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VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER - A Sound Of Christmas Past

VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER - A Sound Of Christmas Past
WetFootMusic WFM140501

Over the course of the last decade Vicki and Jonny have developed a reputation for breathing new life into traditional material, their deft playing on a dizzying array of instruments being particularly impressive. On this new seasonal CD, 14 recognisable and well loved Christmas carols are given the folky treatment, and they do it all very nicely.

The warning on the CD sleeve says: “Contains Christmas – not suitable for festive party poopers”, so those that fit that description, please look away now. For the rest of us who enjoy a bit of Christmas cheer at this time of year, there is much to like on this album. Vicki’s nyckelharpa suits the mood of the traditional carols particularly well and the two voices blend in perfect harmony and prove irresistible to join in with on the more well known songs.

Fittingly, some of the tracks have a very ‘ye oldey worldy’ sound, particularly those with the nyckelharpa. The Coventry Carol, dating back to 1534, is a perfect example with its ethereal mood and its pairing with a Jonny Dyer tune arranged for five-part nyckelharpa - beautiful. Other tracks have been given an English dance tune feel, like the bouncy and cheerful Good Christian Men Rejoice, also paired with one of Jonny’s dance tunes. Down In Yon Forest, collected by Vaughan Williams, is particularly good, though I could have lived without hearing the slightly unimaginative Jingle Bells being given another outing – but I suppose it is a Christmas CD and they do it very well. But who knew there were so many words!?

A very festive cover from Karen Cater of Hedingham Fair completes the package making it a very nice addition to any Christmas music collection.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 105 of The Living Tradition magazine.