Ice: Cold Songs from the Northern Sisterhood of Drums

CD of original songs by Carolyn Hillyer.

The cold songs tell a very old story, of lives and lands long hidden, of memories that lay frozen and wrapped within 25,000 years of time. The cold songs speak of the Udegan ice women, who walked out from the blue glaciers and who are the embodiment of the most ancient relationship between human people and the deep spirits of these northern lands. The cold songs honour one thousand generations of ancestral mothers and the daughters who still feel the stir of ancient ice in their veins.

The songs on this album were incubated during several years of treading a road that has been winding ever northwards into the frozen lands. They were birthed during a dark phase of the moon, in the deepest black of winter, through the long silence of the Arctic nights.

he Northern Sisterhood of Drums is rooted in a time and landscape balanced on the most ancient and distant edges of our imaginations and collective memory. The sisterhood stems from the nine Udegan (elder, witch, grandmother, shaman) who emerged many thousands of years ago from the glacial north of the last ice age, called out by our foremothers as they grew into their relationship with the primordial spirits of the cold lands.

The Udegan have accompanied us through a thousand generations of women's northern spiritual traditions. They exist still within the frozen body of the Arctic and as memories of ancient ice far beneath the warmer skins and old melt waters of moor and forest, heath and grassland.

The album combines dark earthy chants and songs with skin drums, many of which were made especially by Carolyn for this project. Instruments include reindeer, horse, copper and salmon drums; rattles, bone whistle, wooden flutes, dulcimer, cimbala, jaw's harp as well as source recordings made on location in the Arctic.

Tracks include: The Mending Drum, Bear Claw Dance, Dogsled Travelling Song, The Degna's Dream of Fire, Wrapping the Bark, Dark Smoke Prayer, Spindle of Lights, and We will carry them forever in our scars. Album time: 75 minutes

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