For most of us there are two types of Christmas music - the traditional carols which we all know and the commercial stuff ranging from Jingle Bells to Slade. Well, there is a third way and this CD brings it to you. People have been celebrating the message of Christmas for centuries and this is the music through which they expressed their devotion and joy. There is a distinctly peasant feeling about much of the music, not surprising given that they were largely uneducated and earthy in their approach to life - imagine a Breugel painting of a Gypsy encampment and you get something like the picture. It is more surprising how similar the flavour of the music is from all around Mediterranean Europe and North Africa, no doubt from the immense Moorish influence on the popular culture of that whole part of the world. There is nothing staid or po-faced about the performances. They are full blooded, with lusty women strutting their stuff with a stomping, rousing accompaniment that would have had the party swinging, all to the glory of a baby born at the other end of the Mediterranean a few hundred years before. If your previous experience of mediaeval sacred music is limited to Chuch Plainsong, this disc will be a revelation.
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