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.'

Thursday, April 2, 2009

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 my grandmother 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