Voices from the Nations
First Nations dancer.JPG

““Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. ”
― Maya Angelou 

Welcome to the stories and news of Martin and Rebekah Neil’s musical wanderings. We hope you will have fun listening, exploring and learning from the many unique sounds, songs and expressions of the diverse cultures we have encountered on our travels around the world. Entwined in their unique musical heritages are the stories of the people and the make up of their societies and communities.

Through music, the stories of the land are passed on, the morals and ethics of a people are held, the cry for justice and the worship of the divine continues to be expressed. Looking through their creativity brings an insight into their way of life and gives us a different perspective as we glimpse into their world.

Martin’s musical mystery tour – This month’s blog comes from Switzerland. I have just come back from Geneva where I have been working for the last 10 days – also had a couple of days exploring inland and re-visiting Montreux, a lakeside city that has had links with the music industry since the 70′s – Smoke on the Water!!



June 5, 2014

Check out this world record gathering of 508 Alphorn players in 2013. What an incredible sound!




June 3, 2014

Talerschwingen or talerrollen is a fascinating tradition used with yodeling in the east of Switzerland. The players take a 5 Swiss franc coin and throw it inside an earthenware bowl. The bowl is then slowly rotated as they sing. Three bowls of different pitches are often used in a performance. The sound created is inspired by the cow bells heard in the fields.



June 2, 2014

A wonderful tradition of singing that many people associate with Switzerland although there are many forms that have been traced back to Georgia, Persia, Central Asia and Central Africa. In Appenzell, they come in two forms: the Zäuerli and Ruggusseli yodels. The Ruggusseli is thought to be a sadder yodel due to being sung in minor keys.



May 31, 2014


Enjoying the amazing city of Geneva where you can hear most of the world’s language’s as you walk down the streets. I played at a wonderful gathering of the nations. 12 hours of musical expression, praying for the country and it’s people. This is the city where many organisations have their headquarters, including the UN, International Red Cross and World Health Organization’s. I was amazed to go to the church where the International Red Cross was started – a vision in 1863 that now has around 97 million volunteers! WOW!  This weekend is the 200th year celebrations of Geneva joining the Swiss Confederation.