Gaia Consort,
Secret Voices
(Suddenly Naked Arts Collective, 2001)

Secret Voices is the second release from Gaia Consort, the duo of Christopher Bingham and Sue Tinney. Bingham provides lyrics, lead vocals, percussion and guitars. Tinney provides harmony vocals and is credited as Bingham's muse. With the help of various guest artists, they provide a large helping of pagan-oriented music.

To get it out of the way, my impression of this CD is very positive. There were no songs that I didn't like, but some stood out for me more than others. One of these is "Blood," an utterly bracing song sung from the predator's point of view, with a rapid tempo, pervasive hand-drumming and impressive guitar solo that is sure to get your own blood moving.

This is followed by two protest-style songs, "Every Sacred Thing" and "Cry Freedom," which flow naturally one into the other. The powerful chorus of the latter has stayed with me for days.

"Three," a love song and celebration of family, is melodic and simple. I first heard "The Web" on a compilation CD and it struck me then as a lovely song. My opinion hasn't changed one jot. The second half of "Beltane Fires" reminds me strongly of Jethro Tull's Songs from the Wood and it's definitely a song to make one want to join the Beltane dance.

Bingham states in his liner notes that one of his aims is to get the listener to "remember that we're part of a living planet" and that there is magic, not just in the trappings of religions, but the natural world that we, as pagans, supposedly celebrate. As such, many of the songs on Secret Voices are a call for people to wake up and smell the roses -- or listen to the secret voices of nature, hence the call of the title track, "Everything is singing something, can you hear the tune?"

Listen to Secret Voices and then go out and see if you can hear them calling.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]
Rambles: 9 November 2002

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