CD: Avalon's Daughter

Moira Stern

Album: Avalon's Daughter by Moira SternA Musical Tribute to Marion Zimmer Bradley: Moira Stern grew up listening to her mother, the author Marion Zimmer Bradley, singing. Like many children, she was not aware at the time of the depth and breadth of her mother's gift to her through music. Through her, Moira learned a great many folk songs and operatic arias, and she spurred Moira to a lifelong passion for music. The songs in this CD are either songs she taught her daughter or songs Moira knows Marion would have liked. Marion Zimmer Bradley is better known for her books than for her singing, but let Avalon's Daughter share her with you through music.

Buy this album now CD: £10.00 + p&p

Audio Samples

Track Listing

1 Guinevere's Song
2 Pretty Girl Milking A Cow
3 Rothesay Bay
4 Brochon Lam
5 The Bonny Boy
6 The Spinning Wheel
7 She Moved Through The Fair
8 Birnie Bouzle
9 Danny Boy
10 Lament for Eoin Ruadh O’Neill
11 Leezie Lindsay
12 Oro Mo Bhaidin (Hey, ho my little boat)
13 A Maid That’s Deep In Love
14 Black Is The Color
15 Sunrise Over Stonehenge

CD Notes & Credits

Sleeve Notes

This album is dedicated to my mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930-1999.)
I grew up listening to my mother sing. Like many children, I was not aware at the time of the depth and breadth of her gift to me through music. through her, I learned a great many folk songs and operatic arias, and she spurred me to a lifelong passion for music. The songs on this album are either songs she taught me, or songs I know she would have liked. I know she is better known for her books than for her singing, but let me share her with you through music.

1. Guinevere's Song 3.16 words and music by Moira Stern
Guinevere longs for Lancelot, despite her married state. This is the first original song I ever wrote; it began as a tribute to characters in Mother’s historical novel “The Mists Of Avalon,” but the story ended up being a little closer to the movie “First Knight.”

2. Pretty Girl Milking A Cow 3.04 Traditional Irish
My mother was an accomplished singer in her time, and even gave folk concerts when I was very young. Although I never heard her performing this one, she would have loved the soaring vocal line.

3. Rothesay Bay 3.48 Traditional Scottish
One of my mother’s favourite singers was the legendary Jean Redpath. We both loved this beautiful, sad ballad of acceptance amid tragedy and loss.

4. Brochon Lam 1.46 Traditional Scottish.
Another Jean Redpath song and racy beyond belief. It is in the Celtic style known as “Port a’ bheul” which means “mouth music”’ the sort of thing one can sing when dancers wish to dance and there are no instruments.

5. The Bonny Boy 4.35 Traditional
My mother sang this song to me when I was little, there are at least five versions floating around under a few different titles, all with the same story and general features. I picked the lyrics I liked best and the tune I liked best, and this arrangement is the result.

6. The Spinning Wheel 3.56 Traditional Irish
My mother sang this to me, and I believe she learned it from one of our favourite singers; the incomparable Mary O'Hara. I have added another traditional verse which is rarely sung.

7. She Moved Through The Fair 4.06 Traditional Irish
This song has undergone an unusual transformation; it was originally called “Our Wedding Day” and it was about a woman who jilted her fiance. Modern singers omit the first and last verses, and by changing “my true love” into “my dead love” the song has become a ghost story.

8. Birnie Bouzle 1.44 Traditional Scottish
Scottish music is known for dotted rhythms and beautiful melodies, and this little gem is no exception. If I had to explain what “lilting” was, I would probably think of this song.

9. Danny Boy 2.51 Traditional Irish
My mother studied opera for years, and passed that torch on to me, along with strong musical tastes. She would often remind me that “Handel would have traded everything he had ever written if he could have claimed authorship of the Londonderry Air.”

10. Lament for Eoin Ruadh O’Neill 3.06 Traditional Irish
Mother felt that she had played the harp in some distant past life, and was always astonished when she took up my harp and didn’t remember how. Perhaps part of the joys of Heaven include being able to play the harp without having to learn!

11. Leezie Lindsay 3.19 TraditIonal Scottish
There are two sets of verses for this song that I know of, in the usual ones claim that Leezie agrees to marry Lord Ronald MacDonald upon learning his name. In this version by the Corries, Lord Argyle is more romantic, and only alludes to his wealth.

12. Oro Mo Bhaidin (Hey, ho my little boat) 3.09 Traditional Irish
This was one of Mother’s favourite songs, although she never learned the words. She would walk around the house singing it with any old nonsense syllables, and this drove me nuts. I studied Gaelic in my teens so I could sing Celtic music properly. Here is the gist:

“I shall lift anchor and sail West And I won’t come back till Saint John’s day,
Isn’t my boat light and agile, leaping over the waves, hey ho my little boat.”

13. A Maid That’s Deep In Love 4.47 Traditional English
This song was on the first phonograph record of the 20th century; “Cruel Sister” by Pentangle. Jacqui McShee, one of the greatest singers I have ever heard, sang this song, and hooked me on traditional music forever.

14. Black Is The Color 2.59 Traditional Appalachian
Another of Mother’s favourite singers, (and mine) was the legendary Joan Baez. Mother used to sing he songs, including this one, all over the house.

15. Sunrise Over Stonehenge 5.14 words and music Moira Stern
This song was inspired by my mother’s description to me of Glastonbury Tower, and other sites she visited while researching “The Mists Of Avalon.”

All lyrics for this album can be found on the Web site along with translations for the songs in Scots dialect and Irish Gaelic. Please feel free to write to me with your comments and questions, and join the mailing list for updates on events and performances in your area, - Moira Stern


Harp and Vocals - Moira Stern
Whistles, backing vocals and bodhran by Margie Butler
Violin and viola by Kathy Sierra

Produced by Margie Butler and Lee Parvin
Recorded by Lee Parvin at Parvin Studios, Pacifica
Mastered by Mark Games of Zonic Mastering, Half Moon Bay
All harp arrangements © 2004 Moira Stern except
Oro Mo Bhaidin © Lyra Music - used by permission

Special thanks to Rob, Margie, Lee, Kathy, Paul, MCH, Jan and Herminia, Carol, Leonie, Victorine, Stephanie, Patrick, RJ, James and Charles.

Graphic Design by Alluvial Gems
Photos of Moira by Mindas

Album Information

Instruments: Harp & Voice
Genre: Traditional / Contemporary
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0116
MCPS: -------
Label: Mastered by Zonic
Year: 2004
Origin: USA

Arist Information

Moira Stern - singing harpist
About Moira Stern
Contact Details USA

Please see artists own web site for details

Teaching Please see artists own web site for details
Artists Web Site