We Were Meant to be a Gentle People (East EP)

by The Sea and The Mother

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about

East (EP)

credits

released 24 May 2013

all songs by dao strom | the sea and the mother
recorded by dylan magierek @ type foundry studio, portland & at home by dao
dao strom - vocals, guitars, bells, piano
nial nutter - electric guitar, piano on Track 5
amanda lawrence - viola, violin
celia straub, cassandra yardley - choral voices on Track 5

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Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

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about

The Sea and The Mother Portland, Oregon

my given name is tiêu-dao....
i was born in Viet Nam, in the wake of a war.
i am the daughter of writers,
i am also the daughter of a political prisoner. but i followed my mother -
i am one of the children divided
between mother & father / mountains & sea / between
geographies.
i am part of the middle world; a hybrid; a troubadour.

these are my notes from the southern world.
... more

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Track Name: Cataclysm
I don’t know if I can fake it anymore
I’ve lied long enough for you
& if you think you know me just because
you’ve read the words I wrote
well, here’s another song for you

Is every word is a cataclysm
& does it hurt to say what fills your heart with lonely rhythm
in the aftermath of Rebirth ?

I wanted to be your vessel
I wanted to fill your need
but the past is an unwieldy burden
& I fell out of line again

‘cuz every word was a cataclysm
& does it hurt to say what fills your heart with lonely rhythm
in the aftermath of Decay ?

If I dress it up in ribbons
if I groom and make it glisten
will that make it easier for you?
will you finally stop & listen?

‘cuz every word is a cataclysm
& how it hurts to say what fills your heart with lonely rhythm
in the aftermath of the Shame
Track Name: Au Co's Tears (For The Rain)
All my life I have been waiting for
the rain to come and sate me
For I am just a child of the dust
you ate that enslaved you
Forgive us thus our unbound lust
that holds you in our brethren
For we knew not what your wings
would cost the day we sought
to cut them
Track Name: Ode to Mother(land)
Didn’t you once believe in art?
Didn’t you once have a beating heart?
when you told me the story
about a poet and her friends
who went to see a king
but he wouldn’t let them in
except for her fine eyes

She told him of the troubles
throughout their country
She told him of her worries
for all their people
She told him this in rhyme
and in the rhythms of her song
She told him this in rhyme
and with the poetry of her tongue
& that’s when he began to see

(( ))

Mother you once watched
a monk light himself on fire
in 1963 when you thought fire might
say more than a gun
or all the bombs
over Viet Nam
but his ashes contradicted him
he was burning himself for peace
It was that kind of world

So you took me away
to an ivory tower
In the hills where gold lay
I grew into a princess
and I never learned to speak
in my rightful language
I only learned to choke
on all the beautiful English
That burns my throat today

(( ))

Didn’t you once believe in art?
Didn’t you promise to fight with your words?
Well, fight with words we did
stumbling over our own tongues
Mother, you were the child
that I failed to love
And I’m sorry if I did

‘Cause now you praise the warfare and
the flags of our follies
& I am just an innocent
who knows nothing of History
I only know the stories
about the old poets who once
you dreamed of following
bringing the world to reason

As I still dream today
Track Name: Lullaby* (of the Artillery Fire)
Night after night
the bombs fall
sweeping girl
stops her broom (to listen)

to the gods
falling apart
& heaven throwing our prayers
back at us

Does a mother wake feeling
the walls shake
& when she hears her child cry
she says I will sing you a lullaby

But this was not the song I had in mind
this lullaby of the artillery fire
this lullaby of the artillery fire

we were meant to be a gentle people

& you ask what is the greater evil?

[*based on "Dai Bac Ru Dem" by Trinh Cong Son]
Track Name: Origin Tale
Mountain mother
mourning all her rivers
that flow with the blood of soldiers
the children who remain pick up the pieces
they plant the seeds

Dragon father
you always were so restless
so you took half of the children
and you led them south to the seashore
where you taught them freedom

Mother she is crying
but her tears fall as drops of ink
so Mother she cries a newspaper
and her sorrow is only documentary

newsreels tell me
what to feel
because I don’t know
what is real
t.v. communicates our rage
but a death count is
all that speaks
our sadness

Sister searches high & low
for her Brother she once knew in the north
and Brother he writes long letters home
“is a flag not but a piece of cloth?”

tell me
what you saw that night
when the bomb’s fire
mingled
with the starlight
thought I was witnessing
the end
of my Time
but then I learned
that the guilty
survive we survive


((we will suffer no more))
((we will not carry your war))
Track Name: <Break the Silence>
< —break the silence— >

<tell them what went wrong
at the breaking of our

new dawn>

<we once were kin
breathed of the same skin —

<oh my sisters have they forgotten me ? >

<i was the Torus
you were the Ram’s nest> <we kissed
& the whole thing shuddered to
Life >

<i took your wing
you caught my tailspin
but still I fell>

<Mother you tempted me said you cannot change your destiny—

oh but surely by now I have proven you wrong>

<Break the silence, Tell them what was
the real Reason that we Left >