BARDS OF THE HEATH –JOHN GOODLUCK & FRIENDS
BARDS OF THE HEATH – was formed in 2004 as a musical unit in order to take on some gigs at unusual venues, such as events in the Ipswich Museum & found that many of John’s earlier Ballads from the 70’s fitted in with the Bardic theme of poetry & stories.
John was a successful folk-singer in the 1970’s & later he took to running a local radio show with programmes such as ‘Folk-al-pint’ & ‘Goodluck on Saturday’. Jo Arcand has a long tradition of music in the family, relatives in Saskatchewan keep alive the ‘Métis’ style of Fiddle playing & dance; blending indigenous music of the native Cree & incoming French traders -see www.johnarcand.com .
In 2011 ‘Magical Ballads’ was produced which included many Pagan Chants mingled with traditional songs, a mysterious mixture.
John & Jo began to write their own material; some old Traditional tunes without lyrics became the inspiration for new songs. The results of this have been our songs ‘Roslin Castle’, ‘Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees’ & ‘This Sacred Earth’. Likewise pieces of poetry have inspired a tune to make them into a song & we have added verses to traditional (but short) compositions or re-written parts of others such as our version of ‘The Werewolf’, ‘The King of the Faeries’ & ‘The Witches Brew’
In 2012 the group became a 5-piece unit with Pete Gosling—mandolin, guitar, mandola & fiddle; Janine Batchelor - bodhran & vocals; Graham Tilt -drum / djembe. Multi-talented, Pete brought a wealth of pretty tunes & a subtle touch to backing the ballads.
Throughout this transitional phase gigs were coming in for a variety of venues including Leisure Centres in Felixstowe & Woodbridge & even Manningtree Methodist Church, where from the pulpit we sang adapted Shakespearean verses.
From Johns solo repertoire we added a Robin Hood ballad & The Trees They Do Grow High,The Lovers Ghost, Twa Magicians & Maria Marten. Other Bardic types have given us their poems to set to music, we are currently playing Russet Lady, Calling & The Fairy Piper, by fellow songwriter Sheila Haskins.
In the ‘70s playing Folk-clubs of Great Britain & European with his group ‘Trunkles’ John was aware that the success of any group can be judged by audience reaction along with re-bookings & quickly realised that with Bards of the Heath he had a sound which scored in both areas.
Bards of the Heath are first choice for the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival organisers as our songs reflect Spiritual themes.
We continue to be inspired, new songs continue to be composed :our first CD ‘Moonpathways’ was launched at the end of 2014, sales of which have exceeded our expectations as our own ‘fan-base’ increases & we now have a NEW CD ‘Mix’t Blessings’ 2017 Maybe one of our compositions will stand the test of time.
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DRUID LIFE Pagan reflections from a Druid Author – life, community, inspiration, health, hope and radical change.
Bards of the Heath March 13, 2017 By Nimue Brown
Imagine, if you will, a fantasy situation in which some scholar of mediaeval music discovers a whole collection of overtly Pagan songs from the period. If that notion appeals to you, keep reading. It occurred to me because it best sums up how I feel having listened to two albums from Bards of the Heath.
Mix’t Blessing and Moonpathways are albums full of original, contemporarily written music, but most of the songs have a timeless quality. This is music with deep roots.
Leading the proceedings is the distinctive voice of John Goodluck, earthy and expressive. The musicians are Jo Arcand, Pete Gosling, Bill Johnston, Des Hart, Janine Batchelor, Graham Tilt, with extra support from Rob Lummis, Andy Mappleback, Richard Edmondson, Sheila and David Haskins. That at a glance makes it clear that Bards of the Heath are as much a tribe as a band, with deep community roots
This is music rooted in a deep understanding of the folk tradition – arrangements, instruments, tunes, all evoke folk even when they are wholly new. There’s a deep rooting also in the folklore of the land and in contemporary Pagan traditions. Listening to the lyrics, it’s also clear that these songs are written from a place of long relationship with the cycles of the seasons, the festivals and the wild world.
All of this comes together in a sound that is fundamentally uplifting. The subject matter isn’t always light and cheery, but the music always holds hope, and a feeling of possibility. It’s very danceable (event organisers take note!).
Tracey Brewster Hi John, I have been listening to your CD's and am completely hooked, I love it! Your music and voice really touches my heart and soul and has taken me out of the mundane and transported me into a fresh new world. I close my eyes and let the vibrations flow over me and sway to the melody. Thank you so much and can we have some more please x
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Really enjoyed your gig at the Sorrel Horse, and picked up the CD.
We've been playing it non-stop in the car.
Thanx very very much, All the best, Andrew
Tom Docherty Its magic ....love this album it's constantly on in my car