Casa Alianza – Sanctuary: Songs for the Voiceless

Casa Alianza
Sanctuary: Songs for the Voiceless
1996 (no label)
Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom

Eve & The Garden:

Alison Eve – Vocals, classical guitar
Paul A. Davies – Electric guitar, classical guitar, synth lead guitar, background vocals
Phillip Rainey – Bass
Alyson Rainey – Violin
Paul Cudby – Drums, percussion

The Rumors are True:

Helen Turner – Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Rachel Coates – Acoustic guitar, low whistle, vocals
Jason Bell – Chapman stick
Richard Coates – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Eve & The Garden – Sanctuary

Side 2:

  1. The Rumors are True – Close to Me

This demo is basically a split tape recorded to benefit Casa Alianza, an organization that works to protect street children in Guatemala. The contact information is in England, so I am guessing these are two UK based bands raising money for relief work in Central America. Eve & The Garden is an ethereal folk band – the synths and violin probably adding to that feeling. Their song does surprisingly pick up the pace during the chorus – wasn’t expecting that. The Rumors are True is a Celtic folk band that reminds me of Iona in some ways, but more on the folk side. Having a chapman stick and low whistle on their song probably helps that comparison, but those two instruments are always a plus in my book.

Eden Burning – Much More Than Near

Eden Burning
Much More Than Near
1991 FFG
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom

Paul Northup – Lead vocals, 12-string acoustic guitar, bouzouki
Neill Forrest – Mandolin, electric guitar, bouzouki, backing vocals
Charlotte Ayrton – Rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, flute, harmonica
Nive (Kevin Hall) – Bass
Mike Simpson – Drums, percussion

  1. Much More Than Near
  2. Midnight Sun
  3. The Calling
  4. Everlasting Arms

This short EP was released by Eden Burning before they were signed to R.E.X. Music and Storyville Records. This EP seems to steer closer to the Celtic folk rock sounds of their Vinegar and Brown Paper album (that most people in the U.S. would be most familiar with) than the more alt-rock sounds of Thin Walls from 1990. Of course, Thin Walls and this ep were re-packaged as one cassette in 1992, and also released digitally more recently. Another great collection to check out if you haven’t yet.

Bahumutsi Theatre Company of Soweto – Umongikazi (the Nurse) / The Hungry Earth

Bahumutsi Theatre Company of Soweto
Umongikazi (the Nurse) / The Hungry Earth
1983 Plankton Records (PCN106)
South Africa

Side 1:

  1. Umongikazi Part 1
  2. Umongikazi Part 2
  3. Umongikazi Part 3
  4. Umongikazi Part 4
  5. Umongikazi Part 5
  6. Umongikazi Part 6
  7. Umongikazi Part 7
  8. Umongikazi Part 8

Side 2:

  1. The Hungry Earth part 1
  2. The Hungry Earth part 2
  3. The Hungry Earth part 3
  4. The Hungry Earth part 4
  5. The Hungry Earth part 5
  6. The Hungry Earth part 6
  7. The Hungry Earth part 7

This is one of the earliest releases by Plankton Records. The label states these are songs from the two plays listed in the title. Each song probably has a song title, but I can’t find those online. I did find a book that tells the story of the Bahumutsi Drama Group and the ways it fought apartheid in South Africa with these plays. You can read about that online. Some sources list this as a cassette single. It’s really too long for that – at just under 25 minutes, it is really even a bit long for an EP, but that is closer to what it is. The sound here is a Capella music with some claps for rhythm here and there, but mostly just the compelling voices of the Bahumutsi Drama Group.

Missing Information: Song titles

Ben Okafor – Children of the World

Ben Okafor
Children of the World
1985 Ears & Eyes Production (EEC 047)
Leeds, England, United Kingdom

Ben Okafor – Lead vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, backing vocals, keyboards, percussion
Neville King – Keyboards
Anthony Bartley – Bass guitar
Conrad Kelly – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. What Could It Be
  2. Why?
  3. Children of the World
  4. Who is Jesus

Side 2:

  1. I Love You
  2. Just As I Am
  3. Messiah Man
  4. Jah Man

Ben Okafor is fairly well-known in many music circles. If you haven’t heard of him, well… that is your fault. From what I can tell, this is possibly his first album that he recorded, which was not too long after he moved from Nigeria to the UK. He is a fan of Bob Marley, and Marley’s influence shows on this tape. Okafor continued to develop his own style after this. This tape was produced by early UB40 producer Bob Lamb, so you can hear that influence as well. This was also released on vinyl (and that version seems to be easier to find). This is African roots reggae at its finest. Okafor went on to have albums released by Plankton Records, R.E.X. Music, and many others.

The Shockin’ Holy Saints – Lamentations Concerning the Five Sorrows of Love

The Shockin’ Holy Saints
Lamentations Concerning the Five Sorrows of Love
1991 (no label)
Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Vince Millett

Side 1:

  1. Lamentations: Prelude
  2. Lament for an Irish Princess
  3. Love is Stronger Than Death
  4. The Toymaker’s Dream
  5. Lament for the Sorrows of Love

Side 2:

  1. Crossing the Sacred Wilderness
  2. Lament for the Daughter of Prophecy
  3. Lamentation: The Tracks of the Poet’s Snowshoes
  4. Lamentation: The Hour of White Roses

This was a side project by Secret Archives of the Vatican. Stylistically, I am not sure there is a huge difference between this and SAotV, except that it seems to be more ambient and… medieval? The song titles seems to imply a kind of “ancient times” tie in to me at least. Also not as much world music influence on this one (at least, not as obvious). The last two tracks would probably be my favorites, especially “The Tracks of the Poet’s Snowshoes” with its chanting Benedictine monks (before it was cool, I believe).

Secret Archives of the Vatican – Whiteflower of the Blackberry (Chapter Three)

Secret Archives of the Vatican
Whiteflower of the Blackberry (Chapter Three)
1991 (no label)
Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Vince Millett

Side 1:

  1. Heart’s Desire
  2. The Wind Among the Reeds
  3. Torc of Twisted Gold
  4. Craneskin Bag
  5. Trembling Mist of Peaches

Side 2:

  1. The Lost Tribes of Albion
  2. Eclipse Over Golgotha
  3. Whiteflower of the Blackberry
  4. The Yellow Leaves of Endseason

This demos continues the evolution of Secret Archives of the Vatican. While it is still less techno/electronica than later albums would become, it also still finds them experimenting with many different world music styles from various countries. I say “them” because I believe there were two people involved in the project at this time, but I need to go back and check some articles to be sure. At this time they also put out a side project called The Shockin’ Holy Saints, although I am not totally sure if this demo or that project came out first. I love eclectic world fusion music like this, so it is always a treat to see SAotV in the tape stacks I get. The last track on here seems to get the closest to the electronic world fusion music they grow into later.

Secret Archives of the Vatican – Secret Archives of the Vatican

Secret Archives of the Vatican
Secret Archives of the Vatican (aka “1”)
1989 (no label)
Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Vince Millett

Side 1:

  1. Chanctonbury Ring
  2. The Balcony of Endless Days
  3. High Spires Have Fallen

Side 2:

  1. The Book of Hours
  2. Albannaich
  3. The Wall of the Three Whispers

This is where it all started for Secret Archives of the Vatican. They are still going strong today, so they must be doing something right. I personally love world and electronic music, so I always try to check out what they are doing. Their current music is much more electronic in nature – call it club or techno or whatever to show your age. Their early music was more ambient, with the world instruments taking a more prominent role in the music. They are still there, it is just that the beat and keyboards are more prominent in their current music. You can see by the song titles that they do not go for the typical concepts you see in most music. Definitely an act worth checking out.

Secret Archives of the Vatican – Across Darkness Benediction

Secret Archives of the Vatican
Across Darkness Benediction
1990 (no label)
Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Vince Millett

Side 1:

  1. Narrow Stone
  2. Tail of the White Tiger
  3. Of Ancient Swords Be Still
  4. Sprog the Dark Cat
  5. I Will Forget You in the Thirteenth Month
  6. Colloquay of the Elders

Side 2:

  1. Dragon Bone
  2. Hall of Stallions (She Moves Through the Fair)
  3. Tent of Silk
  4. Nostra Phalans
  5. Fair White Swan / There is a Garden in Her Face
  6. Sir Robin the Reliant and the Quest for the Holy Ale
  7. The Wind’s Twelve Quarters
  8. Moonrise on a Distant Shore

Secret Archives of the Vatican has been around for a long time – and they are still going today. Their music today is released mostly on their BandCamp page, but back in the 1990s it was all cassette demos. As you can see by the titles above, this is a very unique album. SAotV is known in electronic circles for mixing in all kinds of world music influences into their electronic music. These earlier cassettes seem to be a bit more ambient than the current music, but still very unique and full of world music influences. This was their second tape – I think after the third or fourth they stopped numbering them. I have heard a few later tapes and of course everything on BandCamp as I am a big fan of theirs. I hope to track down the rest of their music soon. An interview on Cross Rhythms digs more into what this band was about at about the time this tape was released.

Missing Information: Who played what on this.