Kathy Bullock, teacher of African-American sacred music, brings her deep appreciation of music's beauty, power and spiritual possibilities. She is a Professor of Music at Berea College, Kentucky, where she also directs the Black Music Ensemble, a 70-voice choir that specialises in performance of African-American sacred music. Dr. Bullock presents performances, lectures and workshops in the United States and Africa in the area of African-American music and culture and its influences/connections to other cultures. She has recently been on a research trip to study of African music and culture and will present some of this material. Dr. Bullock brings to her programmes a rich cultural heritage and tradition. She also brings a love and passion for music of all kinds, a deep appreciation of music's beauty, power and spiritual possibilities, and an infectious excitement in the performing and sharing of it with others. Kathy's website.
Ali Burns, song maker and Community Choir director, is fascinated by the sound of voices singing and loves the way that singing can unburden people from daily life. She says "I've always been fascinated by the sound of voices singing. It doesn't have to be a great voice - in fact quite the opposite - I think I'm inspired just by the fact that people's voices are so closely connected to themselves and that they are prepared to stand up and sing - this is me - this is what I sound like! And when you put many voices together, the strong support the weak and the whole is such a magnificent thing - so much larger than the sum of the parts. I want to recreate the richness of harmony that makes songs of oral traditions around the world so satisfying and joyful to sing but with words that root the work firmly back in my own culture." Ali's website.
Fionntulach, spiritual leader of the Ceile De, will teach Fuinn, Gaelic chants rooted in pre-Christianity, which seek to harmonise the spiritual, otherworldly, and physical parts of ourselves. Like other ancient languages, Gaelic has many subtle meanings. The word Fonn, for instance, means not only song or chant, but also a state of mind... and the land itself. Many of these chants are rooted in pre-Christianity. Some of them are in Modern Gaelic, either the Scots or the Irish variants... some are in Old Irish - the ancestor of modern Gaelic - a language that goes back to the dark ages and beyond. The fuinn (plural) work on many different levels, they harmonise the three parts of us that relate to each of the word's three meanings - the Spiritual, the Psychic or Otherworldly, and the Physical. They are a powerful spiritual tool that can help one sink into a deep meditative state or enflame the heart. Because we always have our voices and hearts with us, a fonn can be sung spontaneously at any time - as a sudden impulse to acknowledge the gift of life and the mystery of the Divine woven into all things. Fionntulach's website.
Frank Kane, sought-after workshop facilitator, works with the essence of the voice as revealed in Georgian song, offering a path of self-discovery. He first heard Georgian songs in 1982 and traveled to Georgia for the first time in 1984. This was the beginning of a long-standing passion which led him to found the Kartuli Ensemble in the United States and later the Marani and Irinola ensembles in France. His teaching approach uses exercises with vibration, the raw material of our voices and our selves, to shed light on the principles that underlie this singing. Working with the essence of the voice as revealed in Georgian song brings insights that can enhance any form of singing and the speaking voice and offers a rich path of self-discovery.
Michael Stillwater is a multi-talented artist and educator using music for healing and reconnection. A recording artist of over a dozen albums, his songs reflect universal spiritual principles through the eyes of his human journey, and his chants are known worldwide for opening heart and mind. He provides a unique artistic way for people to feel witnessed, recognised and supported at an essential level and also offers a way for anyone to cultivate their own intuitive vocal expression. He is International Ambassador for Singing Hospitals, an organisation dedicated to promoting the beneficial effects of song and bringing song into hospitals and clinics worldwide. Michael's website.
Karine Polwart draws from folk music's long tradition while keeping pace with the ceaselessly changing times. Her talent for crafting unique, enduring melodies, her gift for saying just enough without overstating her case, the range and dynamism of her arrangements, all come together in songs of powerful contemporary relevance. She also has the purest and most approachable of singing voices, drawing the listener towards her in the same way one might lean towards a late night tale by the fireside. Karine will perform an evening concert as a trio with her brother Steven Polwart (acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele and vocals) and singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Inge Thomson (accordion, percussion, loops and vocals). Karine will not be with us for the week but will teach an afternoon workshop. Karine's website.
Peter Vallance is your host for the EarthSings Festival. He has lived in the community for 25 years where he is a storyteller, dance workshop leader and Artistic Director of the Universal Hall. Peter's website.
The following community artists will all be contributing in different ways to the EarthSings Festival.
Kate O’Connell has been a song and voice facilitator for over 25 years. She draws inspiration from the Scottish landscape and culture and likes to share the joy of singing with others. Kate's website.
Bill Henderson has been leading community music groups for 20 years. He uses music to create community, foster harmony and stimulate self-discovery. Bill's website.
Barbara Swetina is a gifted musician who plays many instruments with a wide repertoire of songs. She brought sacred harmony singing into the heart of the community and leads workshops internationally. Barbara's website.