“The result is a seductively uncomplicated lattice of musical and spiritual cosmology from someone who has immersed himself in some of the most remote cultures on Earth.”
Alex Neilson, The Wire Magazine
“Although not a long read, it is a very enjoyable one, frank and funny and often profoundly deep.”
Nicholas Breeze Wood, Sacred Hoop Magazine.
Ken Hyder’s memoir is unusual. It is short, and tight. And it reflects the way he gained insights along his path…from Dundee, Scotland to the heart of Siberia and the shamans of Tuva, on the border with Mongolia.
He said: “Of course I read books. Lots of books. And I learned a lot from books. But what really struck me was that all along the way, everyone who gave me insights did it and a simple, brief way.
“They did not go on and on, deluging me with words, nor binding me with coils of instructions.
“So that is why the memoir is brief and to the point. It is more about showing how to find the knowledge rather than giving a booklist.”
He argues that most of what we need to know, we already know inside ourselves. But we are unaware of that fact. So we need to know how to find the knowledge which is often so simple, we just don’t see it.
Hyder examines how spirit manifests itself in different musics – including Gaelic psalm singing which was the fore-runner of American gospel - and how musicians working in spirit music put themselves in the right frame of mind to create that fusion of spirit and music.
He says: “There is no single right way, though there are plenty of wrong ways. Individuals need to find the right way for themselves.
“Some people may do better with peaceful meditation, while others will thrive better on active meditation.”
The insights of Siberian shamanic practice were gained just as shamans were coming out into the open after decades of oppression under the old Soviet regime.