Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Selkie of Sule Skerry

The Selkie male is traditionally irresistible to the human woman.

At the start of The Selkie Wife, audiences will be treated to a beautiful rendition of a haunting traditional Orkney song, The Selkie of Sule Skerry, sung to the accompaniment of acoustic guitar. Music from this song also recurs providing atmospheric underpinning for key moments in the play.

This is, as far as we can remember, the first time a dramatic piece at The Apollo has included live music performances, and that along with being the UK Premiere makes The Selkie Wife a very special Apollo production.

The song follows the more common Selkie theme of a Selkie man seducing a human woman: she laments that she does not know where her child's father is, and he appears to tell her that he is only a man on land, but is a seal in water. He takes his son to the child's destiny, since children of Selkies can themselves also take the form of seals and swim away.

The song was collected in print only in the nineteenth century, when it was listed as Child Ballad No 113; there are many different versions of the song and it has been recorded by artists as varied as Joan Baez, Steeleye Span and the Breton singer Cecile Corbel.

But we love our version: you can hear an extract sung and played live on The Chris Sullivan Programme on Vectis Radio at 2pm on Tuesday 18 October, which will whet your appetite for the whole thing at our shows on October 21st, 22nd and 25th -29th.

To listen to the radio broadcast go to: Vectis Radio Listen Live
To book tickets for The Selkie Wife go to: Apollo Theatre - The Selkie Wife

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