Argo

About this album

All are thus compelled;

early or late the urn is shaken;

fate will out; a little boat

will take us to eternal exile.

Horace (65 B.C. – 8 B.C.), Aequam memento 11.3

Argo refers to the legendary ship of the Argonauts. What are the possibilities for adventure in our age of prescribed mysteries? It seems that many people belong to one or another realm of belief. Where poetry fits within this Trojan War of contending views it is difficult to know. I hold out the hope that poetry, like a balloon, rises out of the chasms. To journey out of our bureaucratised world is an adventure. Whether we return with Golden Fleece or not is part of the risk of setting out. Ficino, the Renaissance Alchemist, imagined the soul as a diamond through which lights of different colours penetrate from various angles. Each colour is a chamber of refracting imagery. Each perspective is perceived as if it were the whole.

Argo attempts to explore some of these chambers. Some songs touch upon the evanescence of fairietales and their concommitant subtle caresses.  Some seek an insight into the underworld; while others, on the backs of birds, feel for the airy coolness of clouds.

For seekers of The Golden Fleece.

NB: Argo was my first CD, not my first album. Songs from earlier tapes were, or continue to be, revisited. In future we’ll make available an early work, The Faerietale Woman, along with its accompanying story, illustration & scanned handwritten listeners’ letters, circa 80’s & 90’s.  – L.

 

Tracks & Lyrics

#1. Dunsany’s Hope

Duration: 5:32

Music/Lyrics: Louisa John-Krol

Inspired by Lord Dunsany’s novel, The King of Elfland’s Daughter and the concept of Alam Al-Mithal from Ibn Arabi (1165-1240)

I’ve been hovering near the border

drawn by Memory and Sound

Ever near the Dreaming, calling Elfland:

Alam Al-Mithal, Alam Al-Mithal, the Wind and Tallow

 

Like a child with a treasure

but no age nor wisdom to protect it –

Rare as coral it was stolen,

painted like a clown, abused and broken

 

Now I hear and I obey! (the fear is at bay, the fear is at bay)

For I catch the glimpses fey! (be not afraid, they say be not afraid)

I’ll prepare to make my way! (the past is away, the past is away)

Oh those hills have called me long and I must answer….

 

Never far from the border,

though the Realms are ebbing, still they hold me –

Alam Al-Mithal, Alam Al-Mithal, the Dream is over

#2. Hyperion

Duration: 6:14

Music: Louisa John-Krol / Mark Krol

A tribute to the lyrical novel by Friedrich Holderlin (1770-1843)

Hear, Hear, Hear, Here!

 

when we dream, we are gods

when we think, we are beggars

when we think, we are beggars

when we dream, we are gods!

 

Adamis!  Diotima!  Alabanda!

#3. Argo

Duration: 4:25

Music / Lyrics: Louisa John-Krol

Ancient Greek ship of the Argonauts

Oh, I know him well, I tell myself….

I’ll show what destinies are made of

And grow the Oak of Dodona in this hero, Yea so the Argonauts will all sing

“Come to your Medea….”

 

We’ve loved we’ve killed we’ve stolen,

We’ve laughed, we’ve grieved, we’ve fallen,

We’ve dreamed that all the gods were ours – for just one moment –

You’ll drive your ego Argo, You’ll crucify your Creusa,

You’ll find a flame as Ino! Oh….

 

Argo, Argonauts

Our Dream’s off the shore

I know what we’re for

Augur new ways of thought

Argo, Argonauts

Centaur – get off the floor

Argo, fifty oars

Our cold kisses are in store

 

Oh, you’ll know them well, I tell myself….

What drew you here was only a phantom!

– Like Nephele!  –  Or the hunger for the Voyage on the

Seven, Seven, Seven, Seven, Seven, Seven, Seven Seas.

So! Come to your Medea….

 

We’ve loved we’ve killed we’ve stolen,

We’ve laughed, we’ve grieved, we’ve fallen,

We’ve dreamed that all the gods were ours – for just one moment –

You’ll drive your ego Argo, You’ll crucify your Creusa,

You’ll find a flame as Ino! Oh….

 

Argo, Argonauts

Our Dream’s off the shore

I know what we’re for

Augur new ways of thought

Argo, Argonauts

Centaur – get off the floor

Argo, fifty oars

Our cold kisses are in store

 

Argo – Come to your Medea! Come to your Medea!

I know, what we’re for, Augur new ways of thought,

New ways of thought,

Argo, Argonauts, come to your Medea, oh!

Argo, fifty oars, our cold kisses are in store,

Argo, fifty oars….

Argo fifty oars….to your Medea

#4. I’m not Walking

Duration: 5:53

Music / Lyric: Louisa John-Krol, Mark Krol

Lyrics based loosely on Walter de la Mare’s poem, Goodbye

Thought, high in her Ivory Tower

Falls in the spinning and weaving of Time

And the last of last words spoken is ‘Goodbye’ –

Never for you and I!  Say when we die:

 

“I can hear your tears and I know that I’m not talking….”

“I can feel your fears and I know that I’m not walking….”

 

I won’t be leaving you

In embers of failure,

In the pool of our Winter

Glisten eyes of our Daemon

 

Thought, high in her Ivory Tower (as above)

 

“I can hear your tears and I know that I’m not talking….”

“I can feel your fears and I know that I’m not walking (away from you)”

 

We need no leaders

We need no followers

We seek the answers

From the Great Ancestors.

 

(I can hear you, I can hear you, I can….)

 

“I can hear your tears and I know that I’m not talking”

“I can feel your fears and I know that I’m not walking”

 

You know I won’t be leaving you

In embers of failure,

In the pool of our Winter

Glisten eyes of our Daemon.

 

We need no leaders,

We need no followers

We seek the answers

From the Great Ancestors.

 

I’m not walking from you! I’m walking to the Ancestors –

You know that I’m not, know that I’m not,

Not walking away from you!

I’m walking to the Ancestors,

Walking…to the Ancestors

#5. Little Wanderer

Duration: 3:54

Music: Louisa John-Krol

Lyrics based on Blake’s poems A Dream & London

Once a dream did weave a shade

O’er my Angel-guarded bed,

That an Emmet lost its way

Where on grass methought I lay.

 

Troubled, ‘wildered and forlorn,

Dark, benighted, travel-worn –

Over many a tangled spray,

All heart-broke I heard her say:

 

O, my children! do they cry?

Do they hear their father sigh?

Now they look abroad to see:

Now return and weep for me.

 

Pitying, I drop’d a tear;

But I saw a glow-worm near,

Who replied, what wailing wight

Calls the Watchman of the night?

 

I am set to light the ground,

While the beetle goes his round.

Follow now the beetle’s hum,

Little Wanderer, hi thee home!

 

In every cry, of every Man,

In every Infant’s cry of fear

In every voice, In every ban

The mind-forg’d Manacles I hear…

 

Oh my children do they cry …. for the Little Wanderer

#6. Inanna

Duration: 4:07

Lyrics from an ancient Sumerian liturgy, circa 3000 B.C.

Stone-breaker lurks in the dirt:

Enter Someone who can survive it –

Like a shadow of a curved bow,

Lapus Lazuli there for show

Ninshubar, lacerate your mouth

Raise a shout in Heaven for her –

She go down to the Seven Doors

In the big bright House of the Mountain Lords

So beat your drum in the Holy Shrine

In the big bright House of the Mountain Line:

Inanna! Inanna!

Will they ever listen Ninshubar?

Inanna, Ishtar!

We still reach for You… In Sumer.

Come the beggars, come the daggers –

(Of Ereshkigal)

Who shall be the Captain of my Fate?

Sigkurshagga, Emushkalamma

None shall carry this One away!

(Kalaturru, Kurgarru)

Bring your Sister, bring your Mother

(To Ereshkigal)

Call the Hills for my Wild Bull

(Damuzi, oh my Damuzi!)

See that shippon close in, surround Him –

Tell your Brother things are gonna turn around

When She go down to the Seven Doors

(The Seven Doors)

In the big bright House of the Mountain Lords

(The Mountain Lords)

So beat your drum in the Holy Shrine

(The Holy Shrine)

In the big bright House of the Mountain Line

(The Mountain!)

Inanna! Inanna!

Will they ever listen Ninshubar?

Inanna! Ishtar!

We still reach for You… Inanna,

In Sumer…

#7. Out of the Equipage

Duration: 3:24

Music / Lyric: Louisa John-Krol, Mark Krol

For Eos

No chariot is your pyre

No rest is forever –

Step out of the Equipage

 

Eos of the Golden Fire!

Tithonos in your eyes

Your Dawn a broken heart

Step out of the Equipage

#8. Inside the Bubble

Duration: 1:43

Music / Lyric: Mark Krol

And I will disappear

And see your smile,

And I will tell the fear

To say Goodnight –

 

Whenever you’re in trouble

I will always carry you

There, inside the Bubble

I will always be with you

#9. House of Legend

Duration: 3:15

Music / Lyric: Louisa John-Krol

Based on a Norwegian tale retold by Idries Shah

No more man, than a talkative nymph –

Was it planned, you would break the silence?

In your hands is no trace of my kiss….

Then the love that we bore

Was a mere wave in the storm morning….

 

But in my Golden Cottage –

My Cottage of Gold

I can be my own Sea-Enchantress!

By the rocks  –

By the stony shore:

House of Legend – You stand tall.

 

In the Square, in the Village Market –

Trade your wares for the latest gossip

Now the Mayor seems to think he likes it –

Still the love that we bore

Was a mere wave in the Storm Morning…

#10. Duncan the Fiddler

Duration: 4:30

Music / Lyrics:  Louisa John-Krol,

Based on a folktale of the Isle of Man retold by Zena Carus

Duncan the Fiddler, play for your life!

Up from the heather and into the night,

You’ll come nae mare to berry nor stamp,

You’ll play the ware and we’ll be the dance –

 

Duncan the Fiddler, play for your life!

Up from the rivers and over the skies,

Don’t you be gone, our shadows are young –

Don’t you be leaving what you began….

 

On the stone we made our own duet,

A dangerous game was on, a pact –

Not just a song – and since you’ve come,

We might as well continue….

I recommend you:

 

Duncan the Fiddler, play for your life!

Up from the heather and into the night

You’ll come nae mare to berry nor stamp,

You’ll play the ware and we’ll be the dance!

 

Way for the Fiddler, way for the bow!

Pray for the Fiddler – but don’t let him go!

Who would deny our generous rogue?

In with the drink and on with the show!

 

Pomegranite blood we share with you,

Our nectar juice is of the rarest hue,

So take the handles of the flagons,

Take the fruit I beg you….I dare you!

 

Duncan the Fiddler, hey your life is

Flashing before you like a steely little knife!

Did you say you’ve no children nor wife?

Well we have some you’d very well like:

 

Anwin, Ellen, Morgan, Nell and Edith,

Eve, Rhiannon, Alison – and maybe Morveth!

Emily, now she’s been anxious lately….

 

Duncan the Fiddler….

Duncan the Fiddler….

 

Something wrong? – you’re dreadfully dim –

Dear, what a spot you’ve got yourself in!

 

Duncan the Fiddler, hey ho here!

Here is a lemon and there goes your beard….

Open your mouth and let us begin

Cursing the mess your fiddle is in –

 

Pieces all around you, where to stop?

The agony, the energy is fading,

Now you know the hunger of the Faerie…

#11. Oak, Ash and Thorn

Duration: 5:53

Music by Louisa John-Krol

Lyrics by Rudyard Kipling: A Tree Song, in his novel Puck of Pook’s Hill

Of all the trees that grow so fair, Old England to adorn,

Greater are none beneath the Sun, than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn

Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs (All of a Midsummer morn!)

Surely we sing no little thing, in Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

 

Oak of the Clay lived many a day, or ever Aeneas began;

Ash of the Loam was a lady at home, when Brut was an outlaw man;

Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town (From which was London born);

Witness hereby the ancientry of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

 

Yew that is old in churchyard mould, he breedeth a mighty bow;

Alder for shoes do wise men choose, and beech for cups also.

But when ye have killed, an your bowl is spilled, an your shoes are clean outworn,

Back ye must speed for all that ye need, to Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

 

Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth till every gust be laid,

To drop a limb on the head of him that anyway trusts her shade:

But whether a lad be sober or sad, or mellow with ale from the horn,

He will take no wrong when he lieth along ‘neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

 

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight, or he would call it a sin;

But – we have been out in the woods all night, a-conjuring Summer in!

And we bring you news by word of mouth – good news for cattle and corn –

Now is the Sun come up from the South, with Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

 

Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs (All of a Midsummer morn)!

England shall bide till Judgment Tide, by Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

(Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn! Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn!)

#12. The Healer’s Names

Duration: 6:54

Music / Lyric: Louisa John-Krol

bears only one word…

Healer

 

Inspirations

# 1. Dunsany’s Hope

Based on a novel by neglected English novelist Lord Dunsany, “The King of Elfland’s Daughter”.

#2. Hyperion

The title and central character of a lyrical novel by Holderlin.

#3. Argo

Quest for the Golden Fleece and the passion of Medea.

#4. I’m Not Walking

Inspired by Walter de la Mare’s poem, ‘Goodbye’.

#5. Little Wanderer

Based on Blake’s poems ‘A Dream’ and ‘London’.

#6. Inanna

Lyrics adapted from a Sumerian liturgy circa 3000 B.C.

#7. Out of The Equipage

Eos, Greek deity of the rising and setting sun, designates part of the soul that is in twilight.

#8. Inside the Bubble

Remain as foam Aphrodite, and turn words into music,

fused with primordial life…

Mandelshtam

#9. House of Legend

In a Norwegian tale retold by Sufi Idries Shah, a seawitch builds a Golden Cottage of exile: like the Golden Fleece, a birthright.

#10. Duncan the Fiddler

On the Isle of Man a fiddler, passing the Standing Stones, is dared to a duet by an infernal little man.

Under a September harvest moon, Duncan entertains a host of dancers who taunt “Play on, play on!” His pact with the Faerie binds him to play for his life until dawn.

#11. Oak, Ash and Thorn

Lyrics from Kipling’s poem ‘A Tree Song’ in ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill’, celebrate the magic of Puck and his three magical trees.

Kipling evokes Shakespeare’s play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Opposing religions unite to celebrate the perennial life of the Greenwood.

#12. The Healer’s Names

A tribute to the Italian Renaissance Neo-Platonist and Sufi, Ficino.

Like the centaur of the Argonauts, Ficino was a respected physician and tutor. He was a significant figure in the Renaissance, influencing such artists as Botticelli.

 

Credits

Label

1996: Evolving Discs, Australia

Composition

Lyrics & Melodies: Louisa John-Krol & Mark Krol, excepting sources as cited in Inspirations and/or Lyrics

Performance / Instrumentation

Vocals (lead & backing): Louisa John-Krol

Backing vocals in ‘Argo’: Elizabeth Van Dort

Keyboards, Acoustic Guitars & Orchestral Arrangements: Louisa John-Krol (with some melodies originating from Mark Krol, communicated to Louisa through humming) & Harry Williamson (embellishments / soundscaping on midi)

Andean Charango (complementing Louisa’s Acoustic Guitar plucking) in ‘The Healer’s Names’ & ‘Dunsany’s Hope’; Glissando Guitar in ‘Hyperion’, Angel Harp in ‘Dunsany’s Hope’; Recitals in ‘Duncan The Fiddler’ & ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’ (Puck): Harry Williamson

Percussion in ‘Hyperion’: Miles Alexander & John Francis

Other Percussion & Effects, including Bells, Aboriginal hand-crafted Firesticks, Mountain Drums, Speaking Doors & The Windchime Forest: Louisa John-Krol & Harry Williamson

Production

Recorded, programmed, mixed & mastered by Harry Williamson at Spring Studio, Melbourne

Visual Art

Photography:

– portraits of LJK / Como House, National Trust: Bee Williamson

– view of King Lake, The Ship in the Forest: Mark Krol

– stone monument, The Door of the Book, Parliament House gardens: Louisa John-Krol

Column numerals, cover painting & blackbird Nyx: Louisa John-Krol

Visual Design / lay-out: Elly & Cameron, Black Widow Graphic Design

Thanks in addition to above credits

Botticelli (La Primavera) & Respighi (Trittico Botticelliano) respectively

Eliza & Harry for your comradeship, as well as technical & artistic contributions credited above

Mark for directing my expression, extending my literary & musical knowledge via Cds or books, helping instigate arrangements, and keeping the financial ship afloat.

 

Reviews

“On her first album Louisa appeared fully formed with songs based on an unissued Lord Dunsany novel,  theme from Holderlin, Walter-de-la-Mare poem, Blake poem, Sumerian liturgy, Isle of Man folklore, Ficini… Louisa uses folk melodies in her songs, crafted using harp, guitar and keyboards… orchestral sounds such as cello and flute are integrated… keyboard settings and tribal rhythms work well in realising other worlds as on ‘Hyperion’. Title track and album theme refer to the ship of the Argonauts, comparing their journey into the unknown with Louisa’s own music one… There is a slight Celtic aspect to the music such as on ‘Little Wanderer’. ‘I’m Not Walking’ is simple with an intimate feeling… Many of the songs have a dream like quality… notable on ‘Inanna’ with its unusual melody and complex electronics. ‘Out of the Equipage’ evokes Medieval chamber music. Some of the best songs like ‘House of Legend’ are just Louisa’s voice with one instrument, allowing layers and inflections of her performances to be heard fully. ‘Duncan The Fiddler’ emphasizes the folk aspect with a dancing folk melody set amongst plucked strings and keyboards. ‘Oak Ash and Thorn’ is adapted into a film soundtrack worthy of some Medieval epic. ‘The Healer’s Names’ is wonderful… An excellent way to end a distinctive debut.”

Woven Wheat Whispers / Heathen Harvest webzineUSA

“Upon first listening to Argo, comparisons could be made between Louisa John-Krol and Loreena McKennitt in voice and musical accompaniment; Loreena’s fans will certainly enjoy Argo. However, Louisa seems to delve into the fantasy aspect of ancient history, rather than the obvious medieval approach, and indeed, terms it romantic pop-ethereal faerie music. Louisa also shows a more experimental tendency in her performances, such as on the title-track and more jazz ‘I’m Not Walking’ from de la Mare’s poem ‘Good-bye’. Other fascinating numbers include ‘Inanna’ with lyrics from an ancient Sumerian liturgy; ‘Inside the Bubble’; and ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’. Louisa’s voice can change quickly from a very powerful trumpet to a hauntingly soft harp. Her lyrics focus on archetypal forces of the psyche, personifying change, healing or energy.”

Michael Woodhead, Wind And Wire and Synchronicity Magazine, New Age Fantasy 2004, USA

“Louisa John-Krol’s sumptuous voice is as beautiful and as expressive as Enya’s and Loreena McKennitt’s. From ancient Sumerian chants to Argo, the ship of the Argonauts, to a fiddler on the Isle of Man, to a dedication to Ficino, Renaissance Alchemist…  An excellent adventure into the realm of conscious/subconscious beauty….”

Stavros Moschopoulos, Fao Casa Gazette, Dec 1996, Rome, Italy

Louisa’s primary focus is a combination of mythology, antiquity and poetry, placed within a strong, contemporary spiritual context reminiscent of early Kate Bush which is a high tribute.

Ambience Magazine, No. 6, 1996, Australia

“I discovered your music very recently, listening to your songs in Faerie Radio, and I love them, especially ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’ (Argo). Greetings from Barcelona.”

Jorge Lamata, Myspace, 10 Jan 2008, Spain

“Louisa John-Krol is amazing… thanks for making such brilliant music!”

Joe Crollard, Facebook, 26 June 2011, USA

“Your music – especially the song ‘Inanna’ from Argo – goes to the heart.”

Fluchtpunkt, Myspace, 16 February 2007, Germany

“I like Argo just as much (as Alexandria and Ariel). Your music is the sort that reveals itself layer by layer through many listenings… Beautiful work, and Mark certainly deserves kudos as well.”

Adam Buhler, Splashdown, by email, 14 March 2001, USA

“Your voice comes from another dimension, it is soothing for my soul…”

Garp, Myspace, 5 February 2007

Impressions of selected songs from Argo:

‘Dunsany’s Hope’ – in a medieval castle… a princess dancing…

‘Hyperion’ – in the chariot, energetic…

‘Argo’ – suspense, mystery…

‘I’m not Walking’… falling stars…

‘Inside the Bubble’ – my beloved song…

‘House of Legend’… unity with Nature…

‘Duncan the Fiddler’ – a man who wanted to give all his wisdom but was not understood…

‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’ – high-flown mood, ode to the nature…”

Agostina, by email, 17 April 2005, Russia

 

“I’m enjoying Argo immensely. My favourite is ‘House of Legend’… more than that, this is one of my favourite songs of all time (as are several of your songs).”

Ryan, by email, 15 November 2005, USA

“Puck: ‘Oak, Ash & Thorn’… fantastic, beautiful, enchanting…mystical, love, spirit, soul & Being…”

Dee Waight, Myths & Legends Fairy Shop, by handwritten card, mid 1990’s, Gisborne – Australia

“Congratulations, if the tracks on the tape are any indication of how the CD will sound, then I think you have an excellent album in the making.”

David Mulhallen, A Swag of Yarns, ABC Radio National, in a letter, 7 July 1995,  Adelaide – Australia

“In these days of gloom and doom, to have one’s spirit and soul lifted to a place away and beyond this mortal earth, for just one beautiful hour of sheer magic, was an experience for which I could never thank you enough and we appreciate as mere adults, and not little fairies, we were indeed privileged.”

Iris Dunn in a handwritten letter to Wonderwings Fairy Shop, early 1990’s, Australia

“Your voice sounds to me to be flying in same air as Kate Bush”

Kris Hemensley, Collected Works, by handwritten letter 3 September 1994, Australia