When the Disney studios announced that they had cast Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel, aka The Little Mermaid, for their latest live-action remake, there was a wave of reactions and most of all: criticism. Twitter hashtags #NotMyMermaid and #NotMyAriel became trending topics and Halle was ridiculed in words as well as in ‘anti-fan art’. And why? Not because anyone doubted the acting and singing talent of the 19-year-old R&B star. Nobody questioned the judgment of director Rob Marshall who praises Halle’s ”rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance, plus a glorious singing voice”. No, the hatred is based solely on Halle’s skin colour supposedly not matching the role. In my opinion, this online hatred of the new mermaid isn’t just racism based on …

Mermaids of Colour Read more »

Inspired by the image of the mermaid as a symbol for a forbidden love (that beckons as a siren, but will never become reality), I made many trips – from Stockholm to Saint Petersburg and from Helsinki to Azerbaijan. But not all treasures are hidden at a great distance. Last year, I boarded the train to my neighbouring city The Hague, for some good old-fashioned musicological strolling in the analogue archives. The gem that attracted me? A 1918 song called “Meirminnen”. For the Dutch journal “De Liedvriend” (the friend of the art song), I wrote a short article about this charming song, that just got published. Sheet music and piano in the YouTube below… enjoy! The article in its beautiful lay-out can be read here (via my …

Meirminnen – Zwollo/Couperus Read more »

In a remote village, some workers are building a bridge, but are scared away by vampire mermaids. Some are pale with long dark hair and glowing red eyes and their tails resemble snake tails. Others have green skin, and long fingernails, such as Qualupalik. Read this creepy story about a Vampire Mermaid written by Scott L Vannatter.

Last week, I had to chance to brighten those dreary nights in November with a visit to Edinburgh and the lively “Fates of Frankenstein”, a two-day conference about Frankenstein’s legacies in popular culture. My presentation was about “Frankenstein Mermaids” and if you are interested, you can read read more about that in this article that was published in Foundation.

Carol S. Pearson’s bestselling book “The Hero Within” combines insights from literature, anthropology and psychology to distinguish six heroic archetypes. Taking both Hans Christian Andersen’s and Disney’s versions ‘The Little Mermaid’ as case studies, this blogpost shall identify archetypes from Pearson’s Heroic Myth Index that can be traced in the main character.

The first track of my solo album is about the story of Achtamar, which I learned in Armenia. Using the familiar trope of of star-cross’d lovers, the story of Achtamar is about a young woman named Tamar and the young man who loves her. They meet in secret on an island, until Tamar’s father discovers their trysts and sets a trap for the youth. He manages to escape, but he is mortally wounded and cannot swim across the lake. As he dies, his last action is to whisper her name across the water: ‘Ach, Tamar!’. With the help of my friend Ofelia Melikyan, I translated the famous poem by Hovhannes Tumanyan about this story. And with the help of John Vandenberg, I rewrote it into a poem of …

Achtamar – two poems Read more »