Mary in Japan

A week or so ago I received the following email out of the blue:

Dear Mr. Adams,
I am sending this email from Tokyo, Japan.
I am a science journalist and research fellow of Japan Space Forum and have just found your new album “Mary Anning.”
I am very impressed by your album and would like to write a story on my blog about this.
So may I ask you several questions?
Why were you interested in Mary Anning?
How did you feel when you see the Portrait of Mary Anning by Mr. Grey at London’s Natural History Museum?
How did COVID 19 affect the production of the album?
Best regards,
Kazuo Terakado

I was intrigued- well wouldn’t you be? – and replied quite fully to his questions. The very next day he sent me a link to his article which took me here.

Not being able to read Japanese I ran the page through a translator and got this ( slightly edited to make sense of the worst of the translator’s efforts):

Kevin Adams-Mary Anning of Lyme

 While I was researching the British Museum of Natural History, I first met Kevin Adams’ new album “Mary Anning of Lyme”. Mary Anning is a 19th century fossil hunter known as the discoverer of the skeletons of the ichthyosaur Ichthyosaur and the plesiosaur Plesiosaur.

Born in Lyme Regis, Dorset in 1799, Mary Anning lost her father, a furniture maker at the age of 11, leaving the family in a poor state. Mary made a living by looking for fossils on the exposed Jurassic strata and selling them to collectors. It was helpful for my father to teach me how to collect fossils.

At the time, paleontology was born in England, and it was around this time that Richard Owen coined the term dinosaur. The fossil specimens discovered by Anning played a major role in the permeation of society that the now-common idea that extinct creatures once lived on Earth.

How did this album come about? What kind of musician is Kevin? I sent an email to Kevin and immediately replied. Kevin is a British folk musician who used to perform live performances before, but he developed a difficult disease called multiple sclerosis, and now he is writing and recording music in his home studio. is.
“After releasing the album “A Crossword War” in 2018, my friend Colin White suggested a project for Mary Anning.” Mr White is a scientist and lived in Exteter, not far from Lyme Regis. Kevin said he knew little about Mary before, but the more he knew about her, the more fascinated he became. Mary had no formal education beyond reading and writing, but she learned on her own as a skilled paleontologist. It made a major contribution to the world of science in an era when the role of women was only to protect childbirth and homes. Kevin seems to have become more interested in paleontology and fossils themselves.

In this album, the story progresses to “The Plesiosaur” in which Mary and his father Richard exchange words while the song progresses and discovers Plesiosaur. At the same time, Kevin-San is also a process that goes beyond time and space to think about Lime Regis. Then, ancient creatures become fossils and are discovered by Mary over a long period of time, ending with “Earth, Air, Fire, Water” whose theme is the magnificent activity of the earth. I listened to the photos of Lime Regis on the album jacket.

I think many artists did a great job, even under the lockdown of the new coronavirus. This album is one of them. From the production style of Mr. Kevin, it seems that lockdown was not a big obstacle. Mary’s voice is Kevin’s wife, Ruth, and Richard’s voice is Kevin himself. “The flute and recorder were played at home by my friend Sheena Masson and sent in electronic files. So the whole album is very home made,” says Kevin.
In addition, the movie “Ammonite” starring Kate Winslet and Sheasha Ronan, whose main characters are Mary Anning, has become a hot topic recently, but it seems that Kevin’s album has nothing to do with this.

My thanks to Kazuo for spreading the word. I’m sure anyone with an interest in scientific topics could get lost in his blog for hours!

And don’t forget Mary Anning Rocks!