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Guide to Pagan Music

Updated on May 21, 2007

Want the perfect music to add ambience to your next Sabbat feast? Here are my picks of the best - and the worst - Pagan musical artists available today:

The Best

The Chieftans - Ireland's most famous band evokes the feelings of village seasonal celebrations in the traditional jigs, reels, and aires that have made the Chieftans so popular for over a quarter of a century. No, the members aren't Pagan, but their stuff is real. (Actually, just about any traditional Irish group is the perfect accompaniment for any Pagan community or coven sabbat feast.)

Sarah Stockwell - If contemporary Pagan folk songs are more your thing, I cannot recommend too highly this alto from the Boston area. Songs on her Dark of Moon album that are sure to please include: "Fashioned in the Clay" and "Breaths." Stockwell's voice is very pleasant to listen to.

Gwydion Pennerdwen - An oldie but goodie, he's the most famous Pagan bard - even though he wrapped his car around a tree more than twenty years ago. His albums are available via the Internet, and include such classics as "Lord of the Dance" and "Spring Strathspey" (my personal favorite).

John Roberts and Tony Barrand - As a personal acquaintance of these two ex-Brits, I can tell you that, although they themselves are not Pagan, they are well aware of their popularity within our community. Their albums, available via Front Hall Records, are chock full of traditional English songs, and a couple albums, To Welcome in the Spring and Dark Ships in the Forest are, as the titles suggest, very Pagan. Also check out their Nowell Sing We Clear series for Yule!

The Revels - Their two albums of traditional spring, summer, and fall music, Seasons For Singing and Wild Mountain Thyme stay next to my CD player from March through November. The Revels have also produced six or seven winter solstice albums featuring midwinter songs from a variety of cultures and times including medieval and renaissance England, 17th-century Ireland, Russia, Scandinavia, and 19th-century America - complete with traditional musicians from the countries being featured.

The Worst

Kenny and Tziporah - If any of their albums are still around, they should be burnt. Actually, no they shouldn't - the EPA would consider it a toxic waste violation I'm sure! Kenny sings through his nose and Tziporah sings...generally badly. If you see their stuff anywhere, run!

Kiva - It surpasses my understanding why this band (or at least its founder) continues to be nominated for Wammie Awards (Washington DC's local version of the Grammy's) because there's nothing enjoyable about listening to someone endlessly caterwaul "ooh, ooh, Goddess, Goddess" song after song.

Lady Isadora and Lord Pan - I have no idea why anyone ever told these two that a) they could sing and b) the rest of the Pagan community had any interest whatsoever in listening to their original material. It might have been cute when I was 13, but I find it all condescending and poorly performed. Some of their stuff might still be available on the Internet. I hope not.

Jack Montgomery - His first album, Road to Avalon seemed promising, based on the title. Too bad he sounds like a poor man's Gordon Lightfoot. I kept expecting him to break into a terrible rendition of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Wait, weren't all renditions of that endless song terrible?

You'll notice that the majority of the best Pagan music is not being performed and recorded by Pagans, nor is the music Pagan-specific. Right now, it seems, Pagan original music is going through a "terrible" phase. My friend who's also a history teacher assures me that this is normal - apparently the Christians had mostly terrible music for the first two centuries of their existence, bad enough to be commented upon by outsiders.

However, this means we only have about 150 more years to go before the good stuff!

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    • dbmyrrha profile image

      dbmyrrha 9 years ago from Olympia

      There are some awesome pagan bands/singers out there.

      Castalia is Canadian, has a lovely voice, and writes wonderful songs. She sings other people's songs, too, and plays both guitar and harp.

      Gaia Consort is a rocking pagan band from the Pacific Northwest. they have three albums (I think.)

      Heather Alexander was an amazing pagan folk musician, also from the PNW. She's gone now, but her music and legend lives on in her musical heir, Alec James Adams. I'm sure her albums will continue to be available.

      While I'm not fond of Isaac Bonewits's music for the most part, there is an awesome version of "Spring Strathspey" on one of his albums. Of course, i have a soft spot for the original, as it was sung by my teacher, Dana Corby (who wrote the song "The Sun God," also on Gwydion's album.)

    • juliapgreen profile image
      Author

      juliapgreen 9 years ago

      Hmm, I'll have to check these out.

      I heard Isaac's band once, Real Magic, years ago. He was definitely the weakest link.

    • profile image

      anthill 8 years ago

      I ask a vary old tree that I have known since birth what was the best pagan music listen to? It said to me: listen to the birds in my branches and the wind going through my leaves feel me for who I am

    • profile image

      sandy c 8 years ago

      Check out TheGhostVoices at:

      myspace.com/theghostvoices

      I make pagan music and art ..

      love to all

      Sandy c

    • profile image

      Gavenus McClure 7 years ago

      Halo there,

      I live in the heart of wooded Surrey in the U.K, and am making a film about the white witch "Mother Ludlam".

      It is a fascinating tale.

      I also carve wooden staffs and practice shamanic rituals at ancient sites around waverley borough in Surrey.

      The film "witch" will be big. It is an epic legend about the terrible and tragic demise of the last white witch of any real notiriety in England.

      I am looking for like-minded people who are serious about the power of the wiccan way, so if you are interested then please get in touch.

      Cool site by the way!

      Blessed Be.

      Yours,

      Gavenus McClure

      Pickled Productions

      froat@hotmail.co.uk

    • profile image

      Jaz 7 years ago

      ok, so i just checked out Drawing Down the Moon by Gaia Consort, and I like it! I'm a new pagan, and I need some Pagan music! ok, so i'll probably b on here soon. Thanks.

      Blessed Be, and Merry Meet, Merrypart, and merry meet again!

      X

    • profile image

      musicinbox.info 7 years ago

      I will check it, thanks for your info

    • profile image

      Alexian 7 years ago

      Merry Meet,

      Check out my old album, and my upcoming new album at my new website http://www.alexianmusic.com.

      I released my 1st Wiccan album in 1992. After all these years, I'm finally releasing my next album this year, which is Pagan Techno Dance music. In fact, the 1st 2 songs will be coming out this month in March 2010, as I'm releasing them digitally.

      I have also developed an affiliate program called "The Rabid Pagans" for all my fans, where you can make cash for just "biting" and referring others to my website to sign up as well. So don't miss out on that for sure!

      And of course, don't forget to check out my other website, http://www.PaganMusic.com

      Bast Blessings!

      Alexian

    • profile image

      Raine 7 years ago

      Laura Powers is brilliant artist, her Goddess trilogy cds are amazing. Also Velvet Hammer when they where velvet hammer have three awesome songs (Blessed Be, We Do Not Die, and Rubber Room) plus many other good ones. Also Inkubus Sukkubus is pretty good too. Oh and I always loved Caledonia (At the edge of the light) and Gypsy(Bring back the light, an awesome yule song, and heaven's gift are two good ones) as well.

    • profile image

      emily 6 years ago

      i listened to lady isadora and her voice is SO strange, but ilke her lyrics . . . when i can understand them.

    • profile image

      Arthur Hinds 6 years ago

      Spiral Dance, Heather Jinmaku, Kelliana, Emerald Rose, Damh the Bard, Omnia, Spiral Rhythm, S J tucker, and on and on. There are soooo many great folks making really good pagan music out there.

    • profile image

      Page Against the Machine 6 years ago

      Inkubus Sukkubus is a pagan band, if you're into the 90s goth-rock thing.

      I also have to second the above comment about SJ TUCKER. She is awesome. Go on youtube and look up HYMN TO HERNE she tells a cute storybefore it and then you'll hear the most wonderful and haunting song of your life. As the title may tip off, it's quite the sexy little number.

    • profile image

      Bryan V 6 years ago

      Damh the Bard is my favorite Pagan musician.

      I was going to take this article seriously until I saw that you bashed on my man Gordon Lightfoot! He's awesome. lol. Jk...but he is awesome.

    • profile image

      Jenna Greene 6 years ago

      Hello Magickal People!

      Please check out my music. My songs are inspired by Gods and Goddesses of old, faerie lore, following dreams and finding the divine within.

      www.greeneladymusic.com/music/

      Thanks for listening!

      Brightest Blessings, Jenna

    • profile image

      Desari 6 years ago

      Try Faun, Woodland and Qntal, the first, Faun, is pagan/medieval/folk music, an absolutely awesome band! Woodland is folk still, but more contemporary music with a pagan theme, I heard both live at Faerieworlds this year and they had the crowd in a trance! They also sounded great later on in the pub when groups of musicians from different bands broke into renditions of chants such as ''We all Come from the Goddess'' and ''The Circle is Open''.

      And you can't forget Loreena McKennit. My favourite song of hers is All Soul's Night.

    • profile image

      Jack Montgomery 6 years ago

      Thanks for the compliment! Being somewhat compared to Gordon Lightfoot is an honor. Sorry you did not like "Onward to Avalon." It was a labor of love and spirit. Onward has sold over 1,500 copies worldwide which is not bad for an independently produced CD that has no promotional budget. It good we all have different tastes. All the best!

    • profile image

      Steve Paine 6 years ago

      Merry Meet another one to add to your list to look out for is LEGEND a pagan rock band somewhat like a cross between Jethro Tull and Nightwish - we've been going about 22 years and there's a new CD out in February 2011 :-)

      Blessed Be!

      Check out the below link for a sample of the sound...

      http://pagan-legend.bandcamp.com/track/spark-to-a-...

    • profile image

      Fiachna 6 years ago

      Hey everyone, thanks for the other posts

      I found a band from NY called Unto Ashes, have 3 of their cds, I like nearly all their songs, http://www.projekt.com/projekt/product.asp?sku=PRO...

      thats a link to their stuff on projekt music label, you can get them on myspace as well.

      Enjoy, Fia

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      I've discovered S.J. Tucker's album "Blessings". I love it as does my family. Her other albums did not grab me like Blessings, but it is overtly pagan and alternately hauntingly beautiful, fun, reverent, playful and overall, great. I hope someone else finds she fits the bill for them.

      )O(

      N

    • profile image

      Badger 6 years ago

      Well, naturally, when you said "these bands suck" I had to check them out. All I can say is, pagan musicians of the world please stop ruining "Twa Corbies". Steeleye Span's version whizzes on yours from a great height. And they are all rather twee

      I would heartily recommend Steeleye Span, and Pamela Wyn Shannon's Courting Autumn. Also, if you like metal I suggest bands like Enslaved, Moonsorrow and Korpiklaani, the latter especially if you like beer and jigging about and finally Todesbonden who do Celtic and Middle Eastern inspired metal :D

    • profile image

      aimee 6 years ago

      this is the worst guide ever simply because of its ignorant bias opinion

    • profile image

      Ashlee 5 years ago

      I like Inkubus Sukkubus. They're a goth band though, so they probably aren't to everyone's taste.

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      Lea Williams 5 years ago

      S. J. Tucker is definitely amazing, especially her latest CD entitled "Blessings". My favorites are "Come to the Labyrinth", "For Love of All Who Gather" and "Witch's Rune".

      Damh the Bard is pretty good too. :)

    • profile image

      Mike 5 years ago

      Witches Mark

    • profile image

      MiC Lee-Price 5 years ago

      Consider a revise. Please visit: http://www.deranged.duck.net.au/p4p.html

    • profile image

      Cora 5 years ago

      Try ?ywio?ak

    • profile image

      Ben 5 years ago

      New Magicfolk album "Tales of Power" now out...

      http://www.magicfolk.co.uk

    • profile image

      Jess 5 years ago

      Was I the only one that noticed that the person who made the list implied that paganism is only 50 years old? Now...I know that tthere are some pretty new pagan religions out this there. But as a whole, paganism was around LONG before any form of Christianity.

    • profile image

      jw 5 years ago

      @Jess

      Neopaganism is only about 50 years old. The supposed direct historical connection touted for the last twenty years or so have been proven bunk. This isn't to say that neopaganism has suddenly become an invalid form of spiritual expression or that it contains zero historical accuracy. However, people running around saying their tradition "goes back 1000 years to ancient Ireland/Wales/Estonia/whatever" is a bunch of certifiable hogwash. Wicca itself is just an almagamation of ceremonial magick, English folk magick, and eastern thought.

    • profile image

      Roxy 4 years ago

      I have to admit my fav band is spiral dance, but being in USA it's hard to get ahold of their stuff

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      Aldebaran 4 years ago

      Ha! For some reason, I kept overlooking The Chieftans when searching for Pagan music. Not anymore! Thanks for this article!

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      JazPrncess 3 years ago

      Check out Hecate's Wheel at www.hecateswheel.com - music to honor the Divine Feminine. Our music is inspired by and dedicated to the Goddess in all her guises.

      ♪ ॐ♫ Peace, Love, Light, and Music! ♪ ॐ♫

      Vicki (Hecate's Wheel)

    • profile image

      Joanna 3 years ago

      Group called Moonstruck has several great albums........Steve was a personal friend and he is greatly missed by all who knew him but he lives on in his music

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