Music for Pagans and Witches - Nigel Shaw ANCESTORS

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Weaving Siberian  ancient chants, powerful modern vocals, shamanic drumming and the chill-out trance groove, Ancestors touches the root of all those who love to dance to the rhythm of the Earth.

I remember the first time I heard Carolyn Hillyer and Nigel Shaw. I was at Witchfest with a friend and we were discussing which bands to go and see in the evening. We were spoilt for choice and not recognising Carolyn and Nigel's names, we opted for going to see Inkubus Sukkubus. As we left that gig and passed by the main hall we heard the last few moments of Carolyn's and Nigel's performance which happened to be the song Legend of the Solar Tambourine. Within moments I felt moved to tears. This song, Carolyn's voice and the powerful drumming moved me in a way I could never have anticipated. I was mortified at having missed their performance and immediately bought this album from their stall.

Ancestors is written by Nigel Shaw and performed by him and his musical partner Carolyn Hillyer. They have enjoyed a long and fruitful music career which spans both the mystical/new age arena through to trance dance with their band Global. Ancestors is deeply shamanic in it's composition and feel, yet also appeals to the chill-out trance lover.

The album began life in Latvia when Carolyn and Nigel were given a collection of old Russian music which later turned out to have recordings of tribal peoples from the Siberian Region. The resulting 'Ancestors' is a weaving of these ancient songs and new work by Carolyn and Nigel. Both are adept in the ways of the drum and chant, of the spiritual and shamanic, of the deep rooted power of rhythm, the natural cycles of the earth. The album celebrates the icy regions - a theme later returned to in Carolyn's newer album Ice: Cold Songs from the Northern Sisterhood of Drums Many tribes are represented here; Evenk, Inuit and Saami among others. If you enjoy the music of Mari Boine you are sure to love Ancestors.

The song that so moved me ( Legend of the Solar Tambourine) is the first track on the album. It begins with the insistent drum and a chant 'Hedenek' sung by an elderly woman of the Evenk people.Carried by the sound of the drum, the song moves into another chant of the people - this time a welcome to the sun. 'The sacred drum is seen as a life-giving sun and is played to greet the sun's return after the long winter months' . Perfect for Winter Solstice.
Gratitude is a song of thanks that possibly originates with the Saami people. The third song Fishers on the Lake is another favourite of mine with the hypnotic drum, haunting flute and the echo of 'Feel us fly' that seems to take one up into the sky and over snowy mountains. We then pass through The Whispering of Stars which is based on the Sakha breathing rhythms and celebrates the sound of ice-crystals as they leave the body on a breath and hit the ground. Silver Deer is a Nenet song of a mythical reindeer. Here we gather a hint of momentum as we begin the trail towards the trance rhythms that define the latter part of the album. The words of this song always make me feel that this could also pass as one beautiful love song

You have shaped my very soul
Each bone in my body
Carved by your light

On the Ice celebrates the spirits of the animals that give their lives to feed to Chukchi people. Dark Drum is a weaving of individual medicine songs. Tineneut is a young girls welcome into womanhood from the Korjak tribe: quietly powerful and deeply moving as the flute floats around the divine sacred chant. Eat the Ancestors is a joyful and powerful dance that celebrates the shaman as he enters into trance through the power of the drum. Tnenkeu (The Herdsman) tells the tale of a reindeer herdsman who goes through the forest calling for his loved one or perhaps to the female spirit of the land. The album ends with Our Earth; an uplifting Korjak song to celebrate our union with the earth. Utterly joyful!

Ancestors just cannot fail to please. Master flutesmith Nigel and vocalist and drummer Carolyn are a perfect team that demand our attention. With ancient songs from a wild past and sounds of our modern era, Ancestors makes us hold hands with our history and honour it.

Carolyn and Nigel donate one pound from every sale of this album to the organisation Survival who have projects running in the Siberian Artic regions to protect the indigenous peoples of this area.

For Pagan and Wiccan Music check out the Lunatribe Ebay Store
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