Nigel Shaw (with Carolyn Hillyer)

Music with which to trance and dance and sing and pray. A journey alongside ancient forms of our own lives on this earth; 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.

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Truth moves in our bones                              
Earth sings in our bones

When we began work on the Bones album it was nearly 25 years since we released Songs of the Forgotten People in honour of the ancient clans of these high moors, and 10 years since the Ancestors project which celebrated the tribal voices of northern Siberia with exhuberant dance rhythms and wild songs. Bones exists somewhere between the dynamic of these two albums, but really is unlike anything we have created before… ancestral dance music, Bronze Age ritual songs, a prayer to the ancient Earth.

Nigel has blended beautiful old and traditional instruments with  newly created and sparklingly contemporary sounds, including his unique Dartmoor wooden whistles plus 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 dynamic celebration to create a music experience of many parts, ranging from tenderly intimate song melodies to ecstatic drums and feral voices. This is with which to trance and dance and sing and pray. 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: didgeridoo
Hiroki Okano: bouzouki
Matthew Birch: hang drums, mbira
Jonny Hibbs: violin

TRACKS: Bones, Do You Remember When All This Was Forest?, House of Spirits, Wounds of Winter.
Album length: 52 minutes. Released in 2017.

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.

WOUNDS OF WINTER

chari brig anu glennos
nis sere man talo ellanti
aney kʷe kʷela runa kelo
kʷa kʷona tegnato
sondo brig wiror
sondo brig wiror                                        

to the highlands from the valleys
we go on paths trodden by deer  
this is our secret home       
it is all that we’ve known
these mountains where our fathers still stand  

kadj alba wiru an webro omjo                        
kadj alba wiru okleina browan
kadj alba wiru dabaka kreik-ror                     
sondo brig an hrijor atibi wiror

this amber and copper honour our fathers’ land
this whetstone and grinding rock honour our fathers’ land
this warm vessel of honey honours our fathers’ land
on the wild and free mountains where our fathers still stand

kadj alba wiru an moiti sameen
kadj alba wiru balko sido-breem
kadj alba wiru krekto gijamo
sondo brig an hrijor atibi wiror     

these blessings of summer honour our fathers’ land     
this bellowing stags honours our fathers’ land     
these wounds of winter honour our fathers’ land
on the wild and free mountains where our fathers still stand