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Noel Nouveau Est Venu
FolkClub Ethnosuoni (

cd cover This Italian release features the French group Picotage performing traditional Christmas music of central France. Since the liner notes omit all information about the group or the music except for the French song texts and their Italian translation, I assume the songs date at least back to the 18th century. That's because Picotage plays the music on the hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, organ and pianoforte.

"Noel Nouvelet"
These songs express an age when, for the agricultural population of the Limousin region, Christmas was a bit of the Paradise that Adam lost descending to earth as expressed in the title song "Noel Nouveau Est Venu." Another particularly charming song is "Le Noel Des Oiseaux" in which the three wise men are replaced by a flock of birds who come to adore the baby Jesus in the stable. In this ballad, the rooster, the goldfinch, the blackbird and the wagtale all come before the baby to chirp their devotionals. In another song of adoration, "Toute Nature Humaine," it is the shepherds and shepherdesses who lead the stream of human beings, angels and mages to the stable. That's only fitting since the mountainous Limousin region is a center for raising sheep.

The CD is particularly enhanced by the vocals of Gloria Moretti whose performance is fitting to the music. Although it is obviously a bit early in the year for Christmas music, I should think that fans of traditional holiday music would particularly want to earmark this album. It's light years away from the commercialized pap served up by most Christmas releases. - Aaron Howard

Available from cdRoots

Audio: "Noel Nouvelet"
(c)2001 FolkClub Ethnosuoni
used by permission

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