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Music, magic and mystery!

Blogpost July 21st

Hello again … is it really July 22nd? Blinking ink! It’s been a busy few weeks since last we met. Despite the generally gloomy weather this month, I’ve taken numerous delightful walks in beautiful, lush-green glens, or beside fast running streams. Sometimes with fabulous friends and more recently as a solitary pleasure. I thoroughly enjoy each escapade and am awed by nature and this particular tiny piece of the planet that still makes my heart giddy with joy.

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Twice now I’ve walked through pockets of Archallagan Plantation midway between Douglas and St Johns. It’s a drive I’ve always loved but never stopped to enjoy the pine scented woods before. On the first occasion it was a very damp, grey and mist swamped Saturday afternoon. I have no idea why, on this miserable wind-blown day, I should think to do such a thing. I had my camera and GoPro with me so thought I’d take a few shots and be done in minutes. But once I’d wandered under the hush of the pines, everything was shadow and light and so full of promise and mystery I just kept walking. There wasn’t another soul around. It felt very magical.

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For some reason I still can’t bring to mind I started humming … no tune I know, just spontaneous oohs and ahs becoming more confident as I wandered. I was singing to the fairies! It was a peculiar and hugely enjoyable experience and one I repeated last weekend but this time in the dappled light of a sunny day. Who knew? After so much wind and rain the sunlight alone was a miracle but the moss covered floor of the Plantation (I parked in a different spot this time) was a magic all of it’s own. I couldn’t resist another little fairy song even though there were dog walkers not too far away … I sang secretly to the moss and the tall pines who leant in to listen. Life truly is wonder-full! If I’m feeling brave I may share one of my spontaneous mystical fairy tunes … next time?

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Last week was rather packed with events and adventures not least because there were several rehearsals with Jo and Juan Callister and Lindsay and Steve Rowe for our much anticipated (by us!) performance at Yn Chruinnaght Festival in Peel last Friday night. Plus we had some very special visitors from Glen Innes NSW over for Tynwald Day. Bob and I met Steve and Judi Toms and Margaret Sharpe at the Australian Celtic Festival in April. They were staying with Alastair Kneale in Laxey for a few days as part of a month long tour of the British Isles. I somehow managed to blag our way into a visit with the Mayor of Douglas – Mr Councillor John Edward Skinner JP and his lovely wife The Mayoress Mrs Gill Skinner. We were warmly welcomed into the Mayor’s Parlour no less! It was delightful to see our Australian friends again so soon and to provide them to such a wonderful treat.

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On Friday last week I performed at aforementioned Yn Chruinnaght Festival. It’s the first time I’ve been invited and it was a very special event. I took the opportunity to sing with my very talented friends – Jo and Juan Callister – and also plucked up the courage to ask the uber talented Lindsay Rowe to play keyboards – she sang too! Steve (her equally talented bass playing husband) invited himself to play but I was thrilled to perform with them both. We did a selection of old and new tunes and presented, for the very first time, two Manx Folk Lore inspired songs. The first: “No One Knows His Name” is one I wrote with the mentorship of Richard Thompson (yes really!) … he suggested using DADGAD tuning and after each demo I sent he nudged me this way or that with the melody, et voila … a song was born. There’s only a small snippet of the performance from Friday as all our video devices decided to not play properly so we only have the second verse and chorus to share. Enjoy!

Our second original offering “Goddess of Mann” is a wonderfully mystical hymn to Mannanins wife … Fand and was written with Lindsay Rowe (:-). She wrote the fabulous lyrics and together we created the music and melody. Having three part harmony on both songs on Friday was a treat! Fand is a little known Sea Goddess in her own right (that’s the fairy-feminist in me coming out!) who had to protect the Island when Mannanin went a wandering … de rigeur for a God from time to time apparently. It’s a beautiful, haunting and inspiring song that the audience demonstrably appreciated. Phew! One or both of these new songs might find their way onto the new Daphne’s Flight CD … but we’ll have to wait a while before that decision is reached! Patience dear reader … patience!

So … after a full-on month of reconnecting to the Island’s pulse, Bob and I are now in Yorkshire. We’ve just spent a few days with Bob’s brother and sister-in-law near York and are en route to East Stoke for a few days with the Ansell household before we make our way to Penistone for a thrilling three days with Daphne’s Flight for a bit of pre-recording preparation! Not to mention a long overdue catch-up! Watch this space … it’s all very inspiring. We already have half a dozen wonderful original songs in the creative pot for the Album. We’re thrilled that David Suff at Fledgling Records, who released our original CD 20 years ago, is releasing our second musical offering next year, just before a chocker (fingers crossed) tour in May. So it’s all happening :-) xxx I trust you will do everything in your power to attend a show … you’d be daft not to!

This week’s video/song is a track written and produced by my dear friend Steve Lima, aka FuTuRo, recorded in – gulp! – 2000. He gave me the chance to be a Diva for the day :-) xx it’s always a huge honour to be asked to perform on other artist’s recordings and to be given the chance to connect with my inner Diva was great fun. Imagery is GoPro/iPhone footage taken on various walks around the Island this past month with a few photos taken on my trusty Panasonic toward the end. Can you spot the dancing fairies? :-) xxx

I’ll leave you here for now and say thanks as always for dropping by and look forward to catching up next month with a few fly-on-the-wall video snippets of Daphne’s singing!

Endless blessings!

Christine xxx

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