There comes a time in every musician’s life when, like in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the wind dies down and the ship stands idle -- “like a painted ship upon a painted ocean” and prayers are deterred by a “wicked whisper” that makes his heart “as dry as dust.” A “weary time,” as the Mariner growled with hoarse voice….”a weary time.” At the height of the Mariner’s dark time, a prayer arises from his depth, and he blesses the slimey creatures unawares. It is this spontaneous blessing that causes the wind to blow and bring his ship back to shore. For me the spontaneous blessing came as ” a dew of immortal grace,” which is the meaning of the word Amritakripa.
Here is the story:
The first piece of music in this little documentary is an instrumental piece we just finished called ‘The Stirring’. The next music is a short excerpt of a song from Kripa’s second album, ‘Dancing Lotus’ -- the song is called Shakti. The final piece of music, in which Kripa is drumming, playing keys and singing, is the first piece about the viking boy. In this piece Kripa and i attempt to create the strange viking harmonies by singing a single note that remains constant even across the chord changes while the melody of the lead voice follows the chords.
In the final black and white shot of Kripa and myself (a moment captured by Andre Wilms) Richard Stuverud is seen in the background -- his image and the image in the lyric are perfect together “the seaweed lies like dripping hair, upon the rocky shore” -- nice coincidence.
On a final note -- i remind myself, my friends and Saraswati, the goddess of music that it was the Ancient Mariner’s own actions, by his decision to shoot the albatross, that brought upon him and his shipmates the “weary time” -- and so i do not blame anyone for those, my days of weariness in the doldrums that brought my ship to a painted ocean. In truth i am now even grateful, for out of it came the sweetest of all blessings and the dew of immortal grace!
Hear Richard Burton read the Rime of the Ancient mariner. This is my number one CD of all time.
Incidentally it is this reading that inspired the song Ice Below
A commentary on The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner: