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Witchvox Chapter: Pagan Music
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Bardic Circle Featuring...
|Masters in This Hall|
(words & music by Lady Isadora in original adapt. & arr. of trad.)
Masters in this hall
Hear ye news today
From messengers of Her
Who won’t be turned away!
Masters in this hall
Open up the door!
Hear Her footsteps now approaching
Heed Her voice, we do implore!
Masters in this hall
Open up your eyes!
Now the Lady stands before you
Children of the Earth, arise!
Masters in this hall
Hear what we do say:
The Goddess is come in
And She is hear to stay!
The Goddess is come in
And no folk should be sad
Anthems of sweet praise we sing Her
Hail the Queen! Rejoice! Be glad!
The Goddess is come in
Wherefore we make good cheer
Tidings of great joy we bring you
Banished be the tides of fear
Masters in this hall
Hear what we do say
The Goddess is come in
And she is here to stay!
copyright 1990 Lady Isadora
Lady Isadora ...
Masters in This Hall
(by Lady Isadora in original adapt. & arr. of trad.)
Audience Count: 11,555
Good Yule, my wild and wonderful Witches! A Merry Solstice, all ye Citizens of Mother Earth! Witch or no Witch, male or female, young or old, gay or straight, serious or silly (ha, I wonder why I added that one) , the same glorious Sun shines forth newly reborn upon us all.
As some of you may recall, at the time of my previous Bardic Circle entry, "Wintry Skies", at Samhain, I was happily toasting the Old Ones and beloved spirits in champagne, then suddenly switched inexplicably to spiced vanilla chai. “Waiting for the wind to rise”, as my opening lyrics to that song would have it, I somehow managed to invoke a veritable tempest in a teacup, 'tis true: conspiratorially confiding all sorts of deviously delicious musical plottings and plannings. Now, at my beloved Yule, festively garbed in ancient evergreen, and happily holly-crowned and berry-blessed, I am with characteristic Witchyesque whimsy still in something of a Spice Grrl mode.
Say what? Well, just between you and me and ye goode olde Yule logge, this time I’m tipping a wee celebratory tumbler of sorcerously-spiced eggnog, laced with a temperate tot or two of scalliwaggishly-spiced Lady Bligh rum. But-- Samantha Spice? Sabrina Spice? Hexy Hecate Spice? Spice Hazel? Which pixie-ish persona to choose? Perhaps I’d better peer a little more closely into the nearest divinatory cup-bottom configuration of clue-bringing clove buds and numinously-rendered nutmeg residue in pursuit of this merry mystery. Wanting to keep my wits about me, as my sagaciously savvy Inner Pirate Queen bids me do, however, I hasten to inform that I only imbibe this stuff on very special occasions, mind. You'll never catch her (I mean, me) cupshot nor craven, by the Powers!
My IPQ is a most vigilant and audacious lady, so she is. As is the Young Lady I see so vividly in my third eye, striding righteously through the snow (although She's in a long white hooded robe, definitely not in pirate garb) to confront the un-Goddessly "masters" of oppressively patriarchal society, as depicted in my lyrics to this song. It's one of the "Three Carols for Yule" suite from my 1990 album, *The Queen of Earth and Sky*, now being re-released on CD. "Masters..." is featured in the Yule section of my website at www.ladyisadora.com/yule.html , along with pictures and other originally adapted carol lyrics, including those to the title track of my forthcoming album, *Goddess Rest Ye Merry Gentlefolk*.
I adapted and mostly rewrote the lyrics to "Masters in This Hall" sometime in the 1980s from the well-known Christmas carol lyrics, which William Morris is thought to have published around 1860. Other than the title and a very few phrases retained for the sake of recognition continuity, in best folk song tradition, the lyrics are original. The traditional melody, which I've performed on my album in an original arrangement, is often given as English, but was, according to some sources, actually French. It is supposed to have appeared in Feuillet's 1703 collection *Recueil de contredanse* , and subsequently in the 1710 John Essex translation *For the Further Improvement of Dancing*, under the title "The Female Saylor". Hah-- and you were wondering what any of this really had to do with Pirate Queens! ;-)
Recorded: Indianola, Iowa 1989
Guests/Players: Lady Isadora, vocals and guitar.
Technical Notes: Vocals with overdubs and acoustic guitar. Recorded in professional 24-track studio. Melody traditional, words and musical arrangement by Lady Isadora.
Artist Profile: Excerpted from Isadora's website (Lykaina, webmistress) :
An experienced Witch priestess and ritual artist, Lady Isadora is also a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter, guitarist, arranger, and producer. She was one of the early founders of the Witch & Pagan musical genre. Her classic albums *The Queen of Earth and Sky*, *Priestess of the Pentacle*, and *The Witching Hour*, long awaited on CD, were re-released on that format Samhain 2010, with new recordings in the works.
Isadora, or "Dizzy Aura", was born on the very first day of the Neo-Elizabethan era, and is very glad to be here, even if she does find the original era much more interesting-- sometimes. After all, there were no Beatles, no detective novels, and no fabulous designer yarns to knit with in Elizabethan days-- and what's worse, there was no Johnny Depp. Or was there?
Isadora is a longtime writer and researcher in a number of diverse fields of interest. She has published articles in various Pagan, New Age, and mainstream journals, is working on a series of novels, and is also compiling for publication a compendium of original rituals, poetry, and essays, entitled *The Pen is a Magic Wand*.
Isadora has been among the most acclaimed Pagan bards for nearly three decades. She has been described by recent reviewers as “Queen of Musical Witches” and “a Pagan National Treasure”, having already earned such accolades as “a voice that rivals Judy Collins’”, “guitar prowess to rival Lita Ford”, and “the Joni Mitchell of the [Witchcraft] movement”. However, Isadora declines to style herself with such titles.
“Of course, I’m very flattered to have been given so much praise, ” she admits. “If somebody says it or writes it, I’ll have it put on my reviews webpage, with great appreciation. If all the promo quotes sell somebody on checking out my music, so be it, and I hope they enjoy my songs. Like any other musician, I want to be able to make a living from my work. Like all musicians, I have my influences. But I don’t want to get stuck on them.
"I’ve always felt it’s the individual voice one represents, and what one brings to music that’s new and unique, that are truly important. I don’t want to play the Jonier-than-thou game some young female singer-songwriters today seem rather caught up in. Yes, Joni Mitchell and other great mainstream recording artists have been pioneering musical sisterspirits for many of us. Listening to their work in our younger years helped awaken the chords of our own beings – and those are the chords we really should be playing, when all is said and sung.
"I put my own Witchy and very personal stamp on my influences, I feel, and took them in new directions. I’ve continued to grow and deepen as a songwriter, so I’m eager to share my previously-unreleased and more recent material with fans, as well. Yes, Joni et al are fabulous, without doubt, but so are we. We’ve got our own voices to raise and our own songs to sing.
"So... I don’t see myself as Judy Collins in a tall black pointy, or the Witch Lennon-McCartney, or Empress of Ethereal Sopranos, or the bitchin’est, bewitchin’est Broomstick Babe of Bards, or whatever. [Laughs and winks.] OK, OK, well, under the circs, I can see I'm FORCED to confess I was once known to certain veddy British male admirers in my desperately mod girlish days in the '60s as "Queen of the Birds", tee hee. A story I shall NOT at present delve into in any detail. [Chokes back a wee chortle-- just barely.] At any rate, I suppose it might be cool to be considered the next Billie Holiday, or the next Hildegard von Bingen-- or maybe a quirkily groundbreaking new combination of the two [laughs again]-- but I'd really rather be the one and only Lady Isadora, anyway. If I happen to be somebody’s favorite musician, then sure, I’m happy, but I do keep it in perspective. Music is an art, not a contest! And there is such a glorious amount of talent in the Pagan music scene these days... a true joy for us all!”
Isadora is co-founder with friend Lykaina of the sorcerously subversive social club network, the Black Witch-Hat Society. In the early 1970s, Isadora was the one and only lonely founder of the only partly tongue-in-cheek Society for the Prevention of Witchcraft Being Called "Wicca". (As she is all too fond of advising to whomever will listen, the original word was documentably "Wiccecraeft", pronounced "WITCH-eh-creft", from the Old English/Anglo-Saxon-- a Germanic, not Celtic tongue.) Isadora, of "mixed" British Isles and Danish descent, has been an avid enthusiast for her own ancestral languages and many others for most of her life. While at university, she was inducted into Delta Phi Alpha, the National German Honor Society, having won a number of academic awards in that language, including two from the German government. One of Isadora's specialties at Bluestocking & Broomstick is the studious pursuit of the Celtic and Germanic branches of the Indo-European language family tree.
A longtime clergywoman of the Craft with legal ministerial status, a trustee of the Universal Federation of Pagans, and a member of ASCAP and the international Fellowship of Isis, Isadora has been a biographee in *The World Who's Who of Women*. Following an absence of some years from the Pagan music scene due to family commitments and other aspects of her life and career, Isadora plans to make it up to her bewitched, bothered, and bewildered fans by releasing a series of long-awaited new albums and gigging as often as possible at festivals and other gatherings and events.
Wrote legendary Pagan journal *Green Egg*:
"In Lady Isadora's voice hear the singing of quartz bowl bells. In her heart feel the dedication of Witch and bard. Her voice slides waterlike from strong high places to splash into pools of evenly-grained alto note progressions, then carries us all willingly down storystreams of love, defiance, ethics, evolution... [Her albums] are a wonderful collection for Pagans, Witches, and writers. Her voice is an instrument of surpassing beauty with which she tells our tales and sings our souls."
Additional review accolades for Lady Isadora include:
"...soaring flutelike exaltation... lushly beautiful melodies combine with words of power..."
"Her pure soprano voice comes from deep within her soul... moving, strong, poetic lyrics... Inspired and fulfilling music, highly recommended."
--*Heartsong Review* (1st review)
"Once more, Lady Isadora touches Pagan heartstrings with her lilting voice and magical melodes... themes of power and mystery... good thinking music...deep messages for contemplation mixed within the lovely harmonies."
--*Heartsong Review* (2nd review)
"... don't miss... sparkles with top professionalism... a voice that rivals Judy Collins' for clarity and emotion.“
--*Circle Network News*
“The Joni Mitchell of the Wicca* movement... powerful...” – Website for “Psyche van het Folk, ” Radio Centraal, Antwerp, Belgium
*Isadora greatly appreciates the praise, but notes that she herself uses only the term "Witchcraft".
"An intelligence not often seen in this field...Raise your expectations for Pagan music.”
– *The Red Queen*
"...a Pagan National Treasure..."
--Michelle Mays, *Fireleap: the Beltane Collection*, et al.
"Like the sirens of mythology, Isadora calls our spirits to join her in ecstacy... this songstress is truly the Queen of Musical Witches."
--SkyDragon of Lucidian, *For the Lady and Lord*
"Isadora sings like the mermaids, full of truth and magic... lyrical, yet politically astute as well. A rare combination..."
--Shekhinah Mountainwater, *Songs and Chants of the Goddess*, *Witch-a-Way*, et al; author of *Ariadne's Thread*
"... a cauldron of mixed delights and metaphors... unique approach and style... the layered voices and harmonies of 'Samhain Fires' would make Freddie Mercury and Queen proud... Candy for the ear, intellect, and spirit."
-- Lord Foxglove, author of *Advancing the Witches' Craft*
“...excellent... delightful... I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending her work.”
– Raymond Buckland, PhD, author of *Witchcraft from the Inside*, *Wicca for Life*, et al.
"Lady Isadora's songs stir the heart of the Witch, and resonate in the endless cycle of things that are ever ancient and ever new."
--Raven Grimassi, author of *Hereditary Witchcraft* at al.
“I was absolutely filled with joy... Every song, every line spoke to the heart... I can’t imagine any Pagan being without them.”
– DJ Conway, author of *Celtic Magic*, *Flying Without a Broom*, et al.
"There's a CD out there actually claiming to be the 'Best of Pagan Song' without Lady Isadora on it. No comment, except that's like having a 'Best of '60s Folk' without Joan Baez!"
--Annie Redbird, MN (via e-mail, used with permission)
"...this gorgeous haunting voice to rival Sarah Brightman, guitar prowess to rival Lita Ford, and a songwriting gift to rival Lennon-McCartney."
--Phoenix NightSong, NC (via e-mail, used with permission)
"Thank you, Lady, for sharing your amazing talent with the world."
--Eternal, poet & writer, of "Support Pagan Artists" website (via e-mail, used with permission)
"You're AWESOME! Thank you thank you thank you for YEARS of enjoyment of your music! You ROCK, sister!"
--Hunter Nolan, musician, NE
"...a joy to listen to...inspiration while I write."
--Bettina Lindsey, author of *Swan Witch*, *Waltz with the Lady*, et al
"... a truly beautiful voice... brilliant."
--Kenny Klein, formerly of Kenny & Tzipora, *Moon Hooves in the Sand* et al; author of *The Flowering Rod*
"... a fabulous achievement."
--Angie Remedi, *The Mother Calls*
"My cat Seraphine has given her emphatic 'meow' of approval-- and believe me, she doesn't impress easily!"
--Lisa Thiel, *Songs of the Spirit* et al
"...miraculous... spine-chilling... a true feast for the heart in all Lady Isadora's works."
--*The Wiccan Rounde*
"... amazing... haunting... a precious gift..."
--*The Beltane Papers* (1st review)
"Listen to this music in a darkened room lit by candlelight, and let the magic happen."
--*The Beltane Papers* (2nd review)
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