Thursday, August 5, 2010

Off to Éire, "the Abundant Land"

Several times I've noticed strong synchronization between the song I'm mixing and the outer events in my life. I wonder if other producers/mixers have noticed this? If they pay attention to such things? For some reason not clear to me, I seem to act like a lightening rod for all kinds of synchronicities, big and little. A partial explanation might be that I take note of coincidences and view them as possible guides.

A rather dramatic coincidence between song and life ... in this case death, occurred on January 11, 2007. I was mixing the West African artist, Wasis Diop at Prairie Sun, and had randomly chosen to mix the cover he did of Leonard Cohen's Hallalujah. The decision to mix this song on this day was entirely mine, Diop, also the Producer, wasn't there. I chose it only because it was next on the list.

Believe it or not, I'd not heard the song before, or if I did, had never paid attention to it. I'm not that familiar with Leonard Cohen, or with Jeff Buckley who did a well known, live cover version. Diop's take on it was very spiritual and moving. It struck a strong emotional chord in me although not directed at anything in particular.

After I was finished that evening and logged online, I discovered that a significant figure in my life, writer and teacher Robert Anton Wilson, had finally, for good this time, shuffled off his mortal coil. I reflected that Hallalujah was an appropriately good song for the transition of death, the transition into bardo awareness. At the time of mixing, I hadn't connected the song with death.

Some time later, I saw that the television show West Wing had used Buckley's version of the song in a montage that conflated the death of one of the characters with the decision to assassinate a foreign diplomat who was a terrorist.

January 11th, 1/11 is also known as Anna Livia Plurabelle day. She is Irish expatriate writer James Joyce's name for the Goddess archetype from the epic novel Finnegans Wake. Wilson was an authority on Joyce, and a deep and profound lover of all aspects of the Goddess, often in the form of his beloved wife, Arlen.

Well today I found myself mixing a House Concert given by E.J. Gold and Friends that I'd recorded in July. One of the pieces had featured performer, Se Duggan, leading a traditional Irish jig on his mandolin before singing Will The Circle Be Unbroken.

Se also lived as an Irish expatriate for a number of years. He is an expert in the history of traditional Irish music and musical instruments as well as being an accomplished musician.

Just an hour or so after mixing Se singing Will The Circle Be Unbroken, I found out that he had left that morning for Dublin. He had been required by US Immigration to return to Ireland. From what he told me, Se doesn't have family or friends there to speak of. It will be starting over for him, finding a job, a place to live etc. Rebirth into an Irish life.

Ireland fascinates me. I haven't been there, but am a huge fan of James Joyce who frequently celebrates and criticizes Ireland in his literary masterpieces. My great-grandmother was Irish.

Éire is the traditional name for Ireland:

The modern Irish Éire evolved from the Old Irish word Ériu, which was the name of a Gaelic goddess. Ériu is generally believed to have been the matron goddess of Ireland, a goddess of sovereignty, or simply a goddess of the land. The origin of Ériu has been traced to the Proto-Celtic reconstruction *Φīwerjon (nominative singular Φīwerjō).[1] This suggests a descent from the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction *piHwerjon, likely related to the adjectival stem *piHwer- (cf. Sanskrit pīvan, pīvarī and pīvara meaning "fat, full, abounding").
This would suggest a meaning of "abundant land".

Wishing Se a joyful and musical return to Éire, the Land of Abundance!

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