Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mermaid Lullabies

Out of all the time I've spent up north in Canada, the days I've spent in Newfoundland remain the most enchanting.

One evening in particular stands out in my memory. The end of a misty, bluster day found us circled around a campfire near Gros Morne, huddled forward for warmth while the sunset over the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. As the wind picked up exciting the flames we joined in singing traditional folk songs and shared tea heated over the fire, stirred with an axe handle. Newfoundland haunts you with (I believe) the same misty likeness that entrances those that frequent Ireland and Scotland.

Knowing my fondness for Flogging Molly, a coworker turned me on this morning to Great Big Sea, a St. Johns band who plays rock infused versions of traditional Newfoundland folk music. They play some great stuff, from inspiring acoustics on the Tishialuk Girls (mp3) to the humorous Mermaids (mp3):

So over I jumped and she pulled me down
Down to her seaweed bed
And a pillow made of a turtle shell she placed beneath my head
She fed me shrimp and caviar upon a silver dish
From her head to her waist it was just my taste
But the rest of her was a fish

Cause her hair was green as seaweed
Her skin was blue and pale
Her face it was a work of art
I love that girl with all my heart
I only liked the upper part
I did not like the tail

But then one day she swam away
So I sang to the clams and the whales
Oh how I miss her seaweed hair
And the silver shine of her scales
But then her sister she swam by
And set my heart awhirl
Cause her upper part was an ugly fish
But her bottom part was a girl

Yes her hair is green as seaweed
Her skin is blue and pale
Her legs they are a work of art
I love that girl with all my heart
I don’t give a damn about the upper part
Cause that’s how I get my TAIL

You can check out samples of their music on their website. Their most recent podcast, describes their annual "Great Big Picnic" (a Canuck version of Willie's Picnic in Texas). It is quite entertaining and turned me on to some more Canadian artists I want to explore.