VIRTUAL VOX 5
“Rejoice!” A Compendium of Carols with Here be Dragons
With just a week to go until Christmas, we are excited to share our fifth and final Virtual VOX project – a collaboration with early music ensemble Here be Dragons and soprano Lente Louw.
For us and for many of our supporters, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is an important milestone as we race towards the end of the year. As a substitute for our live performances this month, we approached Jan-Hendrik Harley to create a unique arrangement of three contrasting carols in a folk idiom suitable for an online project.
We invite you to enjoy the exuberant rhythms and harmonies of Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, moments of gentle reflection in What Child Is This? (set to the famous tune of Greensleeves) and, finally, the buoyant medieval song of praise, Gaudete (“Rejoice”), which inspired the title of this Christmas medley.
Here be Dragons comprises Josh Frank (recorder), Annien Shaw (baroque violin), Mariechen Meyer (double bass), John Pringle (percussion) and Jan-Hendrik Harley (baroque violin, baroque guitar, direction).
The centrepiece of the accompanying video is the stop-motion composition of a specially-commissioned collage by local artist Luke Sadler. Luke aimed to convey the mood of the three songs with a nod to our South African heritage and the festive season. About the artwork, Luke writes:
I’m a Capetonian freelance artist and photographer who has been passionate about creative outlets for a very long time. I’ve been practising photography for about ten years but only more recently got into making collages since the beginning of lockdown. A few people have commissioned collages and this chance to make a music-inspired artwork was very exciting, since I spent most of my school years playing instruments and singing in the choir.
The aim with this collage was to convey the mood of the songs sung by VOX (accompanied by Here be Dragons), with a nod to our South African home, as well as a hint or two of the festive season. It was a fantastic opportunity to think laterally and work from imagination rather than from a photograph. As with most of my collages, it involved a lot of trawling old magazines for exactly the right colours, ripping up minute bits of paper, and getting a lot of glue all over myself and my workspace. I’m very honoured to have been able to add a visual component for this performance by VOX and Here be Dragons, whose music is definitely an inspiration.
“Rejoice!” was the sparkling finale to VOX Cape Town’s annual broadcast of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Fine Music Radio at 6 pm (SAST) on Christmas Eve, Thursday 24 December 2020.