THE PAGAN MUSIC LIST #4
Week #4: The Moon & The Nightspirit, Hedningarna, Seiðlæti, Luc Arbogast
The Moon & The Nightspirit
Recommended Album: any, but especially Regő Rejtem and Ősforrás
The Moon & The Nightspirit is a Hungarian duo whose ethereal music lives up precisely to how they self-describe, as inspired by “moss-grown forests” and “forgotten mystic places.” Evoking their Hun ancestry in their instrumentation and vocals (including throat-singing) mixed with North African influences, their songs feel deeply old on a level rarely found in other Pagan bands. As well, Mihály Szabó and Ágnes Tóth are both well-versed in occult and esoteric thought, and speak about it with startling poetry, as in this response (https://obscuro.cz/interview-with-gergely-cseh-from-the-moon-and-the-nightspirit/) to a question about their album, Holdrejtek:
The lyrical concept of the new album revolves around the duality and unity of the micro- and the macrocosmos, the hidden depths of seeds and the stellar-manifested universe. The album on the one hand is a dedication to the unseen, yet all-permeating forces that slumber in the arborescent depths, deep inside the growing seeds and blooming burgeons, the secret heart of Nature that throbs in all the creatures of the earth. On the other hand a dedication to the nocturnal, star-veiled, dream-woven face of the world, the secret Nature, the lunar sanctuary, the shelter of the weary and matter-bound spirit and soul.
My absolute favorite song of theirs, in which you can probably best hear their musical brilliance is Ég Felé (skyward)
A world lies dormant
Deep inside the seed,
A slumbering desire,
Seeking inner light,
Forgetting outer dark
And lo she rests
On a path ephemeral,
Breaking down her own walls,
From the soil of hoary earth
To the realm sidereal
And both the lyrics and music of their song Éjköszöntő sound perfect for the beginning of a witch flight:
Silver-shaded Mother of Night,
by the skirts of gray cloud,
and cover us now with thy mantle,
Awake stellar-manifested world,
mystery-enfolded realm of stars,
cradle us in thy somniferous arms,
weaver of dreams, Mother of Night
Traditional, Folk, Rock, Punk
Recommended Album: Hippjokk
Hedningarrna was one of the first bands to mix Scandinavian folk forms with rock music (they started in 1987). As such, their songs are much less constrained by genre and have a fascinating (but not always palatable) punk and experimental feel that lives up to their name, which means “the Heathens.”
Their song Min Skog probably best exemplifies this point:
Why should I cut down my trees even if they look poorly
You sit there complaining about worsened view from your house
All my trees I'll let them stand, sear or supple does not matter
Yes they may rot and fall down on you I wish they'd end your clamour
A little more danceable is this song:
Recommended Album: Þagnarþulur (only album released)
Though some suggest that Nordic & Heathen music often skews heavily towards archetypal “divine masculine” forms, Seiðlæti is a prime example of how this isn’t the case. Seiðlæti is two musicians from Iceland, Unnur Arndísardóttir and Reynir Katrínarson, whose songs focus heavily on Frigg and other Norse goddesses. They also host seminars on these goddesses and appear occasionally at conferences (for instance, this year at the Glastonbury Goddess Conference).
Their song Saga is likely the best on their only album (though they’ve another coming out soon)".
She comes as magic, limitless in a carousel of worlds, infinite is she.
Tears of happiness flow, moistens my skin the whole atmosphere, my ground to play.
Where ever I am, where ever I dream always back, within I return.
Recommended Album: Aux Portes de Sananda
I had the chance to meet Luc Arbogast briefly at a bar in Strasbourg, France. He looked somewhere between a skinhead and a Berber pirate (still does, but now with an added daddy bear aesthetic).
Thing is? I didn’t know who he was until years later, stumbling upon a video of him performing a song live at a festival. I fell out of my chair, as do most others when hearing his voice.
Rather than tell you more, just watch this:
The one who travels through the worlds
With his only luggage, his freedom
Evolves on the expanding earth
Further, farther, walking
In the footsteps of ancient peoples
Where loneliness perishes
Yeah, Luc sings contratenor, and does so damn beautifully. The juxtaposition of his body and voice led him to be quite the media sensation here in France for several years (including an apperance on “The Voice”). But moving beyond his voice (it’s hard to do, I know), Luc Arbogast’s renditions of medieval songs are superb. Here’s one of my favorite, an old Italian song about a woman who attempts to poison her husband.
Oh maria, beautiful maria
In your garden there is a snake
Take from it and make a wine
Give it to him, and I can be thine
ABOUT THe List
The Pagan, Heathen, Esoteric & Animist Music List is an attempt to create a comprehensive list of Pagan music all in one place. While it’s utterly impossible to list every single project in existence, we intend to include as many as humanly possible.
By “Pagan, Heathen, Esoteric& Animist music” we mean music that fits one or more of these criteria:
Projects that self-identify as pagan, heathen, estoeric, or animist where these themes are explicit in the music.
Projects that include reconstructions or revivals of pagan, heathen, or animist music forms, even when the artists do not openly self-identify as such.
Music with recognizable esoteric themes.
Music from periods where pagan and heathen forms intermixed with other forms (including monotheistic forms): for instance, Sephardic and Moorish music during the Al-Andaluz period, or Christianized medieval folk music in Europe)
Music not included:
Music by bands or individuals demonstrably tied to racist or fascist ideology. We make every effort to filter out this category but reader insight is appreciated!
“New Age” music
“World” music and “tribal beat” music; that is, indigenous music commercially re-packaged for Western audiences for yoga studios, raves, etc.
Music found by the reviewers to have no musical merit or to deeply mis-represent Pagan, Heathen, or animist beliefs (“fluff”).
We intend to include as many genres as possible, and for each project we’ll try to label them as accurately as we can. Of course, genres are very fluid and relative so there will always be disagreement on this. Here is our general list of Genres:
Medieval: Music performed on medieval instruments, with medieval melodies, or reconstructed from medieval elements
Traditional: Music currently traditional to a culture or music that uses primarily traditional lyrics, melodies, or instruments
Folk: Primarily Acoustic, “singer-songwriter” music.
Neo-Folk: Post-industrial/post-rock “folk” forms with very little or no reliance on traditional lyrics or melodies.
Electronic: Industrial, techno, ambient, or other music with heavy reliance on sampling or sythesizers with little or no “organic” instruments.
Rock/Metal: Music with lots of electric guitars, driving drums, etc.
Chant: vocals, often with little or no musical accompaniment.
This Project needs your help!
We are actively looking for submissions to this list. If you are a musician or group that would like us to know about your music, please contact us with links where we can listen to your work. And if you know of a band that we haven’t yet included, feel free to tell us about them through our contact form!