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Three Celtic Carols

This post was written in preparation for our December 2015 Winter Songs & Carols concert. For information about our next Winter Songs & Carols program or our other seasonal performances, visit our Performances page.

While putting together arrangements and selections for Manitou Winds'”Winter Songs & Carols”, I sought pieces that would be a departure from what our audience might expect to hear during a season usually filled with Christmas concerts. Part of that departure was accomplished by selecting tunes that have a stronger connection to the celebrations of Advent or Winter Solstice than Christmas. But, I also sought out Christmas tunes that were perhaps less popular or overshadowed.

While researching, I noticed a lack of Celtic representation in literature for winds. Joining my search for overshadowed tunes with my love of Celtic music, I became inspired to create a small suite of carols with Celtic origins written expressly for wind quintet.

Three Celtic Carols

When people think of Celtic music, they most commonly think of Ireland or Scotland. However, the Celts inhabited quite a large area of Europe in ancient times. Roaming the countryside of northern Spain and France, for instance, you can find prehistoric Celtic sites that very closely resemble those found in Ireland and Scotland. Celtic influence in those areas is unmistakable and continues into the modern era. So, while these tunes may be only partly Celtic when examined closely, they are unarguably influenced by the Celts.

Movement I: Jesous Ahatonhia

Movement II: Carúl Inis Córthaidh

Movement III: Moita Festa

Aside from their Celtic roots, what unites these three tunes is that each served as a musical bridge to overcome some sort of divide — whether the differences were linguistic, geographic, or simply cultural traditions. In their own time and in their own way, each of these tunes served to unify people during Christmas.

UPDATE: You can now hear the entire suite of carols on our debut album: First Flight! Visit the Manitou Winds Web Store to order your copy today.

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