SCANDINAVIAN YULETIDE VOICES - CHRISTMAS CAROLS
by Mika Pohjola with Rigmor Gustafsson, Theo Bleckmann, Eeppi Ursin

Featuring Rigmor Gustafsson, Theo Bleckmann, Eeppi Ursin, Sanni Orasmaa, Lisa Werlinder and several others, Scandinavian Yuletide Voices provides us the most refreshing take on holiday music released this year. Pianist and composer Mika Pohjola leads a bright orchestra of voices capably supported by an eclectic group of musicians through a truly international assembly of songs, evoking a myriad of holiday moods. This, coupled with an unusual and not so unusual repertoire, make for a successful holiday offering. These players and singers capture this feeling perfectly. The festivities begin with an Irish reel, Wexford Carol, sung engagingly by Sanni Orasmaa. From there, the listener is transported from England to Finland to Sweden to Germany and across the pond several times. The holiday spirit infuses the Scandinavian pieces in such a way that when heard, there is little doubt the season being celebrated by the music. Änglaklockor could have appeared in The Sound of Music , had the von Trapps been Swedish rather than Austrian. Carol composer Alfred Burt has no less than four selections here. The son of an Episcopalian minister, Burt composed a modest fifteen carols in his short life (he died at 33), but these fifteen pieces have become cult favorites, to be polished and performed. All are pleasantly performed and show that the seasonal spirit may be captured without the benefit of the fatigued standard fare. Not that there is none here. A jazzy Little Drummer Boy and somber White Christmas are also present. That is just so this unfamiliar collection is not too unfamiliar, thereby holding the public's attention just long enough for us to realize the true treasure within.

http://christmascarols.bluemusicgroup.com