Sefan is an old English word meaning heart; spirit ; mind, as in The Seafarer, “All these things urge him who is eager of spirit to travel.”
Blue Cliffs was the first song conceived for Anhaga. Sitting atop the iron age hill fort Foel Drygarn amidst the Bronze Age burial cairns, surrounded by the Preseli Hills, the source of the Stonehenge blue stones. Amongst the history, the mist and the peaceful calm of the Welsh countryside, were thoughts of those ancient peoples who took upon themselves to construct such timeless monuments and leave such lasting marks on the landscape.
All of this inspired a song about the efforts our ancestors made to be remembered, and how we look to be remembered ourselves in the future.
Hearts Born New is a song about the circular nature of life and death.
Inspired in part by visits to the Bronze Age burial mounds known as the Kings Graves or Devils Humps which overlook the ancient yew forest of Kingley Vale. There is a myth that the local men of Chichester defeated a Viking war party here, and the Viking leaders are buried in the mounds, with the rest of the warriors laying where they fell beneath the yew trees. There may be some truth in the story as the Anglo-Saxon chronicle records a victory for the local garrison over marauding Danes in AD 894.
Inspiration was also taken from the Bronze Age practises of removing the bones of relatives from burial mounds, only to be replaced when buried with later generations. There has been recent evidence found of human bones being turned into keepsakes, such as whistles and amulets, which were later buried with related younger bones.
The ways in which we remember the dead have changed over the millennia, but the notion of life and death still connects us with all our ancestors and future relatives.
The Lover’s Message is a setting of the old English poem, also known as the Husband’s message, found in the Exeter book which dates to the 10th Century.
It is the story of a man who was exiled from his lover due to a feud and is sending her a secret message to let her know that he is now established and wealthy and he longs to be reunited. There are differing interpretations as to whose perspective the poem is written from, but the most interesting is the view that the story is told by the piece of wood carrying the secret runic message itself.
Why is this so interesting? Well, it could be the only evidence that messages in Anglo Saxon England were written in runes carved on rune sticks (Rúnakefli) much like the Bryggen inscriptions. No actual rune sticks have been found in the UK, so it is tantalising hint at the possibility that Anglo Saxon runes were in fact used as a written everyday language. Then again, it’s also possible it is just a poem, using poetic license to tell a story.