Angels We Have Heard

by Julia Lane

Released 1995
Castlebay Music
Released 1995
Castlebay Music
Solo Celtic harp recording of Yuletide music that you will want to listen to all year long.
Over the last seven years that this CD has been available we have received countless messages from people who have been touched by the music. Some examples: "I play this CD all year" - many places , "This was all my wife wanted to listen to as she was dieing" - Arizona, "This music healed me!" - New Jersey, "You've got to send me another CD, my copy got scratched and won't play .. the dogs are chewing up the furniture" - Oregon.

Julia Lane began playing Celtic harp in 1988. Her unique self-taught style had won three major competitions on the instrument by 1993. A New England native, she has an avid interest in the folklore of the area and it's Celtic roots. Her concerts and other recordings also feature her vibrant and lovely voice, sometimes compared to Jean Redpath, and her compelling original songs.

The winter holiday season is unique as so many traditions come together to celebrate in common. Much of our modern ceremony and lore has it's roots in the Celtic and northern European cultures. Evergreens, as pagan symbols of everlasting life, have become part of the Christmas celebration (THE FIRST TREE IN THE GREENWOOD/ THE HOLLY & THE IVY).The image of the rose blooming in the winter is a reminder of the beautiful miracles in our lives. Delicate and beautiful as a rose, the evergreen melody LO, HOW A ROSE is the work of the 16th century German composer Michael Praetorius.

While most of these melodies do not credit a composer, it is thought that Henry VIII created the tune for WHAT CHILD IS THIS, while Scottish fiddler Niel Gow is known to have penned THE ROYAL GIFT. The original meaning of the word "carol" was "round dance". Circle dancing around a fire was a big part of ancient celebrations attempting to rid the world of evil spirits.(DANCING DAY/ BRING THE TORCH) Another method to banish evil influences was bell ringing. DING! DONG! MERRILY ON HIGH, a French carol, reminds one of the carrillons and tower bells of the great cathedrals.SOALIN'/ GOD REST YE MERRY, GENTLEMEN describes the practice of going house to house gathering donations to help the needy through the winter. In return, the house was blessed with a song or good luck charm. Of course we cannot forget those heavenly messengers, the angels! Legend has it that IN DULCI JUBILO was sung to a priest in his cell by visiting angels.

Originally a plainsong, it has evolved into one of our most beloved carols. ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT is a less-known English carol that also depicts the angelic choir. On this side of the Atlantic, immigrants have continued to create music in celebration of the season. JESUS REST YOUR HEAD,from Appalachia, has touched me ever since I first heard it as a child. Simple yet substantial, it is the product of the faith of folk transplanted to a new land. So often with folk melodies regional differences create variants.

I have blended the three versions of AWAY IN A MANGER that I know, although there may be even more! The Shakers of Maine have left a legacy of elegant simplicity that takes on special meaning during the holiday season. SIMPLE GIFTS, the most famous of their great body of tunes, is also used for the song "Lord of the Dance". I, myself have been moved by the winter season to compose three of my own melodies JOYEUX NOEL, THE WINTER MOON, and JANUARY THAW. Through this recording I wish all who hear it a peaceful, joyous Christmas/Solstice/Yuletide!

Newsletter and concert summary

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We send out the newsletter 6-12 times a year. You will get a bit of news about our adventures, pre-release info about our recordings and a summary of upcoming concerts. You can opt out of our mailing list any time.

Concerts in Brief

  • Jan 23
    St Andrews Village,  Boothbay Harbor
  • Mar 12
    The Ridge,  Exeter
  • Mar 15
    Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church,  Baltimore
  • Mar 16
    Lakewood Manor,  Richmond
  • Mar 18
    Well-Spring Retirement Community,  Greensboro