ry Sacred Salmon by Susan Rankin, PAGAN LULLABIES

Sacred Salmon

I went to see the salmon spawning. I stood on the bridge and looked down on the river and at first all I could see was the water. I was beginning to be annoyed, after all, everybody said the salmon were spawning but I just saw the rushing hurrying river. Then suddenly I saw a salmon writhing and thrashing, and then another and then another and suddenly I realized that there were thousands of salmon, writhing and thrashing, laying eggs and dying. There were more salmon than there was water. The river was thick with salmon all taking part in this biological mystical ritual. It was beautiful terrifying natural life: birth and death in all it's power and agony. So I went home and wrote this piece and choreographed a multigenerational dance piece to go with it.

Salmon swim through the sea
And we catch salmon for food to eat
Though salmon travel to distant lands
They lay eggs only in their home sands
For four long years they wend and sway
The smell of the ocean guides their way.
They recognize the scent of home
And return to the rivers where they were borne
To lay their eggs and then to die
They leave behind their little salmon fry
Who repeat the cycle by and by

Then we sing and we dance, and we feast if we get the chance.

The Hul’q’umi’num’ translation and coaching were done by my dear brother-in-law, the late Edgar Rice (RIP). My lovely and talented friend, singer/songwriter Deb Maike sang the "other voice" to help me get more texture than just using my own voice repeatedly.

I recorded it all here, in my home, in Cowichan Bay, having no clue what I was doing... Ok so NOW I know you aren’t supposed to just plug the mic into the computer. And next time I will record vocals mono. My good dear friend Eddie Ciletti mixed it despite my poor recording technique! He has the patience of a saint!

I honestly do not know if this piece works or not. It is the problem child of this album and like all good parents, I love my problem child the best of all.
And then there's the story of the performance piece... But I will write about that later.
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