Selecting the recessional music was not as easy as
selecting the processional music. There
was much debate, but The Mummer’s Dance
finally won out over Ray Lynch’s Celestial
Soda Pop. Here are Ms.
McKennitt’s commentary, and the song itself.
Over a number of years spent ruminating on the distinctive
characteristics of the Celts, I began to wonder if their legendarily nomadic
ways arose from an inner need. An
involuntary response, rather than a pragmatic one; a restlessness that had its
roots in an insatiable curiosity.
In casting your inspirational net as an artist, you become
familiar with the humility that comes with watching your best-laid plans veer
sideways, and recordings becoming something other than what you expected.
So, you set out to travel to Rome…and end up in Istanbul.
You set off for Japan…and you end up on a train across Siberia.
The journey, not the destination, becomes a source of wonder.
Mumming usually involves a group of performers dressing up
in masks (sometimes of straw) and clothes bedecked with ribbons or rags, and
setting out on a procession to neighboring homes singing songs and carrying
branches of greenery. It’s
primarily associated with springtime and fertility, and it has a cast of stock
characters, like the Fool, which recurs in some form or another from Morris
dancing to the shadow puppet plays of Turkey and Greece and even the morality
plays of the Middle Ages. – Loreena McKennitt
in the springtime of the year
the trees are crowned with leaves
the ash and oak, and the birch and yew
dressed in ribbons fair
owls call the breathless moon
the blue veil of the night
shadows of the trees appear
the lantern light
been rambling all the night
some time of this day
returning back again
bring a garland gay
will go down to those shady groves
summon the shadows there
tie a ribbon on those sheltering arms
the springtime of the year
songs of the birds seem to fill the wood
when the fiddler plays
their voices can be heard
past their woodland days
so they linked their hands and danced
in circles and in rows
so the journey of the night descends
all the shade are gone
garland gay we bring you here
at your door we stand
is a sprout well budded out
work of Our Lord’s hand
Lyrics & Music: Loreena McKennit
Commentary and lyrics © 1994 Quinlan Road
Limited & Loreena Mckennitt
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