Interviewer: Cecile Guillot
We’ve found many faerie e-zines but cannot ascertain which one pertains to this article. If you know, please tell us.
Hello, can you introduce us your musical universe (for the one who would not know you!)?
Faerie realms of centaurs, nymphs, dryads, dragons, genies, sirens, sylphs and salamanders, are explored in ethereal soundscapes with producers Brett Taylor and Harry Williamson. Instruments on our albums include harp, flute, hammered dulcimer, charango, tiple, bass, piano, cello, viola, oboe, clarinet, guitar, bowed psaltery, hurdy-gurdy, darabouka, chimes and mandolin. My co-songwriter and husband shares my love of literature, which provides considerable inspiration.
Let’s talk about your new album Djinn…
Produced by Brett Taylor and Harry Williamson, it comprises 15 tracks of ethereal dream-pop, with guest appearances by Belgian harpist Keltia and Melbourne duo Dandelion Wine on hammered dulcimer and bowed psaltery. We also used the Tibetan Shanti Chimes sent by my label in France, and handcrafted Aboriginal firesticks, courtesy of the Koorie Heritage Trust. Other instruments include flute by our producer’s wife Samantha Tayler, along with contributions by her children on ‘Colours of Angels’. Brett and Harry played several instruments, such as bass, keyboard, percussion and charango. I played mandolin, most of the acoustic guitar and sang all the vocals.
Why did you decide to write a concept album about cats?
Our feline companions give so much joy, they’re really kindred souls. I was also moved by visiting Binjai the Sumatran tiger at the Melbourne Zoo, where there’s work to raise support for endangered animals. Some songs on this album evoke lions, panthers, tigers, leopards, jaguars or other wild cats. Deep in shadows of history, Egyptian cat gods Sekhmet and Bastet perhaps metaphorically or unconsciously command this passion. Djinn and Dulcinea rekindled my interest in literary cats, like the Cheshire Cat, Edward Lear’s sailing Pussy, and Puss-in-Boots.
In general, what are your influences for writing music?
Listening to music – medieval, baroque, romantic, blues, jazz, folk-rock, funk, darkwave, trip-hop, dream-pop, trance / space ambient, ethnic and neoclassical fusions – is part of my creative life… I read genres of magic-realism, faerietales and poetry, or novels by some of the classic realists and revolutionaries. They sharpen perception and open new vistas of imagination.
What are your point of view on faery? Do you think faery can survive in our modern life?
There are many ways to contact faerie people, ideas or ways of life in modernity. One way is to make time for nature, whether it’s in rescuing animals, tending a garden, bushwalking or ocean swimming. Another example in Australia is our Storytelling Guild: a group of storytellers, folklorists, teachers, librarians, writers, actors, puppeteers and musicians, who cherish the oral tradition that every culture shares at its ancient source. In my experience, most storytellers are well-versed in faerielore, even if it’s not their main focus or image. (You don’t have to be wearing wings to be a Faerie performer! Faerie wings were an Elizabethan invention.) It also does not matter if you are confident or shy. Some faeries are reclusive; others more playful. If we cannot live without the arts, if we are prone to whimsical moods, passion, caprice, sensitivity or intuition, we might be in allegiance with the Faerie Folk, mightn’t we?
Can you tell us how faery is important for you? Is it completely integrate in your way of life?
Faerie is for me the true reality. It is my natural state, the authentic way of being. By contrast, I think ‘fantasy’ is the so-called ‘reality’ that is ruining the planet. Now capitalism is crumbling. What kind of ‘reality’ was that? Borrowing money on fake money? My husband and I are employed… in Australia’s public service. This pays our bills, since royalties for independent music are just a trickle. We rise to an alarm clock at 6am most mornings, to work in artificial settings of arbitrary assessment and fake jargon. It is only when we are inside music, books, the garden, or embracing our cats and each other, that we are truly home, and completely real.
You seem very close to nature, are you interested in paganism?
Yes … combining elements of druidic and European faerie lore, as well as classical mythology. There is an organic sense of Australian Dreaming: the Aboriginal people believed in tree spirits, like Celtic faerie folk or ancient Greek dryads.
Can you tell us more about you, your other passions and hobbies?
Along with reading, cats, music and storytelling, I enjoy gardening (in) a lovely garden of fruit and nut trees, herbs, climbing vines, indigenous shrubs and flowers.
Do you want to say something more?
Djinn and Dulcinea would like to share some cat wisdom for feline faerie folk:
“A dog is prose. A cat is a poem”.