“Silkie” came into Paul Winter’s life on a warm evening in Baja California. The Consort was camped along Magdalena Bay where they had come to see and film grey whales. On their last night in camp, a sea lion pup appeared in the water just offshore, alone and unafraid of the people who gathered around. She came ashore, and the musicians sat near her quietly, then played a little music, hoping she would feel at ease among them. She seemed content and soon settled down and fell asleep. Three of them got their sleeping bags and stretched out beside her on the sand. Paul Winter went to sleep with his nose just inches from hers, smelling her fishy dog-breath, and listening with fascination to her tiny “whale-blow” exhalations.
About 4am, the tide rose to where the sea lion and musicians lay, so they wrapped the pup up and brought her up the hill a little ways to their camp. She slept the rest of the night there, and the film crew got footage of the band sleeping with the sun rising behind.
The morning saw their departure from the island. Although they wanted to take their new friend with them, they left the sea pup on the shore. She watched them go, all alone, and although the band felt a certain sadness, they were awed by the experience they had shared.
The first voice heard in “Magdalena” is that of a California sea lion. The song of her gambol is the melody put to the traditional Scottish ballad, “The Grey Silkie”, the words of which come from the legends of the sea-folk.
“I am a Man upon the land, I am a Silkie on the sea.”
Callings, Living Music’s first release, is a celebration of the voices of the sea. It is based on the imagined journey of “Silkie” from Baja, California, up along the coast of North America, around Alaska, and through the Arctic Sea to the Magdalen Islands off Newfoundland. The songs were inspired by the calls and graceful movements of 13 different sea mammals and their actual voices are woven in the fabric of the music. This album helped initiate a successful campaign to have Congress designate March 1st as “The Day of the Seal.”
released January 1, 2006
Written by James Waters (Folk Legacy Records, Inc., BMI)
Paul Winter | soprano sax
Nancy Rumbel | English horn
David Darling | cello
Jim Scott | classical guitar
Ted Moorse | ganza, whistle
Paolo Rossi | triangle, whistle
Lui Rocher | surdo, whistle
Marcio Ferreira | cuica, whistle
Paul Winter is a seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, whose sextet was the first jazz group to perform at the White House
in 1962. His second group, the Paul Winter Consort, interweaves sounds from the natural world with classical and ethnic traditions, and the spontaneous spirit of jazz. Their annual Winter Solstice Celebrations and Earth Mass are among the most popular events in New York....more