Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christ Child Lullaby

Well, what with Christmas coming, the goose getting fat, and all the other things that go on this time of year, I'm not sure how much posting I'll get done over the next week or so (finally--an excuse!). At any rate, there's no time like the present to get the carols up. Here's a good arrangement of the Christ Child Lullaby sung by Katrine Polwart, Christy O'Leary and John Doyle (accompanied by several other musicians, including Liz Carrol on the fiddle). The names of all three singers were familiar to me, but John Doyle was the only one I'd heard at any length, apart from this song. He was playing at the KVMR Celtic Festival a couple of months back, and I happened to be driving back from Reno, giving me rather indefinite amount of time and, finally, a glorious sunset somewhere around Truckee in which to enjoy the broadcast, which I did, immensely. His exquisite guitar playing would be quite enough to keep any audience happy, but his voice happens to be equally rich and compelling. He had the crowd in Grass Valley going with some sea chantey or other and I should say one can scarcely consider one's life complete until one has roared out repeated choruses about the shores of Californy (can I have forgotten the exact words so soon?) among the Sierra's narrow hallways of thick black pines, while the sunset catches fire along the the edge of a thick grey day.

Which is neither here nor there, where this lovely song is concerned. It sticks in my mind that I have posted it before, and, if so, probably did mention that it was originally written in the Hebrides, in Gaelic (in case the tune doesn't give that away).

Boys of the Lough also have a very sparse and lovely arrangement of the song on their CD Midwinter Night's Dream (Well, scratch what I just said about John Doyle being the only one of the three above who was familiar--no less a person than Christy O' Leary played uillean pipes and sang with Boys of the Lough. I should study CD liners more often.) It's a neat album all around, with a few good carols set in among a lot of tunes with titles like "Christmas Day in the Morning," in keeping with the situation, and lots of Shetland fiddling from Aly Bain.


Anonymous said...

Molly, this carol is exquisite. It is a beautiful meditation to accompany the prayerful melody. I would love to find the words to add to my harp carols for the hospital. I would like to hear more from this group. Simply beautiful instruments and vocals.

Molly said...

I might have the words somewhere (all 50-odd verses of 'em?); If I come across them, I'll let you know. The quality of the music ain't too shabby either, I agree :-)