Y Mabinogi – The Second Branch – Update

I thought it was about time that I gave you all an update on the next album – Y Mabinogi – The Second Branch.

I wrote the spoken word section late last year and was looking for the perfect time to record it all when the Beast from the East arrived and snow fell across the country, including a very rare covering here in Sussex. The spoken word of the First Branch was recorded after 9pm each day, as the microphone picked up the engines of the light aircraft flying across to Brighton having taken off from Shoreham airport. The road outside my house was also quieter after 9. But the Beast from the East was a gift to me, as the snow, although not very deep, kept people from driving along back roads that had yet to be gritted. Out street was silent during those days, so with snow all across the Isle of Albion, the spoken word section of the Second Branch was recorded.

If you are familiar with the Second Branch of Y Mabinogi you’ll know that this is a tragic tale of epic proportions. There really is no retribution in the story, it is a tragedy in true Shakespearian and, in truth, Game of Thrones style. Whilst I wrote and recorded the First Branch Cerri had made me a bronze pendant of Rhiannon that I wore in her honour and as guide. For the Second Branch she made be a pendant of two ravens, signifying Bran and Branwen. Over the past couple of months however I found the energy of that pendant, and of their story, completely overwhelming. In the end I had to take it off, and ask them to be a little more gentle with me, placing the pendant on my studio altar instead of wearing it.

Although the tale is a tragedy, it is also epic, so the next thing I did was write the orchestral intro music. It was one of the things that made the First Branch so powerful for me, and Bran and Branwen’s tale could have slipped into melancholy, but I let my hands drift across the keyboard until they found a theme tune that I hope will lift the tale to tell of the war, and the Cauldron of Rebirth. Just as with the First Branch, the Second Branch is a magical tale, with vast depth, subplots and twists. But as time has moved on, and I’ve moved deeper into the tale, I’ve realised that I’m now completely out of my comfort zone. If you listen to my music apart from a couple of songs, they are uplifting and generally positive. There are anthems that bring people together. No such places are there within the Second Branch. There is no place for an uplifting anthem here, but instead music and lyric that speak directly to the heart of loss and sorrow. So this little Gemini who loves to see the world through rose glasses is having to dig deep, and it’s not easy.

Which is good, and how it should be.

I will be stretched by this story, and by the time it is finished I think I may be wrung dry, and in need of a break. So the thought of leaving Branches Three and Four and having a break until I’ve recorded an album of Pagan songs is very inviting right now.

What a Journey this is turning out to be.

 

12 Comments

  1. Bernie Mills May 1, 2018 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    I know I am not the only one waiting very impatiently for the second album. Hurry Up!!
    Wave that magic wand!!! πŸ™‚
    Blessed be

  2. Mark & Caro May 1, 2018 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    Keep going Sir Looking forward to it when it emerges from the Chrysalis of your studio ! Beltane Blessing to you & Cerri !

  3. Angela Fox May 1, 2018 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    A remarkable undertaking dealing with The Mabinogian.
    I discovered it almost 50 years ago and it still haunts me.
    All strength and perseverance to you.

    Ange

  4. Bruce - USA May 1, 2018 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    Well felt, said and shared my friend- looking forward to feeling your journey!!

  5. Garry Watts May 1, 2018 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Sounds like this is going to test your limits but I’m sure you will more than defeat the challenge. I purchased Y Mabinogi 1 a few weeks ago and didn’t think my non-pagan partner would like it as much as your usual Cds. Wrong, he listened avidly to the tale and enjoyed the intervening songs. I especially loved the orchestrated beginning and I could listen to Kris’ welsh lilt over and over again. It is a great artistic achievement and Cerri’s artwork fantastic and in keeping with it all. I look forward to 2 and the intervening cd.

  6. Sonia Smith May 1, 2018 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    How deep are the things of the heart that last the centuries, through time, and decay?

    Beltaine blessings to you and Cerri. And you know if you must go to Golant, and you find the remains of Castle Dor, then you have found such a Gateway. And the story of Tristan and Isolde will awaken deep feelings.

    And also open up those things that you search for in the Welsh Tales too. The Power is with you as you go even to places you know not why.

    I know many people look forwards to the Second Branch, me certainly being amongst them

  7. Debbie Eastwood May 1, 2018 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    So looking forward to the second branch I have learnt and understood so much and has been a great asset on my journey on my Bardic course

  8. Anne May 2, 2018 at 5:07 am - Reply

    The First Branch was, to me, was magical & epic. I listen to it again & again. It sounds as is the Second Branch is going to be another such journey & I’m looking forward to hearing it. Another album of Pagan songs in between this & the Third & Fourth Branches seems good too & it will be great to hear some more of the stirring anthems & powerful songs that you write & sing. Take care of yourself Damh.
    Love & Blessings to you& Cerri.
    Anne

  9. Rita Bryant May 2, 2018 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Yes, it sounds like your work is stretching you. Although this is challenging, its also growthful and will bring a depth to The Second Branch which will be a gift to us all. As pagans, we honour both light and dark. Exploring our shadow is really important, particularly in the times we are living in when many people avoid this journey and then act it out unawarely. Even in the darkest of nights, Spirit is there. Rita

  10. Sandra Laing May 2, 2018 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    I will keep you and Cerri in my thoughts as you tackle this challenge. Do please take care of yourself and Cerri and although I know you have to spend time exploring and expressing the Dark in order to tell this tale and as a Bard that is what drives you, the telling of tales .
    However allow yourself plenty of time in the summer sun. Take time to walk ,breathe in the warm air and let the birds that belong to the light sing to you.
    When Steve and I lost our little girl Hannah, I grew to know places of darkness that I did not realise were in me,but by not fighting that darkness and allowing it to wash over me I found strength I did not know I had.
    It was the daffodils in Spring that brought the light back.
    I just wanted to say take care and thank you for bringing the Second Branch to us.

  11. Steve Kent May 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    You’re getting quite good at this music lark!
    Hope the rest of the album goes well (and quickly!)

  12. Kathy Zimmerman May 13, 2018 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    The first branch was quite an education and I can only imagine the thrill of listening to the second branch as I travel through the mountains in the fall. It will be ready by fall, won’t it? I sure how so!!

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