Y Mabinogi – Just Listen!

llewellyn-tarot-www.visualtarot.com-04In May Cerri and I went on a working holiday to Wales and immersed ourselves in the land from which the tales of the Mabinogion grew. I wrote about the trip in a couple of blog posts just after:

Here

and

Here

During that time I wrote the script of the written word sections of the First Branch which left the music and songs to follow. Since then I’ve been working on the first song. I always find the first song of an album the hardest to write. It’d been quite a while since the song-writing gene had been active. The last song I wrote was for The Green Album, and before that it was Time Machine from Sabbat. The very first song (apart from any intro music) is the encounter between Pwyll and Arawn in the forest glade and I’d had the title of the song, and the chorus, for a few weeks, but those opening lines…they have to be right and draw me into the scene. So I’ve been spending a little time between each session in meditation opening to the spirit of the song that wants to be written. I’ve been wanting to make these Y Mabinogi albums for nearly 20 years so it’s really important to me that it’s right, that they do the tales honour. No surprise then that I’ve been placing quite a lot of pressure on myself, which as many a creative person knows, is not always the best thing to do. We need the Awen to flow, not forced.

So last week I found myself once more in front of the computer screen, guitar in hand, working on this song. I had done nothing differently, but that day something shifted within me. I distinctly felt it happen. The second verse fell on the page, complete, and right. As I looked at the words I’d just written I knew something had happened – I’d felt it before when I wrote Merlin am I, Brighid, and a good few other songs. It doesn’t happen every time, but when it does you know that you weren’t entirely responsible for the words you’d just written. It feels more like the song wants to be written, and you are just the conduit to get it out into the world. As I played the song through I realised that, all along, it had been Arawn who had been singing. That he was telling his story of that meeting, the meeting of realms and of worlds. A moment, after which, nothing would ever be the same again.

I changed one word in the first verse, and everything suddenly made sense.

One more verse to write, and then I will see how the song fits in with the narrative of the story.

I think I know already.

Moments like that are a blessing. It feels like an approval from the Otherworld. A hand upon my shoulder, as the storyteller says in Iron from Stone, and with it I take a feeling that I’m on the right track. It pushes away those self-made dams, and allows the Awen to flow free once more.

The Journey is well and truly begun.

11 Comments

  1. Ann Beirne July 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Wow!!!! I had goose bumps as I ready the words, this is certainly very powerful, am looking forward to the finished product.

  2. Bernie Mills July 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Great news! But I think you should come back to Wales for more inspiration ( and play a gig or two while you’re here!) :-). I may have mentioned this before 😉 x

  3. Fran July 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    I am happy for you. Blessings.

  4. Leonore July 25, 2016 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Well just reading how this dong is coming into being made me shiver . I have no doubt that this will be great work … Maybe your best , but an Opus Major nevertheless. Thank you and may the Awen always flow your way. X

  5. Margaret July 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I know that feeling – as if I have finally gotten out of the way of the story and now it can tell itself. Trust the story, not the storyteller, as Joss Weadon says. It’s a delight when it happens. Enjoy!

  6. Rylin Hansen July 25, 2016 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I’m so excited to hear both of the Week’s flow for this first song and that the album is now under way in its journey. May the rest of the journey be equally as fruitful!

    • Rylin Hansen July 25, 2016 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      Meant to say “Awen’s” flow autocorrect didn’t know Awen… :/

  7. Dave Over July 25, 2016 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Beautiful! Let it flow, Damh. Let it flow.

  8. Yvonne McDermott July 27, 2016 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Goosebumps – magick is afoot!

  9. Damh the Bard July 28, 2016 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Thanks friends! The first song is now written so next week, on with number two. That one is called Annwn and describes what Pwyll sees upon entering the Otherworld. Really looking forward to getting my teeth into it!

  10. Mike C. July 29, 2016 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    I don’t write music, but I write occasional poetry and am proud of some blog posts I’ve written. There is a feeling when the words are right, and it looks so obvious and easy – of COURSE those are the words you would use…but it doesn’t come easy, and I don’t think people realize that. A lot of work goes in to making it feel effortless.

    I am excited to hear what you come up with. Celtic myth, I feel, is under the radar (where I am, at least, in Atlantic Canada) due in part to a lack of attention. I look forward to learning more about it.

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