The Bransfield Strait | The Bransfield Strait

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The Bransfield Strait

by The Bransfield Strait

Evocative melodies with soaring, ethereal harmonies... Arrangements delicately spiced with classical instrumentation, as well as idiosyncratic flourishes... A gorgeous and haunting album of songs Produced by three-time Grammy nominee Liam Davis.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Can't Find the Sun
3:30 album only
2. All Mine
2:16 album only
3. Etre
3:15 album only
4. Ange Dechu
1:06 album only
5. Baby I Fly Alone
5:03 album only
6. Au Revoir
3:48 album only
7. Miss You So
3:41 album only
8. Ask You Why
4:43 album only
9. You & Me
4:18 album only
10. Lonely Eyes
6:04 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Songwriting is an exploration. I write and journey to places unknown. Perhaps I land somewhere inside of myself? I am not sure where I go. It is a process I find both terrifying and exhilarating. It is a process of not knowing. Ultimately, it is a process of discovery. Making this record was much the same experience.

I grew up believing that one of my ancestors helped discover Antarctica. This belief has been a profound source of wonder and mystery to me over my lifetime, and my interest has only deepened as the years gather round me.

His name was Edward Bransfield. Little is known about his life. No images of him exist. Born in Ballinacurra, Ireland near Cork in 1785, he was press-ganged into service in the British Royal Navy in 1803. He served on various gunships in the Napoleonic Wars against France. He rose up steadily through the ranks over these years and achieved the rank of Officer. In 1817, he was appointed Master of the HMS Andromache, and was stationed at the Royal Navy's new Pacific Squadron off Valparaiso in Chile, under the command of a Captain W.H. Shirreff, Senior Naval Officer on the west coast of South America.

In late 1819, while rounding the notoriously hazardous Cape Horn, an English merchant brig named the Williams was blown far off course toward uncharted lands, which later came to be known as the South Shetland Islands. When word of this discovery reached Valparaiso, Captain W.H. Shirreff chartered the Williams on behalf of the British Royal Navy and dispatched Bransfield, whom he knew to be a competent surveyor, to lead a small expedition to more thoroughly explore this unknown territory.

The Williams sailed on December 19th, 1819. In the final days of January, 1820 Edward Bransfield sighted the South Shetland Islands and then on January the 30th he observed what he named Trinity Land. Trinity Land turned out to be part of the northernmost tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and thus the continent itself. Edward meticulously charted these discoveries over the ensuing weeks, eventually landing back in port at Valparaiso on April 15th, 1820. His original navigational charts are in fact still in the possession of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Department in Taunton, Somerset, England. His journal was lost; however, two private accounts of the historic voyage were published during 1821. Unfortunately, neither of these accounts is known to be in existence.

Edward's contemporary and fellow Antarctic explorer Captain James Weddell traced the nautical trail that Bransfield had blazed on one of his own expeditions. Circa 1825, Weddell named a key waterway between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula the Bransfield Strait, in tribute to Edward's pioneering legacy. The Bransfield Strait is a body of water roughly 300 miles long and 60 miles wide.

The United States Navy Department's 'Sailing Directions for Antarctica' once described "strong, erratic currents" in the Bransfield Strait, which are only "slightly affected by the wind, so that often a condition known to sailors as a 'cross sea' is set up-- when the wind is blowing in one direction and the currents in another. At such times, angry hunks of water-- 3, 6, 10 feet high-- are heaved upwards, much as when breakers are thrown back from a bulkhead and collide with incoming waves. A 'cross sea' is a perilous thing to a small boat. Furthermore, the weather in the Bransfield Strait is reliably inhospitable. Some reports say the sky is clear only 10 percent of the time. Snows are heavy and gales are common, beginning in the middle of February and becoming more frequent and more violent as the Antarctic winter draws closer."

But rather than explain how the above material inspired me to create The Bransfield Strait, I will leave that for you to ponder as you experience the album. My simple hope is that I have been a 'competent surveyor' and have accurately charted discoveries from some of my own more personal journeys. May these songs thus perhaps serve as navigational instruments and guide you in your own explorations. I wish you an eventful voyage as you make your way through The Bransfield Strait.

-- M.B., Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

"Smooth Seas Do Not Make Skillful Sailors" -- Proverb

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'strait' -

1. a narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water.
synonyms: channel, sound, inlet, stretch of water

2. used in reference to a specified degree of trouble or difficulty.
synonyms: a bad situation, crisis, a mess, predicament, a plight

origin: Middle English
shortening of Old French 'estreit'- 'tight, narrow,'
from Latin 'strictus' - 'drawn tight'

* * * * * * * *

"Everyone Has An Antarctic." -- Thomas Berger

* * * * * * * *

Sources & Inspiration:

The First Sighting of The Antarctic Continent by Lieutenant Commander R. T. Gould, R.N. (Ret.) The Geographical Journal, LXV 3, March 1925 The Royal Geographical Society; Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing; Sailing Directions for Antarctica by the U.S. Navy Department; Literature’s Arctic Obsession by Kathryn Schultz; The North Water by Ian McGuire; Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog; Antarctica: South of Everything by Eddy Hartenstein; What It’s Like to Navigate Antarctica-The “World’s Last Frontier” by Michaela Trimble; Wikipedia (various); Oxford Dictionary.

Album cover photo of the Bransfield Strait by Lyubomir Ivanov.



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