Our new album BONES is now available. This project was conceived by Nigel several years ago and has been in creation since the start of last winter. How to describe it?
Truth moves in our bones
Earth sings in our bones
It is 20 years since we released our album Songs of the Forgotten People as an honouring of the ancient tribes and clans of the high moors and these islands, and 10 years since the Ancestors project which celebrated the tribal voices of the far northern Arctic edges with exhuberant dance rhythms and wild songs. BONES probably sits somewhere between the dynamic of these two albums, but really is unlike anything Nigel has composed before. He has blended beautiful old and traditional instruments with freshly-born and sparklingly contemporary sounds, including his newly-designed Dartmoor wooden whistles, Jura guitar, bowed lyre, simple bones and wild electronics. Carolyn has carved the songs and chants from a mother tongue 4000 years old, the Bronze Age ancestor to all the Celtic languages that followed, which anchors the voices into the trails and shrines and settlements that shaped a sacred culture of stones and trees and earth that is still being honoured in our own time.
The four pieces on this album bind together ritual and lament and honouring and dynamic celebration to create a music experience of many parts, ranging from tenderly intimate song melodies to ecstatic drums and feral voices. This is music to trance and dance and sing and pray with. It offers a journey alongside ancient forms of our own lives on this earth. It is an honouring of the house of spirits, the remembered forest, the wounds of winter, the celebrations of summer and the powerful resonances we carry in the marrow of our own bones…
NIGEL SHAW (Dartmoor flutes and whistles, piano, jura guitar, bones, drums, percussion, electronics) CAROLYN HILLYER (voices, lyrics); BRIAN ABBOTT (gliss and electric guitar); SHAUN FARRENDEN (didgeridu) HIROKI OKANO (bouzouki); MATTHEW BIRCH (hang drums, mbira); JONNY HIBBS (violin)
The words used in the creation of these songs were drawn from an archaeologically reconstructed Bronze Age language that later evolved into the various forms of Celtic language. This ancestor tongue was spoken through central and western Europe, including the British islands, up to 4000 years ago. Several lexicons of proto-Celtic words exist; we used one compiled by the University of Wales. Our own translations and pronunciations are lyrically shaped rather than phonologically precise.
chari brig anu glennos | to the highlands from the valleys
nis sere man talo ellanti | we go on paths trodden by deer
aney kwe kwela runa kelo | this is our secret home
kwa kwona tegnato | it is all that we’ve known
sondo brig wiror | these mountains where our fathers still stand
from Wounds of Winter
TRACKS: BONES, DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN ALL THIS WAS FOREST, HOUSE OF SPIRITS, WOUNDS OF WINTER
Album length: 52 minutes
This album is also available as an mp3 download. See Music Download page.