Temple of the Drum, by Dragon Ritual Drummers
CD: Dragon Ritual Drummers, 12 tracks, 55:34 min., 2011
I am extremely grateful that a friend pointed me in the direction of Dragon Ritual Drummers a few years ago. In the intervening years, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to receive and review several of their releases and I have yet to be disappointed by the quality of the performances and production values. These folks know how to use their instruments to attain the best possible results.
Almost all of their music is written by members of the group, though they do include a few traditional songs to add a little extra flavour and variety — “Fanga” and “Shaharazad” are examples on this album. Perhaps the most striking thing about their performances is that they don’t use “studio tricks” to make their recordings: there is no sampling from other sources, no instrumental enhancements of any sorts. What you hear is all natural, although it is possible Continue reading
Avalon, by Heather Dale
CD Baby, 19 tracks, 2010
It’s clear that the musical and mythological world invoked by Heather Dale’s new album Avalon is the world where the artist feels most at home. Arthurian mythology provides a rich field of inspirational stories, and so they have been rendered into music many times before; in that respect Dale’s musical project is ambitious and challenging. Can she do something with the mythology that has never been done before? My answer is Yes. Dale’s album accords to the stories the space to reveal themselves in their own way, as if she is working in true partnership with all the various writers who contributed to the literary sources. At the same time one also hears the unique and unveiled sound of her heart. Continue reading
Sir Christemas: Songs of the Season, by Broceliande
CD: Flowinglass Music, 16 tracks, 2001
It comes as no surprise that this, the first of the four CD set “Songs of the Season” is comprised of music appropriate for the winter season. After all, we do start our New Year during that season.
Broceliande is a Celtic and Medieval Quartet. Being Pagan they bring a sense of balance to a season which tends to be dominated by overly familiar little ditties. The odds are you won’t have heard the majority of these songs very often. Of the 16 songs on this CD only three were familiar enough for me to say that I knew them. They cover seven centuries of music, from the 13th through the 20th. I really enjoyed listen to all of them.
There was a lot of “new” music here… at least in the sense of unfamiliar. Continue reading
I Walk with the Goddess, by Kellianna
CD: Kellianna.com, B000WMG5GE, 41 minutes, 2007
I said, in the conclusion of my previous review of Lady Moon, that Kellianna’s music ”…was a real treat and held the promise of more to come. I have no doubt that promise will be fulfilled in future recordings.” I was correct. The passage of a few years has done nothing to adversely affect her music. It has merely brought forth even more appealing lyrics and music. Continue reading
Lady Moon, by Kellianna
CD: Kellianna.com, B000CAG8MW, 35 minutes, 2004
As I find myself in the midst of a spate of CD reviews I feel it necessary to make a couple of confessions. First, I am an old-style Pagan, born and raised in a time when music told a story – both in mainstream society and in the Pagan sub-culture. Therefore, I am not a huge fan of techo-style music, much preferring ballads and chants. Second, as my family and friends can testify, I can’t carry a tune to save my life. Therefore, you won’t get profound statements about rhythms and tonal relationships from me. I’m not interested in the technicalities of music, merely whether it appeals to me personally.
While I am often in a mood for instrumental offerings, especially as background for ritual, I truly enjoy kicking back with a relaxing drink, slipping on my headphones, and losing myself in a world outside the day-to-day humdrum, which can be provided by lyrics.
Thus, when this disc (and “I Walk with the Goddess”) landed in my mailbox I could hardly wait to slip it into my player and see what I would find. Continue reading