In support of Gaia Gathering: the Canadian National Pagan Conference, thirteen artists have come together to create an anthology of Canadian Pagan music and spoken word. Only available online, this album spans thirty years and includes some of the best of out-of-print Pagan classics as well as some up-and-comers. All artists have donated the use of their work: all profits from the sale of the album go directly to support the Conference.
I thought I'd get the jump on Beltane and talk about everyone's favourite May Day song (even if you're not on Summer Isle) as it is a great piece of history. 'Sumer is icumen in' also known as the 'cuckoo song' embodies that glorious sense of happiness that the first real warm days offer us. Here in the north we still can't quite believe that summer is a-coming, which makes me want to sing it even more.
This is the earliest secular song recorded in English in the Middle Ages and appears in a 13th century manuscript along with a Latin version. Here's the original lyrics:
Today I’m chatting with Mama Gina LaMonte, Pagan musician, bard, and wise woman. She is well-known on the Pagan festival circuit, and her music is known for being bluesy and spirit-touched. From Tricksters to Fae to Kali Ma, Mama Gina’s never met a Muse that she couldn’t turn into music.
HF: How long have you been a musician? MG: I started playing guitar and writing songs when I was in the 4th grade. I wouldn't exactly call that being a musician, but I always knew I was going to do this in some way. By the time I was 16, I was singing in a duo, and went on the road with a showband when I was 19. I'm 53 now. You do the math. It's been a while.
Ok i won't say the whole thing, but you know what I mean! It's been half a year since I posted, and let me tell you, my life has been good! I got a beautiful new job that I love with all my heart, and I just wrapped up a weekend of paying singing gigs that was exhausting but magical, for all that I had to sit through one of the most ridiculous sermons i can remember.
As with every year, this year’s Pantheacon offered too rich a menu of workshops and performances for any of us to see all we wanted. This year I was lucky. Several of my favorite Pagan singers (and wonderful people as well) offered back-to-back performances, and I was able to see them all. Ruth Barrett and Holly Tannenwere prominent Pagan minstrels and bards when I first entered our community back in 1984.