Spiral Dancing at the Singing Gallery

About a year ago I was contacted by an Australian Pagan folk band called Spiral Dance who wanted to cover my song Spirit of Albion. I was very touched that they’d even asked and of course said yes and asked if they’d send me a copy if they ever recorded it. A year later I’m near Adelaide in Mclaren Vale at a venue called the Singing Gallery, a converted church, playing at a concert organised by the band.

We arrived at 5pm ready for a soundcheck and the band were there setting up. I love playing in churches – the acoustics are always amazing. The owners had done a really great job converting it into a music venue. The place was set out with reserved tables where people were going to bring along their picnics and bottles of wine (the venue charged a ‘corkage fee’ but you could bring all your own booze and food).

Spiral Dance are a great band. They remind me of early Steeleye Span. During the

soundcheck they played some of their version of Spirit of Albion so I could hear it. The idea was that I join them onstage during their set when they played it.

People started to arrive around 7.30 and the place was packed and buzzing by 8 when I was due to take the stage. I’ve noticed at each of the gigs I’ve played here that, before anything else happens, there is an aknowledgement that this concert is taking place on the land of the original tribal peoples of Australia – a small but heartfelt ancestral honouring. Adrienne then took the stage to introduce me. I was a little bit nervous to be honest, but I needn’t have been. We were all together from the opening chord of Song of Awen. The band’s sound engineer was great and there was a fabulous sound front stage. I noticed a few people videoing the gig so I hope they’ll end up on

YouTube sometime (there are a few there already!). The balance of the sound on stage was perfect and I could also hear the audience singing along over the sound of my guitar and voice. I played for an hour, mostly songs from my first four albums (it’s getting harder and harder to play for an hour and still fit in all of the songs I want to play!) but ended the set with Wild Mountain Thyme from Tales from the Crow Man which even here everyone seemed to know. The standing ovation at the end of the concert was wonderful – another wonderful evening with lovely people!

After a short break Spiral Dance took the stage. They are a great live band with a lot of energy – they are like an Aussie The Dolmen but more folky. They did a great version of Span’s classic Bedlam Boys and two of the

band even burst through the doors backstage and did some Morris Dancing! Great stuff. Adrienne then told the story of how she’d first heard Spirit of Albion whilst at a Pagan festival in the USA. She asked the people who had been playing it who wrote the song and then found me through the Internet, posting me that first email. It was amazing to join them on stage to play the song (this is one of the vids on YouTube). They have added a very different rhythm to it and then have a ‘diddly’ folk burst halfway through. I loved singing with them.

At the end of their set I was invited up onstage again to singing The Burning Times with them. It’s not a song I usually like but they’d done some very spiritual work on the arrangement and the audience did a spiral dance and ended in a beautiful oval of people. Man it’s so good to be a part if this global Pagan community!

After Spiral Dance’s set I was invited to play a few more tunes. So as they’d already been dancing I thought I’d keep that vibe going with Lughnasadh, Lughnasadh Dance and Hal an Tow. Much hugging and chat followed until gradually people began to wend their way back home. Me? Well, I was buzzing and to be honest everytime I think of that concert I still am!

5 responses to “Spiral Dancing at the Singing Gallery”

  1. How wonderful your write up, hope you got to try McLaren Vales famous Maxwells Mead ! I do enjoy your writings over here in Oz, one day you may venture down to Tasmania ! Travel Well, Jeanette

  2. Hi Damh,
    it was a pleasure and and honour to share the stage with such a great performer and a fabulous person. Everyone who attended the gig is still talking about what a magickal night it was, we all hope you return to our shores soon. We are hoping to make our way to the UK in the near future and if the opotunity arises we would love to share a stage with you again and a few glasses of red.
    Bright Blessings.
    Spiral Dance

  3. well people are still talking of you here, and think that you are truely marvellous. Everybody around that I could see were thoroughly enjoying your music/performance, and I think if it were possible, the concert would have continued for a great deal longer!. Thanks for playing along side of us, especially with your song Spirit of Albion, it was a great moment….and we look forward to seeing you again. Until we do……lots of love Hayley 🙂

  4. Hi’ya! Fantastic gig at the Singing Gallery – what an honour to be there.
    I hope to see you perform on your soil next year. Hopefully not soiled…oh…you know what I mean! 🙂

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