"Stories from the Past -
Visions into the Future"
green with envy? Not
a chance....we're green with irish legacy! Everyone is.
celebrating our celtic heritage, the gaelic culture,
the soul of brittany, the origins of menhirs and
mystic rocks, shadows of enchanted kingdoms and
pathways to heavenly discoveries. Oh, and there's a
whole lot more to it too. Somehow there's a connection
between everything, from the fierce, proud tribes who
speak Navajo and fly with the eagle across Monument
Valley, to the Aborigenes of Australia, the Aztecs,
Moais of Easter Island, the tall proud people who
speak Suahili, just like the short and equally blessed
people from Cornwall to the tip of Scottland who may
have witnessed more than the wonders of Nessie, gazing
at a sunset to the end of the seas. What if their
Druids and Mages had their potions and magical powers
gifted to them by a universal force, hundreds of years
ago? What if extra-terrestrials, yes, them, what if
they came back to Stonehenge, and came to visit their
old friends. Yes, there's a connection somewhere.
Maybe we'll find it, some day.
Our vision: To boldly go where no music instrument has gone before!
We have decided to do this one a little bit differently: we'll let you in on some of the upcoming marvels of John's and his buddies' musical discoveries and experiments.
We don't quite know yet what will come out of it. Perhaps just some freebies for everyone to enjoy? Or John's next CD? Perhaps even a download-only project, to honour the many pioneers of mp3 players and internet delivery-based music? For us it's a whole new look at old music, new music, celtic music, classic compositions, with a 21st century's touch of Trance and Electronica. Will it work? Is there a name for it?
John Somnitz meets Ian Cameron - the Modern and the Ancient join forces, clashing, fusing, in perfect ecstasy, agony, rediscovering universal harmony and delirium. With contributions from efiddler.com, other musicians are joining in, and there's more fun to come.
|#1 - Vibrant Legacy - play
In honor of his heritage John has written "Vibrant Legacy" as a song of Irish pride. It is a fitting beginning to a collection of music dedicated to the lands of his ancestors.
|#2 - Wihtgar - play
Cerdic of Wessex (c. 467-534), was the King of Wessex (519-534), and was regarded as the ancestors to all subsequent Kings of Wessex. He is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle when he landed in Hampshire in 495 and in 519 gained a great victory at Charford. Hengest and Adelle's men had touched hardly more than the coast, and the true conquest of Southern Britain was reserved for a fresh band of Saxons, a tribe known as the Gewissas, who landed under Cerdic and his son Cynric on the shores of the Southampton Water, and pushed in 495 to the great Downs of Gwent where Winchester offered so rich a prize. In 519 came the West-Saxons into Britain, with three ships, at the place that is called Cerdic's-ore. Stuf and Wihtgar fought with the Britons, and put them to flight. Nowhere was the strife fiercer than here; and it was not till 519 that a decisive victory at Charford ended the struggle for the "Gwent" and set the crown of the West-Saxons on the head of Cerdic."
The West Saxons also fought a British king named Natanleod in Wiltshire and slew him. Under his leadership the West Saxons also advanced into Dorset and Somerset. The conquest of the Isle of Wight is also mentioned among his campaigns, and it was later given to his nephew Wihtgar. Whitgar ruled until his death in 544. His descendants bear the name of Whitacre or Whittaker. The song is a chronicle of his victory over the Britons with his cousins Stuf and Cynric and Uncle Cerdic at the battle of Cerdic's-ore.
|#3 - The Death of Brian Boru - play
The land over which Brian Boru had made himself High King, or Ard Ri was a heavily forested and rich land.
Brian the son of Cinneide, prince of the Dal Caid, was undeniably a man ahead of his time. Dreamer, opportunist, ruthless pragmatist , skilled harper, accomplished scholar, accomplished warrior.
Living in close proximity, the Irish warriors and Vikings fought constantly, with tribal factions joining one side or the other as circumstances dictated. From such violent relations, blood feuds developed over the generations. In time Brian Boru realized that the Scandinavians - who did not call themselves Vikings, as Viking was a verb describing raiding and plunder - had been in Ireland for centuries. They were well established, they had put down roots and intermarried. Their art forms had enriched indigenous art forms, their trade had become important to Ireland's economy. In short, they could not simply be driven out.
The Irish High King wanted to unite his people, but his enemies - including the Viking Brodir of Man - plotted to disrupt his plans to divide Ireland for themselves.
More important to the Viking Brodir than such sacrosanct niceties were the treasures he would possess after he had destroyed the Irish armies. Not only the wealth of the kingdom but also the high kingship itself might be his.
Brian Boru led an army across the midsection of Ireland, drawing additional supporters as he went.
Brian Boru's army mustered 7,000 warriors to face the 8,000 Vikings from Dublin. Not only were Brian Boru's Irish troops present, but there were also warriors from "Alba" (Scotland) and Norway and a contingent of newly Christianized Manx Vikings - all of whom prepared to fight the more heavily armored allied-Viking force.
In spite of his efforts he had made to introduce a form of cavalry, most warriors still fought on foot, and barefoot at that. Battle-dress was as individualistic as the men themselves. Some wore simple saffron-dried tunics with woollen cloaks or shaggy mantles. Others had body protection in the form of boiled leather fitted to the torso, or the occasional set of chain links taken from a dead Dane. Weapons also varied. Brian Boru himself had mastered the battle-axe, but short swords and spears and slings and clubs were very much in evidence. Then as now, many thought there was no substitute for a stout blackthorn cudgel.
As the dreaded Viking longboats cut sleekly toward the shore dimly outlined in the evening dusk, the lights of the Irish army's distant campfires could be seen a mile or so inland. The ruse had worked for Brodir of Man. The Vikings had fooled Irish High King Brian Boru into thinking they had deserted their allies at the fortress of Dublin.
In reality, the Vikings had simply sailed out of sight, to return in the darkness in hopes of catching the Irish unprepared for the enemy's reappearance the next morning. The Vikings also knew that the pious Brian Boru would be loath to do battle on such a holy day as April 23, 1014, Good Friday.
Brian Boru rode before his assembling forces, carrying a crucifix in one hand and a sword in the other. He gave a short but inspiring speech to his warriors assembled to do battle and then retired to the rear, accompanied by a number of personal escorting guards, who formed a shield wall around him. The Irish, incensed by years of bloody skirmishes, of loved ones being killed or captured and homes destroyed, prepared to destroy the hated Vikings and their renegade Irish allies.
During the course of the long battle, the tide had come in, cutting the Vikings off from the safety of their ships. The choice being Irish blades or a hazardous swim, most elected to run into the sea. As the Vikings fled into the water, Brian Boru's 15-year-old grandson Tordhelbach, caught up in the fury of battle, chased two Danes into the ocean and dragged them under, drowning himself in the process. Every invading Viking leader was killed during the Battle of Clontarf.
It seems Brodir, hiding in the woods, saw Brian Boru just outside, lightly guarded while most of his men were off in furious pursuit of the fugitives. The Vikings fell upon the few Irish retainers, decapitating Brian Boru with one blow. Then they retreated, Brodir yelling, "Now let man tell man that Brodir felled Brian Boru," and were quickly subdued and taken prisoner by the enraged Irish. According to the Viking sagas, Wolf the Quarrelsome ordered that Brodir's men be killed and that Brodir himself should die a lingering coward's death.
So died Brian Boru, the first High King of the Irish and the uniter of its people.
|#4 - Féile - play
Gaelic Days of Feasting
|#5- Wave of An Age - play