Jane Urquhart's music playlist

CBC's annual battle of the books is next week! This year's Canada Reads features five books from five different regions across the country. To get you ready for the debates, Shift with Tom Allen is interviewing the authors of the five contenders, and featuring their playlist of songs that reflect their books.

Today's playlist belongs to Canada Reads author Jane Urquhart. Her novel Away will be championed by historian Charlotte Gray in the debates.

Below you can hear the songs Jane Urquhart picked for her novel. You can also listen to her interview with Tom Allen on the Shift website.

Jane Urquhart's Away music playlist

1. Loreena McKennitt, She Moved Through the Fair

"It seems to me that the strange, almost mystical minor tone of the music is like the tone of this book. And the lyrics describe at least one version of the state of being 'away' as in 'called away to another world.'  But the whole tone of the song (which is ancient Irish traditional) is eerily and seductively trance-inducing."

2. Sinéad O'Connor, I Am Stretched on Your Grave

"This was an anonymous poem (translated from the Irish, likely by the wonderful Frank O'Connor) that, along with other ancient and anonymous Irish poems, I read often while I was writing Away. I chose the song because I like the way she worked with tradition, taking from it what she needed and then taking her own risks with the material. That, to me, sums up what I was trying to do in this book. I was working with myth and history but I wanted to break apart even my own expectations of what myth and history could deliver in a book. And, of course, listening to this, I think of my first character Mary/Moira who, in a sense, was truly stretched on someone's grave."

3. Martha Wainwright, Proserpina

"Proserpina, sung by Martha Wainwright (and written by the late and so wonderfully great Kate McGarrigle), is a song that made me think of Away the very first time that I heard it (obviously long after I had written the book). This, I think, is because in some essential way, Away is about mothers and daughters, about the separation of mothers and daughters, and about the grief that attends that separation. About Eileen, who grows up without her mother because her mother, like Proserpina's mother, inhabits a primeval, organic, nature-driven world. And, of course, with regard to narrative, this great last song of Kate McGarrigle's mythical in origin."

4. Feist, The Bad in Each Other

 "Speaks for itself."

5. Chor Leoni, The Maple Leaf Forever (music by Alexander Muir´╗┐)
"On a playlist full of women there must be some balance. The all-male choir Chor Leoni sing The Maple Leaf Forever because they love it. This Vancouver choir takes this pride and passion with them whenever they are on the road. Listen for the alternate lyrics."

Check the blog tomorrow for Douglas Gibson's playlist on behalf of Hugh MacLennan for Two Solitudes.

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