Festive Music for Advent and Christmas
Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula
HM Tower of London
Wednesday 30 November 7pm
Belinda Sykes, director
Caroles of Nunnes and Roses - a Mediaeval Yuletide
We celebrated Yule (Christmas) with the five luscious female voices of Joglaresa, Britain’s premier Mediaeval Ensemble. There were nowells, wassails and Christmas lullabies, including the gorgeous Nuns of Chester Christmas lullaby, and they accompanied themselves on fidel, harp, bells, bagpipes and percussion.
Directed by Belinda Sykes, this London-based ensemble has been playing since 1992. Now well-established, they are particularly interesting for the way in which they imaginatively push, and often transcend, the limits of what is often thought of as early music.
Their work focuses on connecting ancient and traditional musics but, rather than create a 'fusion' or a surreal mix of these styles, they aim to use their combined experiences (upbringings drenched in traditional Irish, English, Maghrebi, Balkan and Middle Eastern music) to create a homogeneous sound - Joglaresa members spent years in North Africa and the Middle East absorbing the best traditional tunes, learning the local languages (Arabic and Hebrew).
Their performances include the Aldeburgh Festival, York Early Music Festival, London's Lufthansa Festival, the Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), St David's Hall (Cardiff), London's Barbican Centre, Sana'a & Aden (Yemen), Brezice Early Music Festival (Slovenia), Istanbul, Amsterdam International Festival of Jewish Music and the Chinchilla Early Music Festival; tours in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Holland and numerous radio broadcasts - the world over.
“Thrilling and haunting” The Times