Thursday, 23 August 2007


One of my own particular loves is sacred music, and the absence of any such tradition in Paganism was a constant disappointment. Accordingly, I'm going to try to post links to various traditions of sacred music that I particularly love on this blog.

The example gven above is of Hindu dhrupad chant, with demonstations of particular ornamental techniques. At first listening, it may sound like a collection of twangs and blips, but in fact it is an immensely subtle - and ancient - form of sacred music, with its origin in samavedic chant. Sir John Tavener has written that he listens to dhrupad more than any other form of sacred music, and the influence of dhrupad's microtones, sober ecstasy, and immensely long melodic lines is obvious in his own compositions. It's best listened to by candlelight, but be warned that at points the performer, a descendant of the famous Dagar brothers, interrupts himself. First he demonstrates a technique in which the voice is used to imitate the sound of a stringed instrument with uncanny accuracy, and later performs an ecstatic riff which sounds like a kettle boiling over.

I suspect the chant given here may be in honour of Krishna (if I am right in picking up the word Nand, a tender name used of Krishna) but wiser readers must enlighten me.


Yvonne said...

Yes I had a problem with the absence of music too. I tried to form a Pagan choir but there weren't enough of us.

I love singing very much. I must say that one of the treasures of Orthodoxy is its music, which is in a very different style to western church music.

Yvonne said...

I went to the Unitarian church on Sunday and it was so beautiful that it made me cry - throughout the service, tears of joy and recognition were streaming down my face. All their hymns affirm that the truth can be found through every spiritual path. Lovely! Check it out.