“Louder!” shouted the King of the Sea, “LOUDER!”. So Sadko plucked the strings of his gusli as hard as he could. Then the sea creatures joined in the party: the crabs started to pinch in time with their claws, the swordfish span and become a huge swirl of silver, clams cracked and snapped their calcified lips together. “Faster!” demanded the King of the Sea, “FASTER!” So Sadko played faster, and the creatures danced wildly. Suddenly, Volga Matushka shouted, “Stop! Stop! Sadko, can’t you see that the music is making a giant whirlpool and all the ships sailing across the world are caught in it? If you don’t stop they will surely be pulled down to the bottom of the ocean.”
On Sunday, I told a tale based on a traditional Russian ballad of Sadko the musician and his unrequited love for Volga Matushka – the mightiest river of Russia, the longest river in Europe, one of the most beautiful of all rivers AND the daughter of the party-loving King of the Sea! I was so chuffed to be invited by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Manchester Children’s Book Festival Team to share this story and sing songs with the children (and their mums and dads).
We had some good sea sick wobbling, loud partying, banging of musical instruments by the audience as we all tried to make sure that the King of the Sea was obeyed! Pinguino, the penguin from Antarctica, got a few hugs as well. (He’s quite a daredevil penguin and told me in secret that he loved the cuddles from the girls and boys and their parents. So, shhhh, don’t tell anyone I told you…)
What a lovely day and such a fab audience! The event was well organised and I’m looking forward to popping into the next ones as a punter and will bring at least one of my army of nieces along
This event is one of many leading up to an absolutely marvellous and magical looking Children’s Book Festival for June. The Children’s Book Festival Fun Day on Saturday 25th June looks absolutely super!
Huge thanks to James and Amy for being the river Volga and to Stu from Hobgoblin Music Manchester who fixed up Sadko’s gusli! There are a few versions of this story and mine was a combination of the story retold by Aaron Shepard and snippets from Baba Yaga stories (in my story – it is the Baba Yaga who curses the King of the Sea). The lyrics and the song I sang were based on ‘The River Flows’ by Coope, Boyes, and Simpson.