(Originally published in The Beltane Papers; reprinted with the permission of Ms. Cedarwind.)
Lisa Thiel and Ani Williams, Sisters of the Dream. The first of three must have recordings. Every song or chant carries its own magic. Beautiful lyrics about the Goddess and earth reverence. Ani Williams plays harp with divine essence,blended with vocal wise woman Lisa Thiel. These songs will be sung over and over, and will be with you always.
Libana, A Circle is Cast. The second of the must have series. Though it was released over ten years ago, it isstill in my top three! The women's music from around the world carries many flavors, with anoutstanding job of blending vocal varieties, including true a capella. Classic tunes that will always show up at women's circles.
On Wings of A Song & Guests, Ancient Mother. The third of the must have series for every woman who knows the Goddess. A compilation of women's songs from many traditions including Hawaiian, Celtic, Native American, East Indian, Afro-American Yoruba. Blessed with voices of guests Brooke Medicine Eagle andZ Budapest. Add the vocalsof Priestesses and Shaman blended with nature for a journey around the world of women's chants, from ancient times to the present.
Joules Graves, Waterfall Child. A one-woman powerhouse, passionate with drum,vocals and music that will make you honor the gift of being a woman. Remember her name, as she is going places. I have had the pleasure of seeing her perform many times and she always has everyone on their feet! She will fill you with heart and soul and political passion with music born out of activism and rooted in the earth. With lyrics to take you to the waterfall (remember that water smooths the stone), she will become a must-have in your collection after one listen. Available on cassette $10 or CD $15 plus $2 shipping from Joules Graves, PO Box 153, Lopez Island, WA 98261.
Ubaka Hill, Shapeshifters. If you love the drum, then take on Ubaka Hill. Incredible rhythms as she drums, sings, and tells stories. This recording will enliven you, energizeyou and fill you with the Spirit of the Drum. If you have a drum in the room when you are listening to Shapeshifters, I guarantee you will have to join in!
Tiddas, Sing About Life! This recording is a combination of their two Australian releases "Inside My Kitchen" 1992 and "Sing About Life!" in 1993. These women have style, accompanied by wonderful instrumentation of the Didgeridoo,Clapsticks,Woodblockand Cabasa. A blending of vocals that will have you smiling. Political, Traditional Aboriginal and Sisterhood are recurring themes. Treat yourself to this one. I have had a hard time locating this in the US lately, but had to list it anyway. Contact their North American Management: Invasion Management Group Ltd, Peter Casperson, Steven Saporta, 114 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
Loreena McKennit, The Visit. Hauntingly familiar, ancient, yet new. A versatile and talented harpist with a divine voice. From poetry to Greensleeves, or tunes that enchant you through an Italian courtyard, Loreena touches my deepest memories in this work. Often categorized as Celtic, this Canadian artist is multi-talented and works magick through her music. I can honestly say of the hundreds of concerts I have attended in my lifetime, the visit she paid our community continues to hold the best of the very best ever. Don't miss the opportunity to see her perform!
Jennifer Berezen, She Carries Me. Great for group meditations or alone. She Who Hears the Cries of the World is a long playing chant with mesmerizing power. With guest Olympia Dukakis reciting "The Charge of the Star Goddess"and. a wonderful Goddess version of Hail Mary, to include the words "Blessed Be." This piece also offers an instrumental or vocal version of "She Carries Me." A nice complement to any music collection.
Sarah McLaughlin, Solace. Even though she has made it to the big time, Solace still rates as her best work on my list. Her soft yet charged voice blends perfectly with the piano, drums, guitar and a few familiar tunes such as Donovan's "Wear Your Love Like Heaven." She also offers lyrics like "we were drawn to the rhythm of the sea," or"come into the fire.....milk and honey so intoxicating." Pure Goddess, pure Sarah.'
Tracy Chapman, New Beginning. Ladyslipper sums it up like this: "As a singer and songwriter, few artists can match her literate lyrical compassion and her uncompromising stance." This is a great one for creating sacred space: him it on, lay back, close your eyes and just listen. She offers wisdom and familiar truths. Every song offers righteous thoughts, everyone should hear her words.
Reclaiming & Friends, Second Chants. Sixteen original ritual songs with a variety of styles from semi blues to children's. This includes a great food blessing song and my favorite Pagan Gospel song "When We Are Gone." Based on Reclaiming Community's work with Celtic myths; nice drums and genuine homestyle music.
Enya, Watermark. This Irish musician is best summarized again in the words of the Ladyslipper catalogue: "Enya singing in Gaelic, Latin, and English evokes a universal language which, when combined with her piano and synthesizer, creates a mystery and almost spiritual awe." She offers an incredible array of vocals, music, and truly sacred sound and vibration.
Libby Roderick, If You See A Dream. Here she is, the spokesperson of my heart. Gifted in telling it like it is, an Alaskan feminist and talented woman singing tales of women's issues. The international favorite "How Could Anyone Ever Tell You" that all kinds of people enjoy, including school children and domestic violence survivors. I love "When I Hear Music" that reminds us of the many roles of women. My young daughters sing "Rosa," a tribute to Rosa Parks and many other women leaders. Her folksongs will forever be a part of our path.