Music serves many purposes in life. It can sooth us, heal us, and sometimes just distract us or put us in a better mood by bringing us to think about situations in life with a different perspective. I have recently been listening to a musician named Bill Callahan and wanted to bring a song called “Eid Ma Clack Shaw” to your attention.
I will start with a little background on Mr. Callahan just to get you warmed up. A colleague of mine at work introduced
me to the music of Bill Callahan.
Bill Callahan may not be very well known where you are, so let me tell
you a little bit about him. For fifteen years he released albums under
the band name Smog. His early recordings were done with
extremely inexpensive and sometimes out of tune instruments and
recording equipment. In some ways he can be categorized along with The
Mountain Goats as a pioneer of using inexpensive recording equipment
and pushing the importance of lyrics and the passion of the musician
over multimillion dollar recording studios that capture technically
brilliant but soul free recordings.
In my workplace, there is a rotation of music played via laptop and iPods. One day my office friend decided to play Callahan’s new album. I found the experience strikingly powerful — the deep tone of Mr. Callahan’s voice hit me immediately. Others in the office teased my friend for playing it, saying the music was really depressing — but something about the music spoke to me.
When my Callahan-loving colleague was on vacation, I had a strong desire to hear a song that my friend had played for us a few times. I kept searching for different terms in the song I wanted to hear until I finally found it: “Eid Ma Clack Shaw” from Callahan’s recently released album Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle.
Eid Ma Clack Shaw, as I hear it, is split into two parts. The narrator has two separate but equally important dreams. In the first dream, he has a dream in which his departed lover — by death or other means — visits him. That dream shakes the narrator, in such a profound manner that he is awakened. He wishes that there were a way to rid himself of such painful memories.
That dream leads into the second part of the song. The narrator falls back asleep and is suddenly inspired to compose the most perfect song. This song, he says, contains all the answers — perhaps how to rid himself of memories. He then somewhat awakens and manages to write down the lyrics to this song that he has written in the dream — but then when he fully awakens, he has scribbled the following:
Eid ma clack shaw
Zupoven del ba
Mertepy ven seinur
He ends the song by repeating his desire to be able to rid himself of memories and he reminds us of the song that he wrote in his dream.
What can we do with knowledge that we learn in dreams?
Can we ever hope to take the knowledge outside of the dreams?
Or is it just that there is nothing really new in our dreams since they are created by our own brains and we should be able to find the knowledge if we can but delve into our own mindspace somehow?
In an interview with Uncut magazine, Mr. Callahan was asked about writing songs in dreams.
Have you ever “dreamed the perfect song”?
I have dreamed melodies that made my heart weep and I have dreamed lyrics that would shatter the world. When I wake they run back into the woods.
What are your thoughts on the song and capturing dreams?