Here are two of the pieces I wrote while on a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant trip to Ireland last summer. They were recorded in February, with the help of Kevin Lindberg (student producer at Hennepin Technical College in Eden Prairie) and his mom and my friend, Martha, playing recorders.
© Amy Kortuem 2011
While I was in Ireland, I read The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin, who set out to prove the legend of St. Brendan sailing to North America long before it was "discovered" by Columbus. Severin built a replica of the ancient leather Irish curragh boats and set out on his journey - and he made it. I a lot of my time in Ireland thinking about that little boat on that immense ocean, and while the violent storms and the sea monster encounters and the wet and the cold and the danger were terrifying, it was the image of the boat being rocked on a gentle sea that made the clearest impression on me. And that impression became the song "Little Boat" as I sat on one of the southwestern-most shores of Ireland with my harp, looking out over a calm lagoon to the wide Atlantic in the distance. (This was the very place I wrote "Nine Waves" in 2006.)
"The Rose of An Grianan"
© Amy Kortuem 2011
I wrote about composing "The Rose of An Grianan" in this post over the summer. But I didn't tell you that this song had its beginnings as Mom, Sheila and I walked the shore of Lake Superior in March 2010. I hummed and hummed and hummed it until Mom asked, "What's the name of that song?" Little did I know it would take thousands of miles of traveling and a chance encounter with a poetic Irish gardener to finally complete and title the song! An Grianan is the name of the beautiful, Georgian mansion where the harp festival I attended was held - it means (loosely translated from Irish) "the sun always shines here."
I hope you enjoy the music and the imagery. And if you do, please share this post with your friends!