The Sea The shout of joy

Last night, inside a cold Dobbs Ferry church with the snow falling outside, I sat and listened to a young couple who just this week recorded their first album together. If their performance is any indication, the April release will bring a welcome relief to a cold winter. To say I was taken with Chuck E. Costa and Mira Stanley who perform as The Sea The Sea would be an understatement. On top of well-crafted songs, commanding stage presence and instrumental abilities, their voices in close harmony evoked for me a sound landing somewhere between Bowling Green and Bakersfield. 

Chuck is a familiar name in folk circles with several solo albums to his credit, recipient of songwriter awards at various festivals and as a member in the band Mon Monarch. In 2011 he was named Connecticut State Troubadour.  Appointed by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism based on a recommendation by a panel of music professionals, he serves as an ambassador of music and song to encourage cultural literacy and promote the State of Connecticut. In addition to his regular touring schedule, which has seen him playing festivals, coffeehouses, clubs and theaters across the Northeast and the country, he plays at various state events. Something else...he has been visiting schools to share his gift and teach children about song writing. 

Mira is a singer-songwriter from Charleston, West Virginia, and is formally trained in musical theatre and dance, studying at both the Boston Conservatory and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. She is co-founder of CT Sings: Stories from the Constitution State and prior to co-facilitating workshops with Chuck, she also did theatre and playwriting workshops with children. Some of you folkies might also know Mira as the daughter of Ron Sowell, the Mountain Stage music director and guitarist heard on NPR.

Carter Smith, the producer for Common Ground Community Concerts which puts on wonderful shows throughout the Hudson Valley just north of New York, booked The Sea The Sea as the opening act for Boston-based Antje Duvekot. (You can read my profile of her if you click here.) "I've been a big fan of Chuck's for a number of years -- he's one of the best young songwriters on the scene. And since I didn't know Mira when I first heard about The Sea The Sea, I wasn't sure how I'd react to the change.  There's a lot of comfort in the familiar. But hearing them sing together, in harmonies so close it's like they sing with one voice, it's clear they were destined to be together."

While I patiently wait to hear what comes out of their sessions from these past two weeks at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, it would seem a shame not to share something with y'all right now. So I've found some music and videos,  and I'll also throw some links down at the bottom for you to explore. These guys seem to like the road, so catch them where and when you can. In the meantime...The Sea The Sea.

Thálatta! Thálatta! (GreekΘάλαττα! θάλαττα! or Θάλασσα! θάλασσα! — "The Sea! The Sea!") was the shouting of joy when the roaming 10,000 Greeks saw Euxeinos Pontos (the Black Sea) from Mount Theches (Θήχης) in Trebizond, after participating in Cyrus the Younger's failed march against the Persian Empire in the year 401 BC. The mountain was only a five-day march away from the friendly coastal city Trapezus. The story is told by Xenophon in his Anabasis.

Thálatta (θάλαττα, pronounced [tʰálat̚ta]) is the Attic form of the word. In IonicDoricKoineByzantine, and Modern Greek it is thálassa(θάλασσα).

Iris Murdoch wrote a novel called The Sea, The Sea which won the Man Booker Prize in 1978. (Wikipedia)


Links to The Sea The Sea:

  • Joe Owers

    Talented duo right there.Been fortunate,along with others in the So.Ct. area to catch some fine performances.Glad to see them get some recognition in your publication.
  • Kyla Fairchild

    This is right up my alley. Sounds great. Thanks for the tip and also for taking the time to dig up the videos and album stream so it was easy to hear the music in addition to reading about it.

  • Susan Kane

    Chuck is a wonderful songwriter. Love this new project.  I asked him if this was named after the Iris novel, since I'm quite smitten with Ms. Murdoch's works myself and named my new CD after one of hers.  A Word Child.