I’ve got some Pagan music news tidbits I thought I’d share, starting with a new album by UK Pagan folk-rock band The Dolmen (MySpace page). The album, “The Crabchurch Conspiracy”, deals with the battles of 1645 in Weymouth during the English Civil War, and features narration by historian Professor Ronald Hutton (author of “Triumph of the Moon”).
“Prof Hutton said: “This is a spectacular subject for a musical album, and one rarely treated in that form. “The Dolmen make the result work really well, alternating bulletins of real history with electric folk, from high-energy dance to lament, which the band has always played to perfection. “I felt both entertained and moved. “It seemed at times as though a real voice was being given to the dead.” The CD is released following efforts to breathe fresh life into the old town hall, where some of the battle took place.”
The lyrics for the album were written by historian Mark Vine, who authored a book on the subject. You can download the spoken forward by Ronald Hutton, here. There are also several music samples on that page as well. You can order the CD from their web site through PayPal.
Turning from England to my former home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we find a profile of a new band called Cackle that are bringing a unique brand of self-described “pagan pop punk” to local stages.
“If you attend a live show, you might get asked to pull a tarot card from the deck, followed by a personal reading. You might notice a litany of lit candles twinkling about. You might even witness one of the members casting a circle of salt around the stage area to “keep all the good within and all the bad without,” says drummer Renee Bebeau. “We have to get the sacred space ready for rocking.” If you’re thinking it sounds like a witch’s coven, you’re not too far off base. These pagan performance elements aren’t random, they’re completely by design for a band that defines its genre as “pagan pop punk.” And while Cackle isn’t exactly chipper bubble gum pop, the music is far from the soundtrack to a dark, God-less existence.”
You can see a live video of their song “Nancy Reagan Was a Pagan” at their Facebook fan-page, their debut album is due out on New Year’s Eve. Details on how to pick up or download that album are no doubt forthcoming.
“The music of “Lunar Nature” can be described as atmospherical gothic rock with a good mixture of heavy guitars, electronical elements and a proper shot of alternative rock. All this interwoven with Kemi Vita’s remarkable voice and her unique way to express emotions in very personal lyrics. “Lunar Nature” continues were the predecessor “Spin Moon Magic” ended. The album is full of diversity and therefore once more a typical output from The Dreamside.”
This is their first full-length of original material since 2005′s “Spin Moon Magic”, so fans of the band take note!
In a final quick music-related note, Pagan music scholar Alfred Surenyan is fielding a survey about Pagan music for a talk and eventual book on the subject.
“I am currently working on a paper on the Sustainability of Music in Paganism. This project is part of my work in Pagan Music that I have been doing for the past five years. I will be presenting this paper at the Pagan Conference in Claremont at the end of January 2010, and perhaps part of a future book on Pagan Music. In order to understand more on Pagan Music it is the community that would have answers and input. For this reason I reach out and ask members of the Pagan Community for some answers. I have put together a small survey of 10 questions, mostly short answers. If you have some time would you be able to take my survey on Pagan Music. It will not take more than ten minuates of your time and the answers will help me further my research on the ever evolving and growing of the music of our community. The link to the questions is just below this paragraph.”
The link to the survey can be found, here. I encourage all of my Pagan-music loving readers to fill it out.