Imagine, if you will, a fantasy situation in which some scholar of mediaeval music discovers a whole collection of overtly Pagan songs from the period. If that notion appeals to you, keep reading. It occurred to me because it best sums up how I feel having listened to two albums from Bards of the Heath.
Mix’t Blessing and Moonpathways are albums full of original, contemporarily written music, but most of the songs have a timeless quality. This is music with deep roots. Leading the proceedings is the distinctive voice of John Goodluck, earthy and expressive. The musicians are Jo Arcand, Pete Gosling, Bill Johnston, Des Hart, Janine Batchelor, Graham Tilt, with extra support from Rob Lummis, Andy Mappleback, Richard Edmondson, Sheila and David Haskins. That at a glance makes it clear that Bards of the Heath are as much a tribe as a band, with deep community roots.
This is music rooted in a deep understanding of the folk tradition – arrangements, instruments, tunes, all evoke folk even when they are wholly new. There’s a deep rooting also in the folklore of the land and in contemporary Pagan traditions. Listening to the lyrics, it’s also clear that these songs are written from a place of long relationship with the cycles of the seasons, the festivals and the wild world.
All of this comes together in a sound that is fundamentally uplifting. The subject matter isn’t always light and cheery, but the music always holds hope, and a feeling of possibility. It’s very danceable (event organisers take note!).
Find out more at http://johngoodluck.webs.com/bards-of-the-heath