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MAP - The Making of Liam Whelan's Irish Lullaby. A Cartography of a Heritage.

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Minerva was born directly out of Jupiter's brain. My husband, the fantastic Federico Ramos, argues that Brook and Liam, the protagonists of my novel in relentless progress, sprouted from my brain exactly as Athena did from Zeus. I like my husband's musings, but the truth is that I am editing and revising for what it seems forever. At times, the writer's life is like Sisyphus' doom, and re-writing might entail a long process up the hill. But I'll thrive because I am always inspired by other artists, as I share this story with you, below and my deep emotion. After all, Liam's Lullaby, inspired by a scene from my manuscript, was featured in many Irish radios. Furthermore, the project expanded beyond the page, and it is already breathing and journeying into its own heart.






In early 2000, I was expecting my daughter Magaluna with a high-risk pregnancy requiring a cervical cerclage to avoid a late miscarriage or preterm birth. So I bed-rested through the spring, read, wrote, and obsessively played Celtic songs when I wondered if she was safe inside my womb, and she’d respond foot-tapping to the songs, almost dancing. Then, a few years ago, I played the cd, and she asked why the music was profoundly familiar. So I told her, pero she knew.




I wrote the first draft of my novel in early 2019, and in the fall, I met the Irish musician Paul Bushnell. We hit it off, talking about bass players, riffs, and grooves. Since one of my protagonists is an Irishman obsessed with Celtic folktales, I asked him to read some of my pages. I asked Paul if he’d like to arrange the song that Liam sings in the story to alleviate a profound sorrow—The Gartan Mother’s Lullaby. So, he did.





As a Latinx, I want my identity to transpire, however subtlety in my writing. Federico García Lorca’s Theory of Play and Duende informs my work. My friend, the Mexican-American singer Gabriela Martínez, is obsessed with Lorca, Flamenco and Cante Jondo. She read a draft of my manuscript in the summer of 2020—I needed to see if she’d find Duende in it and empathy. I asked Gabi to sing the old Irish lullaby because I knew her voice would express flairs of the Andalusian profound song and the Galician Gaiteros’ style rooted in Celtic traditions. Thus, she did.





From last fall to this spring, we cross-pollinated via epic zooming. Indeed, super fun sessions that drew as closer, even virtually.




Paul arranged the tune; Gabi sang a demo in her closet. We met at Paul’s studio, masked, six-feet apart and drenched in Purell.



We hired Celtic Earth’s Uileann pipes player, Ger Fahy. Paul mastered the tune flawlessly. A Dubliner asked to play the song on the radio. I designed the cover, and Paul and Gabi formed a duet, Chroí Voyage, pronounced cree, which means heart in Gaelic, concocting Celtic tunes in the cauldron, into the depths of a heart’s journey and in search of Duende.





Pero esta Canción de Cuna es por Cielito Celeste Ramos, the baby girl I lost on my 32nd birthday, un 14 de febrero de 1998. But now I sing to her, the lullaby I couldn’t sing then. And so do you while listening to Liam’s Lullaby, available worldwide. Link below to all the platforms from where you stream and purchase your music.





 







credits


“Liam’s Lullaby”

Performed by Chroí Voyage

Vocal interpretation by Gabriela Martínez.

All instruments, arrangement and production by Paul Bushnell except Uileann Pipes and Irish Flute played by Ger Fahy.

Executive production - Cecilia Martínez-Gil.

Recorded and Mastered in Los Angeles, CA at Papa’s Place. c2021


©Liam’s Lullaby is based upon The Gartan Mother’s Lullaby, originally written and composed by Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil & Herbert Hughes, and from a scene in Chapter Four, The Sorceress’ Gift, from the manuscript written by Cecilia Martinez-Gil ©Sunshower [Lluvia con Sol].




 

Video created on March 14, 2021.





Sleep, O babe, for the red bee hums The silent twilight’s fall: Aibheall from the Grey Rock comes To wrap the world in thrall. A leanbhan O, my child, my joy, My love and heart’s desire, The crickets sing you lullaby Beside the dying fire.


Dusk is drawn, and the Green Man’s Thorn Is wreathed in rings of fog: Siabhra sails his boat till morn Upon the Starry Bog. A leanbhan O, the pale half moon Hath brimmed her cusp in dew, And weeps to hear the sad sleep-tune I sing, O love, to you.



First video project entitled Eric's Lullaby - Trail of Tears - initially published in November 2020 and in January 2021, featuring the stunning photography of Siolo Thompson from her journey to Ireland seeking towers.




original blog post with active links (to be updated soon)


Irishman extraordinaire and bass virtuoso Paul Bushnell accepted to compose a tune from an old Irish Lullaby, The Gartan Mother's Lullaby, originally written by Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil and music composed by Herbert Hughes.

Gabriela Martínez, a Mexican singer who dabbles exquisitely at Flamenco, interprets it with vocal nuances that will take your breath away. For the first version of this stunning tune, I created a video with the photography of Siolo Thompson, a magnificent visual artist, who kindly shared her quest for Irish Towers. In the second leg of this mythical and magical process we virtually met Ger Fahy from the beautiful Celtic Earth and who plays the real Uileann pipes and Irish flute that Paul tried on synths. Although Siolo shared beautiful original work with me towards the design of a cover art for the single, the trio conformed now by Paul, Gabi and me decided upon an old image, The Autumn's Fairy Spell With Falling Leaves Vintage, which is an illustration by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite now in public domain. I designed the cover for our first single, Liam's Lullaby, which is now available on all platforms for streaming, downloads and purchases.



I sing, O love, to you.

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