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Notes on Track 5:

Medb is a sovereignty goddess of Ireland, specifically of Connacht, the western province of Ireland. She rules from Cruachan (modern Rathcroghan, Co. Roscommon) as a warrior queen and is a principle instigator of the Irish epic, Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley).

Irish kingship was starkly dissimilar to British kingship: an Irish king could only rule as long as the Land itself accepted him. If the weather turned, or the crops failed, or misfortune befell the people, these events were seen as evidence that the Land had rejected his rule and a new king must be chosen. The sovereignty goddess (the Land personified) often approached a human male from the Otherworld and became his helpmate, his lover, the mother of his children, managed his household and increased his wealth exponentially, at least for as long as he pleased her.

I wrote another song quoting Medb from the Táin (“Drink Up” track 7 on The Wanderlings Volume One) but “Powerlust” was inspired largely by her rape by her former husband, the king of Ulster. As a metaphor for the struggle between humanity and the land we continually take from, Medb is uniquely equipped to address both traumas. Don’t relax when she falls to her knees, folks. Be wary; there’s magma in her veins.

Sources:

Medb as she appears in

The Tain, trans. by Thomas Kinsella from the Irish epic Táin Bó Cuailnge. (Oxford UP: Oxford, 1969, 1990).

Morgan Llywelyn, Red Branch. (Ivy Books: New York, 1989).
Rosalind Clark, The Great Queens: Irish Goddesses from the Morrígan to Cathleen Ní Houlihan. (Barnes & Noble: Savage MD, 1991).

Irish story of the rape of Medb by Conchobar Mac Nessa (her former husband & king of Ulster)*

* at the moment this source eludes me, but I’ll scour my university notes and update once I find it

lyrics

She moves through the room
Like a river she flows
Like a valley she curves
Like a seer she knows

All eyes follow her
As she pours out her mead
And all that you want
Is to take what you need

You grab her by the hair
And you pin her to the wall
She wanna taste her power
You wanna watch her fall

You tell her that you own her
As you spill into her cup
And when exhaustion takes you
It’s then she rises up

Don’t mistake the crown of her head
For subservience
Don’t relax when she falls to her knees
When you dig your flagpole
Deep into her mountains
Remember magma flows
Beneath her fragrant trees

My power is my own
And it cannot be taken
The strength of the earth
That can-cannot be shaken

Without me you fall
And no, none will support you
For I am the one
That all men must report to

Don’t mistake the crown of my head
For subservience
Don’t relax when I fall to my knees
When you dig your flagpole
Deep into these mountains
Remember magma flows
Beneath my fragrant trees

Pity the man
Who forgets he’s the tool
And tries to play king
To forget he’s the fool

credits

from The Wanderlings Volume Two, released January 27, 2016

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Leslie Hudson Stratford, Ontario

Leslie Hudson is a Canadian singer songwriter and pianist. Her albums range from storytelling styles to bluesy bar rock to dialed-up, full-band homages to pop culture. With lyrical piano skills and a voice that cuts through the crowd, her songs dive deep into archetype and folklore, modernizing ancient voices as she shines a spotlight on the shadowy paths we walk through life, myth and media. ... more

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