Drum Songs From The Heathen Hills by Carolyn Hillyer

For the first time Carolyn has made an album that concentrates specifically on drumming songs and chants. The ancient triad of sacred sounds created through percussive beats, rhythmic rattling and the use of breath or air is here represented with many handcrafted drums, ritual rattles and the voice, both in solo and with multi-layered group harmonies. The simplicity of this combination enables this album to be used as a guide for those undertaking their own travels with a drum, as well as offering a new collection of powerful and profound chants that may be shared within song circles and ceremony. Carolyn uses a broad range of different rhythms and techniques on drum skins that include red stag and doe, fallow deer, reindeer, wild horse, buffalo and salmon. The thirteen songs are divided into four groups: songs of the travelling, bright, dark and silent drums.

Travelling Drum songs express the quickening red moon, the constant flow and dance of the journey, the passions of life. These rhythms rise up, gather all before them and move out across the land. This is the drum as a seed, as raw nature, as new energy. This is the drum as a tool for change, as a sound that sweeps clean, as a creature that rides hard into the landscape of the soul. This drum gives shape to the quest and protection to the rider. This drum races with the river and circles with the sea.

Bright Drum songs defer to the illuminating white moon, the unfolding ceremony, the measured rhythm of prayer and the integrity of life. These rhythms mend and heal, concentrate energy and bind magic. This is the drum as a circle, a spiral and a unifying line. This is the drum of the group soul, that weaves together the world and our understanding of it, that carries timeless rituals between generations. This drum draws in power like a great breath and sends it out into the world like shattering glass.

Dark Drum songs honour the dissolving black moon, the weeping night, the lowering of the flames of life. These rhythms cause movement to slow and draw attention in towards all that is quiet and still. This is the drum as a measure of the passage of time, as the journey of return, as the softening ebb. This drum intensifies magic and catches prayer, deepening them down into the solitary heartbeat of the lone traveler.

Silent Drum songs rest in the hidden caves of the unseen moon, the hollowing sound, a world that cannot be defined. These rhythms trace the edges of unknowable death and invisible endings, where the beat is not as important as the thin thread that ties you to the journey. This is the drum as a voice in the dead lands, as an anchor within a void, as a small recollection of life within vast emptiness. This drum takes us into the most profound place and then lets us go.

The thirteenth song binds together the elements of all four into a richly textured tapestry of rhythm and song, celebrating many faces of the sacred drum.

Tracks include: Song Rivers, The Old One's Hand, Illuminating Drum, The Long Return, Cauldron of Crows, The Shrines of Our Mothers are Singing, Hollowing Drum, Draw Us Down, The Winter Book and Many Sister Moons.

On CD compact disc

 

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