Day 2/12 – Candlelight Carol (Christmas Songs Countdown)

From Australian a cappella vocal group, Idea of North, on the album ‘This Christmas’ from (2012). The song is based on a carol by John Rutter (2001). Listen below or find more info here.

Candlelight Carol

Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger
Christ our Redeemer asleep on the hay
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Gloria! Gloria in excelsis deo
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour
But Mary will rock him and sing him to sleep

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn
Gloria! Gloria in excelsis deo
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born

Watch “Angel” – Sarah McLachlan – by The Idea of North

Just a beautiful arrangement!

This Christmas – Idea of North

This ChristmasI somehow missed a great Christmas album two years ago. You may have done the same. The album is ‘This Christmas’ by the Idea of North. You can read the review below, or simply go and listen online. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

“If you want your Christmas to groove along with some stunning arrangements, then The Idea of North’s latest recording is an absolutely must.

This ensemble, known for its contemporary flavour and mellow vocal blend, has captured the joy of the season with a selection of traditional carols. American Christmas-themed songs (Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, The Christmas Song / Chestnuts Roasting, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas), also features along with some more modern numbers (Angel, Candlelight Carol), and are all mixed together with sophisticated jazz harmonies and some wonderfully rich orchestrations.

James Morrison’s inclusion (playing trombone) in Mary’s Boy Child lends an improvisatory edge to the setting, whilst the reprise of this song as a band mix has a more Latin feel. The title track, This Christmas, has an all-encompassing Christmas appeal (and some additional fine solo guitar work).

The inspirational song Angel (In the Arms of the Angel) has seen performances from all over the world, including from the song-writer Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Westlife, Angelis, The King’s Singers, and Katherine Jenkins, not to mention this Australian version, which is as powerful as those famous renderings before it.

Australia’s most recognised contribution to the Australian carol tradition is not forgotten either, with William James’s The Silver Stars are in the Sky, which shows the group’s ability to find new harmonic gestures throughout the lullaby-like verses.

The Christmas Medley seamlessly merges rhythmic responses of Once in Royal David’s City and Hark The Herald Angels Sing, with a more straight forward God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Poverty is hymn-like in its four-part traditional harmonies, giving a respite to the rhythmically energised arrangements that occupy the bulk of this recording.

Poignancy and simplicity is found in the Thad Jones signature tune, A Child is Born (complete with trumpet doubling the melody).

This CD should get a real workout this Christmas season, and become a favourite for many. Beautifully sung and meticulously recorded, The Idea of North has produced another gem in this recording, where every track has real musical magic.”

Who is “The Idea of North”?

The Idea of North is widely acclaimed as Australia’s premier vocal ensemble. While I would love to speculate about the reason for the snazzy name of this a capella jazz quartet, I think it’s best if we just get on to introducing them. (And while you may not have heard of them as being “Christian musicians” there is much Gospel, heart and soul in their music).

So who are The Idea of North? In short, they’re a quartet of musicians, serious about their music without taking themselves too seriously. Their instrumentation: voice (soprano), voice (alto), voice (tenor) and voice (bass), with a little bit of vocal percussion thrown in. They have a beautifully distinct sound and style, but they cross many musical genres: jazz, folk, gospel, pop, classical, comedy – exactly what you see and hear at a concert is difficult to describe. With eight albums in the catalogue, a significant local and international fan base . . . ” You can read more here.

They have plenty of awesome covers of songs, along with their own original work. Their first, self-titled album may still be my favourite (1997), but THE GOSPEL PROJECT (2006) is a close second (listen to the sample of “People get ready“). They have been touring internationally with FEELS LIKE SPRING (2010) and EXTRAORDINARY TALE (2011). So be on the lookout, my readers in the Northern hemisphere. They will probably be coming to a city near you. Not only do they sing brilliantly, but their concerts are also lots of great fun with considerable audience interaction! Have a listen below (and let me know if you do get to see them live.)

Just a closer walk with thee – this one is lots of fun (filmed in concert), with much vocal percussion

Sweet Sweet Spirit – just the audio here