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April 14th, 2005 by Jason · 1 Comment

A friend just got me hooked on a new band. Garmana mixes Swedish folk music, pop/techno/rock beats, and incredible vocals to make for great-sounding music with an earthy, eclectic feel. That’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? It’s easier if you just head over and listen to some of it (there’s also a full-length mp3 you can download and a video of Euchari— my favorite song so far).

But there’s something even more intriguing to me than just their addictive sound. The album that I purchased is a remake of the music of Hildegard von Bingen. Hildegard was an amazing woman: theologian, educator, founder of a convent, and the first musician for whom we have a biography; all this 9 centuries ago! Garmarna keeps the original latin lyrics and melodies of Hildergard’s songs, but adds its own unique style and sound. So, from a group that doesn’t have any specifically Christian beliefs, comes this amazing sounding album that ranges in topic from faithful devotion to Christ to the Virgin Mary to the Lord have mercy prayer.

Some have claimed that Hildergard’s music has been hijacked by the New Age movement (though, to be fair, he doesn’t specifically mention Garmarna as one of the New Age bands). However, in Garmarna I don’t hear a group that’s abused the music of Hildergard or wrenched it from its original intent. Instead, I hear a group that’s captured in a fresh and deep way some of the contemplative and mystical truths of the Christian faith that the medieval period often captured so well, but which we have tended to disregard as relics of the “dark ages.” I do recognize that Garmarna is likely not playing them with the same intent Hildergard had of worship and/or liturgy. Nonetheless, their music is good, true, and beautiful and that it makes it a manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

Tags: kingdom naturalists · pop culture

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 blip » Mystic, Medic, and Musician: Hildegard of Bingen’s Embodied Spirituality // May 31, 2006 at 9:23 am

    [...] For it is the soul’s joy to become effective in the body. She strives forever to perfect the work of the body that was created by God —Hildegard of Bingen, De Operatione Dei IV, 19 If you’ve been reading blip for a while now you might remember a post I did a while back on the remaking of Hiledgard of Bingen’s medieval songs by Swedish folk-rock group Garmarna.  Well, I finally got a chance to do some more research on this fascinating woman in my Spiritual Disciplines class this semester. On a list of things the church has historically ignored or shunned women and bodies are right near the top. However, despite the repression women and bodies have undergone throughout church history there have always been moments of proclamation by those brave individuals who challenged Christians to remember that it was the incarnate Jesus that saved the world and that it is with our bodies that we worship, serve, and love God. Hildegard of Bingen was just such a prophetic voice to the church. As a Benedictine nun Hildegard was a remarkable woman who embodied a spirituality that deeply integrated the body and soul, particularly in her vivid visions, medical writings, and musical compositions. Continue reading the paper [PDF]... [...]