What is it that we have in common the world over, regardless of ethnicity, culture or creed? I believe it is a wish to be happy and a wish to love and be loved. This second wish is a fundamental drive in our search for connection and kinship. The idea of Soulmates is possibly an idea that can be found in many cultures the world over. This is the idea that one intrinsically connects with another: heart, body, mind and soul. The ultimate in “click factor”! It is a beautiful and compelling notion. When I moved to Scotland I discovered that the ancient Celts believed in reincarnation, in the same way that I do as a buddhist.
The Celtic language has a phrase that takes the whole notion of Soulmates a step further. This is the idea that due to the fact that we have endless lives we therefore also have Soulmates whom we reconnect with down through the corridors of time. What a poignant and romantic and wonderful notion…..that you find your loved one again and again, regardless of ones changing faces, cultures, places or times. The phrase they use for a soulmate through space and time is: Anam Cara.
Of course, as a songwriter, I think this idea is definitely something that is just waiting to have a song written about it…..it calls out in silent loving tones to be embodied in song! So, here is my lyrical exploration of this tender, soul hugging belief. It starts with the refrain as so many of my songs seem to….
Anam Cara, Anam Cara
Anam cara is your name
Anam Cara, Anam Cara
Hold me for eternity
Take me to the edge of bliss
Take me to the edge of bliss.
Your eyes hold a moonbeam of loving
That is directed only at me
Your hands hold mine on our journey
While we lead our simple life
Wrapped, wrapped in your warm embrace
Wrapped, wrapped in your warm embrace.
I love your truth, your reason
Your quiet humble ways
Your love is a gift of wonder
Your love is a gift from truth
Fed, fed, by your warm embrace
Fed, fed, by your warm embrace
We all long for a kindred spirit
To love us through space and time
To be held in an ocean of loving
Where love flows like a song
Stroked, stroked by your warm embrace
Stroked, stroked by your warm embrace.
Short instrumental break
So you are my Anam Cara
My soulmate through space and time
Sing to me now of forever
As your skin caresses mine
Curled, curled in your warm embrace
Curled, curled in your warm embrace.
It is a very tender and intimate song which rhythmically is broken into three reoccurring sections. The first part of the refrain ‘Anam cara….Anam Cara” is quite rhythmical and anthemic in feel.” Hold me for eternity” acts as a bridge to the next bit “Take…..bliss” which is different rhythmically and more sensual in feel. The verses are again another section and are more storytelling in feel, except for the last two lines which again slide into a more sensual rhythmic pattern. These different rhythmic elements give the song a breadth of feel which is important for a song with this depth of yearning and tender intimacy. It helps create depth and texture alongside the lyrics themselves.
Melodically this song has a pattern of A- the refrain, B- the verses and the last verse which is a variant of B, just to help embellish and create the conclusion of the song. It dances between F sharp minor and A major . To me it is a song largely for viol and fiddle, and just gently a guitar . I feel these instruments particularly as I think they, like the voice can slide easily around the changes in rhythms. The viol and fiddle also have a deep poignant soul feeling when they are played with an evocative touch. The style of arrangement I would like is a mix between contemporary Scottish folk ( think Lau) and a slight balkan gypsy feel! It would build as the song evolves. It’s easy to see why I would choose the Scottish feel as this concept is a Gaelic one but the Balkan feel is because some of the dissonances would add a richness and a deeper soul/poignant quality. Also, this is a song about finding ones soulmate down through endless time and the gypsy feel adds to that sense of a wandering, searching soul.
I also surprisingly want to have a bodhran in this….very simply, on the Anam Cara bit. I don’t often use drums as unless skilfully used they don’t really suit my very story telling way of singing/writing. But, it would be nice to add them where they fit and I can hear a bodhran adding to the rousing anthemic feel of the first part of the refrain only. The bodhran can also come in on the instrumental break to add to that instrumental exploration of the theme. Electronic sound could be added very gently in a tertiary kind of way to add to the sense of evocative tender warmth.
As a singer I rather love singing this piece- even accapella in the pub! It is a song that allows lots of word painting and tender inflections . It also means you have to enter a tender, slightly exposed, warm space to sing it from and just trust that this will take the listener to that space too….so, it requires a bit of shamanic bravery to sing it well! It has been met with deep sighs and the phrase” Wow, thats so tender and intimate”….
I think I also just like to sing it as it is such a lovely idea and being an absolute incurable romantic it appeals to me! I am really looking forward to working on it with my lovely new musicians whom I have started work with in London. This is one of the group of songs we are going to work on so I am excited to see it taking instrumental shape outside of my head! Perhaps we might get as far as recording it properly one day……that would be super exciting! Dream on whilst we fashion it into a thing of throbbing soul and heart beauty! Or, I hope it turns out that way!