Culann Chapter 2: The Launch Of The Great Ecumene - Will Johnston

Freedom...

 

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A year ago or so, maybe it was longer now (forgive me for my vague recollection traveller, my mind is not what it once was) a familiar faced messenger came to the mountain where I had chosen my solace to bring news of a gathering of utmost importance. In deepest regard and highest respect I adorned the enigmatic fabled Mind Sweeper shirt once more, dusted off the red leather jacket and followed the path home in an epic pilgrimage to be reunited with The Gonzo Division & Culann at one of Glasgow's original alternative music venues – The 13th Note. This marked the return of brethren who had parted ways over several years, however, what ensued that night became a mythic tale of forgotten folklore in local circles, strewn among mist and heather in winds no man has yet ruined, casting shadows among stories like woodland fog in sunshine in air so fresh your lungs would feel they were finally free of the burden of holding you to life.

 

If you will, please allow me stranger, to shine a light on some recollections in mind from that encounter and the meaning associated with this rare forging of kinship between us...

 

Culann have a strong following of adoring loyal fans and for those who are in the dark, walk towards the light and you might find The Gonzo Division in the pit, right before the band. These guys won The Best Alt Rock Band in Scotland for a reason. They are of a musicianship and kinship rarely seen and have worked hard to get where they are and to keep pushing their music. Get behind them and let's all push and see how far this boat goes out coz I feel like this one is going to dwarf 'The Jahre Viking'...

 

 I was particularly inspired by the words of 'Evonium', chiefly, the final verse with it's indelible starkness and poignantly definitive connection with me after everything I had been through, clarity after many years of blurred vision and misguidance, now finding that direction, that focus and determination and courage to define the path ahead with a deeper sense of empathy...

Now I understand, it’s all because I’m from Evonium. Now it’s in my hands...

            The greatness past, fuels greatness not yet done that’s still to come...

Honour...

We now stood once again united with half of Ayrshire in Audio Glasgow to bear witness to the launch of The Great Ecumene. This was the official release of the 2nd album nearly 6 years on from Culann's debut self title which marked the official beginnings of The Gonzo Division as it is now. When Culann play live I disappear in my mind to other worldly places, it is an esteemed privilege for me to be a conduit in writing and promotional affairs between the band and the people who follow them. Harmony of this persuasion in terms of timing, involvement, achievements and in terms of abundance is scarce, a rarity of a somewhat epic magnitude. Rather than deconstruct the band's live performance in a textbook template – mechanically standard journalistic fashion, I will instead instead allow you to enter my mind and take an introspective view of the experience itself through my eyes...

Evonium...     

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Stirring in the soul's vibrations as the music's harmonies envelope the mind with an ancient sense of valour, courage, beautifully intricate art, hard graft and heavy industry. Changing times meet fleeting ebbing tides where fine lines merge rolling green hills atop heather covered moorlands, sinkholes and crags in mist and rain, and sun and wind. Fishermen piloting trawlers out to sea by the Firth with a cloud of Gulls in tow. Mountains towering into the skies like the black teeth of a gigantic beast's mouth. Rivers surging through glens and gorges to piers and jetties and iron stone mounted moorings all tarnished by time. The settling clarity of the sea air and thoughts of generations of families of sea faring explorers, clansmen and kinsmen and strangers alike. Open hearted, open minded and open armed people despite being battled hardened, weather beaten and fighting for survival on the edge of the world. In all the inns and taverns, pubs and free houses along the coast - while all of our brothers and sisters found their hearts in homes across the lands and spread and mingled and changed - the shore bound dwellers remained, and somehow retained a raw imprint of their forefathers. Still of an ilk of silk and chalk story tellers, singers, musicians and jokers, soldiers and farmers, tradesmen and women all as cast iron in stature as they ever were. It is a place steeped in history and folklore and one of which being the story of the lost city of Evonium... No one can say for sure where Evonium was truly located but A.J Morton's thoughts on Irvine in Ayrshire really fits the bill and given that the name itself Irvine has changed many times from Erewyn, Ervin and Erevine which also has it's ties to Erin, Eire from early Irish Pirates who had made crossings between Ireland and Scotland finally settling opting for a strong agricultural link between both lands. The people of Ayrshire have endured much throughout its two thousand or so year old history, which is vastly enamoured with some of the greatest minds the world has known. From The Bard – Rabbie Burns our world famous Poet, to Robert The Bruce – King of Scots, to Nicola Sturgeon – First Minister of Scotland, to John Dunlop – inventor of the pneumatic tyre, to John MacAdam – inventor of Tarmac roads, to John Boyd Orr – Winner of the Nobel Prize, to Alexander Fleming – inventor of Penicillin, to PJ Kelly, Sean Kelly, Greg Irish, Calum Davis & Ross McCluskie who founded Ayrshire's Finest Export – Culann...

Courage...

 We are as much a part of that heritage as they are. We are all here creating and sharing, exploring, learning, defending and pushing boundaries - as far as we can push the boat out. We have fought long and hard in the freezing cold, we fought on through the blistering heat, torrential monsoons over mud and rock pouring blood, sweat and tears into our own battles amidst this collective ongoing war we must all participate in. Each in our own experiences, struggling to survive and coming to terms with great loss - both of family and close friends, near fatal experiences and serious ill health, and bad fortune. Relationships were struck up in mirth as others ended in misanthropy. Then as if by magik new life breathed into our own, and new friendships were forged in fire and our names are forever more etched in stone as we fight on, carving a path through the years. Fights that lead uphill in the snow and gale forced wind, unable to see or hear, unarmed and disabled in our plight, weakened by lack of rest and sustenance...

Horizons...   

Yet here we are friend. Strangers no more. Right here, right now. You and me, us and them, all together... in this one unique, fragile moment. If you close your eyes for a second, you won't be fast enough to catch the essence of it. If you stop to take a breath you will fall behind and never be quite quick enough to catch a glimpse of it again in this lifetime. If you stood on my shoulders, and I stood on my brother's, and he stood on my father's, and he stood on his father's and we all let go of all the hate in our hearts just to rise up high enough to have a chance - you still wouldn't be able to see over it, but if we all laid our hate down like a road we could reach around the world until one day we wound up back home.

Forgiveness...

I am always home. Ayrshire flows in my veins and in my heart and fuels me to live for greater things. To share more, learn more, educate and inspire. Connect and nurture, network and fight for, motivate and cultivate and flow all of this back into this life using strength, respect, knowledge, love, honour, experience and wisdom. I began my own journey in the creative arts when I was very young, what feels like many life times ago. I feel like I have been many different people and have changed much since those days. Embarking on a mission to become involved in the music scene was something that felt very justified and important but I never thought for one minute things would have worked the ways in which they did. The roller coaster has been a harsh reminder of the frailty of life, and at times has been more exhilarating than anything in my wildest dreams. I have met thousands of people who I would call friends on this journey through music, and somehow lost a few who felt like they would be here forever. In their wake I dedicate my time here, in some justification juxtaposed to their infelicitous departures, that I make more appropriate usage of my existence and seek new experience at every opportunity.

Synchronicity...

 Time is the most precious gift any of us will ever be granted and yet we constantly lose it, all the time, time is disappearing. Hold onto the people who are important to you, spend your time wisely on the right people in biased amounts, favouring those closest and give them the best of you. Don't just give them you after work and in the morning before work, give them your day off, give them some holidays when you are fully charged and make them feel loved and appreciated, but most importantly, and I mean this is the top drawer of the filing cabinet for serious shit, which you must adhere to no matter what... above all else... come rain, or shine... Take them to see Culann live, raw, untainted and organic and let them know what it means to be truly alive.

“Happiness is only real when shared” - Christopher Johnson McCandless

It is only when we do these things together with other like minded people that we feel that essence and understand the importance of being there in that moment to experience live music as one. It starts out we feel unconnected to others, distant and anxious, like we are all just separate people experiencing the band subjectively but when the music envelopes us at that volume when it starts to make you feel like moving it changes how we feel and how we think and we all connect under one banner...

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Inspire...

You have to understand the complexed majestic essence of what makes Culann one of Scotland's greatest alternative bands in recent years and Ayrshire's Finest Export. It is mandatory that you grant yourself the opportunity to experience them live. Stand alongside ready to fight for the freedom that you long for as they rise to power on the energy that you bring with you. One hand washes the other hand, a strong hand lifts a weak hand, two hands keep time and many hands make light work. You have to be hungry to fight for what you believe in and for what you desire the most in this life, and fighting alone is not an option. No one ever won a war on their own, it was only when enough people banded together and fought back against their oppressors that any chance of freedom just to exist was defined. Well we are fighting our owns wars and squabbling over the smallest insignificance when we should all join forces and aid a more noble cause. If we all get together and just offer our presence, and our time there is a very real chance that we can all be part of music history as we all help push Culann into the lime light where they deserve to be...

Affinity...

Now they stand in wait, silhouettes against the pale grey skies above the moor, the banner held aloft, torn edges but still in one piece, flailing on the breeze. Five local heroes armed to the teeth with an arsenal of weaponry worthy of Kings who call themselves Culann, ask nothing more than your support. At their side stands a unition of some of the most talented and handsome bastards Scotland has ever produced (in England, and probably some bits in China)... Born of the pit, castrated by society's easily offended, pointed at by stereotypical hoity toity upper-class wannabe wank-sack globules, cast out by those who are too scared of creative free thinking individuals... New Hellfire Club's darkest abhorrence... a hoard of Necromancers, defilers of corpses and damn fine promotional front liners - The Gonzo Division...  We ask nothing more than you stand with us in support...

Rabbie Burns tried to join us once, but that was pure ages ago man and we hadn't really got our shit together at that time, but I would now like to offer you the chance to read this poem he sent us which he aptly entitled...

            'Scots Wa Hae Wi Culann Bled'

         Scots, whom Culann has often led

Welcome to your gory bed

Or to victory

         Now is the day, and now is the hour

See the front of battle lower

See approach proud Edward's power

Chains and slavery

         Who will be a traitor knave?

Who will fill a coward's grave?

Who's so base as be a slave? -

Let him turn, and flee!

         Who for Culann, King and Law,

The Gonzo Division's sword will strongly draw,

Freeman stand or freeman fall,

Let him follow Culann!

         By oppression's woes and pains,

By your sons in servile chains,

We will drain our dearest veins

But Culann shall be free!

         Lay the proud usurpers low!

Tyrants fall in every foe!

Liberty is in every show!

Let us buy the new album or die!

Influence...

Robert The Bruce (who resided in Ayrshire when in hiding) once famously stated as he led his men into battle to fight for the sovereignty of Scotland in Wallace's name... “You have bled with Wallace, now bleed with me”... Well when I punched my fist into the air at 13th Note during a bout of mosh pit mayhem as Culann played Jerusalem at 90 decibels I mangled my hand on the ceiling, taking a pound of plaster with me and trailing a pint of my own blood across the city that night in a en epic adventure that would leave a lasting impression on everyone who bore witness... I say to you now, join us in Aegis on our honourable quest for Salvation as we traverse The Great Ecumene united in All Reverie under one banner, to where Sunken Ships lead us back to Evonium in the hope that it's once proud name might be restored from legend...

Gratitude...

I urge you to brand a piece of their lineage for yourself, the long awaited 2nd declaration inscribed in granite stone by the hands of the army of Clansmen united behind them. An Argentavis Magnificens sized beastly-feast of a well-greased masterpiece - 'The Great Ecumene'... 

If you would care to peruse an in-depth review of this colossal achievement of unparalleled musicianship please refer to the article produced by my brother from another mother and Gonzolite mastermind C.T Herron available via the NHC Music ltd website...

http://www.culann.bigcartel.com

http://www.facebook.com/culannband/

http://www.youtube.com/user/culannband