The Recording Process:

Tony Garone - vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, bells, temple chimes, tibetan singing bowl
Marcie Schreier - vocals
Jazzman - drums

recorded at Cow Pilot Studios

When Marcie told me she was coming to visit from Jerusalem, I knew she would be perfect to sing the part of Inanna. There was no doubt in my mind that she had the "chutspah" to do it. I wrote the lyrics first (after reviewing the original text of the Epic), and then the music kind of just flowed - that's musician speak for, "I wrote it in a few minutes."

Marcie Schreier, the voice of Inanna

When she arrived, I had the skeleton of the song recorded - enough for her to do her vocal and on the way to the Organ Pipe National Monument in Tucson, we listened to what we had of the song. Her performance still gives me goosebumps. After she left for Jerusalem, I finished the instrumentation and redid my cheesy vocal, made an MP3 of the song, and sent it to her.

Some commentary by Marcie:

I first met Tony back in '78 through Mike Jabin, a fellow student from Nassau Community College (where I majored in music as a flutist). Mike at the time played the drums in the wonderful band Heresy, where Tony was doing the lead work. Being an ardent Jethro Tull fan, I was literally blown away by Tony's emulation (both vocally and instrumentally) of any and all things Tull and would spend as much free time as I could listening to them practice or jam.

Tony and I fell out of touch after I moved to Canada in the summer of '78. I eventually immigrated to Israel in 1980. Our contact was renewed when I noticed Ben Vaccaro's enthusiastic Internet promo of the Jethro Tull Convention to take place in January of '99. The convention would showcase Heresy, featuring Tony Garone, resurrecting the Tull epic " A Passion Play". What a blast from the past! I emailed Ben passing on regards to Tony in the hopes he would remember me. Sure enough, two weeks later Tony emailed me and we have been in contact ever since.

Having taken up voice back in the late '80's, I sent a tape to Tony of some of my vocal work with Philip Griffin, an extraordinarily talented and versatile musician who I met a year before here in Jerusalem (see Philip's commentary on "Enkidu" for more details). After listening to it, Tony invited me to offer up some vocals for the "Gilgamesh" project, specifically, this track called "Inanna". Initially, we were going to do this long distance in the same manner that Philip did, but when I informed him I was headed out to the US for a vacation, Tony graciously invited me to come out west and we decided to take advantage of a more face to face rendering of the vocals. After a fun filled few days of sight seeing, discovering that there actually WAS a cassette player in my rented car (thanks Mary Ann!) and wonderful hospitality (thanks Garone family!) we got down to business.

The whole process was very simple and as far as I can recall, took a little over three hours to complete. Tony gave me a lyric sheet, played me a tape of the song (with him singing) and I learned it off the cuff. We did a number of takes of the song till I was satisfied then we added layers of harmony for the added effect. It was a kind of "she came, she sang, she went" sort of situation. Tony made me an initial recording of the song to take away with me which we spent listening to (over and over) in the car in one of our jaunts afterwards. What can I tell you - the song really grew on us.

Following my return to Israel, Tony made modifications here and there to the song building on my vocals, sending me MP3's every so often to keep me posted. Each update was better than the last.

So here is the final version for your auditory pleasure. I'm really happy to have taken part in this wondrous project. After listening to the entire CD and perusing through the web companion, you'll realize this was a labor of love in the truest sense. Hope you all enjoy. 

Here is an image of Inanna/Ishtar. She is often depicted naked, but having wings - perhaps as a metaphor for her ability to "fly" in her "sky chamber".

Here is what is left of Inanna/Ishtar's ziggurat at Uruk. The primary method of construction at that time were mud bricks with mud and straw used for mortar.

After Gilgamesh and Enkidu slew Huwawa, they became national heroes of Uruk. Uruk was the patron city of the goddess Inanna, who was the embodiment of fertility, love and sexuality. She took notice of Gilgamesh when she heard of his exploits and one day while he was bathing in a stream outside the city, she approached him. She offered him her - ahem - favors, but he (knowing her history of disastrous love affairs and deceased lovers) turned her down. In one of the translations Gilgamesh answers her advances by stating that he would rather, "Drink urine from her shoe," than spend the night with her (ouch!).

This did not sit well with the goddess of love, so she went to her father (in some historical/mythological texts her grandfather) Anu, and demanded he release the Bull of Heaven to avenge her honor. Anu was reluctant to do so, but Inanna got her way and that leads us to the next song.

In the center of this cylinder seal stands Inanna/Ishtar. She is depicted standing or riding a lion. You can see her wings and the horned cap of divinity, with rays of light emanating from her shoulders.

The Cuneiform for the name "Inanna"

Dr. Pagan explains:

The first sign, DINGIR, the one that looks like a star, is the Sumerian determinative for "divinity," that is "god" or "goddess." The second sign is INANNA, or variously INNIN, or INNANA. The late Thorkild Jacobsen interpreted the earlier form of the name as Ninanna(k) "Lady of the date clusters," but the usual interpretation is Ninanak "Queen of Heaven." Most scholars believe that the name means "Queen of Heaven," and that is my belief, too. See, for instance, "Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth," by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, page xv, last paragraph:"... a deity known to the Sumerians by the name of Inanna, 'Queen of Heaven,' and to the Semites who lived in Sumer by the name of Ishtar."

Tony comments:

In Egyptian heiroglyphs, one of the symbols for the goddess Isis is a star -- her heavenly counterpart is the constellation Canis Major, and the star that represents her is the star Sirius (the brightest star in the northern hemisphere). This is a very important star to the Egyptians, because on the Summer Solstice (Wepet: Egyptian "New Year's Day", June 21) Sirius rises simultaneously at dawn with the Sun (heliacal rising) and the Nile river overflows, providing much needed water - enriching the soil for crops for the ancient Egyptians (this period actually varies from June 21 - July 20).

The papyrus above is a depiction of the coronation of the Pharaoh Horemheb. The highlighted areas indicate the hieroglyphs being discussed. The glyphs above the head of Isis tell us that she is the "goddess" or "lord" (represented by the brown bowl) of heaven and earth (heaven is the symbol below the blue half circle). You can see how the symbol for heaven mimics (and greatly simplifies) the Sumerian character of the same designation. The second highlight depicts the symbol for a god or goddess (the flag) and the star representing Isis. I think you will agree with me when I say that the Sumerian and Egyptian symbols are strikingly similar in certain respects.

In addition, Isis is the Egyptian goddess of fertility. So what does this mean? I think the Egyptians may have been influenced by Sumerian culture, so much so that they borrowed from the Sumerian pantheon - among other things.