Sirin or the Bird of Sorrow is a magnificent but cruel bird-maiden of Russian legends. Her body of a giant bird of prey is covered in thousand midnight-coloured feathers and a set of sharp claws, big enough to crush a horse. From the chest up, she’s of human appearance and her sinister face of a beautiful woman is adorned by a golden crown or nimbus. Sirin lays her precious eggs on distant seashores before casting them into the waves. When the eggs hatch, a thunderstorm sets over the oceans till they become so rough that no soul can travel across. She is a death-bringer. Her honey-tongued singing voice stupefies mortals, making them forget everything they had ever known in this world and announces their imminent death. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirin by shooting cannons, ringing bells and covering their ears but to no avail. Her terrifying smirk is the last thing they see before she plunges down at them with her claws and carries them away to the realm of death called Nav where she forever resides with her brighter counterpart Alkonost, her beloved sister otherwise known as the Bird of Joy.
New year, new song- a mix of “Morphogenetic Sorrow" and “Blue Bird Lamentation” from the Zero Escape series, with some footage of myself composing the piece. If you like the track, it is available for download on iTunes,Google Play, and more to come soon!
Sirin and Alkonost. Birds of joy and sorrow by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1896
Alkonost and Sirin are creatures from Slavic folklore. Alongside with Gamayun, another bird-maiden, they play a significant role in Russian mythos. Their main duty is to ward the Tree of Life. They’re commonly believed to be a fusion of Greek legends, Pagan Slavic folk tales and Christian lore.
Sirin was initially based on Greek sirens, with possible addition of traits characteristic of Slavic water spirits, in particular that of wila. However, she later assumed more positive features, becoming a symbol of harmony, joy and beauty. Sirin descends into world of mortals, singing of incoming happiness. Even in later legends her voice is enticing to the point of being dangerous to humans and Siren can be associated with treachery, insanity and temptation. As bird-maiden is sensitive to loud noises, people would save themselves from her hypnotic song by ringing bells and shooting cannons.
Alkonost is possibly named after Alcyone, a Greek demigoddess transformed into a kingfisher. Her voice possess the same bewitching capacity as that of her sister. Alkonost is typically associated with Hors, the god of sun. Sometimes called the bird of dawn, she brings winds and lightnings on her wings. It is believed that on Koliada (a holiday in the middle of winter) Alkonost lays eggs on the seashore. For seven days after that sets good weather.