Bretwalda - Barrowlands
Gem of a cassette from the 'Stay Awake!' Label outta London Town - Taking in chants, poems & essays all written in Anglo-Saxon, Middle English and Latin, and made in the British Isles during the medieval period.
An esoteric and absolutely enthralling listen - jump into the clips and/or read the in depth info from the label below -
'From the uneasy tension between the Romano-Pagan cults and an upstart Christianity to the intimate and ecstatic mysticism of Julian of Norwich, Barrowlands takes a doomy, ambient survey of the period.
Thick, foggy drone-dub and industrial plainsongs begin to tell the story of the influence on Britain of the various cults arriving from European shores. Crucial to the story are devotional texts, such as Caedmon’s Hymn (the earliest extant poem composed in Old English), and the role they played in people's lives.
The long barrow itself offers some of the earliest evidence of religious practices by the inhabitants of the British Isles; the point at which burial rites reveal a developing understanding of the meaning of death and the possible existence of an afterlife. The barrow tells of how ancient peoples established sacred spaces later supplanted by the monolith, the temple and eventually the churches of the new faith.
Other sacred spaces analysed include that of St Julian (track 2), the anchoress who sealed herself inside a cell so that she might devote every waking moment to prayer. Inside, she experiences 13 mystical 'shewings' which she records and, in doing so, becomes the first woman to author a text in English. Her visions and dwelling symbolise both womb and tomb: one of spiritual rebirth and the other of bodily death.
'Barrowlands' contains readings from the following texts:
'The Gospel According to John', 90-100 AD
'The Revelation of Divine Love' by Julian of Norwich, 1373 AD.
'The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles' by R Hutton, 1991 AD.
'The Hymn' by Caedmon, 658-690 AD.'
Communion in the Lower Field
A Shewing in Norwich
A Body in the Mill Pond