• Rhiannon

    Article by Ey@el and music & lyrics by Fleetwood Mac

    Original en français

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    Don't burn this witch! We all have songs that reach us at soul level — magical songs that shoot us in the heart and for me, this legendary title by Fleetwood Mac is one of those. Must be some kind of universal magic that turned it into a cult song and brought the Anglo-american band to fame.

    Rhiannon

    Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
    And wouldn't you love to love her?
    She rules her life like a bird in flight
    And who will be her lover?

    All your life you've never seen
    A woman taken by the sky.
    Well, would you stay if she promised you heaven?
    Would you even try?

    And he says: “Rhiannon, don't go.
    And he says: “Rhiannon, stay.
    And he says: “I still cry out for you,
    Don't leave me. Don't leave me.

    Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
    And wouldn't you love to love her?
    She rules her life like a bird in flight
    And who will be her lover?

    She is like a cat in the dark
    And then she is your darkness.
    She rules her life like a fine skylark
    And when the sky is starless.

    Once in a million years a lady like her rises
    ″Oh no, Rhiannon″ you cry.
    But she's gone,
    Your life knows no answer.
    Your life knows no answer.

    Rhiannon...
    Rhiannon...
    Rhiannon...
    Rhiannon...

    She rings like a bell through the night
    And wouldn't you love to love her?
    She rules her life like a bird in flight
    And who will be her lover?

    All your life you've never seen
    A woman taken by the sky.
    Well, would you stay if she promised you heaven?
    Will you ever try?

    Rhiannon...
    Rhiannon...

    Dreams unwind, love's a state of mind.
    Dreams unwind, love's a state of mind.

    Your dreams unwind and still it's hard to find, I know.
    Your dreams unwind and still it's a state of mind, I know.

    Take me like the wind child,
    Take me with the sky,
    Take me now.

    Take me like the wind, baby,
    Take me with the sky.

    All the same...
    All the same...
    All the same, Rhiannon...

    All the same...
    Baby, all the same...

    And he still cries out for her:
    Don't leave me now!

    © Stevie Nicks, 1975

    About this song

    Rhiannon is a major figure of the Welsh mythology. The name itself comes from Rigantona which means “Great Queen”. She's an avatar of a Celtic goddess. Stevie Nicks discovered her in the early 70's, in a a novel called Triad by Mary Bartlet Leader she bought in an airport just before a long flight. Although the story which is about a woman named Branwen, who is possessed by another woman named Rhiannon, did not relate to the Welsh legend of Rhiannon, the characters still bear little resemblance to their original Welsh namesakes, and she thought the name was so pretty it inspired her this song. Which she wrote in 1974, three months before joining Fleetwood Mac and which allegedly took her only ten minutes!

    So I wrote this song and made her into what I thought was an old Welsh witch” she says. “And then I just found out — because somebody from Phoenix found a whole trilogy of books written in 1972 on Welsh mythology — that Rhiannon was a Welsh witch. Which is pretty weird because I never saw that. And yet the song is exactly about that.

    “This legend of Rhiannon is about the song of the birds that take away pain and relieve suffering. That's what music is to me” she adds.

    It is the story of a lady that is from another world called the Bright World, and she leaves her kingdom to become the wife of a mortal king. But goddesses really can't marry mortal kings. If they do they lose their magic powers. And they don't lose the knowledge of them. They know everything that's going to happen, they just can't do anything about it. Which is a much more difficult way to live than not having magic powers is to not be able to use them and know exactly what's coming and to not be able to tell anybody. So she comes down and does her whole trip, and it's just a whole story — it's a wonderful story.

    “She is the maker of birds, and the goddess of steeds; she's the protector of horses. Her music is like a pain pill. When you wake up and hear her birds singing her little song, the danger will have passed. I realized that somehow I had managed to pen a song that went very much along with the mythical tale of Rhiannon. That's when everybody started saying Stevie must be a black witch or something !

    Rhiannon”, she says, “is the heavy-duty song to sing every night. On stage it's really a mind tripper. Everybody, including me, is just blitzed by the end of it. And I put out so much in that song that I'm nearly down. There's something to that song that touches people. I don't know what it is but I'm really glad it happened.

     

    22 years later

    Ey@el

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