It may be due to the Celtic side of my ancestry, but I have always been quite taken by “otherworldly” music — music that sounds somehow related to the mythic unseen world of the ancient British Isles. Sometimes the connection is in the words of a song, sometimes only in the feeling the music creates.
Today I would like to share with you two such “otherworldly” songs.
If you saw the television series Merlin (Episode one), then you have already heard one of them. It is the remarkable “Witch’s Aria,” sung in the tale by Lady Helen of Mora — or rather by the witch that has stolen her outward form. In that guise, she sings a spell of dangerous enchantment over King Uther — Arthur’s father — and his court. Here is that segment:
And here is the performer Mary “Bewitch”(“x out” the ad). The blowing wind in the trees makes it quite visually effective , as though one sees the power of the rising spell.
The other “otherworldly” song I wish to share is an old favorite of mine. It is by that rather unique 1960s group called The Incredible String Band. Titled “The Circle is Unbroken,” it always made me think of people gathering for the mystic journey to the “Isles of the Blessed” — Tir-nan-og — the Undying Lands — so of course it gives one not only a Celtic but a rather Tolkienian feeling:
I only recently found that the melody is borrowed from a sad Irish Gaelic song –“Eanach Dhúin” (Anach Cuin). Here is a beautiful “low whistle” rendering:
Here is the origin story of the sad lament, and an Irish Gaelic rendering (subtitled):
I hope you find some pleasure in these strangely beautiful songs.