The Recording Process:
First Unit Production and Recording
Ann Marie Garone: vocals
Tony Garone: vocals, acoustic guitar
Recorded, engineered and mixed at Cow Pilot Studios, Arizona by Tony Garone
Second Unit Production and Recording:
Billy Brown: nylon acoustic guitar
Casey Carney: drums, glockenspiel
November, 2000 • engineered by Billy Brown
Recorded at Outpost Productions, New York
I sat down with Ann Marie, wrote and worked out the fine points of this song. I recorded the acoustic guitar and her vocals on the ADAT, mixed them down to the computer, dumped them back to the ADAT on two tracks, and sent the tape to William at Outpost Productions, where drums, glockenspiel, guitar and additional keyboards were added.
The voice of Siduri, the lovely and talented Ann Marie Garone
Once I got the tape back from William, I had to re-sync the tracks that were recorded in NY with the mix down in AZ because I left an audible click track on the stereo mix down, which I thought would disappear into the mix. Well, I was wrong, of course and when Billy called me to point this out (because he needed another track for recording) I realized I had my work cut out for me.
I took the tracks that were recorded in NY and mixed them without the original mix and then remixed the original mix (sound confusing? it was!) and then copied and pasted those tracks together to do one final big honkin' mix. Of course, these two mixes were not synced together so I had to come up with input points and then add micro-seconds of time to allow for the synchronization disparities!
Well, it did work. I will tell you that this could not have been done without computer technology, for sure.
William Brown comments:
“Siduri” was an afternoon well spent. Casey and I spent a full day working on the drums and percussion for this song. We were trully inspired by the beauty of the melodies and chords but mostly by Ann Marie’s vocal performance. She, as well as her sister Jenifer, have definitely inherited the Garone throat. Casey selected a series of percussive elements including tubular bells, glockenspiel, bell trees and wood blocks to carry the rhythms, and I added some nylon acoustic guitar melodies intermittently to offset Ann Maries vocals. It’s perfect."
What is this song about?
FIRST, A DISCLAIMER: It should be noted that Siduri is the only song where I took liberty in my interpretation from the original text. It is important to understand that the exchange which occurred between Siduri and Gilgamesh was not a pleasant one; Siduri was terribly frightened by Gilgamesh, and refused to allow him entry into her tavern. I present this event in a very different light for this song. As I have stated previously, I have attempted to remain as faithful as possible to the original text, but I felt that this particular song needed to be a "bridge point" in the music; a more positive and uplifting segment musically and I apologize if I have offended purists. I remember coming across a study done by a university that used this song as a juxtaposition with the event in the original story. It was portrayed in such negative light that it deeply disturbed me. I remember one of the students commenting that the writer of Siduri obviously never read the Epic. Apparently, the professor failed to point out the disclaimer on this web site that would have put this song in a very different light. Ironically, if this professor had familiarized himself with the Babylonian version of the Epic, he would have understood the various perspectives concerning this event in the story.
With this disclaimer in mind, please read on.
After his long journey, Gilgamesh arrived at an old tavern near the ocean. His appearence was so haggard that the innkeeper (Siduri) locked the door to prevent him from entering, thinking he was a murderer. Pounding on the door, Gilgamesh exclaimed he was the famous king of Uruk, and his quest has transformed him into a desperate man filled with grief and the fear of death.
Siduri asked him:
"If you are king Gilgamesh, who killed the Guardian,
who destroyed Humbaba/Huwawa who lived in the Cedar Forest,
who slew lions in the mountain passes,
who grappled with the Bull that came down from heaven and killed him,
why are your cheeks emaciated, your expression desolate?
Why is your heart so wretched, your features so haggard?
Why is there such sadness deep within you?"
"Tavern Keeper, should not my cheeks be emaciated?
Should not my heart be wretched, my features no haggard?
Should there not be sadness deep within me?
My friend, who I love deeply, who went through every hardship with me,
Enkidu, - the fate of mankind has overtaken him.
Am I not like him? Will I like down, never to get up again?"
He then asked Siduri if she knew the whereabouts of Utnapishtim. She directed him to the Ferry man, Urshanabi, and told him that he must cross the Waters of Death to arrive at the Far Away, the home of Utnapishtim.
As stated above, I took liberties with this song, in that I made Siduri more compassionate than the Sumerian translations allude. But in the Babylonian version of the Epic, Siduri offered Gilgamesh her insights on the true meaning of life; not to focus on the reality of death, but to make the best of the time he has. Here is her advice from the Babylonian version:
"Gilgamesh, where are you wandering?
The life that you are seeking all around you will not find.
When the gods created mankind
they fixed Death for mankind,
and held back Life in their own hands.
Now you, Gilgamesh, let your belly be full!
Be happy day and night,
of each day make a party,
dance in circles day and night!
let your clothes be sparkling clean,
let your head be clean, wash yourself with water!
Attend to the little one who holds onto your hand,
let a wife delight in your embrace.
This is the true task of mankind."
These Translations are taken from "The Epic of Gilgamesh" by Maureen Gallery Kovacs, Stanford University Press. I edited Gilgamesh's response to Siduri for brevity's sake.
The Cuneiform for the name "Siduri"
Dr. Pagan explains:
The signs are (from left to right): si-du-ri. According to Knut Tallqvist (Akkadische Götterepitheta, p.441), the name may be translated tentatively as "Girl". Here is the citation:
"Si-du-ri (als = ši-du-ri CT 18: 19, 27, vielleicht »Mädchen»)."
Interestingly, it occurs as an epithet of Ištar.