The Laily Worm and the Machrel of the Sea

from by Kate Fletcher & Corwen Broch

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  • 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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about

Child ballad #36
This ballad has no known tune so we have borrowed one from a Danish magical transformation ballad called Nattergalen (Nightingale). The tune was collected by Evald Tang Kristensen in 1907 from a clogmaker called Christen Sørensen Thomaskjær. We omitted the last grim verse which tells us the step-mother is burnt at the stake in a fire of gorse and hawthorn.

lyrics

Laily worm and the machrel of the sea

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.’

credits

from Fishe or Fowle, released January 5, 2017
trad arr Kate Fletcher and Corwen 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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