Thursday, 27 June 2013

My Selkie poem set to music, St Magnus Festival, 2013

Stephanie Green and Marisa Sharon Hartanto at the St Magnus Festival, Orkney, 2013

Back from the Orkney Writers' course: one of the most exciting experiences was hearing the verse of one of my poems, 'The Child of Breckon Sands'  set to music by a talented, young composer, Indonesian-born, Marisa Sharon Hartanto on the Composers' course.  It was sung  by the mezzo soprano Alison Wells in the Peedie Church, Kirkwall as part of a poet and composer masterclass at the St Magnus Festival where we also heard comments from the Director, Alisdair Nicholson.

Marisa's music was hauntingly beautiful and very evocative of what I was trying to achieve in my poem. I was thrilled with it, and also delighted to meet the charming Marisa. (I give her website below.)

 'The Child of Breckon Sands' is inspired by a selkie folktale from the Isle of Yell, Shetland.  Here is an extract:

My peerie boy, the only voices you hear haunting the dunes
are the shalder shaking loose its cry
and the rain-throated rain-goose:

                     a' wet, wet, wet,
                                waur wadder, waur wadder.

Notes on Shetlandic:
peerie - little
shalder - oyster-catcher
rain-goose:  red-throated diver, whose cry is said to presage rain.
waur wadder:  worse weather

The full poem will appear in my forthcoming pamphlet to be published by HappenStance in 2015.

Marisa Sharon Hartanto:    
also you can hear some of her other music on

Marisa's next production will be the music for an Indonesian (Wayang Golek) Puppet Show  by Mathew Cohen at the Clore, South Bank, London on 6th July, 2013.

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