Cape Ann Song: A Ballad for my Salty Hometown

Ahoy!

It’s a new month, so it’s time for another new song – and this one hits (quite) close to home. Please enjoy my love song to Cape Ann, written while far from home…

Click to listen to Cape Ann Song!

Adventure at sunset 2016

As many of you know, in recent years I have spent a lot of time far from my home port. During one of the longer sojourns abroad, I made the mistake of re-reading the beautiful book Lone Voyager, by Gloucester author Joseph Garland. It tells the extraordinary story of Howard Blackburn, a dory fisherman out of Gloucester who, after losing his mother ship in a snow squall, ended up also losing his dory mate and both of his hands while rowing for his life through the storm. He eventually made it to shore, and slowly made his way back to Gloucester.

Incredibly enough, this was just the beginning of his illustrious career on the high seas: despite having lost his hands, Blackburn went on to sail solo across the Atlantic (multiple times); he sailed down the U.S. east coast, around the tip of South America, and back up the west coast to Alaska for an ill-fated stint in the gold rush (though that time he had a crew); and he also sailed solo up the Hudson River, across the Great Lakes, and as far down the Mississippi as he could – until his hull got stuck in the mud. An inspiring, salty soul, to say the least.

I say that reading Lone Voyager while traveling was a mistake because, well, it made me incredibly homesick. Images of that stunning, uniquely-New England light over the Atlantic peppered my dreams; I would wake up to imaginary gull cries, or fog horns echoing over invisible harbors. Beyond the rich maritime history of the place, its rich artistic history haunted me as well: the poems of T.S. Eliot drifted through my mind, and mingled with the dreamy Luminism of Fitz Henry Lane and Winslow Homer, or the stark realism of Edward Hopper. So many have passed through this port, and have been inspired to work, to dream, to create. This is more than an island, I thought.

And so, around that phrase, a song was born: my humble tribute to a place I am honored to call home. Nel mio piccolo (in my little way), I hope it does the place some semblance of justice.

As ever, I am so grateful to my fellow musicians and collaborators in realizing this song – and grateful to you for listening, for reading, for writing, for showing your support in so many ways. Thank you.

I will be headed home again in August (!), and will be booking/posting gigs around New England soon. I cannot wait to see & sing to you. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little taste of home, sent from afar.

Wistfully,
Marina

Performing at Women’s March Rome

Women's March Rome

Photo by Micayla Mirabella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday, January 21, Marina was honored to lend her voice & songs to the Women’s March in Rome, Italy! This was one of hundreds of “sister marches” to the Women’s March on Washington that occurred across the globe. Millions of people joined together across borders and oceans, across racial and gender and religious and economic lines, to call for JUSTICE and EQUALITY for all people.

In the folk tradition Marina strapped her guitar to her back, traveled to Rome, climbed the steps of the fountain facing the mighty Pantheon, and performed songs of protest, of peace, and of social justice — both her own original compositions, as well as some resounding crowd favorites (“Down by the Riverside” and “Amazing Grace”). Joined by guitarist and mandolin player Bernardo Baglioni, Marina started off the set with her most recent release, “Color Line (Old Man Trump),” an uncanny co-write with Woody Guthrie on the evils of the Trump dynasty (click here for the full story on Woody’s lyric & Marina’s song). She followed that with her song “Turtleshell Eyes,” a rumination on the persecution of women in the Middle East inspired by Azar Nafisi’s book Reading Lolita in Tehran. She ended her first set with “One Way or the Other,” another original song about overcoming adversity in the face of power.

The energy was tangible in that ancient square, in the imposing shadows of the Pantheon. Voices jilted and mingled and harmonized in chants and songs. Colors blended and slogans of hope, of resilience, and of defiance danced in the air.

“Today’s gathering of souls was much needed,” Marina said, “particularly for those of us who, being far from home, feel isolated or helpless in the face of recent events. It was heartening and inspiring to join together in song, fists raised, hearts full — but the freedom to gather and protest in this way is in itself a precious thing. Our liberty is a blessing, but it is also a responsibility: a responsibility to give voice to the voiceless the world over, to protect and defend those who are not free to do so themselves.”

Marina ended her set with a new original song, “Blessed Burden,” inspired by the refugee crisis that started in Europe and has now expanded the world over. Here’s a selection of the lyric (listen & read full lyrics here):

People, rise

And hold each other tight and near

Love defies

The dark, the anger, greed, and fear

We’re just one little planet

In a sea of stars

And whether we are gonna make it

Is a question of heart…