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Beltane: Songs for the Green Time is, as the title says, a tribute to the turning of the year to the summer half. Like their first album (Firedance) this is an album perfect for using in ritual work – as long as you are comfortable with variety.

 

Jaiya is very good at re-creating traditional melodies and songs in a way that honors not only the original spirit but also their feeling (sort of like Ashley MacIssac). But I found the pieces that fuse old and new more interesting. For me, mixing Celtic sounds with those that are (for example) Middle Eastern is a good thing – both cultures can benefit from the merge. (Vas does this beautifully.)

 

Jaiya is: Miranda Brown on harp and vocals, Lael Whitehead on acoustic guitar, percussion, winds, and vocals rounded out by Kim Darwin on accordion. I’m not usually a fan of the accordion, but Darwin has a skill that transforms this humble instrument into something truly special.  Unlike many ‘pagan’ groups, Jaiya actually treats their vocals with care – and both Brown and Whitehead have beautiful voices, with the skill to match.

 

Another excellent album: I hope to see more!

 

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Artist: Jaiya

running time 62:00

www.jaiya.ca

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