SONGWAYS OF DARTMOOR
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SONGWAYS OF DARTMOOR

Travelling the Ancient Trails with Music and Pack Ponies

You can watch our new SONGWAYS OF DARTMOOR film below.

This unique and special pilgrimage of fourteen miles across the north of Dartmoor took place on 17 June 2018, accompanied by three Dartmoor pack ponies and carrying offerings of music and song to the land. The walk was co-ordinated and led by Carolyn Hillyer, Nigel Shaw and Danielle Earp, and involved fifty singers from the Wildsong Collective of Dartmoor women’s voices plus wayfaring musicians and supporters. We walked to celebrate the ancient landscape with music played on traditional and prehistoric instruments, and songs sung in ancient proto-Celtic (Bronze Age mother tongue) and contemporary language. We moved through periods of silence, song and ritual honouring at stone circles and monuments in respect of Dartmoor’s ancient people and the sacred landscape. We walked through many Dartmoor weathers, from warm sunshine and bright breeze to swirling mist and summer rain. We were met at the far end of the pilgrimage by wild ponies and women’s welcoming drums.

We are yearning
we are prayer binding
we are path finding
we’re returning…
Nis kamawo
nis di glenn brigo
nis swende lergo
nis weran okknu…

Wildsong women who walked or supported this pilgrimage: Carolyn, Danielle, Alexandra, Agata, Amelia, Angharad, Carol, Charlotte, Clare R, Clare T, Danuta, Diana A, Diana W, Dorrie, Eileen, Emma, Erica, Fiona C, Fiona M, Helen F, Helen J, Hilary, Isla, Jacqui, Janet, Jay, Jenny, Jo H, Jo S, Julie O, Julie P, Laura, Lea, Lesley, Linda C, Linda E, Lisa, Mandi, Marian, Marisa, Mary, Mercedes, Mezzie, Michelle, Moira, Naomi, Nicola, Nikki, Nixie, Pauline, Shelley, Shirley, Sue, Tegwyn. The Wildsong Collective, coordinated and guided by Carolyn Hillyer, have met monthly on Dartmoor since April 2017 to sing out their hearts and drum up a storm.

Ponies: Piper, Rosebud and Speedy, trained for this pilgrimage by Danielle Earp with help from Lea, Helen, Polly and Hilary plus other Wildsong women.

Additional musicians, supporters and walkers: Nigel, Alan, Andy, Chris, Clive, Elisabeth, Gary, Jon, Matt, Naomi, Paul, Polly, Robert, Terry, Tom. With additional thanks to Dr Tom Greeves and the Dartmoor Resonance Music Festival.

Photographs used in the film: © Chris Chapman (www.chrischapmanphotography.co.uk), © Jay Bosistow-Brightwater and © Alan Endacott (facebook.com/dartmoor.archaeology1). On this page: women singing – Jay, ford crossing – Alan. On home page: circling stones – Chris.

Pony-cam footage by Nigel Shaw (with Piper). Songways film edited and produced by Nigel Shaw. Songs by Carolyn Hillyer from the album Winter Folded Everything Inside a Shawl of Feathers. Instrumental music from the albums Dartmoor Roundhouse and Dartmoor Journey by Nigel Shaw.