Sharron Kraus & Harriet Earis - Winter Songs / Caneuon y Gaeaf [Self Release - 2013]Winter Songs /Caneuon y Gaeaf brings together folk singer/ songwriter Sharron Kraus, and harpist Harriet Earis for a collection of charming, warming yet earthy renditions of carols, winter songs and seasonal songs.
The album was recorded in St. John's Church, Ysbyty Cynfyn, which is located in a mountain environment between the tourist destinations of Devils' Bridge and the village of Ponterwyd in mid-wales. It takes in 15 tracks in all, with Kraus taking care of vocals, dulcimer and whistles, & Earis the harp- the tracks are a fairly even mix of instrumental & sung songs.
The album opens up with the pairs take on the classic christmas carol “Deck the Halls”- the tracks rich & instantly recognisable melody is set out by the mix of spritely harp & strummed dulcimer, with Kraus’s powerful yet roughly sweet English folk voice singing out the festive lyrics. The pair really manage to take this over-played song & highly familiar song, and give it a really jaunting, warming & fresh sound. From here on the pair move between instrumental & sang rendition of songs known & not so known, and thankfully they all manage to retain the feeling of both spritely wonder, rich melody, seasonal mood and earthiness…with none of the albums tracks resulting to twee-ness or mock sentiment, which most Xmas themed collections tend to do.
All in all this is a most rewarding & heart warming collection of seasonal songs done in a very earthy & real manner- you can pick this up direct from Ms Kraus- just pop over to her page here. Roger Batty