Hosianna Mantra


After the first two Popol Vuh albums, Florian Fricke packed away the Moog, embraced acoustic instrumentation, and foregrounded his religious and spiritual convictions. Hosianna Mantra introduced a new line-up of Popol Vuh, with Fricke’s piano centre-stage, surrounded by Conny Veit’s guitar, Klaus Weise on tambura, Robert Eliscu on oboe, and the breathtaking voice of Djong Yun, the daughter of Japanese composer Isang Yun. Fricke had been working with singer Esther Ofarim, but with Yun, he found the perfect conduit for his lyrics, which drew from texts by existentialist philosophe Martin Buber. The album, which took six months for Fricke and Veit to score, is one of Popol Vuh’s highest moments, a sacred text that weaves Veit’s trickling, Echoplexed guitar around Fricke’s repeating, sky-bound piano runs, as Yun’s feather-light voice swoons and swoops. While there’s something ineffably mysterious about Hosianna Mantra, on one level, it feels like a very practical and useful music of abstract worship, threading devotional melodies in light-dappled arcs through spaces of communion. It’s also breathtakingly lovely.

Jon Dale