DruidCast – A Druid Podcast Episode 58

Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 58

Wassail the silver Apple – Mad Magdalen – http://www.reverbnation.com/madmagdalen

Green – Afro Celt Sound System – http://afroceltsoundsystem.net

The Quickening – Spiral Dance – www.spiraldance.com.au

Lughnasadh – Damh the Bard – www.paganmusic.co.uk

Aspects of the Grail – Professor Roland Rotherham – www.unicorn-dreams.freeserve.co.uk

Girl in the Garden – S. J. Tucker – www.skinnywhitechick.com

Turning of the Wheel – Mad Magdalen – http://www.reverbnation.com/madmagdalen

A Day in the Life – Chris Park (www.acorneducation.com) interviewed by Paul Newman –www.storyfolksinger.co.uk

A Distant Drum – Scott Jasper and Susanne Garlick – www.dragonflymoononline.co.uk

DruidCast theme – Hills they are Hollow – Damh the Bard – www.paganmusic.co.uk

For further information on the Druid tradition – www.druidry.org

Direct download: DruidCast_SHOW58_OBOD.mp3
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Spirit of Albion Fan Music Video

A few months ago I was contacted by somebody who wanted to create a music video to one of my songs for a college project. I, of course, agreed and here is the result!

Some great images here – I love the little spheres of light that jump from Rollo and Arthur’s staffs – great fun. You’ll see. Enjoy!

 

DruidCast – A Druid Podcast Episode 57

Shownotes for DruidCast Episode 57 – Direct download: DruidCast_SHOW57_OBOD.mp3

 

In this moment – Brocc – www.brocc.org

On Midwinter’s Day – Damh the Bard – www.paganmusic.co.uk

 

OBOD Eisteddfod Perfomances

Tom Goddard

Leah and Kieron

Barry Patterson – www.redsandstonehill.net

 

The Mari Llywd – Chris Wood – www.chriswoodmusic.co.uk

 

OBOD Eisteddfod Perfomances

Liv Torc – www.livtorc.com

Kate and Corwen – www.ancientmusic.co.uk

 

13 Moons – Brocc – www.brocc.org

 

DruidCast theme song – Hills they are Hollow – Damh the Bard –http://www.paganmusic.co.uk

For more information about the modern Druid tradition – http://www.druidry.org

Direct download: DruidCast_SHOW57_OBOD.mp3

Tales from the Road – Oh Vienna!

Vienna is one of my favourite cities. It seems to have such a relaxed atmosphere, and I adore its relationship with the Arts. I guess having such famous offspring helps, and it seems to value the Arts extremely highly, and I have never felt that being a musician is an undervalued profession here. This would be my fourth annual concert in the city, and my third visit to the Austrian Broomstick Rally.

We were collected from the airport by our dear friend Siggy, the person mainly responsible for my connection to the harp, and taken into Vienna to chill out for a few hours before going to the concert venue. I’d woken up at a Premier Inn at Heathrow at 4.30am so needed a power-nap before the gig that night. So rested we made our way into the city.

There was a buzz in the air that night. Everyone was in high spirits and the evening was opened by the Pagan Piper Project, a mass of singers and musicians who I had seen play a few songs at last years Broomstick. They were wonderful. Check them out atwww.paganpiper.com . The venue was full, with a few standing, and the atmosphere this year was fantastic. From the opening song we were all singing together and I don’t know if I was imagining this but it felt like there was some release of tension in the air – our lives do seem to be complicated right now with work, and the political climate – it just seemed like we were all thankful of the opportunity to just let go for a few hours.

The next day we hopped onto a tiny train that took us into the Austrian mountains. As each mile passed we were taken deeper and deeper into the countryside, and what countryside! Eventually we arrived at the tiny village of Anneberg and picked up from the smallest station I’ve ever seen to be taken to the new location for this year’s Broomstick Rally. It was pretty dark by then so I couldn’t see what was surrounding us, but when I got up the next morning I found that we were surrounded by mountains, held in a kind of natural cauldron. Again I felt that the atmosphere of the Broomstick was filled with joy and that same feeling of letting go.

On Friday afternoon I helped Cerri as she took the participants through a two and a half hour workshop and ritual based on the Taliesin poem The Spoils of Annwn. Then in the evening there was the annual Broomstick Eisteddfod with music, storytelling, poetry, and dance. Yes, dance. Great Breton dancing to harp. Wonderful.

On Saturday morning Siggy guided us through a brilliant candle decorating workshop, and then later there was a fantastic Pagan Treasure Hunt, and the traditional game of Pentacle Rounders. As night fell we once more gathered around the fire for more music and story, under an amazing star-filled sky.

The Sussex Broomstick Rally was the first Pagan camp I ever attended, back in the early 90s. The Austrian Broomstick Rally was start by Karen, a woman with a vast amount of energy who attended one of those early camps and took the format to Austria when she later moved there. The Sussex Broomstick Rally hasn’t been held for a number of years but it is wonderful to go to another country and go to workshops of depth, and also take part in some of those crazy games I remember with such fondness.

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“It’s not like he lives the sex, drugs and rock n roll life – HE’S A FOLK MUSICIAN!!”

I’m currently sitting on the sofa listening to Cerri try to renew her car insurance with Zurich over the phone. She had to call them because they threatened to refuse her insurance if she didn’t call them up by a specific date. I am the problem it seems… She put my occupation on the form as ‘musician’, and she has been on the phone to them for about an hour.

I’ve heard her say:

“No, he won’t be having groupies in the car.”

“No drugs, but you are likely to find Arun jumpers, and probably some Morris bells.”

Then this classic: “It’s not like he lives the sex, drugs and rock n roll life, HE’S A FOLK MUSICIAN!!”

To be honest we were laughing until they gave her the quote… It seems that if you’re a musician, no matter if that’s a rock musician, folk musician, or a violinist at Glyndebourne, we are all lumped in as crazy party animals. I blame George Michael for driving his car into that shop myself.

So she’s trying a new company, this time putting me down as ‘composer’. What the difference a word can make!

We’re Bound for South Australia!

After forcing ourselves to stay awake during our first day in Australia (which is basically forcing ourselves to stay awake all night in the uk) by visiting Adelaide’s wonderful indoor market and then having our first visit to ‘The


Wheatie’, a fantastic pub with the most amazing range of beers from South Australia (I learned last time that our impression of Aussies being mostly Fosters drinkers was completely wrong, and that their taste in beers was equally as good as our Real Ales in Britain!) most of the jet lag had gone by Friday, which meant a very relaxed set up for The English Ale festival.


We arrived at the hall in Mylor, a town named after the Cornish village of the same name with a fascinating history, got out of the car and had that first moment of true realisation that I was not in England anymore. The sweet smell of Eucalyptus in the air, and the sound of the Gallars as they swooped across the playing field opposite the venue where later on Saturday night there would be the burning of the Wicker Man. I can’t help it, I find those moments so exciting and I always just take a some time to breathe in the differences.

The hall was perfect and soon we were setting up the chairs, tables, and the


gear for the concert. I’d brought my new travelling guitar with me for his first outing and was really looking forward to the concert the next night. I did my sound check and then Spiral Dance did theirs, all was well, sounded great, and so we locked up the hall and headed back to get an earlyish night.

On the way back I asked Nick (Spiral Dance’s guitar player) if there were many kangaroos in the area. He said he often saw them and they were particularly active at that time of night. Not two turns later one hopped out into the road ahead of us. It stopped and was lit up in the headlights at the side of the road. A truly beautiful being, and one of my most favourite animals. I remember seeing them on my last visit and finding their energy to be very similar to our European Deer. I never saw a wild Roo that close last time, so that was a real treat, and it was only day two of our trip!

So the scene was set for my first gig of the tour at the English Ale festival. More on that in the next blog! Xx

The Wandering Road

I’ve always loved to travel. In the past I had my own business in the agricultural sector that allowed me to visit a good number of African countries, but now it’s my music that is creating opportunities to see the world.

Last night I played a concert in Prague and now I’m on my way to Vienna for another show tonight. When I started to write Pagan songs I had no idea that these tunes would not only be held in the hearts of so many at home in the UK, but that they would gradually spread across the world to be sung around camp fires all the way from Europe, to the USA and Australia. So when I visit these places, to find audiences that already know the words to my songs, it never fails to surprise and delight me.

So although it wasn’t my intention to write songs that spread further than the shores of Albion maybe it is our songs, stories, and poetry that is our common Pagan language, and the tradition of the travelling Bard is still alive and well!

One of the old Triads says:
Three primary essentials of creativity – an eye that can see Nature, a heart that can feel Nature, and a boldness that dares to follow it.

It is also said that those who would be a Bard must take up Harp, and sorrow, and the Wandering Road…

First concert at the PSG

We arrived in the USA at Atlanta airport, then caught a connecting flight to St Louis. As we were waiting for our luggage to appear I heard someone behind me talk about ‘Pagan jewellery’ and that’s how we connected with the other presenters who had flown in that day. A bus had been scheduled to pick us up from the airport and we had no problem connecting with the driver and soon we were on our way.

We shared the journey with Jason, the author of the Wild Hunt Pagan blog; Patrick, a well known member of Circle and a longtime visitor to the PSG; and Micheal and Richard, both respected Pagan teachers and experienced travellers, currently living in the Netherlands. Lovely people to share a four hour journey with!

The location for the PSG is amazing. Camp Zoe is a huge scout camp in the Missouri Ozark mountains, built in the 1920s, that covers a huge amount of land. So big that the PSG need a shuttle to take people around the camp site. There is a beautiful Creek with a cool river running through it (extremely useful in the 100+ degree heat with about
80% humidity!) There is ‘merchants row’ where people are selling wondeful goods (including light cotton clothes. Typical Brit, I only brought jeans! So I’m so pleased try are there).

The presenters are blessed to be
sleeping in air conditioned huts. Thanks the Gods otherwise I think I might have just melted in this heat! Me and Cerri are sharing ours with Tracy and Kim, a Japanese musician called Shibaten who is a one-man musical genius. He plays didgeridoo, djembe, and other percussion creating amazing sacred trance music. Well, it wasn’t long before we were jamming together and it was so good I invited him to play with me during my opening concert the next day.

I was playing on the main stage on Monday night. Starting at 8pm and playing until 9.30. I made my way to the stage at 4pm for the sound check and climbed the stairs to the stage. It struck me that I hadn’t played on an open air festival stage since Chalice Well gardens in 2006, and that had been the Summer Solstice eve too.

Doing the sound check out to a sunlight field was amazing – I felt like I was at Woodstock! Shibatan joined me and we set up his sound too. Then it was back to wait for the evening concert.

It arrived soon enough so I made my way back over to the stage. It had been a long time since I’d played in the USA so I was about as fired up as I could get. I’d played Song of Awen at the morning meeting but still it felt right to open with it here. And we were off. By song 2 I could hear the audience singing back to me and I just knew we were in for a good night together.

Now I like to see people in the audience but eventually the field fell into blackness and at that point the stage takes on a very different vibe. Luckily it was only four songs from the end of the set. It was during Wild Mountain Thyme that the G string on my guitar snapped. ‘No problem’ I thought. Only two more songs so I’ll quickly change it. But you’re not allowed to take strings onto the plane so I’d taken them out of my guitar case, packed my spares into my suitcase, where they were still residing, back in the hut! If this had happened earlier I would have been in real trouble but I thought I could play with 5 strings for the last two songs, so Shibaten joined me and we rocked out Child of the Universe by Seize the Day and ended with the Hills they are Hollow. And lo, people did dance and there was much rejoicing. A wonderful audience, and a really fun set. As I played those last two songs I looked up at the clear night sky, saw the Moon, and once more thought how lucky I am to be a Bard, to be able to travel, meet people, and share my music.

After the show Jason of the Wild Hunt came over to me and said, “Damh, come over here, there’s some people you need to meet.” He introduced me to a family who had travelled 4 days across the USA just to see the concert! There was much hugging and smiles to say the least!

In a couple of hours I’m due to head down to the Creek to host a workshop about modern Druidry. If I can find this Internet connection again, I’ll blog more about this new adventure!

Hengwah!