Welcome to the kickoff of the New Pagan Musicians Series here at www.meadmuse.com. Beginning the first day of April and continuing for 28 days (a lunar cycle), I’ll be sharing with you some amazingly talented new musicians and bands that have emerged in the past five years or so. To kick it off as a warm-up, I’m going to share some information about the series and how the musicians were chosen.
What was the criteria for choosing musicians and bands for the new series?
First, the musician or band had to have released its first CD sometime within the past five years. I chose five years rather than a shorter period of time because in PST (Pagan Standard Time), it equals two years. Additionally, because Pagan & Wiccan music is such a niche market and most works are done as a labor of love, there are fewer emerging talents than in other mainstream genres. I made a few small exceptions for a few really talented artists who have not yet released a CD, but for the most part I wanted to make sure that there was a CD or MP3 download so that you can support, enjoy, and share their music with others in the Community.
Secondly, the musician or band had to have a video or some other type of music link so that you could appreciate their music throughout the series. This just makes the series more fun, so I made it a requirement so you can listen to the music and/or see the artists while we are discussing their work.
Thirdly, they had to have a strong appeal to the majority of the Community. Most music that is presented on my website is more of along the middle road of the Pagan & Wiccan Music niche. Occasionally, we’ll discuss a heavy metal band or an ambient artists on the other end of the spectrum, but mostly the focus on the website and in the series is more in the middle road that appeals to a wide variety of ages and levels of spirituality in the Community. I’m not a big fan of heavy death metal type of music and I don’t really have an ear for it, so I recommend anyone looking for heavy metal type of music to check out A Darker Shade of Pagan by Jason Pitzl-Waters does an exceptional job covering the metal genre. As for the ambient genre, I do have an appreciation for ambient music, but unless it really stands out with some unique technical or tonal quality, I honestly tend to pass it over for more of the middle road music with lyrics that inspire my religious beliefs and faith. I have, however, included some metal rock and some ambient artists simply because they were so talented and unique.
More importantly for everyone to keep in mind is that I didn’t look for perfection. Although many of the musicians and artists I’m going to introduce have had access to professional recording and production equipment, some did not and they were not excluded from the list because of this. In time and with our support, hopefully, they will have access to more equipment and bring us higher production quality in the future.
What inspired the New Pagan Musicians Series?
In February, I wrote the first musician series call 28 Pagan Musicians in 28 Days in which I tried to pull a wide variety of artists from different decades and musical types as well as artists that had a strong impact on the Community with their music, activism, and/or charitable contributions. Since the series was focused more on a wide presentation, I wasn’t able to cover as many artists that I felt really deserved to be featured as well, but could not because of space limitations. This realization and the popularity of the first series inspired me to running a continuing music series. The research, preparation, and writing for the series was extremely time and energy intensive which contributed to the decision to run a series every other month. Additionally, I wanted to be able to continue to share other articles in the alternating months with various subjects that I had been addressing over the past six or seven years on the website’s past life as a blog.
As for this particular series on new and upcoming Pagan & Wiccan musicians and bands, I realized during the series that our new artists really don’t have many avenues to promote their work to the Community. Although most Pagans & Wiccans are becoming technologically saavy, we are still communicating through “word of mouth” although we are using a keyboard. It still takes years and quite often decades for an emerging artists to become known in the Community and the established artists do get the most attention because they have become so beloved to us all.
What was it like writing the new series?
Honestly, the excitement level has ebbed and flowed from conception of this series. The last series took around 80 hours a week to research, locate, write and communicate with the artists. I really enjoyed speaking with so many old friends and new friends who were of major facilitators to getting that series together and helping me to locate artists that we haven’t been in contact with for decades. It was really exciting to think about communicating with new artists in the same way and documenting their journey trying to make their entrance into the Community musical arena.
Then, I started looking for these amazing new musicians which became a daunting task. We don’t exactly have a Community billboard saying find new musicians HERE, so I had to spend the majority of time not writing or organizing, but simply on the location and selection process which extended a variety of sources: Facebook friends, YouTube, Amazon, ReverbNation, MySpace FM, pagan podcasters, and sites that hold sound tracks used by artists to link their music.
Bless their hearts for trying and I appreciate anyone breaking out and trying something new, but to be honest some of the music was painful. Additionally, there is rarely anything to indicate what type of music you are stepping into. You just put on your headphones and play musical roulette because you might get jazzy ambient music or immediate screaming of Nordic death metal right off the bat. However, my family thought it was hysterical watching me during the selection process and suggested making a videotape just on my efforts to locate the best upcoming musicians. During the thousands of sound clips, there was muttering ~ a lot of muttering. I actually ended up doing a prayer each time I listen to a new sound clip: Sacred Mother, please protect me and don’t let me ears bleed too much this time.
What are the upcoming trends in Pagan & Wiccan music?
While I think the popular folk rock and Celtic types of music are going to continue to dominate Pagan & Wiccan music, you can look forward to a greater variety coming out as our artists are experimenting and expanding with various techniques and structures including the following:
RAP ~ Yup we actually are getting some talented rappers. A few of them will be featured in this series as well, but I only included rap that had strong Pagan & Wiccan themes. I didn’t include regular rap by a Pagan or Wiccan artist and I didn’t include music that was predominating negative or had a high density of profanity. They were chosen based on religious inspiration and not to the standard of mainstream rap artists.
TRIBAL DRUMMING ~ Tribal drumming is really taking off in popularity. It is losing the stigma that it is separate from Pagan & Wiccan music and is coming to the forefront these days. The growing trend within tribal drumming is to incorporate other native type instruments and musical flow along with the drumming which makes it very exciting to see where our artists are going to go with this. I hope that at some point we see the emergence of symphonic tribal drumming featuring the drumming, but also incorporating elements in a fashion similar to the emergence of symphonic rock in the mainstream.
HORNED GOD ~ Music featuring the Horned God coming into the Community has been trickling in and I think we are going to see more music with themes of balancing and more directed towards the masculine aspect.
If you have any questions about or during the series, but sure to leave a comment or write me at email@example.com
Brightest of Blessings! Mead