The last two years, Carol Boss who hosts Afternoon Freeform at KUNM in Albuquerque, has called us in to do a session of holiday related music. We had a lot of fun digging up both songs that are common during the holiday times in Scandinavia, as well as more obscure pieces relating to gnomes and other strange beings connected to the Midwinter times.
This made us decide we need to create a full evening Midwinter show. And thanks to the generous support of AMP Concerts, you will be able to see and hear the result at our favorite venue The Outpost Performance Space on December 16, 2017. We have also been asked to come and perform this show at a few other places around New Mexico. Find out when and where on our Calendar Page.
So where to begin? What are we celebrating at midwinter? The answer seems to be a tangle of traditions that have been layered, one upon another, through the centuries. Today we use a mixture of traditions that are fairly new together with remnants of very ancient roots.
The winter solstice, the return of the sun after it almost seems to disappear, has been celebrated since time immemorial. Knowing when the sun would return was essential and many myths about they why of the movement of sun, moon and planets exist. As religious believes and cultural influences have shifted, traditions have often been added or slightly transformed rather than exchanged, probably because people have not been willing to easily give up essential traditions of this important time of year. It was a fearsome time. Darkness invited dark forces and precautions had to be taken. It was a joyful time. When light returns everything seems possible again.
So we began digging up songs on the theme. Though it felt odd to work on songs about dark winter days in the middle of July, we persevered and now have a collection of songs that tells stories about the theft of the Sun, cranky gnomes, Irish heroes fighting Norwegian trolls, and ghostly Medieval singers - among others.
I also wrote to our dear friend Liz Madden to ask her about her favorite Celtic Holiday songs, and we are learning a few of those as well right now.
We hope many of you will come and share our celebration of this special time with us in December. Find out when and where on our Calendar Page.