Monday, June 10, 2013

Do you have any Irish in you?

There's an old joke/pick up line that goes, "Do you have any Irish in you?  Would you like some?"

I am pretty certain I have a little Irish in me, though I'm more of a Scot than an Irish lass.  My husband is very Irish, though, and to look at him you'd see the map of Ireland on his face.  When we were engaged, I decided I wanted our wedding to have sort of a Celtic mood.  I had already decided I wanted to walk down the aisle to "Highland Cathedral", which I had heard for the first time when I happened to attend church on a day a Kirkin' of the Tartans was going on.  I determined that day that if I ever got married, I'd use that piece instead of the usual "Bridal Chorus".

I thought it was such a beautiful piece of music that I searched for it on Napster and found it.  Then I went out and bought a couple of CDs that had it.  I searched for sheet music and was fortunate enough to find it in an obscure and, I think, now out-of-print book that the church organist we used managed to keep.  I even had a bagpiper.  Of course, "Highland Cathedral" was actually composed in the mid 1980s by Germans... but since we ended up living in Germany for awhile, it seems all the more appropriate that it was used in our wedding.

"Highland Cathedral"
This is kind of what my processional sounded like on my wedding day...

It was during the period that I was coming up with the music for our wedding that I discovered Eden's Bridge, an Irish contemporary Christian music band.  I bought one of their CDs because I wanted to hear how they did "Be Thou My Vision", which we used in the wedding.  I didn't really like their treatment of "Be Thou My Vision", but I loved a lot of their other stuff.  I bought another CD and another...  Now I think I have six of them, including a live, acoustic disc that I got over this past weekend.  

I don't generally like contemporary Christian music.  I find it kind of syrupy and lame.  I'm not very religious anyway.  But there was something about Eden's Bridge that I loved.  Their lead singer, Sarah Lacy, has a sublime voice.  The band is very accomplished and plays with acoustic instruments.  The sentiment that comes across in their music is genuine and inspiring.  And they don't go over the top.

I never liked the song "Awesome God" until I heard Eden's Bridge do it...

"Stones and Sea"

Here's a lovely peaceful ballad, "The Shadow of Your Hand".

Even though I'm not very religious, I like Eden's Bridge's music and their message.  I'm always pleased to support them when I see they have something new out.

Another artist I got into while planning my wedding was Van Morrison.  He also sang "Be Thou My Vision" and I did like what he did with it.  His version made me decide to include the hymn in my wedding.

Later, I discovered his take on a classic song he did with the Chieftains... and one that means something to me because I am from Virginia and have a lot of history in The Shenandoah Valley...

"Oh Shenandoah" mentions the Missouri... but is much loved by Virginians for obvious reasons...  My husband was born in Missouri and I was born in Virginia.  Fun coincidence?

I also included a couple of other majestic sounding hymns that weren't necessarily Celtic but had been arranged by John Rutter and impressed me.  I didn't use the Rutter arrangements, but just the simple hymns, "All Creatures of Our God and King" and "Now Thank We All Our God".  Since I had performed in a choir that was learning the "Hymn of Praise", it seemed appropriate... also, we got married just before Thanksgiving.  

One of my very musical aunts came up to me after the wedding crying.  She said the music was just beautiful.  I tend to agree.  In fact, the gentleman playing "All Creatures of Our God and King" in the clip above Rutter's chokes me up just now.  When it comes to music, I am a total sap.   

I just bought this CD... It's excellent.  I will review it very soon.

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