CD reviewed by Myfanwy Ashley
At last year’s Glastonbury Goddess Conference I was lucky enough to be introduced to the music of Julie Felix, and came home with her album, I Walk with Beauty. This year’s Conference did not disappoint either as I had the opportunity to attend Kellianna’s workshop, and came home with her album I Walk with the Goddess. The ten tracks on the album reflect a variety of influences to my untrained ear, including Celtic, Gospel and Country styles.
I am told that the title song is popular as a track to accompany walkers, and while I’m not much for any kind of undue exercise myself, I can see how it would work. It sets a good pace, is uplifting, and while not my favourite track on the CD, it is arguably the most insanely catchy one. Autumn Wind is a charming love song which manages to be sweet without being cloying; not so much because of the lyrics (“your kisses taste just like sweet honey wine”), but for the way they work with the music, which adds freshness to them.
Kali-ma (“my destruction breeds creation”), with its invocation by Heidi Couture, is thrilling and trance-y, while Serpent Mound has a more measured hypnotic rhythm, and made me wish I could walk on the land with Buckeye and Hickory while listening. Unfortunately, the song just doesn’t work quite the same in the English countryside around where I live. This must be down to the feel of the music as a song of place, as there is little that is exclusive about the lyrics.
Ancestor’s Song is one of my favourite tracks on the album, a beautiful, and very singable, song which has already found its way into my spiritual practice as a way of honouring my own ancestors, but my absolute favourite has to be Shares Her Love, a joyful Goddess song which is both praise and thanks, and an offering in itself. Along with Carolyn Hillyer’s Sweet Wonder (from the album Drum Songs from the Heathen Hills), Shares Her Love is one of a few songs which can make me feel close to Goddess just by singing them. For me, Ancestor’s Song and Shares Her Love are worth buying the album for all by themselves.
I’m not the romantic love song type, so Avebury, which is probably meant as a song for an absent lover (“I know you are waiting I’m so glad that you’re mine”) resonates for me more as a love song for Goddess (“around the great circle the energies flow, and I feel you are with me wherever I go”). Blessed Are We really isn’t my kind of thing, all high silvery vocals and chimes, but it does increase the sing-ability level of the album for sopranos, as Kellianna’s vocals are usually a little lower.
Freya is a story song for this Goddess with an enjoyable guitar accompaniment. Listening to it on my very un-evocative CD player, I’m nevertheless thinking of cosy evening storytelling sessions around an imaginary fire. Still, to hear Freya’s first person account of personal ambition and domestic troubles makes the Goddess seem like a metaphor for a modern woman to whom I can relate on a human level (magical dwarf orgies aside), and I’m not sure how I feel about this. I know that Goddess is supposed to be in everywoman these days, but I still quite like my Goddesses to be Goddessy somehow. Perhaps this is too old-fashioned of me. Luckily, the song is entertaining enough to be enjoyable anyway for its own sake. My taste for the inspirational is more than satisfied, however, by the final track of the album, This New Day. With its powerfully uplifting gospel feel, this is a great track to finish on.
Overall, the album is pleasant to listen to, and some of the tracks are outstanding, but where I Walk with Goddess excels is in its sing-ability. Whether you are singing along for your own pleasure, as part of an individual spiritual practice, or with a group, these songs lend themselves to being sung. A number of songs, especially the title track and Shares Her Love have catchy, easy to learn lyrics, and as I learned in Kelianna’s workshop, they also work well as rounds. I’m not much of a drummer, but I reckon I could happily have a go at drumming along with a few tracks too, most notably Serpent Mound. Either way, for anyone who works with groups where the occasional sing along is appropriate, this album begs to be put to use.
Kellianna’s I Walk with the Goddesscan be obtained from her website: http://www.kellianna.com/