Sometimes life is stranger than art. An experience with a new song Rebecca wrote this week caused me to stop and reflect for a moment. It has to do with Celts, sirens, and whatever might be lurking in our DNA. Is there passive consciousness of heritage?
I’ve always been interested in ancestry, largely because of my father’s family. The family had a great oral tradition, and a written one as well. So there are lots of records dating to before the Reformation. On the other hand, I’d never looked very hard at my mother’s lineage. I knew their countries of origin and I knew names of grandparents and greats dating to previous generations. But before those periods, I knew little.
I decided to start with my maternal grandmother’s family name. After spending time poring over different pieces of information, I realized a likely link to the ancient Celts. So I started a file with an intent to research this further.
Concurrently Rebecca was working on a new song. Yesterday she came by and asked if I wanted to hear it. She’s just being polite when she does that. I never tire of hearing both my daughters’ new songs. Both girls will tell you I am their toughest critic. I own up to that.
She slugged the song title as “Siren.” I love the ancient myth, so the title alone drew my interest.
When she finished, I realized how eerie it was that her song reflected some of the cultural aspects of the information I’d turned up. She didn’t know I was researching this when she wrote the song.
So I told her what was up, and how intrigued I was that she was working on a song with themes that paralleled research I’d been doing on Celtic culture.
Then I began to look for images about the Celts. I ran into an image of Queen Medb whose story dates to antiquity. I found an image based on an illustration, and it stopped me in my tracks. There are some similarities in appearance between that image of Medb and my daughter, but it’s the look on the mythic face in the illustration that hit me.
That look on Medb’s face is straight up Rebecca.
The magazine (print and online) Celtic Life noted that, according to some historians:
“Her Old Irish name of Medb meant “mead” – a popular beverage in Old Irish days – so Maeve became known as “she who intoxicates.”
Rebecca and I talked a little about the coincidence in her composing the song and my research.
I looked at Rebecca and said, “It’s like our ancestors were talking to you and me at the same time.”
I can’t wait until she gets this song wrapped.
If any readers have recommendations on good books/works about the ancient Celts, I’m all ears.
(Kay B. Day/Aug. 9, 2018)