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Martin Neil

3rd download 140

Sounds from the Voice box

By | Voice | No Comments

There are so many incredible sounding instruments that we have encountered on our travels, yet there is nothing quite like the human voice for it’s range, diversity and uniqueness. From Tuvan throat singing practised amongst nomadic Mongolian farmers to the South Indian art of vocal percussion called Konnakol, every culture, people group and religion uses their vocal chords to produce singing. In some communities, it is so much a part of life that everyone participates, ie. Central African pygmies where everyone is an incredible vocalist and is able to sing complex yodeling.

Water drumming

By | Drums | No Comments

I love how rhythm starts with what you have around you. In some places it’s as simple as water! The Baka woman from Cameroon, Gabon and Congo use the sounds of water to accompany their songs – as do the woman of Vanuatu, a volcanic archipelago in the south Pacific.

New Windows

By | Tanzania | No Comments

Due to high winds and a dust storm the medical dispensary in Tanzania has taken a hit with many broken windows. VFTN are sending resources to renew glass and curtains.

Building a teepee

By | First Nations | No Comments

It was such an honour to be part of a gathering of Celtic and First Nations musicians in Nova Scotia. During the gathering we built a teepee (during which we got eaten by tons of midges!!) on the grounds and enjoyed a very special night with Frank and Josie from the Mi’kmaq people. They led us in a very special ceremony around the fire after which we celebrated with drum, singing and the talking stick was passed around.

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A fishy story!

By | First Nations | 2 Comments

2018 has been a difficult year for the local people as the fisheries department had not allowed net fishing due to the extremely low numbers of Chinook Salmon returning to the Stikine river. Fishing is not only the livelihood for this region but has major cultural significance as whole families gather, celebrate and live in communal fishing camps when the salmon are running! Read More

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Gifting a drum

By | First Nations | No Comments

3 years ago we had been invited by Grand Chief Lynda Prince to visit the Tahltan people of Dease Lake in Northern British Columbia. A beautiful remote community that hugs the Stikine Canyon in rugged bear country! Their yearly summer music festival, (a vision of Uncle Willie and Auntie Grace Williams), whose inaugural reconciliatory event had brought together tribes who had had a history of infighting was in it’s 18thyear.
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Oceania

By | Oceania | No Comments

“Vast tracts of ocean, whether Polynesia, Micronesia or Melanesia, contain island populations that remain outside the modern world. They know about it, they may have traveled to it, they appreciate artifacts and medical help from it, but they live their daily lives much as hundreds of generations of ancestors before them, without money, electricity, phones, TV or manufactured food.” – Andrew Rayner, Reach for Paradise

The Pacific Islands have always sparked thoughts of both mystery and paradise. Until you fly from California south to New Zealand or Australia you never quite understand the vastness of the ocean that lies below – an area covering 30% of the world’s surface with more than 25,000 islands! Interestingly the Pacific Ocean got its name from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 who called its waters “mar pacifico” which means peaceful sea.

British Library Sound Archives

By | Music from the Nations | No Comments

The British Library Sound Archives (formerly the National Sound Archives) contacted us after finding our web site saying “(we) see you are putting out some really great & interesting music”.

They have asked to hold our music saying – “we will catalogue and archive the music as part of the nation’s audio & cultural heritage …..with world class facilities at hand we can provide the safest possible home for your releases, both for preservation and access, for many generations to come.” Read More

Different perspective on being a musician.

By | My Stories | No Comments

Reminded today of a quote from a book ‘The Healing Drum” by Yaya Diallo.

“The star system I see in Western popular music goes very much against the standards of conduct for the village musician with which I was raised. The star does not give time to the community but to himself or herself. The star usually seeks to amaze people, not to care for them; to be admired and praised by the anonymous throngs, not to honour distinct individuals whose lives depend on one another in the community. It is forgotten that the reason for playing is to bring well-being to people. This is different from driving fans into ecstasies of overexcitement. Music should not be a means to building a personal cult. That is idolatry. My village tradition teaches that music is a calling greater than the individual. I can give my life to it if I love it. In serving this music, I can share with other people and contribute to their joy and health.”