strokes three,
And up has started the bravest knight
That ever your eyes did see.

And she has taken a silver horn,
Loud and shrill blew she,
And all the fish came unto her
But the machrel of the sea:

All the fish came unto her
But the machrel of the sea:
You shaped me once an unseemly shape,
you'll never more shape me.’

Song for Suibhne

I wax wod and I wax glad
Like Suibhne Geilt I do run mad
Like Merlin riding on his stag
Let the horns grow tall
The stammered speech of humankind
Is harsh and petty in my mind
To sing like lark I am inclined
Let the horns grow tall

Let the horns grow on my head
Let my blood run reddest red
Let the horns grow on my head
Let the horns grow tall

The weight of memory bears me down
I'd swap it for a woodland crown
And live in an eternal now
Let the horns grow tall

Let the horns grow on my head...

Let them grow as the drum does sound
Let them grow as the horn resounds
Let them grow as the hooves do pound
Let the horns grow tall x2

Let the horns grow on my head....x2

I would run and I would fly
With beasts and birds of land and sky
When this body I let fall
Let the horns grow tall

Let the horns grow on my head...x3
Let the horns grow on my head

credits

from Fishe or Fowle, released January 5, 2017
Words & music: C Broch, Arr: K Fletcher & C Broch

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about

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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