What is a siren?

For those of you that do not read Homer or Virgil, sirens are characters in the Odyssey. They sang while ships passed, but they sang so well, no one could resist their songs' lure.

My all-girl band "Sirens' Song" has been writing and performing together for 14 years. We are currently recording our 3rd cd, 'Safe Harbour.'

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Song of the Siren

Summer is fading. I realized today that school starts for us next Wednesday. The beautiful, carefree, swimming pool- pruned days are waning. The sun is still bright but it is getting darker earlier, and the nights are shorter now. As summer gives up its' fight with fall, there is a sweet moment that I wish could extend just a bit. Just another night of warmth. One more swim. One more day of rest. One more moment of peaceful reflections.

The Persieus meteor shower is to be outside tonight. The stars always seem to reflect the time and tides of the seasons. Falling from the sky, even the stars know that the time of summer is closing. God's design of seasons determined by the moon, the tide and the relationship of the earth to the sun.

It is quiet in the house. My son is being a fish in the bathtub, and my husband is resting. During the peace, I cannot keep the songs from flying through my head. Curse or blessing, the gift of music is ever present, just dulled slightly by noise or chatter. But when I really listen, music is there.

As the sun descends into the darkness progressing outside, I cannot stop the time or tide or night or fall approaching. But I can listen, really listen to that sweet sirens song of nature. Fill my spirit with the peace-filled sounds of summer. And listen for the song.

Song of the Siren

Look out of your window tonight
Get out of the shadows and dance in the light
The archers strings are taking flight
Sing a song, sing a song of the sirens tonight.

Look out of your window today
Smell the salt water take in the spray
Dance out on the open waves
Sing a song, sing a song of the siren today

Sing a song of the Siren
Sing a song of the Sea
Sing a song of the Siren
Sing it loud, Sing it to me

Sing when night is falling
Sing when the day breaks clean
Sing when the ocean is calling
And the sky is on fire and the waves billow green

Look out on the open sea
Raise your voice and sing with me
there is a place where we can be....
Starlight and shadow, sky and sea

Look out on the horizon clear
Listen well and you will hear
The Sirens' song is drawing near
Sing a song Sing a song of the siren's so clear
Sing a song Sing a song of the siren tonight

Listen to song of the siren at

track 15

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

the Silk road

My son and I went shopping yesterday. After buying loads of very cheap markdown nike clothing for him, we went to the Misses section. He was patient and let me look for a long while.

He found a dress for me, all silk, with all the colors I love woven in. Aqua and fuschia, bright yellow and cobalt. So beautiful. (he has exquisite taste...some girl is going to be very lucky to have him as a husband) I tried it on, and unfortunately it was an extra large.

At one point last year, I was an extra large size, but lost sixty pounds. I am more of a small now. So I was a bit disappointed. But looking closer at the seams and the way the dress was made, I realized that it was easily altered. I have been sewing since age 8, (thanks, MOM!) so with that knowledge I happily made my purchase.

(Ryan picked out for himself a dark green basketball outfit, which he has worn now for 2 days straight. i made him remove it today to wash it, but he is planning on wearing it tomorrow as well. )

So with a bit of effort, something beautiful that I love will fit me perfectly. Without me working on it, though, it will remain on the hanger, as a beautiful but non-functional garment.

So much of life is what we put into it. We can choose that dress and leave it in the closet. We can have an aquaintance that never becomes a friend. Neglect the nagging voice that tells us to visit someone, or take a meal, or listen, or forgive? Leave things unsaid and unspoken. Fill ourselves with regrets.

We can look at life or we can participate. We can throw up our hands and give up, or we can fight that urge and give and pray. We can ask for more to do, or we can sit back and let others do.

I wrote a song about the travels of Marco Polo. he and his father and uncle did things that people just 'did not do' in those times. They travelled to parts of the world that were dangerous and hidden. They saw things, marvelous things that the western world had never seen. They opened up a route of trade that enriched both the east and the west. But the catch is that no one really believed Marco when he returned from his travels.

Perhaps no one but ourselves will know how much we gave or tried as we approach the twilight of life, but there is one that understands. He is preparing for me a silk garment that will fit perfectly, and I cant wait.

The Silk Road

Light the candle and I will pen
A story of a journey and back again
A book of secrets dark and long
A pathway to the Kublai Khan

From Venice where my book begins
To Genoa where it will end
And juxtaposed between the two
Lies a road unknown but to a few

And I will tell a story bold
Follow me down the silk road
Of eastern nights and treasures untold
Follow me down the long silk road

I travelled over the great Japan
And to the islands of Andeman
From the coldest days I could endure
to the turquoise nights of Neyshabur

The things that I have done and seen
Now seem but long forgotten dreams
but the road that leads to eastern sod
is truer than the tales of Sheherazade.

The Sea Wolf

I took my grandmother's mandolin out again today. I am trying to learn the tremolo, which is the rapid movement of the pick over the mandolin strings. Right now, it is not going so well. I have the chording down somewhat, but the tremolo is so difficult. A practiced hand with a mandolin is so wonderful to listen to. Unfortunately, my hand needs more practice.

So much of who I am really is very similiar to who she was. Musician, people person and friend, she was a light to the people that knew her. Her heritage is passed to me, and I must continue her musical legacy. Her other great-grandaughter, also a namesake, (Libby) has I think inherited a few musical genes as well.....but time will tell her gifts. We are all products of our heritage, whether we embrace that or not.

We recently went on a video shoot (our first!) for our Safe Harbour song. A fellow named Scott Self took us out on his handmade spanish wood boat. A sailboat. A work of art. A labor of love.

His heritage belongs to the sea, and the people that dwelled by the cliffs in England. Pressed into military service, they refused, and lived along the shoreline, fishermen and scavengers. They would mobilize for sea rescues, and were referred to as 'Sea Wolfs.' The Sea Wolfs sailed to America for a better life, and while settling in the Gulf coast city of Galveston, their surname was shortened to 'Self.' The last name of Self is the most common in that area. Our Captain that day, Scott Self, and the boat was called the "Sea Wolf."

The girls and I thought it appropriate that we write Scott a song, and dedicate it to the Sea Wolfs of the past, and the present. Our own ties to the sea provide a nice, fitting background for a tribute.

Sea wolf

Lend me your ear and I'll tell you my tale
Of my people from England whose eyes looked for sails
From Lands End to Portsmouth they looked to the seas
For wreckage to plunder; their hard lives to ease

Set sail, oh Seawolf, to lands far away
To a new port of call and a bright temperate day
This new land brings promise we never have known
a place to call our home

The journey was long and the waves were so high
But a new day of promise was fresh on their minds
Deciding to press on through the foam
They were trying to find a place to call home

So I hear them tonight on the sea
The voice of my people and time’s mystery
Saying ‘fly on the sea wolf, and claim our fame’
‘Remember our spirit, remember our name’

We will sail on the Seawolf to lands far away
To new ports of call, and bright temperate days
This new land brings promise we never have known
A place to call our home.
Copyright 2008 LeighAnn Heil