A gift of music transports people back to another time and place where they find their truest feelings.
On A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, Brian O'Donovan, the host of the Celtic Sojourn radio show, compiles a collection of songs that mixes the contemplative with more raucous fare, ancient melodies with modern, and the earthy with the ethereal. The musicians come from all corners of the Celtic world, and include the Breton choir Ensemble Choral du Bout du Monde, who blend medieval vocal harmonies with modern instruments such as the tin whistle and the guitar; Dordan, the masters of Irish baroque music; and the pan-Celtic band the Boys of the Lough. Also included are English performers Maddy Prior (the lead singer of Steeleye Span) and the family group Waterson:Carthy, who deliver a hearty version of the "The Ditchling Carol." The majority of the tracks feature vocals, but the instrumental selections–particularly fiddler Bonnie Rideout's haunting "Gloomy Winter" and the lovely "Midwinter Waltz" from the Boys of the Lough–do a beautiful job of wordlessly evoking the season. By passing over too-familiar Christmas songs in favor of less-well-known melodies, O'Donovan has come up with that rarest of all holiday treats–a gift that that both surprises and delights.
The music of Electric Orange, founded in 1992 in the city of Aachen, represents the so-called krautrock scene that emerged in the seventies. Originally they were a duo consisting of Dirk Bittner (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Dirk Jan Müller (synthesizers, keyboards). During the nineties the band recorded a few albums for the famous British Delerium label, combining psychedelics with electronic rhythms, similar to bands like Ozric Tentacles. Later on they were joined by Georg Monheim (drums) and Tom Rückwald (bass).
This EP offers some swinging jazz adapted feel, quasi like trying to have a time travel into the German (late) 60's…
Given the considerable number of recordings that have tried to place Renaissance compositions within the context for which they were written, it is odd that the same has so rarely been done for Bach. After all, most of Bach's output consists of Gebrauchsmusik, music written for daily use. This release by Scotland's historical-instrument Dunedin Consort and its leader John Butt shows the possibilities of this approach.