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Article ID: 2738
Age Group: Adult
Posted: April 3rd. 2000
PhoenixPhyre Gathering 2000 (2)
by Peg Aloi
WitchVox Daily Coverage: Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat
Thursday morning, we were up and about and on the road early. After the now 'necessary' donut stop, we chatted it up with friends and did a bit of shopping. Oh yay, one of my favorite booths was open! Last year, I discovered the wonderful work of Steve and Barb of Black Hawk Gallery. Along with leather clothing (Tony bought a nice little black leather loincloth there and looked quite 'fine' indeed around the campsite that evening.), they do wonderful creations with gourds. Now I am a Witch who really loves natural objects and so I scooped up one of the gourd baskets trimmed with suede fringe in a Celtic moment. Later, Steve gifted me with the matching mini-basket and I can't say enough how much I treasure these items. Pagans are generally known as 'tree-huggers', but I think I may have started a new nomenclature trend as I shared my latest addition with anyone how would stop long enough to look-that of 'basket hugger.' (which is better than 'basket case', I guess! LOL!).
Peg: As for the workshops, there was quite an impressive line-up this time around. One highlight was Isaac Bonewits' workshop Thursday afternoon, on the history of Modern Druidism. My hand got quite sore taking copious notes!! I had met Isaac before, but at this small intimate gathering it was much easier to find time to chat.
Wren: We were thrilled to finally meet Isaac-the man behind the legend!- and found him to be most personable and exquisitely witty. He elaborated on his now famous work of defining pagan terms and tracing the roots of Indo-European clergy and their descendents. We wish that more pagans would research both the prehistory of our roots and the available recorded historical texts and then go on to publish these much needed scholarly works. Isaac has set a standard and we hope that future generations will carry on the work that he has so aptly begun.
Peg: That evening, I was meant to open for Harper de Luna, a very talented woman who plays harp and recorder. I went to her campsite for a bit to see if we might do a song or to together that evening. We did some awesome improvisation, with me creating vocals out of thin air to accompany her harp stylings. We briefly thought about trying that out that night, but thought it might not go so well in front of a crowd! (Maybe next time...) We settled for me singing an a cappella version of "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," which she would immediately follow with her own instrumental version, as a way to transition from my performance into hers.
Later, we would have the great dinner Stacey and Daniella prepared for us, and get ready for the evening's festivities. Just before Thursday's concert, I found Isaac near the pool (which is also the main stage area) and asked if he was coming that night to hear me sing. he said, "Of course!" and I said "Good, because I'm dedicating my songs to you." He seemed a bit puzzled by that, and in any case he was talking with someone so I left him to wonder about that...Since my act consisted of traditional Celtic songs, sung unaccompanied, I figured it would be fitting to mention his Druidism workshop, with its material on the bardic tradition. So I sang a few songs, and the response was great. This made me very happy; after being made to feel so welcome at this gathering I was happy to contribute something more personal of myself. Isaac came up to me afterwards and jokingly asked if I would run away to Albequerque with him..."That's the best you can come up with?" I said...
Wren: Peg, of course, was great! She kept up a running joke about her choice of Celtic songs. Being without accompaniment, Peg kept to the laments and star-crossed lovers folk tunes (which she does sometimes in Scottish Gaelic and always in wonderful voice). So after that, anyone who had a sad song in their repertoire was forced to laughingly refer to it as 'another one of those lively Celtic ditties'.
Harper DeLuna was wonderful (and beautiful as well). Her music filled the entire compound with wonderful healing magic. And as far as we know, neither one of them has run off to Albequerque...
Peg: We stayed to hear the rest of Harper's concert, the lilting strains of her harp floating out over the water and enveloping the whole camp: very magical music, indeed.
Later, a number of us ended up back at the Waterhawk's camp, and, with the awning pulled closed, created our own little "coffeehouse" performance. We basically went around the circle, and those who had a song to offer did their stuff. I cannot even begin to describe some of the amazing stuff I heard that night. The high points were certainly the three part harmony singing of Lynda, Ginger and Dana, on songs like "Diamonds and Rust" and "Ma Bete," their version of Jean Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast." It was a real treat to hear Dana sing some of her own songs, and after one of them I said "You're like Kate Bush on mushrooms with a six string," and was told that was to become one of *the* quotes of the festival...so there you have it.
Fritz Chimes In: The photo strips on this page are from this now famous "coffee house" session and were captured on our Sony digital video camera set in "NightShot" mode. The awesome photo Harpa Deluna was captured by Darragh
Wren: What a wonderful and enchanted evening indeed. As many people as the tent would hold were all transfixed and transported as the music took us to distant lands and faraway times. From contemporary rock to classical strains to neo-classic pagan ballads, the night rang and sang with melodies punctuated with drumming, sporadic clapping and laughter.
Peg: Isaac also gave us some great bawdy druid songs, and I did a traditional song called "Greenwood Laddie" that Sam later said was still running through his head several days later...
Wren chirps in: Another one of those 'lively Celtic ditties', by the way! Didn't ANYONE Celtic ever have a happy ending to a love affair?
Peg: After a couple of hours, as people came and went under the awning, we started to notice that a small "crowd" had gathered outside to listen, so we rolled the awning back so they could be part of it.. We continued sharing songs, passing bottles of wine and mead around the circle, and it was an absolutely amazing time.
Wren: Fritz rounded out the night with a 'old northern English folk song'. You might know this one. It begins with, "There's nothing you can do that can't be done... "
Peg: After so much awe-inspiring music and magic, what more was there to look forward to? Unless it was tomorrow night, with the Waterhawks doing the Main Ritual, followed by Dana Davis and Dream Trybe in concert...
WitchVox PhoenixPhyre Coverage ---> Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday
Photo Credits: Photos in this coverage were captured on video by Fritz Jung, and via digital cameras by Bill Kilborn and Darragh
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