Mike Oldfield was first introduced to me by a classmate from Newcastle, who also inducted me into joys of that wonderful bitter darkish alcoholic liquid called Newcastle Brown. He had a casette-player with him and lent me his earphones in a pub so I could find out for myself the true reason why I always found him nodding his head with his eyes half closed, rapt in the sound from that tiny portable gadget whenever classes were over.
Ommadawn consists of two parts, the first one lasting about 20 minutes and the second about 14. Its sound a wonderful mix of acoustic and electric guitar, folk Irish wind pipe, synthesizer, various drums, including some African drums, high hat, cymbals and even a Chinese gong, with a dash of female vocal. It's basic melody is simple but that simple melody sounds very different with the carefully planned variation of rhythms, loudness and with the sound of more and more instrument gradually added to create a rich sonic soup of complex sound as the music progresses until it reaches the climax which then abruptly stops. In Part Two of the piece, there is a very obvious change of mood with the festive and complex world music sound backed up by a steady pulsating African style drum strokes producing a strangely hypnotic effect switching to a kind of old folkish Celtic sound. Listening to the music seems to effect a time travel moving at the speed of light, lifting you from a tribal African village into the distant Celtic past, with its wind pipes and rustic southern Irish lassies dancing around the village green hoping to find someone with whom they could spend the rest the rof their life in an existence dominated by fickle fortunes. But we got the same melody which we have got accustomed to in Part I but now played with a completely different mood and completely different feelings. What stays the same though is the steady rhythm, the rhythm of life and it's with rhythm that the music ends.