See also: Tracts€Chants€Songs€Humor
These musicians all produce at least some music that can be described as Pagan. Some of the artists listed only have one or two Pagan songs, while others produce nothing else. The list is alphabetical by band name or artist and nearly all contain links to check out the bands' Web sites and possibly listen to sound samples. I have not put any bands on this list that I have not personally heard, so all descriptions are my own based on what I've heard of each artist's music.
Any listings marked with ♥hearts♥ are my particular favorites, most highly recommended, and anything marked with ♣clubs♣ is something I personally enjoy listening to. If something is UNmarked, either it's not up my alley or maybe I haven't heard enough of it to know for sure. Please contact me if you want to suggest a Pagan band to go on this list, but I'll need a way to hear it before I'll link.
On with the list!
And here are some links to other Pagan music sites:
- ♥Adiemus♥--A British choral group directed by Karl Jenkins--it involves Miriam Stockley as a performer and the London Philharmonic Orchestra as well. Mostly this group can be described as very big choral chant, with unspecific African sounds (though as far as I know not any actual African language, just syllables). This group's got great energy and wonderful harmony. I suggest picking up The Best of Adiemus.
- Aenima--Carmen, the female vocalist, has a rough tone mixed with great control and a trembly timbre, which is not a type one hears a lot of. Rhythmic, synth-rock sounds back her up, delivering an echoing and pleasant melodic sound. Some of the songs are instrumental, but when lyrics are involved, they often embody moments, feelings, capturing an experience and putting it to music. This sort of passionate living will be appreciated by spiritual people.
- Julien Aklei: This "Faerie New-Age Pagan Music" artist records acoustic-sounding, rather charmingly unpolished tunes that are easy to listen to. The songwriting is sometimes surprising--the vocal lines don't always go where you'd expect, and Ms. Aklei is rather adventurous with her voice sometimes. This is the kind of thing you'd expect to hear by the free spirits floating around playing their original music at Pagan faires and whatnot. You can hear samples on her MySpace Music page as well.
- Albenesh--Sort of surreal electronically-enhanced music; not always overtly Pagan, but in the neighborhood with some of its subject matter. Plays in a variety of musical styles, but usually has unusual strings parts and odd chord progressions, as well as a nice blend of female and male vocals. The band describes itself as "World Fusion Music."
- Alchemy VII--Strong female vocals with a full rock feel, full band backup. Sometimes their sound is more eccentric, though other times it could be on mainstream radio. Note their particularly intriguing percussion.
- Heather Alexander--Wow, nice vocal harmony--sometimes to sparse drums, other times to a very soulful violin, with great traditional-sounding melodies. Heather has a nice low voice that carries a sort of Celtic lilt when she handles fast vocal riffs. Sometimes her music seems like a medieval choral group, sometimes it has country leanings, and sometimes it sounds like Celtic folk (she goes under labels such as "Celtic fusion" and "World rock"). Sample her songs and you may be able to reproduce some of the melodic lines to serve as chants in your own ritual, though it is also great to listen to just on its own merit.
- Ankha--Synthesizer music designed for a variety of purposes. Ankha is a Wiccan musician who intends her various techno-enhanced pieces to be used for meditation and trancework, but most would probably not find it soothing enough for such things, so some would probably prefer using the music as a background enhancer.
- ♣Annwn♣--Celtic rock, impressive vocal harmony. Most songs have a distinctly Celtic sound to them, but some is quite distinctly modern. Many seem to tell some sort of story based on a legend or myth.
- ♣Athena's Temple♣--Almost techno-ish sound, with feel-good light melodies to serve as pick-me-ups and meditation guides, except with a beat you wouldn't expect for such a sentiment.
- ♣Aural Sects♣--Quite beautiful, especially for a band whose name sounds naughty when said quickly. Piano and guitars back up a male-female duo, singing in harmony, making visions form in your head with their lyrics. They can be silly when they want to, but their talent and musicality is what makes them good to listen to.
- Autumnal Blood Moon--Very dark "gothic" sound. Slow and somber music in minor keys trudges by, supporting a man's voice that's more growl than song. He has several different techniques for performing his music, but all sound like they could be the soundtrack to a cartoon villain who lives in a castle. Though this music is almost scarily dark, its author is a Wiccan man who likes to use music to explore the dark side of human nature and vampiric fiction. Many of the songs are instrumental, also.
- ♣Avalon Rising♣--An ethereal soprano vocalist is a distinguishing feature of this great band, along with a versatile group of instrumentalists. Some songs are reworkings of traditional chants with appropriate tribal-sounding drums, while other songs speak of well-known human legends accompanied by rolling, connected scores. The band has influences from several parts of the world and different times of history, so listening to them can be a trip through space and time.
- Bell Book and Canto--A group of singing ladies whose mixture of covers and original music provide an earthy, polyphonic approach to Pagan music. There's nothing like women's voices making harmony on top of appropriately simplistic accompaniment from stringed instruments, piano, or woodwinds, and the subjects of Pagan holidays, nature, and various common folk-music topics are frequently featured. Great sound.
- Belladonna Bouquet--A women's band with a sort of trancey, trippy sound. The vocals tend to sound a bit like chant, but definitely have melody, just with a weird twist on some of the pitches. It's a bit like folk with psychedelic influence and electronic instruments.
- Peter Bellamy--A well-known folk musician who put out copious solo albums and did work on many others. His goal in music seemed to be to popularize and bring to the masses the delight of "the people's music." That means he played in many different styles and of course some of the legends and stories his songs are based on are Pagan in nature, because when you go back far enough, everything is.
- Sylvia Brallier--She is the artist who created Awakening the Sacred Fire, and on this collection we are treated to an unusual sound of sort of repetitive technologically-enhanced music with some kind of influence from India or the Middle East. The lyrics are Pagan-friendly and intriguing.
- ♥Kate Bush♥--Not generally a Pagan musician, but seems to have some Pagan influence in the lyrics of her songs. Mostly slightly unconventional rock music from a talented British woman.
- Butterfly Messiah--This band has a lot of songs that are more for trancy dancing and are just ethereal, relaxing, or dark/Gothic without being particularly Pagan, but some of the lyrics and sounds do fall decidedly in that area. The female singer has a full high voice that blends surprisingly well with techno-sounding beats.
- Shawna Carol--Goddess Chant is her baby, with several other women helping her sing praises to the Goddess over folk guitar and wind instruments, sometimes even with a touch of gospel sound!
- Castalia--Simple folk guitar (and sometimes plucked strings or woodsy wind instruments) accompany a female vocalist with a voice so light it's hard to believe it's so low. Castalia is from Canada and plays the Pagan folk music circuit, and she has a couple CDs you can find at her Web site. You'll enjoy this pleasant, cleansing music if you appreciate simple orchestration of Pagan-oriented material, with a genuine musicality.
- Cedar Moon--A folksy/*slightly*-rockish Pagan band that is occasionally influenced by reggae. They tend to make music about the elements and the world, and are catchy to listen to.
- Ceredwen--Celtic music duo with lyrics in Welsh and English. One of the releases (Ô'r Mabinogi, Legends of the Celts) tells a series of Celtic legends, set to music--though it's difficult to know what the songs are about if you don't speak Welsh. In any case the sound is very close to "old" Celtic music (with some modern instruments as well as traditional ones) and it's mostly a calming, uplifting influence.
- Cernunnos Rising--Very nice folk/nature-inspired Pagan music with a conservationist theme by George Nicholas. You can get albums by ordering from the UK store.
- Cherries-n-Silk--Dance/Techno sort of group. Good for modern dancing and getting into the spirit, since the lyrics are very obviously Pagan/Wiccan and speak of the Goddess often. Only thing is, the songs aren't very melodic. For the chanting songs that is fine, but the lead vocal lines in the melodic pieces sound strangely flat like they are only vaguely following a written intended melody.
- Circle of Women--Not an actual band, but a collection of songs put out by a temporarily gathered group of women and put out by Earthbeat productions. Here they recorded seventeen songs that are women's spirituals and many of them feature lyrics about the Goddess or women's strength. You can buy it at EarthBeat and check out some of the sound files.
- Peter Conover--Guitar-accompanied folk ditties with Pagan-friendly subject matter. The lead singer's voice is attractively trembly and makes him sound like a traditional bard.
- Ian Corrigan--A bard in the Pagan movement. He is also a Pagan author and does workshops. He has some recordings (most notably Once Around the Wheel) that present his music and teachings in the true bardic style. You can get it at this link from White Light Pentacles/Sacred Spirit Products.
- T. Thorn Coyle--Pagan rock. Has a sound like any rock band with a twangy female vocalist, with electric guitar and percussion. Though the sound alone doesn't distinguish this band as Pagan, the lyrics set it apart: Mythology and Pagan ideology come through loud and clear.
- The Craft--Pagan rock band. The sound is decidedly rock with Pagan and Earth-friendly lyrics. Much of it expresses anger at the lack of understanding most people have about nature's importance in our lives.
- Crazyquilt--A Native flute artist who offers instrumental, mostly serene nature songs. Some are dedicated to Goddesses or nature, all painting distinct pictures of natural beauty.
- Dagda--An Irish band that has a unique sound somewhere between traditional Celtic hills music and modern slow techno. Figuring prominently in the music are the sounds of wooden flutes, and though a lot of the music is instrumental, there are occasionally songs with lyrics.
- ♣Damh the Bard♣--A true bard in the oral tradition of music, Damh sings songs about nature and the Green Man, accompanied by a folksy guitar and sometimes light wind instruments. Quite inspiring.
- Dana Davis--She's the singer from Butterfly Tree. Ms. Davis is a lyrical mid-to-high soprano with a unique voice, whose songs are a bit difficult to describe. There is something dissonant and jaunty about most of them, while her voice is carrying an unusual melodic line over everything. Female backup vocals in harmony characterize her usual sound as well. There doesn't seem to be much relation between her music and Paganism as it sounds within the realm of mainstream rock, but on occasion her songs have mythological references.
- Dead Can Dance--This entry is for a particular album of theirs which contains a more Pagan theme than their other albums. Their album Spiritchaser features songs of the Earth, employing tribal drum rhythms and sometimes-wordless chant-like melodic lines to convey a sort of sacred-Earth feeling. Other albums have been described as "world music."
- Delerium--Many of these electronically-enhanced songs are amazing and ethereal, with the unusual combination of techno beat with floaty vocals, some featuring what are apparently the voices of children. They do have the occasional really spooky song, but most are lighthearted and uplifting, and sung in other languages. It seems that other artists often do guest performances on their albums.
- Lucien Désar--Sometimes it sounds gothic, other times it sounds classical, and still other times it's something indescribable (surprise!). The titles and descriptions sometimes give insight that they are a bit of a soundtrack to certain concepts that are vaguely Pagan or dream-inspiring.
- Nhanda Devi--This singer is said to be inspired to sing by channeling Isis. The music is soothing and (to my knowledge) all a cappella with lovely echoes, no real melodies but just your average chants, perfect for meditation background.
- Doc O's Mojo--Often accompanied by just guitar, Doc O's Mojo is (mostly) one guy (Doctor Oakroot) who normally sings the blues but has a knack for singing songs with Pagan themes. Some of his songs are instrumentals meant to be mood pieces about Tarot cards, while others are music set to back up a woman telling stories of Aradia. There are even a few that sound like gospel, probably because of his blues roots. Unusual for Pagan music, but Pagan all the way.
- A Dream of a Thousand Cats--This music is mostly carried by its ethereal synthesized sounds, sometimes accompanied by floaty vocals that are in French or English. It ranges between a few different styles, but mostly it's sort of a trance-like repetitive beat and vocal line. Both of the musicians of this band are disabled and one of them plays the piano with his face!
- A Dream Whose Time is Coming: Women's-chorus sound, normally a cappella but occasionally accompanied by unobtrusive backup strings. Subject matter deals with sacred subjects and Pagan life.
- ♣Dreamtrybe♣--The band that used to be Velvet Hammer. Electronically enhanced powerful melodies that have that all-encompassing epic sound, drawing the listener in. The songs pay homage to the divine Earth and its deities, with a sound that's almost a cross between rock and something untamed and tribal.
- The Druids of Albany--Often, their music sounds vaguely Arabic, and sometimes has electric guitars with classic bass bringing their sound out.
- Earth Tones Studios: Alexian performs Neo-Pagan music with a light-rock/New Age feel, occasionally chants, and often accompanied by piano.
- ♣Elvendrums♣--A great group sound with excellent folksy harmonies and a wonderful beat! Songs' subject matter covers mythical creatures and faeryland topics, but everything is as merry as you'd imagine, being sung by elves and all. There's also some fun call-and-response involved, and all the songs are family-friendly as well.
- ♣Emerald Rose♣: Celtic-influenced pop and folk, mostly; does a lot of remakes of traditional Celtic songs or sets poetry to music, though much is also original. Also seem to have a penchant for wacky humor and have a slight leaning toward country on some songs.
- ♥Enya♥--Most in the New Age community like Enya (whose full name is Eithne Ni Bhraonain). Her music is on the whole soothing and easy to meditate to, and many of the songs have Pagan-friendly sounds and lyrics. Some of her music is purely instrumental, while other songs are close to instrumental but feature wordless singing as an instrument. Some songs are inspired by literature (i.e., "Lothlórien"); some are dedicated to historical figures (i.e, "Boadicea"); some just depict comforting stories (i.e., "Marble Halls") or describe picturesque scenes (i.e., "Caribbean Blue"). Some of her music sounds epic and demands attention, while other songs could be played in department stores (and have been). Enya is a very talented woman who writes and performs her own music, voicing all the parts and most of the instruments herself. She is highly recommended.
- Gaia Consort--Folkish instruments with a Pagan/Celtic sound, with appropriately Pagan lyrics. Sometimes a hint of country in the sound. Songs about Sabbats and everyday life with a Pagan viewpoint.
- Thoth Ganesh--This Pagan musician describes himself as "Alternative/Rock/Folk Rock" and offers up a sparse and unfinished-sounding but soulful and spiritual bouquet of Goddess-oriented songs. Some of his songs are remakes (such as the offereing of "Ancient Mother" on his MySpace page), and to my knowledge some are originals, but all feature his unique voice (which sounds almost as though it would work in a metal band--it just has that quality!). The recordings offered at the above link are definitely on the raw side, so as long as you don't expect it to sound like a studio album, the messages and the overall sound are quite worth listening to.
- Robert Gass & On Wings of Song--Choral arrangements of a great many different chants and songs.
- David & Steve Gordon--Sacred Earth Drums, Sacred Drum Visions, Sacred Spirit Drums, and Drum Medicine are their renowned albums featuring "native" instruments of many world locations, most notably drums. Some vocals, natural sounds, and guitars are mixed in, and the mix brings the sounds of nature together with studio professionalism under a magical umbrella.
- Grayhawk--Neoclassical composer whose instrumental pieces have titles indicating their various Pagan- and nature-oriented inspirations. (For example, "Court of Beltane" from Blissful Magic sounds as though it could be played as the entrance music for the guests of honor at a Beltane feast, et cetera.)
- Green Crown--Compelling guitar riffs, unique percussion, seamlessly-blended woodwinds, and stringed instruments support the lyrical voice of lead singer Prydwyn. (Prydwyn is also a solo artist and has taught himself most of his musical knowledge, and started this band with Diana McFadden, a cellist and percussionist.) The full band creates a nevertheless light and easy-to-listen sound, giving us songs on various Pagan subjects (odes to love, spiritual dance, nature, wildlife, and the Gods).
- Greybeard Dances--From the sounds of it, there are country and blues influences here mixed with not-too-hard rock, with poignant vocal harmonies and simple guitar accompaniment. Though this isn't typical "Pagan" music, occasionally the lyrics are Pagan-oriented (as in "A Pagan Fight Song," "Song For the Green Man," and "The Witches' Circle"), and the artist is Pagan (though his brand of it defies categorization), so it might be enjoyed by some.
- ♣Gypsy♣--Well-known among lovers of Pagan music, Gypsy's album Enchantress has kept many spellbound for years. She has a beautiful, strong voice, which she uses to tell stories in song. One of her most notable works is the song "Bring Back the Light," which features a melodic introduction and ending but includes a spooky light-calling chant in the middle. Her melodies are easily learned and fun to sing along to.
- Hagalaz' Runedance--This is the music of Andrea Haugen, also known as Nebelhexë (which means "fog-witch"). What we have here is an overall haunting and distinctly northern-European sound, working with Pagan themes. Drums and "drone" basslines are common. There is a groove about it that makes it perfect meditation or ritual background music for lively but dark subject matter.
- Heads For Sale--Jim Hamilton's band features oddly goth-rock/metal music for Pagan fans. Want to hear a heavy metal tribute to the goddess Artemis? Then this is your guy. Many of the songs have social or political subject matter as well.
- Anne Hill--Very upbeat and life-affirming folky music for use with lighthearted rituals or rituals involving families with children. Most is accompanied by ukulele or guitar and involves easy-to-remember Pagan-themed melodic lines.
- Inkubus Sukkubus--Sounds like a cross between metal and rock, but Pagan. Carries somewhat Gothic and dark messages sometimes, but at first glance sounds like many things you'd have heard on the radio in the mid-eighties (not meaning the bubble-gum pop of the time). Here are some of their lyrics.
- Izolda--She's a classically-trained violinist who writes and performs her own songs. When playing with the other members of her band, they call themselves "Folk Nouveau," and the music generally covers aspects of nature, divinity, and the human experience. Izolda has a medium-high soprano voice that complements her folk guitar very nicely.
- ♣Tamarra James♣--With her alto voice and compelling lyrics, Tamarra James shows listeners the spookiness and beauty of our world. She is the High Priestess of the Wiccan Church of Canada and she is one of the co-founders of the Odyssean Tradition of Wicca.
- Kaleah--Named after the goddess Kali, this "vocal new age" artist belongs to the same camp as Loreena McKennitt, Enya, and Tori Amos. Kaleah LaRoche's lovely melodies, harmonies, semi-traditional chord progressions, flute and violin additions, and especially piano accompaniment provide an inspiring listen.
- Kiva--A spirited, upbeat group with the energy of the true bardic tradition. The music's subject matter and musical styles vary widely, covering subjects many Pagans would enjoy--sometimes drum-chant sounds, sometimes sublime vocal harmony, sometimes guitar folk rock. The group has old Celtic influences as well as modern ones, and they would appeal to anyone who practices an Earth religion just on basis of their lyrics if not their sound.
- ♣Kenny Klein♣--This musician has fantastic artistic vision! (He's got a triple whammy of the Muse, which has rendered him a writer, artist, and musician . . . a condition which guarantees that all aspects of each craft that bleed into the next one are also high-quality.) Kenny has played many different venues, especially folk-appreciative gatherings like Ren-faires and gatherings. He's a fiddler, guitarist, and singer, and since these things do tend to push him in the country arena as much as they do folk and Pagan music, you do hear that country sound in some of his work. He has a rich voice, but what I appreciate more is the composition of his originals; there is a song about the fairy queen with vocals provided by Lori Watley, and the chord progressions and vocal harmony are just inspiring! Other subject matter involves gypsies, modern subculture, and Pagan mythology. Recommended!
- Sharon Knight--The front woman of the band Pandemonaeon. She does have a solo career, though, so here's a separate entry for her. She's got a medium-soprano range without too much weight (but also not a voice I'd describe as "light")--sounds a little like the beloved Loreena McKennitt, but with music that has more of a beat. Some sounds a little acoustic, but there is definitely a rock influence in there. She explores Irish culture, Pagan subject matter, and other themes.
- Tia Knight--Mainly instrumental, electronic "new age" sound with a slightly dark or spooky feel. Some songs are popular with fans of medieval music, and harpsichord (synthesized) is present in many compositions.
- Kwannon--Formerly of Belladonna Bouquet, Jenne Micale is now presenting herself in an "ethereal/wyrd folk project." Like the previous work in BB, it sounds a little bit trancey, with a paradoxically tight-and-polished but folksy sound, meaning it tends to be full and complete despite having few layers. Now, the very special thing about Kwannon is Jenne's voice. She's classically trained and you can tell, and sometimes she even does harmony with herself. Put her easy, listenable soprano with dulcimer or harp and some folk percussion and there you have it--a seamless whole that's all the better when you take into account the fact that the lyrics are Pagan/mythology-inspired. Give her a sample listen on her MySpace page. Recommended.
- Lady Isadora--This woman goes way back in the Pagan music community. She sometimes performs traditional tunes but has her own as well, and they are sung with a heavily rich but high-range voice and simple guitar accompaniment mostly.
- Lane Lambert and Patrick Chambers--Here's something unusual: A musical story. Tristan and Iseult is a CD that tells a Celtic love story. There are typical Irish-sounding ballads and songs, harp and keyboards and the occasional penny whistle and dulcimer, all setting the stage for a musical play. There are Pagan aspects to this, such as an intriguing elemental invocation. You can hear snippets and buy the CD at their Web site.
- ♥Caroline Lavelle--She's got a nice chamber-music/folk sound that has its roots in Irish and English heritage. Seems to feature a lot of simple guitar and simple stringed instruments when the songs are accompanied at all. Rocking and lulling melodies are a special talent of hers; she delivers them in a low and even tone.
- ♣Libana♣--Primarily dealing with women's spirituality, this group performs largely vocal-oriented music, both traditional and modern. Many different ethnicities are featured in this group's repertoire, but the unifying feature is that each song treats us to beautiful vocal harmony that celebrates the feminine divine.
- Erika Lieberman--She is known as a "Celtic harper, vocalist, songwriter, and storyteller." The harp music is beautiful, and she also does vocal arrangements and performs them. Interestingly enough, she is a solo artist as well as performing in a band, and she teaches harp and performs at Renaissance fairs and parties. The music has that light and enchanted feel that can transport a person into another place and time.
- Annbjørg Lien--This Norweigian musician has an eclectic musical vocabulary! Vocals and fiddles in a very Nordic sound, which is to say most are in a minor key and have a lot of vocal gymnastics. She is part of the Norweigian folk group Bukkene Bruse as well. One album, Baba Yaga, was inspired by an exhibition of art featuring the Russian witch.
- Anne Lister--Clear and trembly female vocals ride on old-world instrumentals, telling stories from well-known (and some not so well-known) legends of old. It has a sort of noble old-English feel to it, and some lyrics have Pagan references.
- Loke E. Coyote: Pagan humor. Guitar-accompanied ditties that make fun of and have fun with the Pagan lifestyle and those who either embrace it or don't understand it.
- Cheri Lunn--Primarily a drummer, she teaches workshops and releases music with her drumming rhythms, and she sings too--some of her songs are just folksy guitar/voice deals, she has a strong mid-range voice. Her music can be used to inspire drum circles and other Pagan-oriented gatherings that involve music.
- Magicfolk--This group's lyrics use Pagan and mythological themes, and the music is set to folksy guitar with a nice overarching mystical sound lent by harmonization and magical-sounding wind instruments. The female singers have a great, easy--as in completely unforced--style that just kinda makes you mellow out. You'll enjoy this if you want music that has more than one layer but doesn't have to try for it.
- ♣Kathy Mar♣--Her claim to fame is "filk" music, which is basically folk music with a fantastical or science fiction theme, ballads that carry stories and morals. You can hear a fable about what happens to a man who's cruel to the village women, or a song about Merlin, or a theological ramble about nature. The sound is mostly the usual folksy light sound. Instruments include harp, folk guitar, pipes, and even didgeridoo! Kathy's voice is a middle-soprano that can carry the songs' weight without sounding heavy itself. Wonderful music for anyone interested in the use of music to craft a story and feed the imagination.
- ♣Michelle Mays♣--This woman has a straight-tone, strong medium-range voice, toward the low range I'd say. She says exactly what she means, and explores some fantastic Pagan themes with her lyrics. "Petals of the Rose" is my favorite, both in sound and sentiment. Her songs are very singable, which is important in my liking most vocal music.
- ♥Mediæval Bæbes♥--As you can tell from the name, this band has medieval influences. Their songs have a wondrous variety, from style to language to subject matter. Many are in foreign languages, including modern languages like Italian and dead languages like Latin and medieval French. The women in the band (some of whom do solo projects and not all of whom are on every album) are very skilled at vocal harmony, and are sure to be loved by the Pagan community with their amazing talents for chants and soothing music.
- ♥Loreena McKennitt♥--Most people in the Pagan community (and many other communities) have heard of this very talented woman. Many of her songs feature Pagan themes (such as music about Samhain, Beltane, and other festivals), and nearly all of it has some sort of Celtic sound. Loreena plays her own instruments a startling amount of the time, and has a lovely, high, full voice. She has been known to record and perform reworked versions of old carols, ballads, folk melodies, and songs, as well as to set poems and stories of old to music. Beyond that, she certainly has her share of original music, inspired by nature, journeys, and the Emerald Isles. Ms. McKennitt is highly recommended to all.
- The Moon Foundation--This is the recording name of Steve Netting. The Foundation does some unrelated stuff like synthpop and industrial, but there is a branch for "New Age" music which is good. The music has very nice ambient, haunting electronic type background music, sometimes featuring spoken lyrics with self-affirming messages or wordless echoing vocals.
- ♣Moonstruck♣--One of the older Pagan bands still around today. Begun back in 1980, Moonstruck is headed by Steve Collins (a Wiccan High Priest) and his High Priestess Eury. They mostly do original music, but have also been known to re-record in their own style well-known Pagan chants. The songs feature guitar, drums, flutes, keyboards, and vocals, and cover Pagan subjects or are dedicated to the God and Goddess. Sometimes the songs can have a very modern sound compared to other Pagan bands, because of the usual modern combination of instruments.
- Mothburner--They are a Pagan band with a soaring female vocalist and a guitar technique I'd describe as sludgy. Some of the songs have Pagan themes (such as "Banish the Chill," about springtime arriving), but overall I wouldn't say they're necessarily overtly Pagan in their stylings.
- ♣Moving Breath♣--A quintet of women who specialize in woman-empowering, Pagan, and spiritual chants. Many songs are Goddess-oriented and often are not accompanied by anything except slight percussion. The vocal harmony and striking voices of the members are delightful to listen to, and many of their songs make wonderful chants for circles even among the non-musically-inclined.
- Charlie Murphy & Jami Sieber--Chants, various multicultural instruments, folkish Neo-Pagan music. They are also responsible for some of the magic on the fantastic album The Burning Times by Rumors of the Big wave.
- Mythic Magic--This duo refers to themselves as alternative rock with a Celtic flair. Based on what I've heard I wouldn't put them in the rock category at all--they have a neat (slightly) ethereal sound because of the intervals chosen for the two-part male-female vocal harmony, and Tirith's voice has that very Irish quality of being a little throaty while still dancing in the high range. Ian plays the guitar that backs the duo up, and their music is quite sparse. The Pagan philosophy is pretty obviously underlying, based on their lyrics. The band's recordings are not incredibly polished-sounding, so you get the idea they're a really homespun operation.
- Darragh Nagle--The music of the faeries comes alive. Strangely dissonant yet harmonic tunes are the specialty here, giving us that otherworldly feeling of another realm. Different stories are told on the album The Land of Faerie, sort of a progression of tales as we go deeper into the land. Darragh Nagle also sings folk songs and plays guitar.
- Nuada--Good for meditation or mood music, this trancey high-bells/high-strings/light percussion mix offers a slightly rhythmic and electronically-enhanced relaxing mood. Sometimes there are shadows of voices in the music, but it's basically instrumental. Occasionally it sounds like it has a Celtic influence. It does get a little "dark" at times--it's not all light and fluffy meditation music--but you might find a use for it in your mental wanderings.
- Ordo Equitum Solis--Electronically-enhanced band with vocals in a broadly-ranged spunky female vocal. It has a sort of "different" sound. Sometimes classically-inspired and sometimes darkly synthetic, the subject matter sometimes features the shadowy sides of Paganism.
- Pandemonaeon--A folk group fronted by Sharon Knight and her partner Winter. They have a Celtic AND Middle-Eastern influence (the latter especially on their self-titled album). The unusual rhythms and Arabic-sounding vocal and guitar riffs make it a sort of jam-along ride, and then on top of that the subject matter involves a wide range of topics, from politics to a fight with the faeries.
- ♥Gwydion Pendderwen♥--The famous Pagan bard who composed, performed, and created about a billion folk melodies and has the distinction of being the most frequently misspelled name in Pagan music (well, probably). Most of the available recordings of his work lack polished quality because he wasn't exactly a studio artist, but they are charming and have that amazing Pagan energy and sound to them, the woodsy feeling of listening to some high-energy hippie sitting on a rock playing guitar at a gathering. Look for the recordings called Songs for the Old Religion and Faerie Shaman.
- Shelley Phillips--Well, I should say Shelley Phillips and friends, since a bunch of people helped with this album The Faerie Round. It's a bunch of wonderful classic-sounding folk songs from Ireland, England, and Wales--such traditional tunes as "The Water Is Wide" and the famous "The Ashgrove." If you like full-but-not-overpowering instrumentals of great old folk songs, you will love Shelley Phillips. The link I have up there also leads to several other things she contributed to that you may like.
- Heather Pierson--She's an artist whose music is, and I quote, "dedicated to the creation of Peace and Harmony, the affirmation of Love, and the respect of Life and Earth." Sounds great, right? She owns Vessel Recordings, her own company, and on that label she puts out albums under the New Age umbrella. The usual New Age electronic piano makes an appearance in these sometimes-vocal and sometimes-instrumental recordings (one of her albums is a capella vocal recordings), and all are probably good meditation music. If you know music, you'll understand this: Her chord progressions are unusual in a way that's exciting. Tempo changes and dynamics are used to great effect in fusing the chords with emotion and energy. Beautiful.
- Pisces Projekt--Simple but full synthesized accompaniment backs up male and female vocal lines, with appealing melodies that should please the ear of any Pagan. Vocalists Zakhuur and Sinari both have melodious voices--his a surprisingly-ranged smooth voice and hers a soaring, sweet soprano. They have a very interesting project entitled Spellbook for which magical "singles" are recorded and sold for an affordable price; the first track is performed by the band while the second is backup music so that YOU can sing the spell you like to their music. (Prosperity is the first one, and more are coming.) The lyrics are spiritual and empowering. Recommended.
- Point Of Ares--Lead singer Karen Michalson has written some epic fantasy books, and this music is based on them. It's sort of hard rock, but the lyrics are sometimes "mystical," and the hardness of the music is a little more wildly unhinged--more sort of feral--than most. Some spoken word stuff is available too--readings of Karen's short story. Good for fantasy fans who would like another medium in which to experience it.
- Laura Powers--A very interesting person who counts being a musician as one of many talents. Legends of the Goddess is a trilogy album with music about ancient Celtic goddess myths. She sings in several languages. Being of course that the subject matter is Celtic, so is the sound--the fiddle and percussion are very evocative of the Emerald Isles. She has a couple other CDs too, like one with music inspired by The Da Vinci Code, and one that's totally instrumental called A Celtic Journey, which is designed for meditation. Laura's voice is mainly a low-to-medium soprano with a richness to it, and she uses straight tone for the most part.
- Prydwyn--Member of Green Crown, but also a solo artist. See my entry on Green Crown for more about him.
- William Read--An excellent Pagan/New Age classical composer. Mostly his instrumental/symphonic pieces will be titled according to what the music is supposed to depict (such as a powerful and mysterious piece called "The Stones" which, though instrumental, very clearly relays the feeling of being at the standing stones). Sometimes Read will re-write a well-known classical piece in an electronic style, and other times his songs will be inspired by or set for films. Occasionally there is even a jazz influence in his music.
- Layne Redmond--Sometimes called "the priestess of the drum," this woman has been a pioneer in women's drum circles and wonderful, spirited chant music to various percussion. She has also been associated with Tommy Brunjes and Trance Union.
- Steve Reel--Steve Reel has put out a CD called Wheel of the Year, with a song named after each Sabbat and a cleansing meditation track at the end. All of the pieces are instrumental, and they do a pretty decent job of capturing the mood of each holiday with unconventional instruments. The oddest thing about the CD is that it claims to be "in tune with the Earth Year Frequency," which as I understand from the explanation means that they have detected a pitch generated by the rotation of the planet around the Sun--a note--and have raised that pitch 32 octaves and tuned the music with it. It is a little weird because the note's supposed to be somewhere between C and C#, so to me all the music sounds tweaky, I'm used to the contemporary scale so everything sounds weirdly sharp to me, but it does resonate interestingly, so maybe they've got something there. . . .
- ♥Philip Riley & Jayne Elleson♥--They make a great album called The Blessing Tree that is really neat. Jayne Elleson is the vocalist, and her voice really combines wonderfully with the music Philip Riley writes. They are mostly soothing, Celtic-sounding Pagan-influenced ballads, very beautiful and simple but still complicated. I like the songs "Pictish Girl" and "Sanctus."
- Rosin Coven--The most notable feature of this band is its creative strings arrangements. Sometimes there is light percussion and some loungey brass--and maybe even a marimba here and there--but the strings really seem to carry the action here. The vocals are mostly one woman or a creatively harmonized duet of two women. These people don't just perform; they ACT. Every show is an event, complete with costumes and sets, so that the action is visually appealing as well as fun to listen to. Recommended for those who like the lounge/show-tune sound.
- Ruiseart--Musician Ruiseart claims that his music is inspired by nature and the Gaelic culture. He is the driving force behind RavensWing, though he also has help from John Steer. The music has a sort of non-studio rough sound, with echoing guitar or strings accompaniment and vocals in Ruiseart's high baritone or soaring vocals from female vocalists. Subject matter is mostly observances of nature, traditional tunes, or some reference to Celtic culture.
- Wendy Rule--With a trembly, high alto voice backed by various interesting percussion instruments, rhythmic stringed instruments, and a chant-like beat, her music is inspiring to listen to. Wendy uses as subjects many legendary figures and deities, as well as descriptions of metaphysical situations and descriptions of nature. She's an Australian musician who band-hops, but her sound is always bewitching.
- ♣Seven 13♣--Sort of Gothic sound is achieved with epic strings and a dramatic piano. Haunting vocals deliver various messages. A very full listen as opposed to some of the traditional but flimsily-accompanied folk musicians. Used to be Coven 13.
- ♣Elaine Silver♣--Ms. Silver's voice is in the mid-soprano range and very smooth, carrying simple, folky songs about faeries, nature, and love. She is known as a "metaphysical folk singer." There are songs with delicate harmonies (double-track harmony with herself), and those are particularly enjoyable. Light, simple guitar and piano mix with other traditional instruments to enhance her performance. Her album Faerie Goddess is the most well-known. Her music is family-friendly!
- Spiral Dance--Pagan folk rock. These guys are from Adelaide, Australia and they have a female vocalist with a middle-of-the road soprano-ish voice. If you like light folk but with a bit more of a beat, you'll like this. Most of the songs feature flute and light percussion as well as the ubiquitous guitar. The core of the band is the two females, Adrienne and Kerryn, and the band members back them up. Adrienne writes most of the music, and the influence is heavy on myths and legends.
- Spiral Rhythm--These guys are mostly a cappella with percussion, and they do little spiritual and tribal chants. Some are appropriate for Wiccan and Pagan rituals.
- Suzanne Sterling--With a vibrantly living beat, this artist treats us to lovely soaring vocals and a variety of styles. Her band Bhakti has an Indian sound, while some of her other groups (Kali's Angels and Alycone) go into electronic dance or folksy acoustic stuff. Subject matter varies, but a lot of her stuff is appropriate inspirational music for use with yoga or meditation.
- Tantara--Definitely a more tribal-sounding band, with three women playing instruments and doing shamanic and tribal chants. Didgeridoo is used prominently in their music, along with African drums and other rousing percussion that makes most of their stuff highly danceable. All the songs are dedicated to the Goddess.
- ♣Kari Tauring♣--Very acoustic music--light guitar and light medium soprano voice (sometimes with harmony). Kari is known as a "philosohpical entertainer" and she actually can write almost any kind of music. Her song "Remember Me" is about her discovery of the Goddess.
- ♣Lisa Thiel♣--Lisa is part of the women's spiritual movement, having studied many different goddess-affirming traditions. She started writing her music in relation to her profession as a holistic healer. All of her subject matter revolves around the many faces of the sacred goddess, mythological figures, and the sanctity of life itself. Featuring Lisa's high, clear soprano voice (sometimes with dual harmony) and acoustic guitar (or sometimes other stringed instruments) accompaniment, these chants and songs are quite life-affirming and relaxing.
- Three Weird Sisters--An eclectic group; you're never sure quite what you're going to hear. Sometimes it's a pulsing, percussion-and-chant-heavy spooky song. Sometimes it's a harp-accompanied version of Spring Strathspey (soaring vocals and pretty harmony). And then sometimes it's a song about a pointy-haired boss. Vocal harmony is almost always present (with even some male contribution despite their being "sisters"), and interesting instruments like harp, 3/4 upright bass, and bodhran make an appearance. Sometimes their songs are silly, with ridiculous themes (like a ditty about boys wanting sex in the morning), and then other times they're dead serious. In any case they're well-executed, and have some Pagan-oriented material.
- Triskalia--Guitar, strings, and drums make a traditional and catchy alternative Pagan band sound with Celtic roots. It's earthy music whose vocals are also very interesting--the male lead always sounds traditionally bard-like, and the subject matter skips around to many Pagan subjects like magick and mythology. Based in Montreal, Triskalia is made up of some very talented artists, most of whom do or have done other musical projects as well. Give them a listen.
- ♣Elisa M. Welch♣--Ms. Welch's voice is very lyrical and of the mid-soprano range, and her songs are usually accompanied by piano in a folksy sound. Pagan and general spiritual subject matter abounds.
- Leah Whitehorse--A collection of songs called "Beyond the Veil" is a great sampling of various Pagan-themed songs. On one song you'll hear Goddess names in a circling chant, while on others you'll hear epic drum beats or synthesizer waves or recorders and pianos supporting dreamlike lyrics. Many times harmony is made by recording several tracks in her light mid-soprano voice.
- Wench--Exotic electronic sort of percussion mixed with wailing vocals in a Middle East sound. They refer to themselves as "a utopian journey into a world beyond the nomadic reaches of the synthetic unknown." Interesting.
- ♥Dar Williams♥--While not a primarily Pagan artist, many of her lyrics are Pagan-friendly or deal with issues on which Pagans would share her views. Mainly folk with a bit of rock thrown in.
- WindRider--Various simple songs that celebrate the Earth. It seems that polished recordings of this artist are not available, but her voice is clean and pretty and the lyrics are very Pagan-friendly. WindRider promotes a whole-Earth community where people in other lands are also thought of as "us."
- Witch's Mark--Nice Pagan rock with a mellow listening feel and a collection of lyrics that will feel familiar and recognizable to any practicing Pagan. The lead singer, Rowan, has a sound to her voice that will be pleasant to any listener of more mainstream folk-rock (think Indigo Girls). The band's members are generally Gardnerian Witches and are very serious about their Craft as well as their music. You may find that some of the melodies are very unique while others are comfortingly repetitive/predictable (in a good way).
- Leah Wolfsong--Simple vocal music and single-drum percussion as a backup. Very chant-oriented. Subjects are simple and repetitive and very good for raising energy. Sometimes you'll get a country-sounding one or one with guitar accompaniment.
- David Wood--Some of the songs sing praises to goddesses of Pagan mythology. The sound is sort of like house dance most of the time, a steady, rhythmic beat and melodic lines. Most songs seem to feature female vocals.
- Wyrd Sisters--These girls are kind of a fixture in the folk community. One of the most amazing things about them is that none of them was musically trained when they began. They perform at a lot of gatherings and festivals. Their music is light and acoustic, with women's voices on vocals in kind of traditional arrangements. When all three of them sing together the harmony is awesome. One might be reminded of Indigo Girls plus Wilson Phillips with a twist of Pagan.
(Feel free to write me and suggest links!)
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