Honor to the Hills (1989)

by Bayley-Hazen Singers

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about

This album presents a program much like one of our concerts: early New England and Southern fuging tunes and folk hymns; Eastern European village music; and some newly written songs in traditional idiom. Our singing style owes much to the traditional practitioners of this music, particularly Southern Sacred Harp singers and Balkan village musicians—people who sing with all their heart and with all their voice.

These songs treat of serious issues: life and death, marriage and separation, grace and salvation. It is music meant to stir the emotions. To us it is some of the most powerful music that we know.

The largest group of songs come from the singing school tradition of the late 18th century—a strong and vital community singing tradition which flowered in rural New England in the first few decades after the American Revolution.

The Balkan songs also come out of a strong rural community singing tradition. These are songs of the fields and village squares, sung out of doors while working, in ritual or in celebration. Many of the songs are traditionally sung while dancing, often in a large circle. The songs speak of the important aspects of village life: planting and harvesting, dancing, war, and love and marriage.

We are attracted to this music for its unmistakable vocal style and rhythmic strength. We have added men's voices to some of the songs that would traditionally have been sung only by women, but have otherwise tried to remain true to the original style and spirit of this compelling music.

credits

released November 7, 2014

Directed by Larry Gordon

Singers: Tom Mousin, John Henderson, Fred Emigh, Paul Bishop, Bill Morrison, Kathleen Moore, Liz Thompson, Judy Pransky, Sheri Stolper, Heidi Broner, Lynnette Combs, Suzanne Fontaine, Barbara Waters, Megan Henderson, Pat Mayhew, Pippa Hall, Elka Schumann, Moira Smiley, Laura Kranis, Rachel Rieck, Fred Jodry

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Northern Harmony Vermont

First formed in 1993, Northern Harmony has since gained a wide reputation thru concert tours across the US, the UK and western Europe. The ensemble is part of Village Harmony, a Vermont-based world music organization that sponsors domestic & international performance singing camps, workshops and tours. ... more

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Track Name: Milford
If angels sung a Savior's birth,
On that auspicious morn,
We well may imitate their mirth,
Now He again is born.
Track Name: Solicitude
O Thou in whose presence my soul takes delight,
On whom in affliction I call,
My comfort by day, and my song in the night,
My hope, my salvation, my all.

Where dost Thou at noontide resort with Thy sheep,
To feed on the pastures of love?
Say, why in the valley of death should I weep,
Or alone in the wilderness rove?

O, why should I wander an alien from Thee,
And cry in the desert for bread?
Thy foes will rejoice when my sorrows they see,
And smile at the tears I have shed.

His voice, as the sound of the dulcimer sweet,
Is heard through the shadows of death;
The cedars of Lebanon bow at His feet,
The air is perfumed with His breath.
Track Name: Soar Away
Using an old English folk tune ("The Ballad of Captain Kidd") and lyrics first published in 1811, the text and melody of 'Wondrous Love' were first published together around 1840 in The Southern Harmony, a book of shape note hymns compiled by William Walker.
Track Name: Ogrejala mesechina
The sweet moon was shining. For me there was no moonlight, only a girl who had gotten up early to fetch water.
Track Name: Zaspo Janko
Janko slept beneath a jablon tree; he plucked a golden branch.
(My dear one, look at me with your beautiful black eyes.)
Track Name: Otishla moma hubava
Go, my dear brave soldier. I will wait for you with a bouquet of flowers, wearing my embroidered wedding dress.
Track Name: Ej pletenice
First star, little star, you come too soon. Too soon to marry and braid my hair upon my head.
Track Name: Shto mi e milo
How nice it would be to have a shop in Struga, to sit and watch the girls carry water in their colorful jars.
Track Name: Parting Friends
Farewell, my friends, I’m bound for Canaan,
I’m trav’ling through the wilderness;
Your company has been delightful,
You, who doth leave my mind distressed.
I go away, behind to leave you,
Perhaps never to meet again,
But if we never have the pleasure,
I hope we’ll meet on Canaan’s land.