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December 24, 2008

Alan Lomax Collection - Songs of Christmas

The winter solstice sunrise in Newgrange, Ireland

I've got two seasonal holiday posts for ya. This, the first, is mainly historical in interest. It should give you an idea of some of the ways that different western cultures celebrated Noel in the time before shopping malls and plastic jesi. Some of these rhymes, bits of plays, songs, dances, etc go back hundreds or thousands of years. I wouldn't really want to listen to this album a lot, but it's fascinating to hear this stuff once or twice (or perhaps once a year). A couple of the tunes though, are totally captivating and unlike anything I've ever heard (and I've heard a lot of things). It can transport you to another time and place, when we really experienced the dark of winter and embraced its impenetrable stygian gloominess at the same time that we called forth to the return of effulgent daybreak.

From Rounderstore:
Songs of Christmas From the Alan Lomax Collection was recorded by Alan Lomax and several of his colleagues in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Southern U.S. and the Caribbean between 1950 to 1964. At the time, commercial forces were overwhelming local traditions, and many folk cultures stood on the brink of great upheavals that would forever alter their ways of life. Lomax always made a point of seeking out the music that epitomized the old Christmas spirit that was closest to his own heart. English Mummers, Italian bagpipes, lullabies, carols, and stories express the unquenchable fun, faith, and good times of Christmas and the immemorial good-luck rituals of the New Year. With Bob & Ron Copper, Ewan MacColl, Seamus Ennis, Vera Ward Hall, the Alabama Sacred Harp singers, the Georgia Sea Island Singers, the Putipu Band of Capri, Norman Edmonds, the Symondsbury Mummers and many, many more. Containing 31 tracks in all, the album comes with extensive liner notes and photographs and complete song and dialect translations from the Spanish, Italian, Latin and Irish.

Songs of Christmas from the Alan Lomax Collection (1940-1964)
Label: Rounder
Year: 1998
arise, shepherds
mp3 128kbps | w/ cover | 61mb


Gadaya said...

Thanks for this rare and beautiful music and happy holydays to you...

Anonymous said...

Back to the roots - a great collection - many thanks for all that you are doing for good old music - this should not be forgotten!