This is one of my few blog entries that does not need a picture. Born and raised in the USA I am a newcomer to the Celtic music genre as far as collecting it goes. I don't recall how I became a fan of Loreena McKennitt except I must have randomly clicked on something and fell in love with a haunting melody. Reminding me of an old dear friend at the same time.
Tonight was a special night for me because it's a full moon and I walk our retriever, Coquetta, at night typically. With "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" newly installed on my player I put in my earphones and walked our dark sidewalks. I live in Sarasota, Florida which is sub-tropical and on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Loreena's music took an already gorgeous night and made it haunting and magic at the same time adding to the beauty. I felt sorry for the people in their houses, with the glow of a TV visible, who miss such a life. Endless shows with canned laughter and emptiness. So on my walk there was the dog, our shadows, and moonlight backlighting spanish moss hanging down from oak trees and backlighting palms and bare limb trees and night music.
Barley is an ancient source of food traceable to growing wild in the fertile crescent of civilization. The lives of the characters of the song story may have revolved around the barley and the growing and harvesting of it. A basic need controlled by the will of the wind and the weather. But what a beautiful and visual story element. Listening to the song your mind's eye can see a heavy shafts of barley as far as you can see waving as the wind touches it.
There is something deeply programmed into the human soul going back thousands of years when we look at a stem of grain. Even in my culture, the Christian culture, our God is the God of the Jews and in the Hebrew language the name for God is 'Yhwh', the god that breaths or has breath. So even the life of the characters is controlled and destinies changed by the breath of God. Invisible purposes revealed in the passage of time like Joseph being sold into slavery to the Egyptians. With the passage of time God's purpose was to save the people that committed the act. Pharoah grew to trust him and by placing Joseph in charge of all the grain of Egypt during 7 years of famine his family's lives were saved. Out of this family line came another Joseph the daddy to Jesus who wants your trust so you will be preserved as well.
The Wind That Shakes The Barley is the wind that shakes all of us. We don't know where it is going or where it has been we can only trust The Wind with our very lives. Buy this album. Its got old and new stories. "When I Roved Out" is a happy and sad song, a traditional Gaelic or Irish song done many many times but wow. Thrill and mystery of life mixed with the promises of an all too human man that may not marry or ever be seen again. I love the rhythm it was perfect for walking.