We live in a time when the challenges we face require us to call on helpers from all planes, all times, and places. The veil is thinning and helpers are appearing to inspire us, teach us, en-courage us, fill us with their wisdom and strength. The precious help from Guides of ancient times is pouring into our present time, back and forward, back and forward. They welcome us into their number, as we welcome them into our time. These Guides can help us craft a future that is bright and full of hope.
The Guides that I cherish most particularly these days are the ancient Celtic Bards.
The Irish Bards, lilting and dancing, their tunes fruity and sweet as Chardonnay.
The Scottish Bards, whose songs are flintier, with a more subtle, dry wit.
The Welsh Bards, with their rich choral tradition, songs echoing through the old mine shafts.
The Cornish Bards, with their sharp melodies, soaring off rocky cliffs and the moaning sea.
The Manx Bards, lullabies and homesick airs, a small island nation with a big tender heart.
And the Breton Bards, mysterious ballads ringing off primeval dolmen stones.
The songs of these rich, ancient traditions flood through me whenever I sing them. Mighty rivers of lore and history, majestic and enigmatic, soft-hearted and hilarious, floods and floods of songs about battles and wandering, family and long-lost love, loss and valiant survival. Songs of home, home, home, home, home. These songs have nourished the lands for centuries, for millennia. They are alive in the blood and they strengthen the sinews of our souls.
These are songs that feed us at a time when we sorely need the encouragement. These are tribes of people who knew how to survive, how to carry the truth of what truly matters through the days of trial and transformation. These are songs of home, home, home – and they remind us who we are.
I – love – these – songs. Every time I sing them I see shining eyes in the audience, tears brimming over. That tells me that you love these songs, too.
Louise Cloutier (www.voiceborne.com) has been singing at LFAC since its first launch, with solo programs of Pagan music, channeled concerts, improvised songs for the art exhibits, and music from the six Celtic nations. Louise started singing professionally in 1968. Since then she has sung Peking Opera, John Cage, Greek music and Edith Piaf. She has “sung” the banana trees at Garfield Park Conservatory and gourmet vegan food for a festival on sustainable eating. In Boston she directed Goddess Gospel, an a cappella feminist pagan gospel choir, and her CD “Scent of a Burnt Rose” features original songs for people in recovery or living with chronic illness. Louise teaches holistic voice lessons in Evanston.
Hear Louise’s song “Invocation to the Bards”, featured on the “Sounds of Life Force” album, available at Bandcamp