Happy 2009? by Mich
I guess that’s what I’m supposed to wish you for this new year’s first Raven Times. But is it really... enough? Isn’t it maybe a bit... short? Happiness is quite relative in our times. Limit the role of the average citizen to the one of consumer and tax payer, let him think he’s ultimately free just because he can vote with his mobile phone during TV programs and go bananas during the sales, and you’ll get the modern version of the “Happy” man. Quite limited for a PaganClan member, isn’t it? My wish would be a year made of revolutions, evolutions, seeing the awakening of a new global consciousness which will finally give mankind its right place in this universe. A year having the smell of fresh air and the heavenly taste of pure water. Things we probably haven’t experienced for ages, if we ever did. But enough with my idealistic dreams, and maybe focus on more realistic thoughts. 2008 was for OMNIA a year of many changes and exciting projects (a new DVD, my arrival in the band, the PaganClan), great adventures, unforgettable meetings (with among others our dear friends of Irfan, Valravn, Las Fuegas,...), and most of all a huge amount of fun. And all this, just because you’re there, supporting us, feeling connected to our musical universe, helping us going further, sharing your amazing energy with us during our gigs, and basically, keeping OMNIA alive. For all this, we want to thank you heart and soul. May this new year brings light on your path, the warmth of the sun in your heart, the sweetness of honey in your mouth and the lightness of a feather to your soul. The only thing we can really do to thank you is continuing with our music, providing you with a soundtrack for the story of your life, which will sometimes make you smile, sometimes make you cry, sometimes make you wanna dance and simply feel free. I heard not so long ago an interview of Eugene Hütz from the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello saying: “We choose to invent our own world and freedom, because freedom is not available, you have to invent it.” If we can help you with our music to invent your own freedom, we’ll be the most lucky band in the world. Music is made to open gates and let walls fall down, and you can certainly trust us to continue doing this. Many greenie thoughts and blessings. Mich
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Breaking news and gossips by Steve Sic OMNIA has started to work on a new CD project, to be released in 2009 (date as yet unknown). There is talk that certain members of the Bulgarian group Irfan will be joining OMNIA in the studio as guests. There is a persistent rumour that 80’s punkband SCUM might do one surprise performance somewhere during this coming year. When asked for comment frontman Sick-Puppy told our reporter to: “fuck off”. © Marcel Bakker
Jenny has been re-acquainted with one of her old passions, namely: the Piano. She started out on this instrument when she was five years old but she stopped when she got into serious harp-playing. Now the two are reunited again, Jenny’s happy as a room full of puppies and her hands will be gracefully gliding over the black and white keys from time to time during future theatre shows.
Steve Sic has been learning some lesser skills on the small bardic Harp (under the patient tutorial eye and guidance of Jenny of course). He’ll be taking it along to theatre shows in the future and he might even play it once in a while. The Amazing FAIRYBALL II stage show, will be put on again during the Saturday PAGAN-NIGHT of Castlefest 2009 of course with IRFAN, Sister Kaat, Las Fuegas, Kelvin Kalvus and Aisha on stage with OMNIA! (Oliver Styr will not be joining us again as FAUN has declined the invitation to play at Castlefest 2009 because they’re going to America). Possible dates for FAIRYBALL III are being looked at around spring/summer 2009
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© Marcel Bakker
Fairy Ball II, Midwinter Solstice 2008 by Steve Sic and Jenny
Well, we did it, it is done! Midwinter has been officially celebrated. The Midwinter horn was blown, the sacrifices were made, Sic was set on fire, the friends and the clan gathered and it was all done in it’s proper order. All the necessary rituals were observed and we’re happy to report to all you RAVENTIMES readers out there that the Sun WILL actually return to it’s higher orbit his year and the days are already getting longer! So, well done to all of you who have participated in this groupritual. I’m so glad we can still count on enough of you to help us in keeping the seasons rolling by properly (well somebody’s got to do it right?...all the old druids are dead...).
© Marcel Bakker
OK, so how was it for us? If you were there, you probably will have seen it on our faces... If you weren’t there, well, what can we say? How to describe a night of Fairies, Spirits, Music, Magic, Fire and Life? Here are some personal “golden moments” that I would like to share with you. To begin with it was a logistical nightmare to arrange for Jenny and me, just finding a place to sleep for everyone was a puzzle. The huge crew, all our sweet guests ...all the arrangements with the business and programming arrangements with the theatre, “choreographing” the show, practice sessions at the House of Ans and Hans (Jenny’s parents; they own the pretty house with the huge fireplace which you can see on the OMNIA DVD). The building-up at the Pim Jacobs theatre in Maarssen started around 1 o’clock. Normally for a theatreshow we have a rather quiet afternoon to set up the stage and check the sound etc. but on this midwinter-day the whole place was full of weirdos practising with Balls or gorgeous ladies practising dance moves, musicians hanging around smoking joints and joking, technicians heaving bunches of cables, more babes wandering around hanging up garlands of leaves and suchlike... what a sight... It was like a complete circus of freaks all gathered to have a good time while celebrating the midwinter and to share it with the audience of likewise mentally slightly unstable fans.
© Marcel Bakker The Raven Times 05 - January 2009 - 3
We had some really interesting fuck-ups during the first half of the show as we had forgotten to put some Beer, food and a joint outside for the theatre fairies!! So obviously, they were pissed off, because it’s frightfully impolite use the name of the Fairies without thanking them for it in some proper way. We rectified this matter in a dignified way later to avoid more complications... but not before I screwed up “Alive!” (because I’m an idiot who sometimes puts his capo on the wrong fret) and my big Davul drum spontaneously fell apart after I had uttered the word “Curse” (just before the Wytches’ Brew). © Marcel Bakker
And on top of this all, I got set on fire while playing Bran! (again, because I’m an idiot...I could write a book about being an idiot you know!) which was kind of exciting...Though I must mention (in a vain attempt to save some ego points) that I carried on playing faultlessly and might I even say “emotionally” while the flames were creeping up my leg trying to turn my flappy trousers and me into a solstice sacrifice...Thankfully Bina (or was it Ina?) put the flames out before Pieter could rush onto the stage with a bucket and the show didn’t even stop for a millisecond...but I can tell you it was pretty hot for a while...I remember thinking: “wow..I’m on fire...I’m going to die with an audience...Ah well, I might as well keep on playing then! (Jimmy Hendrix eat your heart out!)”
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© Marcel Bakker
We played a new song that Jenny and I had written in the Belgian Ardennes a week or so earlier, it was so new that even the band didn’t know it yet! That was also pretty exiting (yes I also get nervous sometimes when I have to do something tricky). This new piece, “Old Man/Tree” got a lot of reaction because it’s very different from all our other stuff (it’s in a major key! Jenny plays it on Piano! I perform it singer/ songwriter style!) I heard somebody call it a “Hippy Anthem”, but I would prefer to think of it as a “Pagan Anthem”. It’s a real “Heya Heya” song!
© Marcel Bakker
One freaky on-stage improvised drum session was when Las Fuegas did their Fakir act with broken glass and the beds of nails (!!!). Peter and Kalin, Luka, Mich and me played purely on instinct while reacting to the inhuman stunts the girls were doing 3 feet in front of us...that was one of the grooviest pieces of rhythm I’ve ever been involved in (and our light crew couldn’t believe that the whole group choreography was being made up as we went along)! Oh yeah we also played a new Swedish trad-piece which we’ve arranged for Harp and NyckelHarpa (and because I’m a masochist and didn’t have enough adrenalin and terror yet I played it on my little Bardic Harp and Jenny and me sang Swedish (while certain Swedish people were listening in the audience....). Seeing all the wonderfully dressed up Omnia fans from all over Europe crowded into this theatre was just so amazing, it was the most international audience I have ever seen at a Theatre-Gig... amazing! And the best moment...when it was all over! :-) Everything had gone off great, nobody had died, we all smoked, joked and drank to each other’s health until deep into the night and slept the sleep of the satisfied! (all piled up in any available space at chez Luka, Stenny-home and Ans & Hans’...on the floor, in spare beds, on the attic and other such cosy places).
© Marcel Bakker The Raven Times 05 - January 2009 - 5
© Marcel Bakker
FAIRY BALL II was only made possible by the help and cooperation of the following people: Peter & Kalin from one of our favourite bands “Irfan” who flew over all the way from Sofia, Bulgaria to give our rhythm section a huge boost and provide extra sonore vocal accompaniment to many of our pieces, Long-time guest musician and friend Oli of the German band Faun who sat 8 hours in a train carrying himself and his nyckelharpa all the way from Munich, Germany, and his beautiful lady and our long-time close friend Sister Kaat, who, believe it or not, performed for the first time in front of so many people on her nyckelharpa! The amazing Physical artist and Alchemist Kelvin Kalvus from Dresden, Germany, graced our stage with his mystical and magical presence...What this man does with Crystal Balls shouldn’t be possible at all, but somehow he manages to make the impossible possible... Bina & Ina of the German Fakir & Firedance Act “Las Fuegas”, whom we have known for many years; these girls amazed all of us with their seemingly inhuman capabilities of lying on spikes or glass while smiling prettily or looking like Seraphim with their extraordinary bewitching wings. Then there was Gorgeous Aisha, looking like a genuine Tribal Pagan Priestess, giving Saltatio and Dil Gaya a whole new vibrant feel and look... Backstage and off stage we had of course super roadie Pieter, who was ‘on it’ as always, ‘sound dude’ Chris who seems to become even happier when there’s an impossible amount of instruments, musicians, monitors and channels involved, Gal “Juju the Man” who helped Chris and Pieter making sense of the on-stage spaghetti and sound control. Sweet Lies, who’s never grumpy and always has a nice word for everybody that wants to buy Omnia merchandise and does such a neat job every Omnia concert. Our extended Crew for this night consisted of “Light guy” Kilian from the far South of Germany who made us all look so pretty on stage and who plays the lights like a musician plays an instrument, this time helped by ‘new guy’ Mark; there was our happy cute long-time friend Chantal who did an amazing job on keeping everybody well-fed and managing the whole backstage, and of course Leila, Teus and Hella of the Pim Jacobs theatre for allowing our Pagan Chaos Art to invade their wonderful venue again... We can’t wait for the next time! Greenthingz Steve Sic & also a bit by Jenny
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All is white on New Year’s Day? by Mich
Well, maybe for Bono and U2 playing in the snow in the 80’s, but with the global warming as a special guest, we haven’t seen it for ages... until this year. Well, it was not really snowing, but it was freezing enough to see OMNIA members enjoying themselves on the ice, here in Belgium, where my last frozen lake experience is as old as my first New Wave album. Despite this quite nice episode, we had to face this winter holidays craziness again. My dear wife Lies went to the shop to get some food for the Pagan Tribe, and couldn’t find the vegetarian products. Tens sorts of « foie gras », salmon, and other stuff of this kind were enthroned in the fridge with this typical sarcastic christmas smile. She just went to ask the girl who works there where they put them. Her quite philosophical answer was: « Oh! We just removed them from the line, that vegetarian stuff is not festive at all! » So Vegetarians, for you, definitely, all is meat on New Year’s Day! But anyway, at the moment I’m writing this, a week after that, it’s -15 C° here, all is covered in snow, and the land is half paralysed. I love it when nature wakes up to show how slippery our way of life is. And in the meanwhile, enjoy these few pics of Pagans on Ice!
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Behind the Fairy Ball II by Mich
You all probably already saw the great pictures of this memorable midwinter celebration with OMNIA and friends. It was a really fantastic evening, definitely the highlight of this cold winter. Some people think that such an event is simple to organise: you get a venue, gather some friends the day itself, and play as usual. It’s actually a little more complicated than that. Months of preparation, promotion, organising the coming of the guests,... And the week before the gig, practising a bit, of course. Here you’ll get the opportunity to take a glimpse behind the curtains of the Fairy Ball II.
The day before the gig, we had some great time at Dreamharps with our friends Kalin and Peter from the Bulgarian band Irfan preparing the strongest rhythmic section OMNIA ever had. You couldn’t even hear the hurdygurdy anymore. No, I’m not kidding. Hey! Who of you said: « Not a bad thing actually »?
You’re getting bored with your very well organised and clean living room design? You need some more disorder to bring a bit of originality to your dining room? Just invite OMNIA to practise for a day at your home! We are specialised in original post musical chaos design. Prices and conditions on request.
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Lunch time! Practising at Dreamharps means experiencing Jenny’s parents extraordinary hospitality. Thank you Ans and Hans for the good vibes, great food and warmth. You’re the best hosts ever!
Luka as concentrated as a bull’s skull during the rehearsal. Just a pity he doesn’t have the same beautiful horns on the head, it would spare us some time for the stage decoration.
Discussing the playlist with our dear friend Kelvin Kalvus who arrived the evening before the gig. It gave us the opportunity to spend some good time with him and his lovely wife, having a drink and a lot of fun.
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Smoking break at the Pim Jacobs theater in the afternoon of the gig. Marc en Kilian (light guys), super roadie Pieter and Steve having a good time getting frozen outside. I’m not sure, but I even think some of them lost a frozen finger or two in the adventure. Can be quite annoying to hold your cigarette I guess.
Joe “Cookie” Hennon. And don’t forget the cup of coffee of course!
The backstage kitchen with Chantal, our backstage manager providing nearly 30 people (band, guests and crew) with good healthy snacks and drinks, and always with a lovely smile. Fancy some honey bread with butter, a cup of coffee or some fruit? Just call Chantal!
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Las Fuegas practising their amazing magical wings show. It brought another dimension to our song “Bran”. The Fairy Ball couldn’t get a better name in moments like that. Time to get some food before the gig. At the 100% organic buffet, Luka, Oli (Faun), Kelvin’s wife, sister Kaat and Las Fuegas. And Luka seems quite happy with the food.
As the space was limited, we just had dinner... in the middle of the venue! Some chairs, tables, et voilà! At the table, Kalin (Irfan), Joe, Steve, Peter (Irfan) and Emma (Senjo Clothing). Notice the Irish-Bulgarian simultaneous mouth opening. That’s how we’re building Europe, man!
Peter (Irfan) getting his first swirlies for the show. He was afraid I would put the picture on the Internet. No way! I’m an honourable man! I’m just sharing it in the Raven Times, that’s completely different! The Raven Times 05 - January 2009 - 11
I really don’t want to know what Emma is doing with Steve backstage. And it seems that Kalin doesn’t want to either, even if he doesn’t seem impressed anyway.
Kalin (Irfan) seems very happy with his new face. In the back, Steve is busy with Oli (Faun) on a new “swirlies operation”.
Kelvin is ready for the show! He seems also quite happy with his first swirlies. A few minutes later, we were all on stage for an unforgettable moment! See you all for Fairy Ball III!
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Questions for interview of Steve Sic Evans Van der Harten 25-11-2008 This is an interview which was done with me through e-mail a while ago. I really liked the questions but had little time to answer them. So it kind of got left on my desktop.(like so many things) Well...my life is kind of chaotic, but I still found some time to write..when an embarrassing thing happened... After I had finally gotten round to writing my answers I discovered to my horror that I had wiped the e-mail with the address of the interviewer (because, as I might have mentioned before, I’m an idiot). So I couldn’t send the fecking reply...erm... And this brings us to the following RavenTimes Article: “An interview with Steve Sic by the un-named invisible Fairy” (if the un-named invisible Fairy happens to read this article, I’d just like to say: “Here are your answers, do with them what you will, and please contact Mich (who’s not an idiot) so I know you finally got them...” 1). As a child, what did you aspire to become? I wanted to be Bigger and less scared..., well actually I wanted to be an actor and then a fighter pilot and then a painter and allround artist and a musician so I ended up being a revolutionary Shaman instead. 2). what kind of schooling have you done? I’ve spent time in approx. 9 different primary and secondary schools in three different countries (NL, USA, and GB) up until the age of 15 when I quit everything and started to travel through Europe. I learned everything I know from many many talented people and through carefully observing life. The only thing I ever learned from any formal didactic institution is what NOT to do. 3). What became of your childhood dreams? I had mostly nightmares as a kid, happily they did never come true! 4). If I understand correctly you started in punkbands and performances with a group called Chaos in open air parks like Archeon (a historical theme park in Holland) How did that come about? Well the Punk days were actually a long time before Aargheon opened. I mucked about a bit with amateur music in the various cities where I’ve lived like Berlin, Paris, Antwerp etc. but nothing solid ever became of it. In those days my passion lay in visual Art. I was always painting and presenting myself as an AnarchistArtist and my first public theatrical performances with “Chaos in Motion” (the artists collective of which I am still a member) were actually weird rituals mostly performed during riots with police or at big parties... My first (and last) official “job” was being a slave in a f*cking awful Roman hysterical theme park for two seasons (until I got fantastically fired for being too wild and disgustingly historical) 5). What did it take to get you from an amateur art-group to this? Perseverance. Never, ever give up. Never, ever conform. I’ve begged and slept in the streets rather than “join society” and giving up my life as a total freak. I’ve always seen Art and Magic as the prime movers in my life, even when I couldn’t earn a living from it. I was lucky that I could do a lot of different things and could speak a lot of languages (because I’m not handicapped by normal schooling) so I had quite a few different activities to support myself and (later) my kids. Like Archaeological Illustrator, Fire-artist/demon, Mural-painter etc. Until the music-part got organised enough to support me and a band.
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6). You seem to have made a lot of Art and conceptual design (CD-covers, costumes etc.) for the Band. What are you particularly proud of? “OMNIA” ;-) Everything in OMNIA is born out of necessity because we want to have it on stage or in a CD. So I have to make it myself because nobody else can or will. What I’m most proud of is OMNIA as an Artform in itself. PS: my own “costumes” are just my everyday clothes which I made to keep myself warm, black and tasteful. 7). What are the good parts of being an Artist? Do they outweigh the possible financial insecurity? FREEDOM! There is no greater feeling than that of being your own master and being free. Freedom to spend your time as you will, freedom to express totally new forms of art and music, freedom to invent and express your own religion in hitherto unknown ways. It’s sometimes hard to survive and I realise that more than most people ... Financial insecurity can be nasty (especially when you have kiddies to feed) but you can easily survive it, here in the fat-west, if you can handle it mentally. 8). Does the Artistic objective always outweigh the commercial aspects? Yes! I believe a true Artist (someone who is able to master the 9 major forms of Art) can never strive to be more than a mere conduit for the creative forces of the universe. I don’t really invent or create anything, I simply pass on the information that reaches me from Life around me because my mind is open enough to hear the voices...but who says true Art cannot also be commercial? 9). Omnia is a band, so obviously many things get developed through group-effort. Do you ever feel the need to do individual projects? Well it might surprise you to know that actually 90% of what Omnia creates flows straight from Jenny and me. Working with Jenny is like being one mind in two bodies. So that already feels just as comfortable as working Solo. And within OMNIA I have so much freedom to do whatever I please like writing/directing/ playing in a 1980’s punk-clip (made in 2008!). And the Book I made for “PaganFolkLore” was mostly a solo project, in which I could still happily collaborate with fellow psycho-artist “Miez” (with whom I’ve worked together off and on for the last 20 or so years, creating weird projects such as the “Chaos Arena” art-boardgame and other forms of ArsChaos. 10). Name some personal Highs and Lows as an Artist up untill now. As a musician I only have highs ;-) (except when I got screwed on a record deal a long time ago) as fine-artist or painter, I think a definite high was getting “Liber Infernalia” (a large ancient leather tome of a book all about Chaos- demonology made by brother Miez, brother Luka and myself of the temple of Chaos) exposed, and later accepted into the permanent collection of the “Catharijne Convent Museum of religious art” in Utrecht NL. that was (still is) so cool! Paganchaos art in the same vault as all the holiest of christian art-works preserved for ever! My ultimate depth as an Artist was realising that 95% of all the humans around me are too stupid to recognise original and skillful “ART” even if it came up and bit them in the arse. As an artist the only audience you can really trust is yourself (and the fairies of course). 11). What dreams do you have for the future? Less destructive people and a shiny new earth covered in Jurassic forest ringing with the song of birds ;-)...heya heya hee!!
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© Marcel Bakker
by Luka “The didgeridoo (also known as a didjeridu or didge) is a wind instrument of the Aborigines of Northern Australia. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or “drone pipe”. Musicologists classify it as an aerophone. The instrument is traditionally made from living Eucalyptus trees, which have had their interiors hollowed out by termites”. I dragged that from Wikipedia, to give me a start for writing this article for the 5th edition of the Raven Times. Sometimes the word “deadline” can have a very ominous ring to it. Maybe it is the “dead-” part that awakens some latent fear, especially when it has tomorrow’s date linked to it. And it’s not even that I didn’t know what to write about this time, but every time I try to write something consistent, it simply breaks up under all kinds of sidetracks I seem to get suckered into, so that I lose my focus (those of you who go to a lot of our gigs may know this is even worse when I try to talk on stage). Anyway, with the myriad © Bombadil of informative sources on the internet, it would be ridiculous to offer you merely another source via this e-zine, so alas, copying the whole Wikipedia entry would only be too cheap a trick to pull. But, what else to write about this Eucalyptus tree trunk, hollowed out by an army of termites? That I play the slideridoo, a variant of the traditional didgeridoo (or yidaki as it is often called by Aborigines) in Omnia? Yeah, like no-one noticed yet. Or maybe I could explain circular breathing again? Well, at this point it only reminds me of some crummy joke I picked up over the years; “What’s the most commonly asked question about circular breathing? - How didgeridoo that?” Indeed. So, sadly my wallet of inspiration now confronts me with a cash flow problem that I’m yearning for a free ride on the train of thoughts. Should I maybe start a rant about how this world-wide interest in the didgeridoo is actually threatening the Eucalyptus tree? Now I almost tend to flip out completely in some serious case of eco-stress and suffocate myself by sticking my head into a bucket of sand. At least this would spare us the ordeal of my mental chatter getting out of hand. But this is not where I want to go. What I do want to write about is the position that the didge is getting in today’s music. There seems to be a revival of an earlier small trend in that the didge structurally becomes part of the sound that some bands produce. This illustrates that it is actually possible for the didge to fulfil a valid role. It is not merely a novelty effect, but this eccentric ethnic instrument can truly offer a sound that can have its place next to the more traditionally accepted ones. Here is my view on things; Firstly, there is the characteristic haunting drone. A powerful sound in itself, it can be manipulated into all imaginable rhythms, bass melodies (especially with the slide-didge) and filled with all kinds of vocal effects. A crafty player can create effects that are impossible to achieve with any other instrument. Secondly, it can be used as a low-cost instrument to provide the bass melody. A couple of PVC tubes will set the aspiring slide-didge player back for a price well below the cost of the cheapest (yet functioning) bass guitar. Yes, literally anyone can start playing a didge today! Finally, there is the ethnic novelty side, which may trigger curiosity with the audience. But this may also be a handicap as the novelty factor is of course temporary. And as its sound becomes more known with a bigger public, this does not necessarily guarantee more acceptance in popular music. The bass guitar has found its niche in music that its position seems a standard in a lot of modern music nowadays. And not that it is necessary, but could the slide-didge even compete with that status?
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However, things do look promising for the didge. It’s almost strange that this instrument hasn’t found its way into modern music far earlier. Maybe it is just too unbelievable that this is all possible by blowing into a simple tube. So what kind of sound does it have to offer? Its typical eerie haunting drone also has a soothing and comforting quality to it, and it tends to overflow a certain part of our sound spectrum. The ability to continue the sound through circular breathing gives it a patient persistence, so that with its naturally low register it doesn’t necessarily need to scream for attention; it can wait until the listener reaches out himself to hear it. All this may sound very mistyswirly and cause exclamations like “whoa dude” and “wow man” to float through the room. But note that sometimes Aborigines play the didge so the rest of their tribe can sleep peacefully, like some kind of tribal sound therapy. Try this with the piercing screech of several badly tuned bagpipe drones. You’d have to be a hardcore German Metal-Alter fan to appreciate that. © Marcel Bakker
So I guess the didge is special because of its simplicity. Apart from the human voice –which actually fits in quite well while didge playing- this instrument gives the player probably the most direct way to express himself. Sometimes I wonder what the reason could be for not grasping the opportunity to play a didge. Then again, I was already intrigued by the instrument when I was about ten years old, when I first heard it in a movie and tried to replicate its sound by blowing into the tube of the vacuum cleaner. And no, this is not a joke. But it is weird that the ancient voice of this instrument has been present all along in everyday objects, but apparently has been overlooked as over the years we plugged ourselves into more electronics, computers, iPods and whatnots. The western variant of the didge was even lost in obscurity such a long time that no-one realises that it may even predate the Aboriginal didgeridoo. The story goes that in the sound of the Irish Bronze Age horn from the ancient Celtic world was rediscovered by a didgeplayer. Archeologists first did not know what to make of these instruments that seemed impossible to play with their enormous mouthpieces. Then the circular breathing technique used by Aboriginal yidaki players was tried on them. It turned out that those bronze horns are Celtic didgeridoos! And to complete the story, it seems that the word ‘didgeridoo’ (which doesn’t exist in any Aboriginal dialect) may very well come from Irish Gaelic, an old Celtic language that is still spoken today in some parts Ireland. It is said that Irish immigrants that settled in Australia from the late 18th century on coined the term ‘dúdaire dubh’ (pronounced approximately as ‘doodera doo’) to indicate the indigenous people playing their peculiar pipe-like instruments, the words meaning ‘black trumpeter’. A wondrous story of an exotic instrument, or an example of human forgetfulness? Perhaps both. But perhaps it matters not. The sonorous hum waits in every tube until awakened by the breath of life. Whether in a decorative piece of bamboo in the garden, the PVC pipe of the kitchen sink, the tubes of the scaffolding used by the construction workers down the street, or the tree hollowed out by termites; they are all instruments waiting to be picked up. All we need to do is take a good look at the world around us. Music is everywhere, and often closer than one may think. Luka
16 - The Raven Times 05 - January 2009
12 albums that influenced my musical life by Joe
I have to admit I’m not someone who plays albums in their entirety very much, I usually dip in and out and play tracks I like. Same goes for bands, I’m not really into any other bands to a huge extent, preferring to listen to a range of stuff from lots of artists. However, if pushed to name some influences and some recordings which were played to death in the Hennon household during my formative years I would nominate the ones below. I’m not saying you should go out and buy them but they do give some clues as to my musical tastes and why I play the guitar the way I do. :-) Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits What? Those old fogeys?! Yes, well… when I was about 8 my sister had some LPs in the house, including Basket of Light by Pentangle and this one which I found myself listening to all the time. And almost 40 years later it’s still great. Classic songs, great guitar playing, great lyrics. It’s packed with classics such as The Boxer, Mrs Robinson and Steve’s favourite, Scarborough Fair, but the standout track for me is the evocative America. Sladest – Slade My first ever album purchase (up to then I could only afford singles) packed with chart topping three minute slices of pop rock heaven – including Coz I Luv You, Gudbuy To Jane and the evergreen Cum On Feel the Noize. Ah yes. Slade were a real pub rock band who left all the other 70s glam rock bands in the shade. Pop music for kids who were about to get into metal. Sabotage – Black Sabbath When I was about 13 I heard this band from Birmingham who produced a sound unlike anything I had ever heard before. Huge, loud, powerful and occasionally melodic. Slade sounded like pygmies in comparison. I went out and bought this album and wrote Black Sabbath all over my exercise books in school! Standout track – Hole in the Sky with its archetypal 70s heavy guitar riff. Live in Europe – Rory Gallagher As my tastes progressed I was introduced by my cousins to the guitar player that no self-respecting Irish guitar player could dislike in the 70s. Rory Gallagher was the man. His Live in Europe album was to be found in every Irish household and contained classic live stompers such as Messin With the Kid and Bullfrog Blues. My favourite was the acoustic Pistol Slapper Blues and I think seeing him play acoustic sets in the middle of his show had a big influence on me deciding to buy an acoustic guitar. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd For several years in the mid-70s people had been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to the Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, the biggest selling album ever at that time. When it finally came it didn’t disappoint. The title track is an acoustic classic and rest of the album with Have a Cigar, Welcome to the Machine and Shine On You Crazy Diamond didn’t disappoint either. The jewel in the crown of progressive rock. London Calling – The Clash By the end of the 70s I liked a lot of punk bands – The Damned, the Sex Pistols, the Stranglers etc but this album probably best represents that era. It’s a fairly uneven double album but it has a couple of gems like the Guns of Brixton. The title track however is the standout – great song, great recording and production. And a memorable cover photo. The Raven Times 05 - January 2009 - 17
Sinsemilla – Black Uhuru The punk era was followed by the reggae era for me. I liked bands like England’s Steel Pulse and this one, a heavy Jamaican reggae band with a powerful sound which set the standard for others to follow. This album got a lot of play during my student days. It’s the one to get if you’re looking to explore reggae beyond the more commercial music of Bob Marley. Highlight track: World is Africa Hatful of Hollow – The Smiths The crap 80s during which all bands seemed to have synthesisers and stupid haircuts were rescued for me by one truly great guitar player, Johnny Marr of The Smiths. A guy who was not afraid to use different tunings or a capo. This album of very cheap recordings was so fresh when it was released and is packed with great songs – What Difference Does it Make, William it was Really Nothing, Hand in Glove, etc. but my favourite is the little-known Girl Afraid. After Hours, Live in Paris – The Bothy Band I started returning to my folkier roots during the late 80s and rediscovered the Bothy Band. They are possibly the greatest Irish band of all time and an inspiration for at least 2 generations of Irish musicians. Proof that you could combine breathtakingly fast and accurately played tunes with a powerful, driving rhythm section. This album captured them at their peak. Shantalla – Shantalla An influential album? Certainly, because it was the first one I recorded! Finally, after years of messing about with pub bands I blundered my way into a serious Irish band based in Brussels and we were quickly offered a recording deal. The result is this fresh blast of sound which still sounds great to my ears today. Highlight – the opening track The Rocky Road to Cashel. Mutter – Rammstein I have to thank my daughter Helen for introducing me to East Berlin’s finest. During the 70s when I was listening to Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc., I never could have imagined a German speaking band producing a monster of a record like this one. Sonne was the first track I heard and I was hooked immediately. Mein Hertz Brennt, Ich Will and Nebel quickly confirmed the impression that this was a great album and it’s still being played in my car. Pagan Folk – Omnia What can I say? My first full length CD with Omnia and a blast of fresh air and fun as well as great music. I still play Pagan Folk regularly and I’m still pleased that the opening notes are played by me. :-) Some songs have disappeared from our stage show but The Well, Teutates, Lughnasadh and Twa Corbiez sound as fresh as the days we recorded them.
18 - The Raven Times 05 - January 2009
Pumpkin Time! by Jenny
This soup was actually born out of left overs! We had eaten jacked potatoes and baked pumpkin with ginger, cinnamon and cheese (a great recipe by our friend Wen) for Samhain [Saw-in] or Halloween, and seeing I, of course, made far too much of it, we had quite a bit left over. So the next day I chucked all into a pot and added some stuff we had lying around. The soup was almost like a stew and absolutely scrumptiously divine. So I had to make it more often, and this is the recipe of how I think it tastes best. Ingredients: *1,5 l Water *Vegetable stock tablets (for 1,5 l water = 30 g / 3 tablets) *4 medium sized potatoes *2 or 3 medium sized carrots *1 kg Pumpkin *100 g Red Lentils *2 medium-sized onions *1/3 leek (not absolutely necessary but handy if you have a bit lying around) *200 ml (1 cup) of milk *4 pieces of Ginger in syrup (in Dutch “Voice Ginger”, you can buy it at the Chinese toko); You can use fresh ginger but I’m not sure how much you’ll need seeing it’s stronger than preserved sugared ginger *140 g (2 small cans) of concentrated tomato *1 table spoon of ground cinnamon *Chili powder (or anything else to spice it up) to taste *some grated mature cheese (for serving) Of course you’ll need a large pot and a wooden spoon and a sharp knife and such tools as well. How to make it: (This is just an order of putting stuff in; opposed to cleaning and cutting everything beforehand and then chucking it all in at the same time, I prefer doing all this while already having the pot on the fire. Just don’t forget to stir now and then and put the lid on after adding ingredients every time) -Put the pot with the water and stock on the fire -Cut the ginger in tiny bits and put it in -Clean the potatoes (you can leave the skin on it’s tasty!) and cut into die-sized bits and put into the water -Clean carrots and thinly slice them and chuck in the pot -Clean the pumpkin (scrub the outside well under running water and only take off skin that’s damaged or iffy-looking), slice in halves, take seeds out with a spoon, cut into bits and throw in -Wash lentils and add to the soup -Peel the onions, chop in bits and throw them in -Add the milk -Add the cinnamon and chili -Leave boiling for about 40 minutes (or until all ingredients are well-cooked and squishy, just taste it now and then), stir every few minutes -Mash it a bit (I prefer being able to distinguish and chew different bits of the ingredients to a homogenous gloop) with a hand masher If you find the soup too thick, add some more water & stock and leave boiling a little longer. Serve hot and steamy on a cold day with the cheese on top and some thick-sliced buttered bread of your taste. If you want the soup to bite you back a bit more, add some Maggi, pepper or more chili. The Raven Times 05 - January 2009 - 19
If you were... by Mich
If you were a reincarnation : No, thanks! Once is enough for my part!
If you were a pain : a psychological one. Invisible, but it hurts like hell!
If you were a feeling : the one you get on stage.
If you were an animal : the wolf, for some obvious reasons. Ask the people that I had to bite.
If you were a question : Why? If you were a prophecy : it would be ridiculously accurate. If you were a sound or a music : waves crashing down on stones. If you were a sacred place : every piece of earth I put my feet on. If you were a goddess or a god : Lugh, because it must be very practical to be a specialist in everything. If you were a word : an unpronounceable one, or with a colourful accent.
If you were a vegetable : the dandelion. If you were a quest : it would be never ending. If you were a truth : it would be really relative. If you were a lie : nobody would believe it. If you were a dream : it would be one which makes you wake up with a smile. If you were an object : it would be recyclable. If you were a faith : it would be one without church. If you were a colour : I wonâ€™t be original, but black. Very dark black. If you were a country : it would be one without national identity. If you were yourself: Who? Never heard of him.
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“What kind of music do you make?” by Steve Sic and Jenny
The following story is true: Once upon a time there was an African prince. His country was small and isolated and the people there were basically living in the bronze age. His tribe (let’s call them the “M’bopo’s”) had recently been “discovered” by white explorers and the prince was graciously given the chance to come to the west to study for a few years. Upon his return, the M’bopo tribesmen were anxious to hear tales of this wonderous land beyond the mountains, but the poor prince was hard-put to find the right words to describe his odyssey. The M’bopo language had no words for most “modern” things so, for instance, “airplane” became “flying canoe”, “lawyer” became “a type of rodent”, etc. When asked how the foreign people spent most of their days there, he had to describe what a “job” or “profession” was (like mechanic, politician, prostitute etc.). The only way for him to express the concept of such a life filling activity in the hunter-gatherer language of the M’bopo community was: “someone who can only do ONE thing”! You see, our modern western society has some grave psychological issues with Diversity and Chaos. Everything and everyone has to belong to a categorised, socially accepted group to be recognised by society as a whole. Preferably with a clear label... The Dutch language (which I think was developed by lawyers and stockbrokers) has a brilliant word for this, namely “Hokjesgeest” (“boxes-spirit” ie: everything belongs in a box). Music-genre is a manifestation of this “box-spirit”. As an Artist one is expected to behave as a “something” and thus make a certain type of music: Gothic, R&B, Celtic folk, drum & bass, disco, classical schlager etc, etc. Now all of this is fine and well if you are the kind of Artist that likes to travel the wide well-trodden road of accepted styles. But what about the Artists who make up their own styles and explore the uncharted regions of the new and unknown, or the old and lost? What about a band like OMNIA? What kind of music do we actually make? Well I don’t really know, because we just don’t seem to fit in a standard box. We play many styles of music both ancient and modern, on many kinds of instruments and we have a diverse and colourful mix of fans of all ages all around the world. We are also active in a variety of music scenes, although they all seem to have a different opinion of who and what we are. Some believe us to be Celtic Folk, which is a genre consisting largely of Irish/Scottish music coverbands endlessly playing popular pub-songs. BUT many Folk magazines and radio stations will not review or play us because they think we are either too world-music, too Gothic-metal or just too weird. They are right, we are not Celtic Folk, though many folkies love us.
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Some other people think we are Gothic, which is a genre consisting largely of black-clad electronic noisy bands who tend to use a lot of midi-playback on stage. BUT many Gothic magazines and radio stations will not review or play OMNIA because they think we are either too world-music, too Celtic folk, too Medieval or just too weird. They are right, we are not Gothic, though many Gothies love us. Some believe us to be World music, which is a genre so huge, it defies comprehension consisting largely of bands making the traditional music of their homelands or adaptations thereof but usually including at least one black man on a djembe or something similarly exotic to western eyes. BUT many Worldmusic magazines and radio stations will not review or play us because they think we are either too Folk (yeah weird huh?), too Gothic, or just too strange looking. They are right, we are not World music, though many Worldmusic fans love us. Some think we are Medieval which is a genre consisting largely of bands playing adaptations of medievalchristian music usually played on reconstructions of medieval instruments and accompanied by a lot of sweat, drums and/or electronic synthetic midi-sound. We don’t play a single piece of medieval music, yet a lot of mittelalter-fans love us. Well this list can go on and on with Classical music fans, Metal fans etc. and it has as many peculiarities and nuances as you do, dear readers, so what is it? What kind of music does OMNIA make? I could sum up our song-repertoire and label all them accordingly: Odi et Amo = modern classical composition. DilGaya = Worldmusic Tine Bealtaine = Breton BalFolk the Raven = Gothic-Poetic the Morrigan = Heroic Metal Bold Fenian Men = Celtic Folk and/or Punk ;-) Wytches Brew= score from some Musical Auta Luonto= PaganFolk but this will only make it more confusing... Everytime a new composition bubbles up from the fertile fractal Vortex called “Jenny and Steve’s mind” something wonderous happens. You see, we don’t really invent or build OMNIA music. Music comes to us, and we never know what it will be. We simply let our minds become quiet and music fills the void by itself. This can lead to unexpected surprises (especially for us) as we never know what the fairies will give us. And everytime we ask ourselves this: “I like it, but is it still OMNIA?” Lately we’ve started to add Rap, mainstream hippy singer-songwriter, traditional Swedish music, Mongolian throatsinging, dark murder ballad stuff etc. to our ever increasing oeuvre of Pagan Weirdness. The new arrivals keep coming and we enjoy playing them all....a lot! So I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever boils up from the depths of our subconcious is acceptable. I’m sure that even if we’d make a completely electronic dance piece or a full orchestral concerto it would still be OMNIA, because we make music with our hearts rather than our heads. There’s simply no spirit-box for us to fit into. Although this is our job, we are simple bronze age tribes people who can still do many different things. We belong to ALL and NO genre because simply said: “We create therefore we are” you can call it PaganFolk, you can call it worldmusic, you can call it strawberry banana sundae, who cares? What’s in a name? Our band name is OMNIA and our music is OMNIA (ie: everything) and I look forward to another exciting year on the long and winding never ending trail of discovery. We sincerely hope that you will always wander that path alongside us no matter through which strange lands it may pass, no matter where our music may finally lead us (could it be to fairyland?).. And oh yeah...if you happen to use the christian calender: Happy new year! Greenthingz Steve Sic et Jenny
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WHY??!! by Bienchen Here we go again – deadline for the new Raven Times articles – and once again I’m cursed by this f…ing writer’s block. Amazing how accusing those blank pages manage to gaze at me. There’s so much in a pagan woman’s life I could write about, too much actually. So many things, that I’m sometimes in danger of an inner explosion. And still – were to start? And having started, were will it lead to? Well, once upon a time, a very looong time ago actually, my articles for our school-magazine used have a slight or sometimes heavy ironic undertone, later on I used to write satires, then the tone became somewhat cynical, followed by strong sarcasm. Nowadays I can endure sarcasm and cynicism only in small dosage, because they darken my soul and fog my view on the beauty of life and nature. And moreover: what sense lies in writing sarcastic columns, as long as I’ll never be able to match the sarcasm of the daily news, which make my texts sound like charming fairy-tales??? Ah alas, sometimes I wonder if all wouldn’t be much easier, if I simply let go and surrendered to general madness. I’d buy a 189 channels receiver, I’d get square eyes by watching talk shows and buy endless amounts of useless stuff, I’d go to work, do all they ask from me, without ever bothering to wonder – I’d be a functioning member of wonderworld. My heart would stop to ache, my eyes and ears would never ever be in danger to splinter again, because I’d glue my mobile phone to one ear, the i-pod to the other and I’d wear sunglasses and blinkers all day long. During my four weeks of holidays I’d take a plane and visit some large concrete hotel, drown myself in buckets full of Sangria and die early of some disease of civilization, just to be nice to the pension insurance fund. WHY CAN’T I BRING MYSELF TO JUST DO IT????? Because I simply can’t. I was born as a nature loving child I guess, because no one ever really made an effort to make me a pagan woman (on the contrary I can assure you). No one- and if I knew the one to blame I’d hit him and ask him if he’s really enjoying his trick and I’d curse his nasty sense of humour. Living in Western Europe makes you part of the system, if you like it or not, you just can’t escape it. You’re driving in a car? No matter for what purposes, no excuses, you’re in. You’re buying food, no matter what or where, welcome to the club, you’re using phones, internet and blas, yes, this is it. You’re buying material or clothes, no matter of what quality: hey, you’re in….It makes me ashamed and mad, but it looks like I have to admit that I’m part of the system. When I read an article about a guy, who decided to escape it all, I was full of admiration for him. He moved right to the middle of some huge forest, built his hut only with hands and self made or natural tools, no electricity and water only from the nearby brook. He lived on things he found in the wood and managed to survive pretty well – even in winter. But when it came to clothes it got a bit difficult. He wouldn’t or couldn’t hunt – so – no furs. He decided to sometimes get in contact with other human beings, showed them his hut and his way of living and for that they left him clothes or money and that was it: the link to society. After a while some bureaucrats got wind of him being there in the forest and they told him to move to some other place, because they considered it “too dangerous for him” to stay there – they saw the danger of high water (from the brook)..hm…and showed him an “alternative” place without any dangerous waters nearby. Be sure: they’ll find you, wherever you hide. The Raven Times 05 - January 2009 - 23
So once you’ve got this clear: you’re a nature-loving pagan and you’re part of the system - the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia will show up from time to time and even more, if you don’t decide to live in the wood and you’re not an artist, blessed with all sorts of admirable skills, but you have to make your living with some sort of “normal” work – Congratulations! The disaster in coalition with an unescapable dilemma is complete. And when it’s getting really ridiculous and for the umpteenth time in one day this overloud “WHYYYY????” is wringing in my head, I can only find one answer: because the sense of life is to live and for me this has definitely something to do with enjoying nature and the gift of living with all senses. Have you ever faced the task and had the honour to accompany someone during his or her last days and hours of life on this side? I had. Often. And what do you think do people recall during these last hours, when they themselves decide, if this life was worth living? I assure you, no one I knew ever mentioned that he’s seen all episodes of some daily soap and when recalling the happiest moments of this life (and that’s what many do, besides asking for forgiveness for what they consider to be the biggest mistakes they made), no one ever mentioned the purchase of some silly car or house or….It always had something to do with moments they shared with people they loved or with happy moments of freedom and content. So again and again, against all odds I decided to enjoy life as much as possible with all senses (and music is an enormously great part of this) and by doing this respect nature and beings as much as possible and I’m very happy to say that one of the most touching and happiest joyful moments of relief and freedom in my life so far was given to me by OMNIA. And when life in this society is getting at me and I’m in danger of losing myself again, a bit of Omnia music or a mail of the friends I found in them, makes me straighten up again and be as unadjusted, as humorous and alive as possible. And I’m sure they do the same for all of you. Bienchen
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The OMNIA Shirt World Tour It seems that our OMNIA shirt trip has really no borders anymore. Time to visit Asia this time, with Reinhard from Germany who brought us along to Cambodia. It’s quite impressive how our green swirlies are fitting this landscape with its Khmer temple and the colours of the nature there. Thanks for sharing this exotic and probably quite unforgettable experience.
OMNIA Fan Art A while ago, Wendy from the Netherlands sent us a message, asking if she could see us after one of our theatre gigs to give a present to Luka and Steve. When we saw her paintings, my first reaction was: “Please, if you have scanned them, send me the pics so I can put them in the Raven Times.” And here they are, a Luka from the Dark Forest and “Tartan” Steve as if they were alive. Thank you very much Wendy!
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OMNIA Fan Art Another technique now, but the same talent and feeling with this wonderful drawing of Jenny made by Antje from Switzerland. I noticed her work on our forum, and directly asked her permission to share it with you in the Raven Times. Really mysterious and mystical. Merci beaucoup Antje.
We still need you! We still need your contributions for our « Behind the Fans » part. So don’t hesitate to share your OMNIA related art by sending your files to email@example.com
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Agenda 31-1-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour: Stadsgehoorzaal, Kampen, NL, concert starts: 20:00 6-2-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Isala Theater, Capelle a/d IJssel, NL, concert starts: 20:15 10-2-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Fortis Theater aan de Schie, Schiedam, NL, concert starts: 20:15 12-2-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater Castellum, Alphen aan den Rijn, concert starts: 20:30 14-2-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Cultureel Centrum De Ruchte, Someren, concert starts: 20:30 21-2-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater de Purmaryn, Purmerend, concert starts: 20:30 28-2-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater De Stoep, Spijkenisse, NL, concert starts: 20:15 7-3-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Schouwburg Orpheus, Apeldoorn, NL, concert starts: 20:00 12-3-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Schouwburg de Kring, Roosendaal, NL, concert starts: 20:00 14-3-2009 Pop Stage “de Meester”, Almere, NL. 20-3-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater 't Kielzog, Hoogezand, NL, concert starts: 20:00 28-3-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater de Dialoog, Ermelo, NL, concert starts: 20:15 3-4-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Rabotheater, Hengelo (Ov.), NL, concert starts: 20:30 11-4-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater Agora, Lelystad, NL, concert starts: 20:15 12-4-2009 Trolls et Légendes, Mons, BE 16-4-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Schouwburg Het Park, Hoorn (NH.), NL, concert starts: 20:30 25-4-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Goudse Schouwburg, Gouda, NL, concert starts: 20:30 30-4-2009 “Beltaine Mystery Night”, Schloss Burg, Solingen (D). More info will follow soon. 2-5-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater Geert Teis, Stadskanaal, NL, concert starts: 20:00 8-5-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, CC Cascade, Hendrik Ido Ambacht, concert starts: 20:15 14-5-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, CC de Pas, Heesch, NL, concert starts: 20:15 15-5-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater de Poorterij, Zaltbommel, NL, concert starts: 20:15 22-5-2009 OMNIA "European Roots" Theater Tour, Theater de Lampegiet, Veenendaal, NL, concert starts: 20:00 19-7-2009 Amphi Festival, Cologne, Germany, D 31-7-2009 Castlefest, Kasteel de Keukenhof, Lisse NL. 1-8-2009 Castlefest, Kasteel de Keukenhof, Lisse NL. 2-8-2009 Castlefest, Kasteel de Keukenhof, Lisse NL. 22-8-2009 Schlosshof Festival, Schloss Höchstadt (Schlossberg) 91315 Höchstadt D.
The Raven Times - PaganClan Team Michel “Mich” Rozek: coordinator, editor, french translation (firstname.lastname@example.org) Liesbet “Lies” Mignolet: coordinator, pictures, lay-out (email@example.com) Christa “Squinty” Kloosterman: dutch translation (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sabine Barbara “Bienchen” Schrader: editor, german translation (email@example.com) With the priceless collaboration, help and support of Jenny, Steve, Luka, Joe, Miez, Marcel Bakker and Snorri.
© OMNIA - PaganClan www.omnia-neocelt.com
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