Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ondas do mar de Vigo


Just in time for St. Valentine's Day, I have put together a video slide show which, in essence, is all about love for the amazing landscape of Manitoulin Island, for our "wild" horses and for the music I wish to share.  

My the video first, and only after that, come back and read the rest of this journal entry.  (the embedded video does not seem to be centered nicely and won't view properly like that.  click on the title within that embedded video or click here to go directly to YouTube for the best viewing)

Ondas do mar de Vigo is a "cantiga de amigo", a Galician-Portuguese medieval love song.  In this particular song it is more a lamentation, - a pleading for the return of the beloved - an aching like no other, in rhythm with the swelling surf…

Many musicians performing medieval music have recorded this cantiga, some with great feeling, most with an stiff, academic duty.  Only Evo, a quartet from Valencia, has infused a palpable authenticity that transcends 800 years of time passing - so honest in delivery that such passionate yearning we all recognize as a very current emotion in our modern lives. hear the ancient aspects of the music, yet you feel its resonance as something living and breathing - inside you! 

Evo's version of “Ondas do mar de Vigo” has been so adeptly arranged by band leader, Efrén López its sound is as richly archaic as the time in which it was originally composed by Martin Codax in thirteenth century Galicia - yet it vibrates also with a present-day sensitivity, exceptionally portrayed in the vocal artistry of Iván López.  The spare accompaniment of Efrén on the hurdy gurdy and Miriam Encinas on the recorder is so intuitively played one hears not so much the sound of period instruments, but rather slow incantations of elementals that inhabit the seaside.  This is not mere interpretive music…it is soul music, steeped with "duende" and contemporaneously in the "now".

When I first heard the music of Evo and watched a video of a live performance of "Ondas do mar de Vigo" I knew it was just the type of music I wanted to accompany the collection of images I was assembling for the video slideshow of our horses at the beach.  It is SO emotive! and seems to express in sound all the love I have for the horses and the type of freedom we can offer them here at Ravenseyrie.  The joy of that love is often bittersweet, being always overshadowed by the realization there is not enough human desire worldwide to allow wilderness spaces to be populated by "wild" equines (and in fact in Canada and the United States feral mustangs continue to be persecuted and exterminated).  That reality and the concomitant limitations of our personal resources (which forced us last year to limit further natural breeding by relocating all the females to a separate range) has me often sitting on our rocky shore, pleading with the waves of Lake Huron for the return of a time when we humans were not manipulating the natural world in such deleterious ways that day by day push plants and creatures toward extinction.

It is for these reasons, I chose Evo’s recording of “Ondas do Mar de Vigo” (©2013 Songsurfer® Records), over all others, to pair with photos taken of the nearly extinct Iberian horses that live on our Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve.  An additional bonus to the music of Evo and their recordings of Galician-Portuguese song poetry is discovering that the ancestors of our horses were known to medieval troubadours!*  While the connections with the ancient past are worth mentioning I should point out that like the musicians of Evo, in our conservation efforts with these horses, we are not under the illusion that we are replicating the past but rather have assembled what has survived from those times and allow it to express itself in accord with the dynamics of the 21st century.    

The images you see in the video I have captured from the years 2007 to 2013.  The horses' have 360 acres to roam and only rarely make the descent down the East Bluff to access the lakeshore - something they do when trying to escape the annual plague of black flies of springtime and when the drought of deep summer has evaporated all the upper water sources.  It is always a huge excitement for me if I am able to catch up with the horses when they are down by the water and I have wanted for a long time to share a video slideshow of the many photos I have taken of those special times over the years.  

The musical accompaniment of Evo's recording of "Ondas do mar de Vigo" would not have been possible without the support from Claus Altvater of Songsurfer Records (who granted me a special "synchronization license" for this video project) and also the approval of Efrén Lopez.

I hope you enjoy the video!  And if you fall in love, as I did, with the music of Evo...please support their efforts with a purchase of their recordings!

*One troubadour in particular, Lopo Lias, includes references to the zebro in his songs, using the words "zevrões" and "zevrom" which in the glossary of the website chronicling these songs is defined as a "wild horse"...we can take this as another reference to the striped wild horse that also is spelled as "zebro", "cevro" "encebro", etc.

Additional information:

The words to "Ondas do mar de Vigo" in Galician and English - from the European Heritage website.

Ondas do mar de Vigo
Ondas do mar de Vigo,
se vistes meu amigo?
¡e ai Deus!, se verra cedo!
Ondas do mar levado,
se vistes meu amado,
¡e ai Deus!, se verra cedo!
Se vistes meu amigo
o por que eu sospiro,
¡e ai Deus!, se verra cedo!
Se vistes meu amado,
por que ei gran coidado,
¡e ai Deus!, se verra cedo!

O waves of the sea of Vigo...
O waves of the sea of Vigo,
if only you´ve seen my lover,
and, oh God, if only he´d come soon!
O waves of the heaving sea,
if only you´ve seen my darling,
and, oh God, if only he´d come soon!
If only you´ve seen my lover,
the man for whom I´m singing,
and, oh God, if only he´d come soon!
If only you´ve seen my darling,
the man for whom I´m pining,
and, oh God, if only he´d come soon!