The large, yellow, waning gibbous Hunter’s moon hung low over St. Louis as Heilung performed to a room full of devoted fans (or perhaps tribe would be a more apt description) at The Factory on November 1.
The majority of the tribe, donned in capes, breeches, and other medieval-like garb as well as runic-style face paint, milled about in quiet anticipation of the experience about to unfold. Only a few howls and yips from them were heard amid the ambient sounds of forest and waterfall coming through the speakers. As soon as the lights dimmed the crowd became still.
The opening ceremony of Heilung, a group that defies genres but many try by calling them neofolk or experimental folk, had begun. Kai Uwe Faust appeared on stage in his forest garb with an adorned crown of palm fronds fanning sage smoke out toward the crowd while mindfully reciting spoken word. When the entire ensemble circled him, Faust began the call-and-response, “Remember, that we all are brothers / All people, beasts, trees and stone and wind / We all descend from the one great being / That was always there / Before people lived and named it / Before the first seed sprouted.” Which caused the onlookers to erupt in more howls.
For the next 2 hours, Heilung enveloped every onlooker into their fold. The tribe responded by erupting into cheers and howls in support. The mantras and chants, the guttural and lilting singing, the swaying dances and composed formations, the orange and green hazy glow of the soft lights—all added to the exquisite, spiritual, empyrean, atmosphere of the night.
Heilung, the German word for healing, brought their all to their music and performance that uplifted and transfixed everyone within earshot.
The looming, waning moon that symbolizes self-reflection and rebirth glowed as a gentle reminder to the exiting tribe of the overall transcendence that had just transpired inside The Factory on this cold, crisp fall night.
Those in attendance were fortunate to experience this enigmatic energy during Heilung’s short autumn U.S. tour.
Find more photos from the night here https://bit.ly/Heilung23cz
In my work life, I help nonprofits and small businesses with media and public relations. In my what I love to do life, you can typically find me photographing either wild horses or concerts.