Earlier this month, friends suggested I attend Heather Dale‘s concert, which I was planning on anyway simply because, hey, live music and new tunes. Her bardic style is a fusion of Celtic folk and world and modern music. It’s a wonderful blending of new and olde. One of the songs that really stood out was “Huron Carol”, which was originally written in the 17th century by a Jesuit priest for the Huron among whom he was living and later translated into French. The beautiful, chant-like carol’s history is reflected by being sung in Huron, French, and then English. At times Heather’s music reminds me of Loreena McKennitt and Clannad. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert while she sang and played the keyboard, bodhran, and Irish flutes; Ben Deschamps accompanied on guitar, bodhran, and vocals; and Jason Sonier played with percussion. It was also the first time I saw a bodhran with an amp attached, which was cool. If I felt like leaving the con I would have gone to their other concert the following day, but I didn’t. An upside is that they reside in the Toronto area and frequently roam around so I’ll be seeing them again.
While listening to the Green Knight I find myself stepping back into the Middle Ages and Renaissance when people sat around the hearth listening to stories and song. The album opens with the friendly “Come and Be Welcome” and continues with thirteen songs about kings, knights, and maidens. There are even a couple that are perfect for children, like “Elephant” which is about an elephant who packed her trunks and learned from unicorns, dragons, and pirates until she knew it all. There are a few mellow songs, such as “For Guinevere” and “the Old Duke”, but for the most part they’re lively and cheerful. Between Heather and her touring/recording band-mates twenty instruments are played on the album, including the harp and mandolin, which helps the listener travel back into the days of yore. Some full-length song samples can be heard at Heather Dale’s Myspace.
“Huron Carol” and “Black Fox”: