#MyBiosphere: Christine Collister

In our regular feature in Isle of Man Newspapers, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Christine Collister writes.

In our regular feature in Isle of Man Newspapers, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Christine Collister writes:

I was born and raised on the Isle of Man. It is in my blood. I am as much a part of the landscape as it is a part of me.

Like most Manx people, I have a deep and abiding love for and pride in my homeland, its sweeping hills, heather, gorse and fuchsia brighten the lush, green landscape, with deep purple, yellow-gold and ruby-red.

The sparkling, often-times white-capped, waves of the windswept Irish Sea, fill me with delight. It is wild and powerful and a total inspiration. 

I’m a professional singer-songwriter of 40 years and I’ve recently completed a creative project, Children Of The Sea, which is inspired by Manx folklore.

I wasn’t immersed in the traditional aspects of Island life when I was growing up here in the 1960s and 70s, though I know, as all Manx children do, the basic tales of the Moddey Dhoo, Fynoderee, Hop tu Naa and Jinny the Witch.

The whole project probably took three years to complete but life was hectic. My mum, who has dementia, needed my attention and care. My husband, Bob, and I usually travelled the world together. I would perform in the UK and Australia, sometimes the States, supporting whatever CD I had out at the time.

We came back to the Island in between our travels to relax, gather our energies and go off once more. That all came to a terrible halt in 2020. But we found ourselves so grateful to be here (once we’d raced back from Australia before the borders were closed). Of all the places we could be, this is where we landed.

The Island is so beautiful. Mum’s house is at the end of a farm lane overlooking the Irish Sea. On a clear day, the Mountains of Mourne are incredibly vibrant, as is the Mull of Galloway, it feels as if you could reach out and touch them.

Bob and I turned our hands to growing veg and tending the garden and land. I took advantage of seeing my friends more regularly, which was a joy.

One of the things we started doing was dipping in the sea. We started in October 2020… an act of defiance against the time. That first experience is indelibly etched on my mind - it was traumatic and I was a drama queen par excellence. ‘It’s so cold!’ Really? Surprise, surprise. I have since befriended the cold. It is my friend.

My favourite place to dip is Fenella Beach. Peel Castle looms over the shell-strewn sand and the ever-changing colour of the water, translucent green, turquoise and dark brooding blue, is breathtaking. The waves, wild and frothing white horses rampaging toward the shore; or still and shining as a mirror, with sparkling sunlight dancing on the glass-like water. It is potent with magic.

One of the songs I wrote for Children Of The Sea is an homage to Fenella beach. Amanda Barton, who is well known for her amazing sculptures, gifted me the beautiful illustration that accompanies the song. It manages to capture the raw power of the sea and my delight in it all at once. I love this place with a passion.

Children Of The Sea will be launched the Peel Centenary Centre on 27th April is available to purchase at www.fledglingrecords.co.uk

Christine Collister is world-renowned singer and songwriter from the Isle of Man whose career spans an incredible 40 years.  



Posted up on 26th April 2024


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