Pagan Culture - Music

Autumn Sky

Autumn Sky
Blackmore’s Night, 2011

3.5/5 Broomsticks 

Blackmore’s Night’s dedication to creating and sharing quality music does not disappoint in their most recent album. The album’s overall balance of blended and instrumental styles, as well as traditional and contemporary lyrics, offers a well-rounded musical experience. Fans of Blackmore’s Night might be startled by the opening track, “Highland”, due to its synthesized quality. While it does seem unusual to hear synthesized music from a group so famous for their contemporary acoustic blends, the core charm of Blackmore’s Night is not lost. This album offers strong lyrics and instrumentals that make you close your eyes to listen with your heart instead of only your ears. The mood of the album swings from slow, soulful and dark to upbeat, bright and inspiring. In particular, the songs “Vagabond” and “Darkness” gave me a delightful shiver as I listened to the enchanting and soulful storytelling and traditional folk sound. In addition, the several purely instrumental pieces, such as “Dance of the Darkness” and “Song and Dance Part 2”, make the listener want get up and dance. The variety of musical styles and lyrical themes presented in Blackmore’s Night’s “Autumn Sky” album will offer a soundtrack to just about any mood you are in.

Witches&Pagans #24 - Heathen & Northern Traditions


Gypsy Soundtrack of the Mystical Underground

Gypsy Nomads - At the Carnival EclectiqueAt the Carnival Eclectique

Gypsy Nomads, 2009

Heartbeats and thoughts. Pulses and arpeggios. Drums and guitar with brief hints of vocals. Such is the music of The Gypsy Nomads, “a New York duo” with decidedly international fl air. Their latest album, At the Carnival Electique, blends solid beats with fleeting flourishes, and while the results are playful and deceptively lightweight, the band's appeal creeps up on you and doesn't let go.

Comprised of percussionist/singer Samantha Stephenson and former hardcore string-man Scott Helland, the Nomads form part of the “Cabaret Punk” underground — that energetic hybrid of European Folk roots, Punk attitude, World Beat eclecticism, and traveling-player theatricality. Although their sound recalls HuDost more than, say, The Decemberists, Helland, and Stephenson boil some enchanting concoctions out of that mix.

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Faerie Music: Songs of Enchantment

Whether light and ethereal or wild and rollicking, music at faerie events is always filled with the enchantment of the Otherworld. Here is a sampling of just a few of the musicians who have found favor with faerie fans — and surely with the Fae themselves!

 

wp19nutick_Alexander.James.AdamsAlexander James Adams
Adams describes himself as “the heir to Heather Alexander” and carries on in Heather’s tradition of fine fiddling, filk, and folk music. Whether doing traditional ballads or the still immensely popular “Creature of the Wood” he is pitch-perfect and full of mischief. Adams weaves complex Celtic-inspired tunes around riveting stories to produce foot-tapping, memorable songs. Alexander performs at faerie and folk festivals around the world both on his own and with fae-band Tricky Pixie, and his playful presence and intense performances are a joy to fans at every turn. Find him online at www.faerietaleminstrel.com. (Heather Alexander’s backlist remains available at www.heatherlands.com.)

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Wardruna - Sowing New Seeds, Strengthening Old Roots

Wardruna

Sowing New Seeds, Strengthening Old Roots

Wardruna began to take shape in 2002 as a project of musician Einar Kvitrafn Selvik (known from his work as a drummer with metal bands Jotunspor and Gorgoroth.) The band became a place where Einar’s practice of Norse paganism and runes could be combined with his passion for music. In 2007, the project attracted popular attention after it was featured in the documentary True Norwegian Black Metal. Finally, the debut album Gap var Ginnunga was released in 2009. Each album will feature music written to evoke the spirit and meaning of eight runes; the first album featured Hagal, Bjarkan, Thurs, Jara, Laukr, Kauna, Algir, and Dagr.

Focusing on the cultic musical language of the Pagan arts of galder, seidr and the daily acts of the cultic life, mixed with impulses from Norwegian/Nordic folk music and music from other indigenous cultures, Wardruna aims to create a portrait of each rune it features. Recordings often take place outdoors, in locations chosen to resonate with the specific rune in question, using human voice and instruments, including deer-hide frame and ceremonial drums, mouth harp, clove/hoof rattles, bone flute, goat and cow horns, Hardanger fiddle, bowed lyres, and tagelharpe (“viking fiddle”). Other, more elemental inputs include natural sounds such as wind in trees, water over stones, crackling fire, employed to enhance the nature of the rune being portrayed.

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