Moira Smiley is a singer and composer who creates and performs works for voices. A musical polyglot, and self-proclaimed “vocal shape-shifter,” she has participated in projects for film and television, and on more than 60 albums. When she is not leading her own group, Moira Smiley & VOCO, she is often on tour. Her recordings feature spare, vocally driven collections of traditional songs, original polyphony and body percussion.

Stay Thirsty Magazine presents this video produced by Moira Smiley of the song, “Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie,” attributed to Huddle William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, first heard in 1936, for its uplifting and enduring qualities.

[Lead Belly’s Uncle Bob Ledbetter had a wife named Sylvie. When he was out plowing with his mules he would often holler for Sylvie to bring him some water. After a long time, this holler developed into a song. When Lead Belly performed, he often taught audiences the background of his songs so that they would understand the harshness of rural life in the Deep South.]

Moira Smiley

STAY THIRSTY: What were your reasons for making this video?

MOIRA SMILEY: I’ve been concerned about issues of justice, pollution and access to water, as we’ve been made aware of droughts and water shortages near and far. My concern about this most essential part of life has deeply shaped the last few years of my writing and performing. If there’s a natural connection made in this video to today’s causes for water, it’s simply because of the enduring power of a good song with straightforward, universal lyrics.

This song came to life in the outdoors, and is a call for water from a farm field.
When we shot the video last year, there was drought and flooding everywhere, and this simple call for water took on a more urgent, wider meaning to me. The video dances us from a dry road into lush garden.

Moira Smiley – Bring Me Little Water Sylvie


All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.