> Maddy Prior > Songs > Dramatis Personae

Dramatis Personae

[Maddy Prior, Rick Kemp]

This is a song cycle from Maddy Prior's album Flesh & Blood. Of this song cycle, Brother Lawrence was later included in the Maddy Prior anthology Collections: A Very Best of 1995 to 2005.

Maddy Prior commented in the sleeve notes:

This is a series of songs about personality. The structure is based on the ancient concept of the “chakras”. They are located up and down the spine as energy vortexes, “chakra” meaning wheel. Each “chakra” has its own colour (I have referred to the commonly used rainbow), its own sense (smell, taste etc.), its own element (earth, water etc.), even its own body part, gland and healing function.

There is a parallel in the Tree of Life of the Qabalah in the movement from physical and mental to spiritual, but at the same time each “chakra” is equally important and fulfils its own function and is an essential part of the whole.

I have dwelt upon these for some years and find a constantly changing and growing realisation of their possibilities, which means that any attempt to fix them is at best personal, partial and transient.

Who Am I?

“Riddles are one of the oldest forms of literature. The Saxons were very keen on them, and the number of cryptic crosswords printed today attest to their continuing popularity. For the answer to this riddle you need to look to the North of England and not be distracted by two year's growth. For me this encapsulates a dedication to fundamental earthlines.” [sleeve notes]

Lyrics

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Cruel Mother

“This draws on stark ballad imagery to paint a portrait of sex, reproduction and death, all of which are inexticably linked, for without sex and consequent reproduction we would not need to clear some space with death, and without death we wouldn't need (?) sex.” [sleeve notes]

Lyrics

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Boy on a Horse

“The power of the sun fuels the whole process.” [sleeve notes]

Lyrics

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Jade

“The heart of the piece. Compassion around which all other functions revolve.” [sleeve notes]

Lyrics

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Brother Lawrence

“Brother Lawrence was born Nicolas Herman of humble parentage in Lorraine, Eastern France in about 1611.

He became monk and served as a monastry cook for thirty years. This was not a job he liked, but he rose above his discontent; indeed, his sanctity so impressed those around him that an abbot, L'Abbe Joseph de Beaufort, vicar general to Cardinal Noailles, exchanged letters with him and preserved his thoughts and philosophy in a book 'MÅ“urs et Entretiens du Frere Laurent'.

Brother Lawrence represents the antithesis of what most of us think of as communication. Unlike us he does not appear to have been on 'all broadcast and no receive'. His method of communion was to listen.” [sleeve notes]

Lyrics

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The Laugh and the Kiss

“Someone once said to me that the split second when you laugh at a joke is a moment of enlightenment. Suddenly you understand.” [sleeve notes]

Lyrics

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The Point

“This is the point. Infinity. The last note.” [sleeve notes]

(instrumental)