I grew up on ogres and trolls and giants with beanstalks which grew into the sky. I lived the fabled cowboy always on the lookout for Indians, as politically incorrect as that may have been. Japs were Japs and the belly of the whale was more than a religious reference. In those days, fables and myths were the steps between children's stories and serious literature. When we got lucky, those fables were put to music (think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). There were so much of the good and the bad that seldom did we relate beyond the white and black hats.
Things have changed. Today, myths are not as much about teaching ethical and moral values as they are about teaching lessons of life, sometimes reaching way beyond the simple truths to the deeper meanings beneath. Linda Marie Smith reaches very deep in her latest effort, Mearra—Selkie From the Sea. Very deep, indeed.
A Selkie, it turns out, is of Celtic origin—a fabled seal which can transform itself into a human being. The Selkie in question here, Mearra, falls in love with a fisherman and foresakes her life in the sea to live the human life. The catch is, a Selkie can only live as a human for seven years at which time it must return to its original form. One can only imagine the trials, both real and mental, which occur.
It is the beauty of this album that Smith captures in story and music the intricacies of life, not just as we know it but as it can be imagined. The beauty does not stop there, however. Smith has created an orchestral coup, the songs floating in a sea of wonder, the production mesmerizing, the aura at times overwhelming (in a very good way).
Anyone who has kids knows the magic music and stories bring into their lives. Imagine what it does when it spans the ages. Tag this with the old plug, for ages two to 100. This isn't a children's album, yet children will more than likely be thrilled with it. Adults with a sense of wonder will be, too.
Don't take my word for it, though. Smith is smart enough to know the power of video and has posted this video for our enjoyment. So, enjoy.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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