Touch the Earth are a Tribal Folk Band that draw their inspiration from the natural world around them, their music has been described as: ‘A vibration of pure energy gathers one up, the flutes, violin, guitar, didge, drummers and singers are part of this surrealism – the essence is pure spirit.’ – The Holistic Channel
The nucleus of the band is Lynn Gosney and her son Lee Gosney-Hunt. Mother and son started making music together ten years ago, gradually drawing other musicians to them to form the band Touch the Earth. After a number of line-up changes the band settled on the current line up three years ago with Lee’s partner - Gillian Hunt and Pete Maxey completing the band. The full line-up is as follows:
Lynn Gosney: Vocals, Native American Flute, Hand drum, Pow Wow, Didge
Lee Gosney-Hunt: Guitar, Vocals, Native American Flute, Hand drum, Pow Wow, Djembe, Didge, Banjo
Gillian Hunt: Pow Wow, Djembe, Bodhran, Didge, Vocals,
Pete Maxey: Fiddle, Pow Wow, Vocals, Hand drum, Rattle
Heathen Harvest: www.heathenharvest.com Music Review by Isis
With instruments like Native American Flute, Hand drum, pow wow, didge, djembe, banjo, bodhran and rattles one can expect to find anything; from folk to oriental, from ambient to tribal. Touch the Earth try to depict the journey of the four seasons through their music in their new record, ‘The Sacred Wheel’, and through all of their instrumentation the most important one is voice. The songs in this double record are complex, varied, rich and textured – yet it is the voice line and singing that keeps them down to earth. It could almost be a recording of a night by the fire, with the shadows dancing behind the flames and the cold setting in slowly. The travelling of the world for one year defined in the voyage from dusk into nighttime and darkness into light. Most of the constructions are basically folk, many with a slight Celtic aura.. Forthright tunes that grow and live to speak out their message. A basic song like ‘Intertwined’, for example, defines it perfectly. A double melody by instrument and voice serves as tag line for the message. It rings true and catches. It serves its purpose well.
Lynn Gosney and her son Lee Gosney-Hunt created the band more than ten years ago, making music together and drawing inspiration from nature around them – perhaps the most obvious element of their music. For this record they have also counted on members that have become fixtures: Gillian Hunt and Pete Maxey, as well as Bruce in sound and visuals. The record was recorded during live sessions of summer 2007, and the live element is actually really noticeable in the direct way the record sounds, in the explanations, some entries to songs…, yet ‘The Sacred wheel’ doesn’t cease to amaze in its elaborate sounding.
To point out some songs, ‘Hug the Sunshine’ is a haunting, enfolding folk song, full of dark corners and blending melodies. The fiddle and the voice mingle together perfectly, crowned by the flute under lyrics like ‘Love life and life will love you/In it’s brightest light’. Followed by the intimate ‘Gentle Oceans’ it becomes one of the best combinations I have found in my opinion in the record. It is as if the dusk of the previous song unravelled into sweet and stunning melody. The stubborn reciting underlined by tribal drums in ‘Hunter of Me’, open the field of percussion that seems to define autumn and much of winter. The mellow and flowing melody of ‘Gentle rivers’ where the fiddle weaves its way around the voice line creates pure beauty.
The moments of pure instrumentation, like ‘Didge inspirational/ shamans horse’ carry a heavy native sound to them. Like shadows that come to life and dance around your mind in that place where sleep and waking unite under a grey sky. In that moment that everyone has in which dreams and reality are part of the same surface. Shaman’s Horse moves in, with its glaring lyrics almost as part of the dream, as strong reciting – tense folk moving into psychedelic rock. Or like ‘Quiet bear’, soothing and stalking; intense yet slowly absorbing in a peaceful manner.
All in all, ‘The Sacred Wheel’ is a work of wood and dirt, of leaves and running water, of person in front of nature and surrounded by it and immersed in it. This is true earthly folk, not soiled by longings, comings and goings, but alleyways and sailors. This is the folk of bare feet and hot fevers and stories of the land. Touch the Earth.
AVALON Magazine Issue 40 (Autumn/Winter 2008) CD Review Reviewer: Imogen Drakeford
THE SACRED WHEEL Artists: Touch The Earth Lyrics: Lynn Gosney www.myspace.com/touchtheearth
Touch The Earth is a multi-talented quartet, Lynn, Lee, Gill and Pete, supported by Bruce. 'The Sacred Wheel' comprises two CDs recorded live over Summer 2007, and the occasional muted clapping adds a personal closeness to these events.
We start with a gentle rippling of woodwind, combined with a voiceover, as Lynn invites us to join a magical journey on the Sacred Wheel which moves us through the seasons. Spring begins with word-pictures of air, newness, flowers, leaves, birds and gifts of creation. These lead straight into an upbeat instrumental, followed by hip-swinging drums in 'Blessed Be' - contrasting dramatically with the sinuous fiddle and djembe drum of 'Serpent'.
Summer brings us words of fire, passion, joy, abundance and connection to the inner child. Who could resist the toe-tapping 'Burn, Fire, Burn' or the bouncy 'Oak Leaf For The Summer King'?
Then we move into Autumn - a fiddle of falling leaves being shed to make way for the new, the reds and golds spreading beauty across the land. Lynn sings the powerful 'Boudica' unaccompanied apart from a quiet, mourning thrum, and the section ends with 'Quiet Bear', a soft nature-centred flute being joined by gentle drumming as Autumn slips towards a restful Winter's cave.
In Winter, the slightly-dissonant fiddle music from Pete produces a chill atmosphere, supported by the didge as Lynn takes us into the Earth, preparing to sleep.
Throughout both CDs there is an interesting mix of guitar, fiddle, flutes and a selection of drums, rattles, and earth-connecting didge. The balance between instrumentals, and vocals both sung and spoken, is excellent, and the clarity of diction impressive. All four members of the group display a consistently high professional standard. The Group describe themselves as a 'Tribal Folk Band'. They are this and more, for both Lee and Lynn demonstrate a range of different vocal techniques in folk or ballad quality, for 'Skylark' (Summer) and 'Butterfly' (Summer), while in 'Ancient Landscapes' (Autumn) and 'Touch The Earth' (Winter) a much more powerful, jazz-like 'belt voice' is used.
I am compulsively drawn to sing with many of the tracks, and in 'The Hunter In Me' (Autumn) we are actively encouraged to join in. So I really appreciate the words provided in the accompanying booklet - although some, such as 'Amelia's Chant' (Winter), are difficult to read because of the font used and the lack of contrast between words and background.
So dream with 'Mists Of Avalon', soothe your mood with 'Gentle Oceans', energise with 'Shaman's Horse', dance with 'Heat Of The Noonday Sun' ... and SING!