Blog / August 2017
Posted on August 25, 2017 by Kristin Kelly
If you were hiking in the woods alongside a mountain capped with white snow, and you stumbled into a clearning where a burst of wildflowers greeted you under a spot of sun, it might not be a surprise to find the Hawthorn Duo there, singing. It may be a song about Appalachia, or the moon, or some bird or flower native to a place within the great expanse. And if you do happen upon them, the music will be like honey and streams converging: richly sweet, rushing and soothing. Yes, the Hawthorn Duo, comprised of Heather Scott and Taylor Holland, are that magical. And natural and wonderful. And they filled Ode with their goddess selves one Friday in August. Meet Taylor and Heather, if you haven't already on one of your hikes.
Talk to us about the meaning of Hawthorn to you.
Heather - Hawthorn is sisterhood. It is a platform upon which we are able to see and be seen, where we each can bear our naked hearts to one another, where we can encourage radical openness and passionate strength. Hawthorn serves as a portal to our collective and individual purpose.
Taylor - When choosing a band name, we looked at different plants in the herbal medicine world and so many aspects of hawthorn felt like the right fit. Heather looked at the heart-healing properties of Hawthorn and continues to teach me about that. For me, the most special thing is that according to Celtic folklore, hawthorn is a portal to the spirit world, so the fairy folk make their homes in hawthorn bushes.
How does summer sing to you?
H - Through bird-song. The warm breath of summer night wind, ringing with possibility. Through the sight of the ground and the plans teeming with life, medicine, and food.
T - Summer is a time of bountiful energy! I go out to more shows, spend late evenings on the porch jamming with friends, and revel in moonlight skinny-dip adventures.
Describe what your inner goddess wears.
H - She adorns herself only for herself and for no one else. She wears gowns into the ocean and walks in the trees with her body completely bare, save for a crown of birch bark on her head. She is always barefoot. Each things she puts on her body - her temple - has a deep and powerful story. Colors of the earth swirl around her: soft greens and dark blues of night, pale yellows of sunrise and deep hues of wet earth. And she is not afraid to wear red.
T - The adrenaline of a run and coconut oil on my skin after showering, a silk jumpsuit with my hair wild and curly and my grandmother’s silver jewelry from her childhood in India. Or, nothing! I recently learned a beautiful term for being naked—“skyclad.”
What’s on your plate?
H - Local, seasonal, and/or wild foraged food whenever possible. Right now, it’s locally made 8-grain sourdough bread, thai basil pesto that I made from my garden, fresh mozzarella, and heirloom tomatoes. I’ve paired it with a maple syrup-sweetened Chaga tea made from an adaptogenic mushroom called Chaga that I foraged on a recent hike.
T - Whatever Heather’s making! She’s an amazing chef, and we love cooking together. Right now, I’m in my hometown of Portland OR and am loving the access to amazing local food (and sharing that food with family). For breakfast this morning I have fresh Oregon melon and nectarines, coconut milk yogurt, and locally made cardamom granola, along with organic chicken basil sausage made in-house at the neighborhood grocery. I’ve got a full mug of coffee with almond-coconut milk and a bit of local honey.
What’s your go-to dance move?
H - Anything where my hips can sway.
T - Yes, hip swirls! Hips are the seat of the second chakra--creative energy, so it makes sense that we both like to move here.
What would we be surprised to know about you?
H - I have a great passion for Herbalism. I have various bottles of medicinal flowers, roots, barks, and leaves steeping in various solutions of alcohol, and honey, and other types of natural preservative liquids to create my own medicine. I carry around a medicine bag containing several rotating remedies and aids (seasonally dependent) for the nervous and immune systems, sore throats, sleep, etc.
T - My background is in peace and conflict studies—I worked in both Northern Ireland and South Africa and almost went to grad school for conflict resolution, until I realized my heart was in the creative field and that I could use songwriting and arts education to support social change. I actually recorded my first EP while doing research on student activism in Cape Town last year.
If you could capture one sound and play it at will, what would that be?
H - Ocean-side rain.
T - The way the wind sounds in the mountains above the tree line in the Pacific Northwest.
How have your mothers influenced you?
H - My mother taught me about selfless compassion, for the self first and then for others. To trust that my path is no one else’s but mine. That the way I experience grief, confusion, joy, and challenge are absolutely my own and for no one else to claim. Simply by living the ways she does, she instilled in me that comparison is futile if you wish to honor your Self. And - she gave me my passion for food and cooking, for which I will forever be indebted to her.
T - My mom exposed me to music from infancy—she was always singing around the house, playing guitar in the other room after tucking me in, teaching me songs. She put me in dance classes, brought me to every violin lesson I had, and advocated for me to go to a school that was full of arts and movement (Waldorf). More recently, I’m learning from the thoughtful and compassionate way she’s gone through her divorce…showing me how meaningful relationships can end with grace, how people can go separate ways yet still have love for the life they shared together, and how change that seems terrifying can also be rich with opportunities for growth.
Talk to us more about the “sacred reclamation of wild feminine power” you refer to when describing your song, Salt.
H - When I began writing this song, the ocean served as a sanctuary during and after heartache. As Taylor and I started to write it together and clarify the melodic and lyrical themes, the purpose of the ocean in this song crystallized as a healing place that supported reflection, transition, and renewal. This process of radical and unapologetic transformation is something that Taylor and I would like to reclaim as sacred, as a part of the identity of the feminine force.
T - I think writing Salt was the first time Heather and I fully realized the power of baring our hearts to one another. Heather brought the first verse of Salt to our session, with its questions to a past lover: “In your dreams of the salt and waves, do you see me there?” As we spoke about the relationship and how it had impacted her, our desires to understand and heal our heartaches brought our writing to an archetypal space where women step into their power by connecting with nature and the goddess—“wild abandoned rituals burning high in the wind / where the ocean takes it all to the ash to the sand.”
What’s on the horizon for Hawthorn?
H&T - We’re working on an EP of songs and poetry celebrating the moon, the divine feminine, and the body as sacred space. You can catch us performing next at the last of the Barn Show Manomet series or at Club Passim’s Labor Day Campfire Festival. And save the date for our show September 26 at Atwoods Tavern to celebrate the release of our ‘Appalachia’ music video (shot by the amazing Jo Chattman)!