Songs for Gaia
SONGS FOR GAIA
A cycle of poems celebrating the spirit of the earth. The poetry grows out of the imagery of indigenous cultures, the rhythms of jazz and blues and the language of dreams. The album has two versions of the poem, one just spoken word and the other accompanied with the music of flautist, Paul Cheneour.
1. Spoken Word 23:23
2. Spoken Word with music 27:36
About the poems
“Songs for Gaia” is a cycle of 51 poems: songs, hymns, praise poems and laments for nature personified as the living being of Earth. They belong to no religious tradition but weave elements of many different times, traditions and cultures. There are echoes of Jewish and Christian liturgy, and forms and cadences borrowed from Sufi poems and Hindu devotion. There are elements from various oral traditions as well: African praise poetry, European folk traditions, Native American song, Siberian and Eskimo cultures and others.
These traditions seem to rub along together as best they can in whatever fashion they can. I am happiest with a piece when it seems unidentifiable (it could be from anywhere almost) or seems to hold two traditions in an impossible simultaneity so that maybe something else can be born.
Sometimes a piece may be in the voice of a particular character. There is a child, a thief, a priest, a scientist, a jazz musician, a fisherman, a shaman and an alcoholic among others; all wanted to sing their praises, make their complaint or have their say.
“Songs for Gaia” was written in London during the winter of 1998-1999. A section was published in Resurgence Magazine (issue 201 July/August 2000) and later another section was published in Caduceus Journal (issue 60 Summer 2003).
About the Music
Poetry on the page is one thing. Poetry spoken is something else. It returns us to the ancient roots of poetry as oral recitation. On the CD there are two versions of the poem. First, just spoken word. The second version is with music by Paul Cheneour, a composer/flute player who works in a wide range of styles from jazz to middle-eastern to classical.
The music on the CD was produced by Paul during his time in Mexico and brings a fascinating palette of moods and energies that weave through the reading of the poems, complementing or counterpointing the words.
Some may find that the music enhances, others may find it a distraction; we’re all different in that regard and so we have given you a choice – to listen to the poems with music or without.