During a seemingly endless circle of a late-night music-hunt, the YouTube sidebar took me to a small venue in the Netherlands. There I found instruments I had never heard before and lyrics in languages I don’t understand; the music, however, spoke for itself and it was enchanting.
Omnia is self-labelled pagan folk band, which, according to the band, means “nature-religious, traditional indigenous music”. According to the Latin language, “omnia”means “everything” and according to me, “everything” is a fitting description.
Musician duo Jenny and Steve Sic Evans-van-der-Harten, along with their bandmates, take from Celtic, folk, and world backgrounds, carving OMNIA into a vast genre that is very much its own.
Unlike the conventional music group consisting of guitars, bass, drums and vocals, Omnia chooses instead a completely acoustic sound with resident harp, hurdy-gurdy and didgeridoo players. And yes, the latter two are real instruments (pretty sweet ones, actually!). To add another hit of uniqueness is the fact that many of the instruments played by these musicians are made by themselves for themselves, creating a sound that is quite literally one of a kind.
But what is most beautiful about the music of Omnia is that it is untouched and pure. Shying away from the industry, Omnia create and produce their music through their own independent record label ensuring that it comes straight from the heart of the musicians to the ears of the listener. Handmade instruments and an acoustic sound deliver an organic feel, and really do have the power to make you feel in-touch with the world around you, fulfilling the pagan band’s first and foremost desire: having people respect this world.
So what was this little gem on the internet that made me delve into the world of Omnia? A live performance of theirs from 2009, titled ‘Pagan Folk Lore’. Capturing you from the moment the strings of the harp get plucked, this is definitely the starting place for someone who isn’t familiar with this band, or with genres that aren’t often heard here in North America. Most of the music in this performance can also be found in the band’s new album Live On Earth, which just came out last week. Some songs to check out are ‘Alive!’, ‘Tine Bealtine’, and ‘Etrezomp ni Kilted’. (Did I mention they sing in seven different languages?)
It may be because of Omnia’s range in styles and languages – or simply stems from the beauty and honesty in their music – but either way, they have gained fans from all around the world and of every lifestyle. So give it a chance before getting scared off by the whole religious innuendo. Because, as lead singer Steve Sic says, “True music surpasses all politics and religions.”