You might know from my previous blog posts (or if you follow me on twitter, Facebook, instagram…etc.) that I’m currently composing two song cycles; The West pier Song Cycle and The Telepathic Two Song Cycle. The west pier one accompanies a walk along the west pier in Dun Laoghaire (well I’d call it Monkstown but I think on google maps they call it Dun Laoghaire and who am I to argue with our google overlord!) and the Telepathic Two one follows the story of the telepathic mother and son taking a trip on the DART. Well I’ve decided to name the project FÓD.
FÓD is an Irish word that means sod, layer of soil or a strip of grass along a road. Depending on it's context it can mean a place or a spot of land. I had a few reasons for choosing the name not least amongst them it’s a really satisfying sounding word! Everyone has words they love and words they irrationally hate. My favourites are ‘bloom’ and ‘béim’*.
There’s an old Irish tradition of taking a lit sod of turf, ‘fód móna’, from the hearth of your family home when you leave to light the fire in your new home. Obviously this tradition made much more sense in small rural villages where your family home would be a literal stone's throw from your new home! There's a few lovely Irish traditions to do with home building like the one where you'd invite all your neighbours over to dance in your new home to stamp down the earth to create a solid rammed earth floor.
So to me the word fód is this beautiful symbol of leaving home, the road to your new home, new beginnings...it ties together so much of what I want this music to say.
On a side note I think this tradition might be where the idea for those awful tacky souvenirs that they used to sell in the airport come from. You know the ones of tiny ceramic cottages with tiny pieces of turf in them. They definitely weren’t made in Ireland and that ‘turf’ never came from anyone’s family home! My FÓD will hopefully be a more genuine and heartfelt interpretation of the tradition!