The Sacred Nights have a soundtrack for me, just as much as Christmas did and does, or Holy Week in the Church. In past years I’ve shared songs from the movie Hedwig & the Angry Inch, music written to accompany the traveling exhibition of Tutankhamen’s grave treasures, and songs by Irish musician (and possible youthful god) Hozier. This year Dead Can Dance’s first album has been digitally remastered, and it’s available on Amazon Prime. So tonight I offer you The Serpent’s Egg.
It’s been far too long since I listened to Loreena McKennitt’s The Mask and Mirror. Now it strikes me as deeply Antinoan, a sacred text as PSVL would say. “The Mystic’s Dream” and “The Dark Night of the Soul” are about erotic union with the god; “Marrakesh Night Market” is an evocation of the Mediterranean mix, the Silk Road, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other influences swirling together atop a pagan substrate; “The Bonny Swans” is a ballad about a drowned girl (dingdingding!) whose recovered body is made into a truth-singing harp. McKennitt also weaves a Gaelic song with one of W.B. Yeats’ poems, telling us,
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there.
From the Facebook page of the Irish choir Anuna, an article about a London-born Muslim imam who is studying traditional Irish sean-nos singing–and he’s brilliant at it. Don’t miss the video.