Music based on Stephen Lawhead's "The Paradise War – Book 1 of the Song Of Albion."
What if there was a place beyond time, a place where icy crystalline streams played across heather-covered hills, where the sun shone with such power and majesty and brilliance that a holly leaf and a willow trunk gleamed with the bright light of Joy? And at the heart of it all was a song – a song the like of which has never been heard in our world, but is known in our hearts?
Come to Albion. Albion – the very name entices, speaks healing into our wounded land and broken spirits, calls to our souls, resonates with that deep unspeakable longing C.S. Lews named as sehnsuct.
Here are songs from that secret land, Albion. Songs that touch a forgotten place, a place obscured by civilization and its discontents. Here is all the power and mystery of the Celtic mythos, a musical excursion that will lift your soul and spirit out of the humdrum and into the infinite, the precincts of felicity, where vast vistas of glory open out into forever. – Jan P. Dennis
Jeff Johnson: Keys & vocal
Brian Dunning: Flute, whistles, pipes & vocal
Derry Daugherty: Electric & acoustic guitars
Brian Willis: Drums
Roger Hadley: Percussion
Rick Crittenden: Bass
Lynn Skinner: Vocal
Jane Usher: Reader of "The Prophecy"
Music Review –
Rich Irish folk sounds, modern pop and jazz, gentle melodies and haunting "otherworldly" passages all conspire together to successfully encapsulate the listener in this artful new world. Dunning's flute playing is nothing less than splendid, and Johnson's keyboard accompaniment are sophisticated and filled with emotion... It's the best cheap vacation I've had in years, and I never had to get up from my reading chair.
BQN / Syndicate Magazine
released March 15, 1992
Produced, recorded & mixed by Jeff Johnson at The Ark / Portland, OR USA
Additional recording at:
Abberbury Road Studios / Iffley, England
Sound effects recorded on location by Ark Mobile
ArkMusic recording artist, composer, producer, and Selah worship leader has released numerous solo recordings along with
collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning inspired by Stephen Lawhead's novels and guitarist, Phil Keaggy. View Jeff's complete discography here: www.selahservice.com/2015/05/jeff-johnsons-arkmusic-discography/...more
Since all the world is but a story, it were well for thee to buy the more enduring story rather than the story that is less enduring.
– The Judgment Of St. Colum Cille (St. Columba of Scotland)
Track Name: Aurochs And Jaguars
Laughing, Simon slid in and slammed the door. He shifted into gear then punched the accelerator to the floor. The tires squealed on the wet pavement as the car leapt forward. Simon yanked the wheel and executed a highly illegal U-turn in the middle of the street, to the blaring of bus horns and the curses of cyclists. Heaven help us, we were off.
The dark entrance of the cairn yawned before me. I could smell the dry musty scent of the cairn's interior. I swallowed hard and lunged into the entrance, banging the top of my head as I tumbled into the deep blackness of the cairn. Little sparkly stars danced before my eyes. I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain, and slumped back against the stonework to rub the throbbing goose egg already rising on my temple. When I opened by eyes, I was no longer in the world I knew.
Truly, this was Paradise! A virginal creation fresh and unspoiled; a world without blemish whole and clean and undamaged by humankind's insatiable appetite for destruction. Paradise! I wanted to shout the word from the hilltops. Nothing in my previous life had ever prepared me for this ... this soul-dazzling harmony of beauty and peace, this fiery blaze of created glory. Like a tidal wave, the miracle of it whelmed me over, submerged me, pummeled me, and left me gasping for air. Paradise!
For seven days we traversed the generous Vale of Modornn, following the river south, moving quickly, camping beside the river at twilight and hurrying on at daybreak. At the end of the seventh day's march, the valley spread and flattened to marsh and meadowland bounded by woodlands which covered the gently rolling hills. We left the river and struck off across country. At dusk on the ninth day, we came in sight of King Meldryn Mawr's southern fortress: Sycharth.
... Out in the bay, a fish leaped. And the place where it splashed became a rippling ring. The sight of that silver ring spreading on the peaceful water pierced me to the marrow. For it seemed to me an omen, a portent pregnant with meaning, a symbol of my life: a once undisturbed surface stirred into a glimmering, ever-widening circle. The circle would expand until it was swallowed in the vastness of the bay – and then there would be nothing left, nothing to show that it had ever existed.
... "You are my son," she said softly. "Use the life I have given you wisely, and see that you acquit yourself with honor through all things. If nothing prevents you, return here when you will. You are welcome beneath my roof, my son." Scatha placed her hands on my shoulders, kissed me and released me."
I took up my weapons and went out. I was Scatha's son now – one of her innumerable brood – with leave to come and go as I would. This pleased me, though I could have wished I did not have to go away at all.
... With the slow dip and swish of the oar, the boat proceeded into a dim, mist-shrouded past, or a future veiled from view. The sensation made me dizzy, and I gripped the wooden sides of the boat with both hands.
Halfway across the narrow strait, the boat emerged from the sea-mist. I saw the Isle of the White Rock before us, and, turning my head to look behind, saw only the fog bank rising like a solid wall from the gray-green sea. Nothing of the former world remained.
... When she spoke again, her voice held a note of anguish that pierced my heart to hear it.
"Hear, O Silver Hand; heed the Head of Wisdom" ... "Sorry and be sad, deep grief is granted Albion in triple measure. The Golden King in his kingdom will strike his foot against the Rock of Contention" ... "But happy shall be Caledon; the Flight of Ravens will flock to her many-shadowed glens, and ravensong shall be her song." ... "Hear, O Son of Albion: Blood is born of blood. Flesh is born of flesh. But the spirit is born of Spirit and with Spirit evermore remains. Before Albion is One, the Hero Feat must be performed and Silver Hand must reign."
"But why give the awen to me?" I demanded, my anger flaring again. "I am no bard! I do not want it. I cannot use it."
"It was given to you because you were there," Goewyn soothed.
"And I would give it to Tegid if I could." I declared sharply. "I want no part of it!"
I felt her hand on my cheek as she turned my face to hers. "You have been chosen for great things," she said, and although she spoke lightly her tone was edged with an iron conviction.
We rounded the last bend in the maze and entered a circular chamber. It was empty – except for a large hole in the floor where the icy stream which had coursed through the winding pathways of the maze now disappeared. The roar of the watervoice, like that of a god, came up through the dark hole as the falling stream shattered on the rocks somewhere below.
"We have reached the Heart of the Heart," Tegid explained. "Here memory is extinguished."
"Memory is extinguished in death," I mused.
"That is so. But to die to one world is to be born into another. Therefore life, like all created things, though it ceases to flow in the this world, continues its journey in the place beyond."
The tingling I felt was the hair on the nape of my neck creeping. In the place beyond ... the Phantarch sleeps ...