A Boy and the Sea (folk opera)

A Journey Along the Coast Towards Manhood (New Zealand)
Video (>>WMV)

Daniel, a young Maori boy growing up by the sea, unable to understand his mother’s death, imagines her to be trapped under the waves. and Through the stories she told him of the sea god before he slept, he brings Tangaroa (the Maori sea god) to life, His elder brother, Thom is a fisherman and together they live in a cottage, tucked into a small bay, amongst the dark sand and restless ocean, At night when the storms rise up, closing his eyes the white tips of the waves reach out to take his hand. and Always does he ask the same question of Tangaroa, praying that the god will one day guide his mother safely home, He grows, falls in love and travels through the contours of his life towards manhood, however never can he shake mystery of his mother… ‘A child inside the man...’

FIRST SET
A PRELUDE
Unfurl (>>MP3)

1. Well, I stood on a bridge with my hands unfurled,
With an eye to the sky and my mind to the wheel,
Dear god is it wrong to believe what you feel?
Can my feet be so strong to dig in my heels?
When I was a boy, my mother said to me,
Donユt believe what you know, got to trust what you feel...
But I know that at times,
Your mind runs high,
and The tears that you cry are bitter, dry...
That's life...

2. and As I stood on that bridge, hollow hands unfurled,
and Everybody all around me, they were jumping as well,
As the hero fell to ground with his lover at hand,
I saw the terror in his eye, her small feet in the sand,
and The soldiers all long gone, lying low underground,
Counting nails in the walls as the ocean resounds,
Dear mother and the child, planting seeds in the sun,
Can the loving in your arms be shared all around?

For cathedrals they will rise,
Climbing high...
As the falling grab the rails and change their minds...
That's life...

THE JOURNEY BEGINS…
1. The Feijoa Tree

From his bed, looking out into the night sky, the wind has dropped and the waves lap the shore, like a kitten at your feet, He senses his mother and wonders why she left, that maybe he did something wrong. He prays that she will one day come back for him, Tangaroa sleeps under the waves, deep in the bay, but he hears the prayers,

1. Will you wait for me when the sun burns down?
Or is it really fate to be left alone, Mum...
As the water under my feet washes me away...

In a mother's eye there is so much waste to be found,
Well I don't feel alone, but I cannot sense your touch,
Swallow deep, for I shall feel you when I sleep...
Will she stay warm to me or will winter bring me to my knees?

2. and Will you wait for me when the blind comes down?
Or will you be drawn by the cry of another one,
Swallow deep for I shall feel your when I sleep
In my mother's eye there was so much waste...

The fallen, they shall fall beneath this hollow wind,
Tender her smile; it burns like the sun in my hand,
Can this river really flow so far Mum?
Will you wait for us?

3. My eyes they don't see so wide...
and My mouth don't climb so high...
and My heads so damn tired...
Will you wait for us?

2. Frangipani

In late spring when the grass is coloured with a fresh green felt tip and the flowers swell, Daniel makes his way along the metal road, towards the store. To buy food for he and his brother, with his old bag slung over his shoulder, he finds a little girl lost at the roadside, crying under a tree, He sits at her side and comforts her. She stops crying and together they continue along the road until eventually she finds her way,

1. When I feel down,
The sky looks on me
With a dirty frown,
But when I smile the
Sun she shines so bright,
The cherry eyes swell,
Filling up my heart,
So little girl don't you cry,
For in your eyes there's a
Paper god in a redhead sky...

2. and When I'm tired I lay
My head down low,
Underground, deep...
Where the rivers flow,
and When I feel alone,
Oh my friends come
Around me and let me know...
The sanctity of we in the rain,
and That bare foot lovers have much to gain,
and The ocean running through our heads wonユt dry my friends,
So little girl don't you cry,
For in your eyes there's a
Paper god in a redhead sky...

3. Karaka (>>MP3)

Approaching the end of his teenage years, considering the direction of his life, Daniel is caught between his fear to leave his home and his desire to find out what lies beyond the sheltered hills of their little bay, Upon the rocks, in the autumn as the sun prepares to surrender to darkness, he asks Tangaroa for guidance,

1. Tender the hand, from which we feed,
Lay down your soul, beneath the apple sea,
Lets build a grave of days gone by...Is it high?
(Climbing voice)

In this life we are young till we die,
and Shot back into space...
Well I don't claim to know the place...
But I hear the sea...

2. Mary cleansed her hands in golden leaves,
She bore a child alone on a stair,
Then washed her eyes in the sun,
(Climbing voice)

In this life we are young till we die,
and Shot back into space...
Well I don't claim to know the place...
But I hear the sea...

3. I don't want to be remembered for my name,
I just want to find my home,

My tender loving home..
By the sea...

3.1 The Voice of Tangaroa (Instrumental interpretation of the Ocean)

Tangaroa deems Daniel to be his own son and is afraid that he will never return, should he leave for the city, therefore he swells up the ocean around the rocks, like a carnival trying to impress him. The sea god then selfishly tells the little boy that he will only be hurt if he travels inland.

SECOND SET THE BOY BECOMES A MAN...

4. Azure

In a small pub several miles up the road while he drinks with his two friends, the young girl he once helped on the side of the road enters the and they instantly recognize each other and fall into a spell, They hide away in a corner of the bar, staying together til the early hours, after everyone has left, trying to avoid the moment when the publican will ask them to leave and they must go their separate ways, She has moved to the city to study and she tells him of the theatres and colourful movement of the city folk, her eyes glowing like pin drop in a fresh puddle, after the rain, Despite Tangaroa's warning that people from beyond would hurt him, he falls for her...Sensing his mother somewhere in her...

1. In a beggars arms you will find my head,
and When she smiles down you will feel my breath love...
I'm ablaze...

She withholds my love,
She conceals my hate,
and As I've walked these miles she has tendered my feet,
I'm wild but not brave,
I once hid from sight to
Un-define the lover's plight...
I turned away...

But then I heard her cry,
and Her mind invaded, love
She took my heart in a long embrace,
She lit a fire in me...
These eyes they burn so hard...
It's not in vain...

Oh, in her mouth are the words I want to shape,
and In her thigh, a child she waits love...
At heavens gate...

I have turned in vain,
Trying to hide from that place,
But I can't take my eyes
From your face love...
Like the tide running through my hands,
Shall I kneel as I pray?
Cause I don't want to feel in vain,

5. Cirrus

He decides to leave, and On the final morning, he stands out on the tip of the bay with his bags in hand, asking Tangaroa for forgiveness, trying to explain that he must find his own feet, He tells the girl that Tangaroa told him not to trust people from beyond the hills, she hugs him and he surrenders his heart to her, They leave the little bay, Tangaroa watching from the depths of the river mouth. He travels up stream alongside them until the river becomes to narrow and he must returns to the sea…Daniel doesn't return for 33 years,

1. I will take this time to find my space,
I will take this time to realise my fate...
With you one summers day,
You can take your time,
You can take all day,
These words they wonユt refrain...
My friends they ride there shallow empty trains...
It's been a while and winters stuck in my brain,
De de de...

You can claim my heart if it breaks, love
and When you feel it sway, don't be afraid, love...

2. I will take this time to find my own way,
With a fear that its all in vain,
But my mind, she swells in the arms of
The oceans gate...
So take my hand and lead me your way,
Through the sand to some sweet place,
I have felt your touch and love
It drives me insane...
Itユs been so long and winter won't go away...
De de de...

You can my when it breaks, love
and When feel afraid I will take your pain love,
Da da da...

6. A Boy and the Sea

Drawn back to his roots, he returns as an older man. He stands with his feet in the shallows, pleading for forgiveness from the sea god, but Tangaroa has left the bay for the deeper waters and cannot hear his prayers, Daniel begs Tangaroa to finally explain to him the mystery of his mother's disappearance, however he gets no reply, He stands as an older man, but sings with the voice of a child,

1. God, Can you feel my breath?
Stay close to me...
Cause we're on our own,
With an eye to your charcoal sky,
Yes I know I'm a child in your sight...
But say a pray for me...
and For all the fish in the sea,
But as these waves wash around my waist,
I can see her smiling face,
Tell me, would she be somewhere deep in me?
For in your seaside eyes I can see for miles...
Stay close to me god,
Cause we're on our own,
and When the seagulls rise, I turn inside...
and I can feel her...
Somewhere between me and the rising sea,

2. Should the tide confide,
A whisper, like the shells in my ears...
Then say a pray for me...
and For all the eels in the dark of the stream
Trying to find their way home, home,
and If the light in my brain should start to fade...
Stay close god,
Am I on my own?
Am I in my own?

THE FINALE
A River's Mouth (>>MP3)

With his grandson upon his knee within the little bay, he gives him guidance and tells the tale of a little boy looking for his mother trapped under the waves and the sea god that came to comfort him,

1. As a child when I opened my eyes,
Like the waves on my skin,
I saw the face of Goliath, in the sky,
With the stone in his eye,
He cried...
All his might, but no way to reply...
Oh god if my heart should sing,
Let it fly...
I've died a million times forthe things I've lost,
But it's time to rise from inside...
Can you feel?
What I'm saying?

2. We all get lost sometimes,
But we find our way...
For in my eye lay this child I denied,
Oh my son, I was wrong and I dried
I had no heart to lean my conscience upon,

3. We all get lost...
But we'll find our way...
For in the tide rests a wise old guy,
With the child we can't find beside him...
Can you feel?
Him sway?

Ben Kemp (Composition/Guitar/Vocals)
Koyu (Piano/ Bass)