The Best of Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band
A Christmas Caper
Of all the festive traditions, few have stood the test of time better than the Christmas carol. Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band know this more than most. It was twenty five years ago that the two parties first came together, invited by a BBC Radio 2 producer to record a number of well known carols. The result was not only the seminal album A Tapestry Of Carols, but a quarter century of collaboration that has seen them tackle a variety of source material – yet with frequent returns to the music that first brought them together.
Now and the first time, the very best of these carols have been brought together on one album. The Best Of Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band collects twenty two tracks from across their career – from A Tapestry Of Carols to 2010’s Vaughan Williams project. Along the way you will find a mixture of the familiar and the less well known, all presented in a most unique style. By taking the music back to its source (or often in new directions altogether), Prior and her colleagues present the listener with a novel listening experience, while still embracing the traditional spirit of the season.
In doing so, these carols are presented in the way that they were meant to be heard. “They weren’t written by clergymen for the masses and they weren’t written by academics in universities or professional musicians”, says Carnival Band leader Andy Watts. “I think that’s the beauty of them.” With an extensive experience in folk, medieval, world and classical music between them, the singer and players guide us to exquisite places. Telling the Christmas story in a variety of ways, the likes of ‘I Saw Three Ships’, ‘While Shepherds Watched’, ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ and ‘The Holly Ivy’ are revealed as versatile, striking pieces of music with words to match.
Yet the pairing is not just content to look to the past for inspiration. Included in the collection are a number of original compositions, all of which take a new look at the Christmas period – making some intriguing points along the way. Couple these with some of the most famous carols of all time and led by one of the great voices in British music, the album is perfect for those who want to enjoy their Christmas music with a spirit, a passion and a twist.
For Watts, those qualities are still very much in evidence. “We’ve been doing it for twenty five years but occasionally on stage a song will particularly hit me”, he says. “I think that’s one of the powers, they have capacity to come back and surprise you time after time. It’s very interesting, you’d expect after this time that it would be a bit repetitive and boring but it’s not at all. That’s quite amazing to me, that these songs they can come up and take you by surprise.”
Now you can enjoy the pick of these surprises with The Best Of Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band.
Maddy Prior & Members of The Carnival Band are available for Press, Radio & TV Interviews
For further information please contact John Dagnell or Louise Cullen at: Park Promotions PO Box 651, Oxford, OX2 9RB Tel: 01865 241717 | Fax: 01865 204556 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.parkrecords.com
The word Carnival can mean many things, for this band it is the universal spirit of celebration which overthrows convention
The Carnival Band are 5 Musical Explorers, 5 voices, 25 instruments, 5 dozen styles of music and 5 hundred fresh ideas for music making, combining music from across the centuries with sounds from around the world in an irreverently joyous mix! If life is determined by a series of happy accidents, then somebody upstairs was beaming long and hard the day the Carnival Band happened to come across Maddy Prior, one of the most enduring, influential and respected artists in British music. Thrown together in 1984 on a 'let's see what we come up with' basis for a Yuletide BBc Radio 2 broadcast. What began as a one-off session in a village hall in Cumbria has endured for over twenty years and has become something of a tradition in its own right with regular tours and five albums released.
"I love working with the chaps," Maddy muses, "it's just so different and they're so off the wall. Coming from a folk background I can relate to a lot of their dances and early music, but anything less like serious academic concerts when we tour you can't imagine. When we go out at Christmas, it's all streamers, balloons and lunacy."