“THE FISH WHISPERER 1” by Key west Artist, Maggie Ruley
digital “wood cut”
Black and white
“SECRETS FROM A MERMAID’S COMB” (6:35 mins) © Helen Davey
(For 10 voices, piano, shells & percussion)
Maggie Ruley’s Mermaids
The Fish Whisperer 1 and 2
As a child, one of my favorite movies was “Mr Peabody and the Mermaid”. My father and Grandfather took me fishing all the time but we never caught a Mermaid. Now that I live in a tropical island paradise water imagery and the sea seems even more magical than ever.
I create my own little stories using real and imagined sea creatures. In The Fish Whisperer, even I don’t know what the conversation is about. I guess it is a secret.
I love that Maggie has many interpretations of her Fish Whisperer (as you can see). Mine stems from the myths and legends around mermaids, specifically from Cornwell (my own heritage).
As Maggie said, even she didn’t know what the conversation was about in her digital “woodcut”, so I decided to listen in on that conversation and sound-paint what I heard from the mermaid to her fishy friends.
I’ve chosen a Cornish legend “the Mermaid and her Magic Comb” as my starting point for a few reasons. Firstly, I like the legend’s emphasis on the mermaid gifting some secrets to an elderly man who helps her.
History has portrayed many females in myths and legends as monsters. My interpretation of this legend, is a viewpoint from Herstory of what mermaids symbolise (together with their many mythical, matriarchal sisters). That is, that they are carriers of life and goodness, wisdom and sacrifice through their healing knowledge, granting of wishes, nurturing cures and seeing the future. And besides… I’m thinking it’s likely that the Cornish legend inspired the 1948 film Maggie refers to.
I have scribed the legend into a folk song style with verses and repeating ostinati and choruses, drawing on my own Celtic roots.
I added many voices to this piece plus some shells and percussion to evoke some of the many layers of this beautiful artwork, the inherent stories and magic to spark our imaginations.
There is music for the fish, sea-stars, waves and bubbles, the rocks, reefs, coral, shells and plant life, the wind, waves and mother moon’s influence on women and the tides – the herstories of history.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. This is my little contribution for 2014. Wherever you are I hope you can enjoy celebrating the many wonderful accomplishments of women everywhere.
I’d LOVE to hear what you hear/see in these artworks via the comments section below; please feel free to share this around to anyone interested in art & music via the little icons below.
Thanks for bubbling along with me,
PS. Feel free to feed the fish (with a click from your mouse).