This is a traveller’s album, created from the momentum of a Bolivian mountain journey (a women’s pilgrimage created by Carolyn with UK & South American sisters) and anchored inside the dynamic of the Dartmoor return. It has been shaped around the simplicity of voice, drum and rattle, all easy to carry along the pilgrim trail, plus live recordings from the mountains and a few familiar songs spun anew. These songs honour the Earth, the prayer of the Earth and the dream of the prayer.
TREAD AND BREATH
PACHAMAMA TRAVELLING SONG
WE ARE DAUGHTERS OF THIS EARTH
THE RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH
THEY WILL KNOW WE ARE HERE
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DREAMERS
BLESS OUR RETURN
TREAD GENTLY ON THE EARTH
Conversation in Quechua between weavers Juana Quispe Ticona & Alejandra Challco Quispe (Kallawayo region, northern Bolivia) ~ Kurmi traditional dance troupe at festival ceremony (Tiquipaya, Bolivia) ~ Wikili mountain at night with river, cicadas & lightening storm (Niñocorin, Bolivia). Noqan Qawarini words from Cecibel.
Tread Gently (1984), Two Drumbeats (1993) & One Hundred Thousand Weavers (2011) spun anew from previous albums.
With deep thanks ~ to mountain sisters Naomi Ocean, Jilly Dowse & Cecibel Egan who infused this journey with wild joy, sacred silence and possibility ~ to those who smoothed our travels with their kindness ~ to everyone who wove their threads into this prayer.
A TRAVELLER’S NOTE
“It is a personal truth that I have been waiting all my life to become the old woman who has always inhabited my skin and my dreams, peering out through my eyes, conducting the work of my hands. One night 34 years ago, alone in the foothills of the Himalayas, this old woman marched into my head and carried me across a vast distance to other mountains, a high range that holds the female mountain dynamic of this earth. In the Andes she and I sat together and watched a story unfold. The next day I caught that story into words, and later into images and songs and spiralling yarns; like a wolf on the prowl, the mountain story has circled me through these decades while I waited to fit myself into the shape of that old woman…”
This story-dream manifested in the first song ever to land newly-born into my mouth and at the tips of my drumming fingers: Tread Gently on the Earth (1984, Pokhara, Nepal). Since then the chorus of this song has travelled far and wide, often in ways I could not have imagined, to circles and shrines and corners of the earth I have never known. It has been a joyful experience to watch it spiral back into this prayer. The story-dream also emerged as words that eventually became the song Still Waiting to Be Heard (Weaving the Land, 2011), here re-spun as One Hundred Thousand Dreamers. I wanted to include this since the final line remains as true a vision of how we might reach out to planetary change, as I could possibly tie into a sentence. Finally, Two Drumbeats was always woven into this prayer; it caught a moment in time when two continents were linked by two pregnant daughter-bellies (my soul sister’s and my own) and managed to add more magical ingredients to the slow incubation of the Bolivian mountain story-dream.
To catch live recordings from our journey felt important to me. These few that we have included here were recorded at key moments: women and men from the Kurmi community singing and playing pipes around the fire that held the Pachamama offerings we have been invited to witness, then performing the next day in a street procession that lasted over 12 energetic hours, ending in celebrations laced with fast dancing and potent chicha; Kallawayo weavers Juana and Alejandra sitting with us at night in our small lodging, chatting about their village lives, plantings and harvests, fruit trees and future textiles; the extraordinary soundscape of the mountains as I dozed and dreamed one night under the stars, curled next to a random dog…
Since returning from the journey and the long threads of that story-dream, the process of finding words to share and shaping tales to recount has been slow. Perhaps I have been a little reluctant to shake off my wild travelling skirt and return to the familiar coat and well-worn boots of daily life. Creating this album in the first rush of the return has hugely helped. The work of it has been fast and efficient and peeled back to the essential core… like quickly packing a small rucksack ready for a dawn bus, or washing briskly under a cold tap ready for a life-transforming mountain ceremony… Studio work has been minimised and album production kept simple; the CD is packed into a card casing that might be slipped into any traveller’s pocket (the later download will be even lighter to carry!)
There are more images, words, information and our short Pachamama Prayer film to be found on the Pachamama Prayer Journey page here. Meanwhile enjoy the songs and may they carry you, as they did me, deep into the story-dream of our Mother Earth.