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Baba Yaga

from Tangles by S. J. Tucker

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This song was inspired by fellow female acoustic performer, Diedre McCallah. It's about an archetypal crone figure from Russian folklore coming back to life in the form of a street person, to guide young men and women and teach them what's important in the world: not your cell phone, not your car, not the law, but your roots, your convictions. All isn't hunky-dory in this song. The second half of the song is the story of a young woman who leaves home for her lover - her father dismisses it and doesn't even bother looking for her: "she's a girl; they're all insane; she's made her choice, so it's out of my hands; good riddance," when she disappears.

We pick up on her story in the next stanza, seeing her homeless, dazed, wounded, a junkie. Her rescuer is the crone figure, the Goddess figure, Baba Yaga - a strong old female archetype who's never afraid to be herself, or to assert her power, as in the first half of the song, when she refuses to 'clear off,' at the behest of the unwitting highway patrolmen. A college professor of mine who knew Baba Yaga's story well chided me for not including a verse wherein Baba Yaga eats one or two of the policemen. 'She'd do it, too!'

The song reminds us that no matter what happens, we're strong. No matter what happens, there is a wild but understanding female presence watching over us, and she is our very essence.


Baba Yaga woke today in the form of a sage bag-lady
weaving tales on the edge of the city exit 93
The Children of the Overpass leaned in to listen
to the words, to the wisdom of the ages and the story set them free
The Crone, our Mother, watched tonight from her vantage point above
in the cloudspace high above the city's anger from a safer place than we.

She watched the Freeway/Cellphone Generation as it shrank away from the real
They called the Highway Patrol to ask Baba Yaga to leave
But she would not be escorted, shook with laughter inside her shawl,
Asked the nice young policeman "where shall I go?
Your brothers may witness me tomorrow, hear the same words you resist,
learn from the prophecy that escapes you here, what you refuse to know."

And she smiled then, all toothless, a Rock of Ages standing still
At the Campfire of Baba Yaga, the Street Children held their Dance
She turned to face the brave ones, those who listened without fear,
those who left their houses, highways, their reality just to hear her speak,
all who took that chance

She said "I will be here when you're ready.
My fire will still burn when yours starts to go."
She said "I have always been here,
I with my fearless feet in the snow""
She said "I'll be here just to watch you grow."

Daddy's Little Girl awoke today, in a form all self-sufficience
She packed her bags and left the house long before he rose
He awoke without his coffee, checked her room but she was gone
gone to meet someone he'd never seen, he smiled and sighed
"she's a woman; it's the path she chose."

Well, Daddy's little woman's on the edge of town,
can't remember where she came from
Heaven only knows what's become of her lover,
left her high and dry we suppose.

She lingers on the freeway with her eyes upon the smile
of the wise and ancient Baba Yaga.' And So It Goes.


And I'll let you know, I'll let you know, oh...


from Tangles, released July 4, 2005


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S. J. Tucker Perry, Arkansas

“Without our songs and stories, we are nothing.” S. J. Tucker has been captain of her own music career since 2004, when she left the workaday world behind to sing songs and change lives. Tucker is the voice of lore at the campfire and the sharp laughter of modern myth. With one hand anchored in her art and the other held out to us, she is songs and stories, community and wit. ... more


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