Old-fashioned Christmas treats make a fine feast at St Mary’s - The Leamington Observer

Old-fashioned Christmas treats make a fine feast at St Mary’s

Leamington Editorial 6th Dec, 2023   0

Joglaresa – Sing We Yule, St Mary’s Warwick


A CHURCH packed with warmly-dressed folk enjoying the sound of ancient festive carols and the heavy scent of mulled wine – it can only be Christmas for the Leamington Music scene again.

Early music perennials Joglaresa brought their programme of yuletide gems mixing wonderful sound with a fair scoop of fun and jollity.

Joglaresa have been going for some time. With the peerless and much-missed Belinda Sykes at the helm the group have been making music in one line-up or another since the early 1990s.

The ensemble, like the material on offer, has quite a history. But with a cohort as fresh as the six on duty this evening, there remains a youthful quality to the music-making that defies any amount of years the facts could point to.

A fine selection of period instruments, or their modern reproductions, provides a constantly changing but always interesting texture to the sound. There’s an excellent blending in the vocals too and a clear enjoyment in both the music and the act of performing it.

With so many tasty morsels on the table in a very generous programme, it’s perhaps a bit redundant to pick out highlights but several performances really caught the eye, and the ear.

The gorgeously interwoven vocal in the Italian vernacular song Christo e Nato was as good a piece of controlled singing as this church will have heard for a long time. And the unexpectedly syncopated Salve, Salve, Virgo Pia which called on perfectly-judged contributions from all would take some beating.

Perhaps the crowning moment was one of the simpler ones – at least on the surface of it – with a faultless duet telling the tale of a Hoary Winter’s Night. A perfect arrangement of a genuinely haunting song. Quite sublime.

The Christmas trees will be surrounded by many presents again this year though perhaps dulcimers, harps and fidels won’t number greatly among them. But a love of music is a gift which never palls or disappoints and with music-making like this on the doorstep it cannot be recommended highly enough.






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