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Artistic Material

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Video

The Morning Star - Jodie O'Regan

Bethany Hill Soprano
The Jupiter Choir
Adelaide, Australia 2017

 

 

Sdegno Campion Audace - V Mazzocchi

Ensemble Galante. Bethany Hill Soprano
Glenys March Harpsichord, Hilary Kleinig Cello
Adelaide, Australia 2017

 

 

Written Material

The text of the two pieces The Morning Star and Fire Songs

The Morning Star

by Jodie O'Regan with references from Walt Whitman, Shakespeare and The Bible

I am the song of the planets turning.
I sing the longest day.
I sing the midnight sun as she turns on slanted rings.
I sing the sun.
Sing Gloria.
I am the song of the earth.
I sing the oceans to the shore.
I sing the four winds to the far lands.
I sing the storms rising in the desert.
I sing the earth.
Sing Gloria.
I am the song of the pulsing breath.
The lovers’ ballad.
The soldier’s oath.
The crone’s ancient story.
I sing the baby’s sleeping sigh.
I sing the breath.
I am the song of the planets turning and I sing the pilgrims home.
Sing Gloria.

 

Fire Songs

by Jodie O'Regan

When Brigid’s people, the Tuatha De Danann (the people of the goddess Danu) arrived in Ireland they set their entire fleet on fire to signal their intention to stay. The inhabitants of Ireland - The wild, fierce warriors of the Fomorians - not surprisingly didn’t care for this, and immediately clashed with the Danu. In the ensuing battles, the Danann king was killed. His son had lost an arm in battle and was incapable of succeeding his father. Brigid, the king’s daughter announced she would marry Bres, king of the Fomorians, in the hope this royal marriage would provide a king for the Danann and heal the wounds between the two peoples.

Peace was never secured. Bres, a Fomorian was a cruel, oppressive king to the people of Danu. But Brigid chose to stay with him. I imagine Brigid made an informed, wise decision. I think she continued to believe her marriage would bring peace. I suspect the poet-seers had told her that it would cost her dearly, but her eldest son Ruadan would be the light that restored peace to Ireland. Brigid assumed her marriage to Bres was the price she needed to pay and used her knowledge of blacksmithing to harden herself against Bres’ cruelty, giving herself the fortitude to stay and guide their son to fulfill this destiny.

Brigid passed on to Ruadan the Danann skills of blacksmithing. He proved an excellent blacksmith - combining the raw strength of the Fomorians and the skilled craftsmanship of the Danann to create mighty swords. But the enmity between Bres and the people of Danu grew. Bres finally betrayed Brigid when he led the Fomorians to outright war against her people. In the terrible second battle of Mag Tuired, her beloved son sided with his father, turning against the Danann. Ruadan died in that battle. Throughout the night following Ruadan’s death, Brigid’s anguished cries rang out across Ireland. At dawn her keening softened and her voice fell on the land like rain.

When the sun rose, Brigid reached into the sky and pulled a thread of sunlight down for the poets to spin into words and tell her story. The poets sang of her dedication, sacrifice and grief. The intensity and sorrow of the songs so moved the warriors, they finally laid down their weapons. With harps and songs, the poets of Brigid brought peace to Ireland. Brigid’s own time at the anvil was complete. Her red hair turned to flames as she stepped into the sky, and ascended from woman to Goddess.
 

I WEDDING SONG

Tonight. My wedding night. My wedding robes.
Woven from the grass that grows on the hills. that grows on the hills.
Tonight. My wedding night.
My wedding wreath from the sham-rocks and flo-wers that grow be-neath my feet.
My groom. A mighty king.
The flame in his eyes burns with the fire of the night.
And you. oh my people.
Whose red blood has flowed down to the water deep in my wells.
Tonight. Wine will flow. Tonight war will cease.
When the daughter of Danu marries her enemy.
The deep wounds will open.The water will clean.
Tonight will begin with a dance.
 

II WEDDING DANCE

(This is a vocalese jig. )
 

III FORGE SONG

Come.
Ruadan, Ruadan, Ruadan my son.
Watch for the colour. See, my bright one?  
There in the flames, white as the flesh of an apple.  
Deep. So deep. My son. Deep in the heart of the fire.  
Ruadan Ruadan Ruadan my son.
Watch for the iron. See, my true one?  
See it grows bright. Bright as the sun of high summer.
Deep. So deep. My son. Deep in the heart of the fire.  
Now take the hammer See, my own one?  
Strong in your hand. Strong as the ox of the farmer.  
Deep. So deep. My son. Deep in the heart of the fire.  
Strike true. Strike true. Strike true my son.
Strike true. Strike true. Strike true my one.
Over and over and over my son.
Over and over and over my one.
Come.
Ruadan, Ruadan, Ruadan my son.
Come see the blade. See what you've done.  
See the straight line? Straight as the path of my arrow.  
Deep. So deep. My son. Deep in the heart of the fire.  
I have my own blade to pattern
I have my own fire to burn.  
My son is the true light of Danu for him I stay true.
I stay Deep. So deep. I stay deep in the heart of the fire.  
 

IV NIGHT SONG

Ah. Cuisle mo chroi Cuisle mo chroi (trans - pulse of my heart)
Beat of my heart.
My son. my son. My beautiful one.
Cuisle mo chroi Cuisle mo chroi.
You turned on your people. You turned on me,
And now you lie slain.
Cuisle mo chroi. Cuisle mo chroi.
Beside you the sword we made at the forge.
The forge of the Danu.
Cuisle mo chroi Cuisle mo chroi
Beat of my heart.
My son. my son. My beautiful one.
Never again. Never Never again. will you hold it.
Never again. Never Never again. will I hold you
Cuisle mo chroi Cuisle mo chroi.
Beat of my heart. Beat of my heart.  
 

V DAWN SONG

The Dawn
night turns again. Light comes again.
Sun rise again in the sky. 
Sunlight
I reach up my arm reach up to the sky.
I take a single thread of sunlight. 
For you. Oh my people.
Take this thread in your hands.
Spin it in to a song of light
Let your song rise up.
Let your song rise up in to the sky,
and the fighting will cease.
This bloody war will cease.
finally I will bring peace.