Mick Mercer’s show – Almost Anglo Saxon track – another play!

What a lovely surprise to find that Mick Mercer played another track from Almost Anglo Saxon on his show!

Mick Mercer - check out his radio show

Mick Mercer – check out his radio show

I was gobsmacked that he played The Ballad of St Margaret – although I had already clocked that Spon seemed to like this track.

Mick Mercer’s Radio Show Here
I had written this song as I discovered that Margaret was a genuine Saxon princess and her family were invited to continue the Anglo Saxon line of English royalty. Needless to say 1066 was not a good year to turn up. She fled with her mother and ended up in Scotland as her ship was blown off course.

The tale becomes a love story as the Scottish king fell in love with her and she became Queen of Scotland. As she was a very religious Christian I wrote the song as a sort of hymn. I wanted to tell this Anglo Saxon woman’s story as she was greatly loved in her own lifetime and beyond.

I feel very honored to have my work appreciated and played on Mick’s show. Almost Anglo Saxon really is a special project. I hope that the world will one day come to know and love it.

Buy Almost Anglo Saxon Here

New Interview with Ella Jo

Almost Anglo Saxon CD front cover1Starting 2015 – An Interview with Ella Jo about her New Album Almost Anglo Saxon

This year Ella Jo finished the long awaited album ‘Almost Anglo Saxon’ – this is what she said to Diamond Seeds:

“It was a very enjoyable project and a fantastic challenge to learn history, write songs relating to that history and produce an album that is musically credible as well as educational. History has never been so much fun and the research turned up some interesting facts. Choosing subjects like King Ethelred the Unready and the folk tale of Wayland Smithy, I wanted to tell the stories as the Anglo Saxons may have told them.

Reflecting on the material I realize that I was trying to stand in the shoes of those who witnessed historical moments in Anglo Saxon History, like a woman watching the ships land when the Vikings invaded in the song ‘Dragon Ships’. There was also moments when I allowed A modern point of view such as ‘The Hidden Hoard’. In ‘The Minstrel’s Song’ I wanted to embrace the place of music in culture and show how highly it was valued in the past.”

Who is this album for?

“Everyone. The idea was to create a collection of modern day folk songs, but I am from a pop influenced background so the songs strode off into their own directions. We experimented all the way through this project wanting to create something new, but recognizable. I suppose Pink Floyd worked in a similar way when they experimented with the technology of their time. The challenge was to write good authentic songs. One way of keeping true to the idea was to turn things around. If I travelled back in time would the Anglo Saxons approve of my material? Or if I could bring Anglo Saxon musicians into a modern day recording studio would they have performed songs like mine? These ideas set the standards – and on a spiritual level there was an underlying will to please the ancestors.
So I suppose I wrote this album for the Anglo Saxons and all of their descendents and for anyone curious to know about them. All cultures could gain some insight from this album. As a songwriter I looked at the history and added human elements such as irony or joy.”

How did you write the songs?

“I really don’t know. A silent room will eventually allow words or a tune to develop. Some of this album was easy to write once I tapped into the zone – I had ‘The Anglo Saxon Chronicles’ nearby and looked up stories on the net. I didn’t try too hard to make sophisticated songs – I was concerned with telling the stories – in my view that is what folk is.

Mel on Whistle!

Mel on Whistle!

Fiddlin Flick

Fiddlin Flick on ‘Ethelred The Unready Blues’

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was supported by some wonderful musicians who helped on various songs – it was a joy to record with Mel from Tarantism on Flute, Steve Kerr on Guitar, Ed Branch from UK Decay on Bass and Fiddlin Flick on violin. There was a lot of improvisation which was awesome – I loved giving the musicians freedom to interpret the songs, and as we were recording they could do as many takes as they liked. Working with Spon I knew that he would work this way and we would pick through takes and get the best out of everyone.”

Tell us about Steve Spon

Spon recording01

Steve Spon at the controls

“Well we made three albums already, and by the second one I had grown pretty comfortable with working with him as sound engineer. Almost Anglo Saxon was brand new work for both of us and we jumped on it. Spon is senior producer, so I got to work closely with him on the production. To be honest it was stress free – he has so much experience and understood what I was trying to do. He is also interested in Anglo Saxon history so he brought ideas and creative strengths to the project.”

Almost Anglo Saxon Available NowClick Here to purchase Almost Anglo Saxon, the CD Album by Ella Jo

What is different about Almost Anglo Saxon?
“Well technically it is a concept album. Only a few bars of music survive from those times a thousand years ago, but there is evidence of the instruments that they used. We have come so far with today’s technology that once I began to imagine sounds and atmospheres Spon was able to make up versions of my ideas. We twiddled and tweaked and allowed the feelings of the songs to transpire. So while I was tapping into ideas for mead hall songs, Spon would be out trying to record our local owl. I mean this album really is a testament to the saying that your world is as big as your imagination: for example, we made sounds by throwing cutlery around the kitchen and I clog danced on a wooden staircase in my heels…

I want everybody to relate to the subjects covered in this album, its not all heavy, although I couldn’t escape the fact that there was a lot of war and invasion going on. But there is ample opportunity to dance, and sing along. There is even a love song (‘Through the Eyes of an Eagle’). I tried to keep the lyrics historically correct on this album – I think people are sick of listening to bullshit pop. So it should appeal to anyone with some musical sophistication – and I have no doubt there are many out there who love history and music. So I think the album has a broad appeal.

I enjoyed the challenge of singing what I had created. There were moments when I had to trust to improvisation during the recording process, which is how I came up with the coda of ‘Ethelred The Unready Blues’. I was immersed in a song I had not written an ending for, and just found it – some things I will never understand. So Almost Anglo Saxon is a concept album, but is not contrived like commercial pop.”

Gig-wise?

“I thought I was a bit shaky this year – finding it hot when I performed in the summer, I was very out of practice. I think my best performance was on Xmas Eve – I filled in one song when Garry and Jenny had a break at their gig at the Bedford Arms in Souldrop. I hadn’t prepared anything, so I got the audience to clap along and sung ‘The Raggle-Taggle Gypsies’ which is an old favourite. It was a jam really, but I know all the words so I trusted the flavour of the occasion and went for it! It was a lot of fun entertaining the folks in my local pub!”

Trying to remember how to play on a stage again!

Trying to remember how to play on a stage again!

The Future
“I have a lot of catching up to do on guitar. I felt so much better just singing, perhaps I will find a guitarist who can accompany me to take Almost Anglo Saxon live into the pubs and clubs – I would love to take people on a trip into history!”

Click Here to purchase Almost Anglo Saxon only £10 plus p&p – straight from the manufacturers

Click here to learn more about Anglo Saxon history and it’s music

Almost Anglo Saxon by Ella Jo

 This is a concept album as I wanted to start a brand new project with completely new ideas. It is very satisfying to research a subject, write about it as poetry and then find a tune and craft a song. This is what ‘Almost Anglo Saxon’ has mainly been about.

I wanted to write some songs about Anglo Saxon life as I am interested in the history. Also I wanted to explore a more historical approach to making the music. Nothing remains of Anglo Saxon music. They had certain instruments that we can be sure of, but no one knows what type of music they were playing, and so this gave me the freedom to just write songs as I like to and not look to any particular influence. If a tune moved me and sat with me, I would use it if I was sure it was ‘original’ enough. I don’t listen to any folk music really so just followed what I thought sounded authentic and pretty simple. 

I like to think each song tells a story and gives some insight into the human condition all those years ago. Included on the album are tracks called: The Song of Wayland Smithy, The Hidden Hoard, Dragon Ships, Wassail The Night, Feel Love, Ethelred – The Unready Blues, The Ballard Of St Margaret, The Minstrel’s Song and Vortigern’s Surprise.

In an attempt to deconstruct what we understand as ‘music’ we have used our imagination to visualize what Anglo Saxon musicians may have been inspired by, with modern day recording techniques. Thus we have sampled wolves, owls and other birds. The wind, the sea, bells, anything that we feel is appropriate to the song. Yet I have also included things that please me – we are not Anglo Saxons – the ‘Almost’ in the title gave me permission to sense the songs from a modern perspective.

The aim of this project is to entertain and educate. This project is also a testament to the skill of the sound engineer, Steve Spon, and proof that a simple concept can be such a lot of fun and be well received by music lovers of all types.

Find out more about the Anglo Saxons, their music and instruments in the following link:

Click here to learn more about the subjects tackled in the songs:

This album is available straight from the suppliers – TEN Awe-inspiring  tracks price £10 plus postage and packing!

Click HERE to BUY ALMOST ANGLO SAXON

 Track List:

Swirling and Whirling – A song about women’s magic!

The Hidden Hoard – The story behind buried treasure

Ethelred The Unready Blues – The ruler who consistently got things wrong!

Minstrel’s Song – reflecting on the life of the entertainers in Anglo Saxon Times and their value to society

Wassail The Night With Mead – A joyous adventure into the folk life of long ago

Ballard Of St Margaret – the story of a real Anglo Saxon Princess

Vortigern’s Surprise – A song about the invasions of the Anglo Saxons

Through the Eyes of An Eagle – A simple love song, based on characters from far off days.

The Song of Wayland Smithy – About the ancient folk story of an imprisoned smith

Dragon Ships – A woman sings a song about the Viking invasion of the Anglo Saxons

Tea on the Lawn, Umbrella Fair, Northampton

From folk to funk – its all here!

Well a busy time altogether means no time for blogging, but at last I got around to it. The last year has been all about writing and I have produced some children’s stories. I invented a witch called Gwubbins and sent her on adventures with her friends, many characters or figures based on folk I have known, with lots of fiction thrown in. Getting peoples kids to read the material and provide feedback has been an uphill struggle and I have to rely on my own judgement a lot.http://gwubbins.recklessrelic.co.uk/

I don’t engage with children very much, so these stories have been written for my own inner child to enjoy. I feel that I have discovered another facet for artistic expression.
Inventing playful characters and scenarios and honing it into a readable, engaging piece of work has been truly rewarding. The art of storytelling is no mean feat! I am shocked that I have spent so much time and effort on this project, and am totally immersed in the process. Hence, music practice was neglected, although we worked on my latest album in fits and starts, and I am sure it will be finished soon.

DancingSo I got offered a half hour slot at a little gathering called Tea on the Lawn and realized that I needed to practice like mad because my finger tips had gone soft and I had forgotten the chords. I was getting over a dislocated thumb (!) and had to fit practice times around the neighbours and wait for some space to bash the hell out of a guitar. Then, because I had practiced the songs at a fast tempo, the songs were too fast when I played them at the gig.

Trying to remember how to play on a stage again!

Ella Jo – I was trying to remember how to play on a stage again!

On a positive note I didn’t mess up and I remembered all the words. I had forgotten how it felt to perform, but the audience were generous and kind and it was not a disaster!

Engaging performance - strong songwriting!

Corinne Lucy – Engaging performance – strong songwriting!

There were other people doing their spots at Tea on the Lawn and I was blown away by the talent and enthusiasm. The goodness of the crowd, the punters and the organizers, was truly heartening. Check out – CorinneLucy.com

www.jimtom.org

www.jimtom.org

 

Mel on Whistle!

Mel on Whistle!

So I am going back for another crack at the open mike because I felt encouraged and supported, and who knows, it may be better this time?

It is fantastic to be given the opportunity to practice performance at this little gathering!

Tea on the Lawn Northampton 2014Look up and go!   www.umbrellafair.org.uk

Welcome to Diamond Seeds!

Home of Independent artists Ella Jo and Steve Spon. Find FREE Music podcasts and learn about our exciting creative projects. Scatter Dreams with Diamond Seeds!

Journey Of A Tarot Reader

Journey Of A Tarot Reader Serious research on the possible influence of the Mother Goddess Religion on the concept of Tarot

In 2006 Ella Jo made a trip to Greece to read Tarot on the beaches. Her journal reveals the realities of a Bohemian beach community life and the story unfolds as she decides to go exploring. Influenced by her desire to find the origins of the Tarot, she travels to Turkey to look for evidence. In 2005, Ella Jo visited India, finding evidence for the original structure of the Tarot cards; this 2006 journal charts her search in the Middle East.

 

AVAILABLE AS  AN E- BOOK –  CLICK HERE

Ella Jo relates her journey from Santorini to Crete and Rhodes, then on to Turkey returning to the UK through Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The book makes entertaining reading as she tells of her encounters with people and places she found on her journey.

The second part of the book, headed ‘Notes’, takes a deeper look at the subjects uncovered in her journey. She presents serious research on the possible influence of the Mother Goddess Religion on the concept of Tarot, seeking linguistic and historical material to provide insights. Ella Jo also investigates the mystery of Tarot’s appearance in Europe, providing glimpses of evidence from surviving historical data.

Purchase book here

This book is a must for those interested in the fascinating phenomena that is Tarot.

NEW! “Journey of a Tarot Reader” in E-Book for I-Pad and I-Phone

Limits Of Milkweed Lyric Book

Limits Of Milkweed Lyric BookAccompanies The Limits Of Milkweed CD Album

This is a collection of lyrics from the Album Limits Of Milkweed which was released by Ella Jo in 2009.

The book contains a section called The Stories Behind The Songs. It gives credit to the co-writers, Terry Bartlett and Steve Spon and an insight into the moods and issues, which influenced the song writing.

The book is semi auto-biographical as well as containing modern urban poetry which has been ultimately set to music.

Purchase book here

This book can be enjoyed on its own or as a companion to the album

Ella Jo and The Magician Tarot card

The Magician
Ella Jo began giving Tarot readings in her late twenties. When she travelled to India she read Tarot on the beaches of Goa and over the years she took her cards with her as she explored Europe.

After three years of counseling training she visited Bengal in India to research the Origins Of Tarot, which was published in Femspec Magazine in 2007. Her books are derived from her research and field notes and have been written as an aid for those who read Tarot.

In the first issue of the series, Tarot Decoded, she brings to life the image of The Magician Tarot card. The Magician signifies the creator of the Tarot and the Reader themselves and therefore must also include an explanation of the structure of Tarot. She takes the reader from the basic meanings of the card to an investigation of our States of Being, on the way giving a view of the structure of the Minor Arcana (the small cards).

The Magician is numbered One of the Tarot’s Major Arcana. These cards make up twenty two of the ‘trump’ cards in Tarot. Major Arcana cards correspond to archetypal characters. Karl Jung, the psychologist, used the word ‘archetype’ to explain an experience that every person has in common with another, for instance everyone has parents, a belief, a place in society etc. Each card of the Major Arcana corresponds to an archetypal character and so every person can relate to it at some level.

Archetypally, the Magician’s role is to show that all human beings possess an inner structure based on the four elements, which make us who we are. The Magician gives us the tools to work on our inner landscape, enabling us to improve.

All of Ella Jo’s tarot books examine the cards relationships to mythological figures, and how their characters are reflected in ourselves.

Purchase book here

As The Magician is related to the intellectual side of our being this book covers ways to investigate this.

The Magician can be viewed as an introductory card to learning Tarot. However, Tarot is a vast subject and will not make sense all at once. As the reader learns more about the subject, the pieces will begin to fit.

Pod casts take off at Diamond Seeds

A new blog at last – it has just been over a year since the last one – and what a busy time indeed!

Last summer saw us at Stonehenge and Strawberry Fair, taking in the delights of our festive culture, seeing how folk can gather and make merry, singing and dancing and just getting on with each other. Many old friends appeared again in the last year, and it was a joy to find new faces too!

But what of Diamond Seeds?
Well music projects continue, but go off at a tangent, so while much has been done, little can be said of it! (All will be revealed eventually).

To celebrate the start of the Olympics, the Diamond Seeds fraternity attended a little festival in Luton, put on BY the people FOR the people, and there was a fantastic turn out and many bands gave their time for free over the two days at the Leftfield Stage.

Punk band from Luton

The Adenoids played at the Leftfield Live Stage in Luton the day the Olympic Torch came through.

At the Leftfield Live Stage

Ella Jo At the Leftfield Live Stage. Held on the day the Olympic Torch went through Luton 2012

2012 has been the year that we have launched our pod casts and there are now three available to stream. The idea has come to fruition and it has been a real pleasure to host some of the top new artists that are about this summer. Check out the pod casts if you haven’t already – they run for approx 45 minutes. You will not be disappointed with the quality of the production or the pure talent that we have found. Each edition plays ten superb songs from different genres from the best up and coming artists from around the world.  http://www.diamondseeds.co.uk/podcast.html

We like to be inclusive and continually value all contributions, so keep the music coming in!!!!

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING…..ELLA JO

 

 

 

 

‘A porthole where beauty is born of trouble.Passing through a cleansing, uplifting experience.’

‘Work well crafted will always channel human experience into sweet depths, for those brave enough to share it.’
Tracks – 10

Track List – Lately, Plans That Slip, She’s Gone, She Waits For Gaps, Blue Dancers, Crossing Over, Spellbound Lady, Break The Sound, God Made Television, Through The Gap
Label – Diamond Seed Productions
Year – 2010
Price – £10.00 plus shipping* Buy CD