Track List & Sound Samples
These samples are from our Christmas recordings. Julia Lane recorded using a Greenwood 36-string harp. Deborah Friou used a Dusty Strings 36 nylon strung harp and a Triplett 36 string wire strung harp.

The sound samples are from the most representative section of a track. The times listed are the total track time, not the length of the sample! The samples range from one to two minutes in length.

If you do you'll get multiple samples playing at the same time

Yuletide Treasure CD cover
Yuletide Treasure
A British Isles Winter Celebration
Deborah Friou & Julia Lane - Celtic Harps

The return of light during the darkness of the winter solstice, which coincides with the Christmas holiday, caused ancient people to create rituals and music in honor of the event.The Celtic harp, ancestor of the orchestral harp, has been a part of these celebrations for over a thousand years. Here is a musical Yuletide journey through the British Isles from Shetland to England,Wales, Ireland, the Hebrides and the Isle of Mann, arranged and played with joy and sensitivity by two of today's finest harpers.

About the Artists
Deborah Friou has devoted twenty-five years to the revival of the Celtic harp.She has expressed her love of the musical spirit of a previous age through performance, six books of harp arrangements, and two solo recordings of Renaissance and Celtic music. Her publications are known and sold worldwide. Deborah has performed and taught workshops at harp and traditional music festivals throughout the US and in Scotland. She now performs on both nylon-strung and wire-strung harps and teaches in Brunswick and Bar Harbor, Maine. Deborah's nylon-strung harp was built by Dusty Strings; her wire-srung harp by Triplett

Julia Lane came to the Celtic harp through her life-long love affair with the ancient music of the British Isles. Also an accomplished vocalist, she accompanied herself with guitar for many years until she had the opportunity to play the Celtic harp.Her unique self-taught style has won several international competitions.She currently plays and sings with partner Fred Gosbee as Castlebay. They have toured the east coast of the US, England Scotland and Ireland and have recorded over five albums of both Celtic and original music.
Julia's harp was built by Fred Gosbee.

The Holly and the Ivy/Sans Day Carol mp3 [3:36] Solo- Deborah Friou
These carols from England and Cornwall reconcile two potentially conflicting traditions. The use of evergreens to celebrate the Solstice and Christmas is actually of pagan origin. The masculine (holly) and feminine (ivy) elements symbolize the vitality of the life force even in the midst of the cold, dark winter. The word "holly" is derived from the Saxon word for "holy".

Three Sea Captains mp3 [3:15] Duet
The first tune is an Irish set dance and, although not directly related to Christmas or Yuletide, we loved how it went with the English carol, I Saw Three Ships, as well as providing captains for the three ships! The earliest written version of Three Ships appeared in 1666 and depicts the journey of the relics of the three kings.

Soalin' / God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen mp3 [3:19] Duet
The practice of begging for "soul cakes", or Soalin', is related to the Wassail / carolling tradition. In this piece we like to contrast the viewpoint of the poor begging from door to door with the lot of the merry gentlemen viewed through the window of the manor house, wanting for nothing.

Glochestershire Wassail mp3 [2:17] Solo- Julia Lane
Each region of England has their own wassail tradition which involves vagabond groups travelling door to door taking turns singing. Hopefully, they receive money or food and drink in exchange for the blessing of the song. Wassail itself is a potent spiced brew and the word means "good health" in Anglo-saxon.

Greensleeves mp3 [2:27] Solo- Deborah Friou
Several carols have been written to this tune, the earliest a 17th century version called The Olde Yeare Now Away is Fled. The original melody has been attributed by some to King Henry VIII. The first setting here was inspired by a version from the Ballet Lute Book c.1590 and the second from the Thysius Lute Book c.1600.

Coventry Carol / Down in Yon Forest mp3 [3:35] Duet- Deborah Friou, wire strung harp / Julia Lane, nylon strung harp
The first in this set of English tunes was the song of the mothers of Bethlehem in the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors, one of the 15th century Coventry mystery plays.
The second is a mystical song that weaves allusions from the legend of the Holy Grail into the verses. The fifth stanza refers to the Glastonbury Thorn "which ever blows blossom since he was born". It is said to have grown from the staff of Joseph of Arimethea, bearer of the Holy Grail, and flowers every Christmas.

The Abbot's Bromley Horn Dance mp3 [2:40] Solo- Deborah Friou
The Celtic winter season began with the festival of Samhain on October 31. This time was aligned with the rutting of the deer, a sacred animal. The battle of the stags came to symbolize the age-old battle of the old year with the new and is the basis for the horn dance, which is still performed to this day. During the middle ages, it was traditionally performed at Christmas by dancers wearing deer masks with attached antlers

'Tis Winter Now mp3 [2:53] Duet
Samuel Longfellow, son of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, might have been viewing our own Maine winter landscape when he wrote this poem. Set to a traditional English melody, it describes the sharp, cold wind, the leafless boughs, and the clear skies after the snow falls. He also speaks of the treasure of winter, the crimson dawn, the shimmering beauty of the boughs covered with frost and snow creating "glittering wreathes", and the warmth inside as "home closer draws her circle". We tried to capture that sparkling, delicate winter loveliness in this arrangement.

Lullabies for the Christ Child mp3 [5:10] Solo- Julia Lane, harp and voice
These are two songs with the same image- the Virgin Mary lulls her miraculous son with a quiet song. The first in this pairing, Taladh Chriosta (The Christ Child Lullaby), is a very ancient song from the Scottish Hebrides while the second, Irish Lullaby for the Christ Child, was made from Gaelic prose in 1935 by Irish poet Sam Henry and set to a traditional tune.

Drive Cold Winter Away / Cold and Raw mp3 [4:05] Solo- Deborah Friou / Duet
Drive Cold Winter Away is an early 17th century broadside ballad also known as The Praise of Christmas. This song recommends the season as a time of merriment, music and convivial fireside gatherings with "wassails of nut-brown ale"- "Forgetting old wrongs with carols and songs to drive the cold winter away". It may be a reaction to the time when Cromwell's parliament abolished any celebration of Christmas. Cold & Raw seems to be the earliest name for a tune that has been popular in Scotland and England since the 16th century. It is also known as Stingo and Robert Burns wrote lyrics to it called Up in the Morning Early - all about the "pleasures " of arising early on a cold winter morning.

Nos Galen (Deck the Halls) mp3 [5:04] Duet
In this traditional Welsh New Year's Eve song, merrymakers would dance in a circle around a harper making up verses answered by the harp. Later the harp response was replaced with the nonsense words "fa, la, la, la, la". In the Welsh harp tradition, variations and improvisation are the expectation. This arrangement for two harps was adapted from a version for triple strung harp found in Edward Jones Musical and Poetical Relics of the Welsh Bards, first appearing in 1794. Deborah's father gave her an edition he bought from an antique book dealer in London.

Carul Loch Garman (The Wexford Carol ) mp3 [2:44] Duet
A carol collected in County Wexford Ireland with English lyrics and a traditional Irish tune. It is said that the melody dates from the 12th century.

Do'n oiche ud i mbeithil (That Night in Bethlehem mp3 [3:21] Solo- Julia Lane
Songs celebrating Christ's birth are rare in the Celtic lands due to religious and political repression. This Gaelic song was apparently preserved in the oral tradition and was documented by Paddy O'Brien who shared it with Irish flute player Cathal McConnell (Boys of the Lough). Julia has arranged it here for harp.

Da Day Dawns / When Christ Was Born mp3 [4:17] Duet- Deborah Friou, wire strung harp & Julia Lane, nylon strung harp
This lovely tune from the Scottish Shetland Islands used to be played at first light on Yule morning. As the music unfolds, one can imagine the early morning light first appearing on the horizon, then increasing in warmth, strength and color with the rising of the sun. It is thought to be an ancient fiddle tune dating from the 15th century.This version was arranged for harp by Scottish harper Patsy Seddon (Sileas, the Poozies) and has been adapted for the wire-strung harp by Deborah. The second song, arranged by Julia, is from the Isle of Mann. It is from a collection of "carvals", or carols, which are 17th and 18th century religious texts set to traditional tunes.

Auld Lang Syne mp3 [3:48] Duet / Julia Lane, soprano
Favorite Scottish poet, Robert Burns, was the author of this popular song that has come to be a tradition on New Year's Eve. Auld Lang Syne means "old times past" in Scots, and "my jo" is Burns' term for "my dear". This arrangement by Deborah starts with the original version of the melody in which she is joined by Julia's vocals. The better known tune is then played and sung before ending with the two harps interweaving both melodies.

Rorate / New Christmas mp3 [3:23] Duet
Rorate is a rare Scottish Christmas carol written by William Dunbar, a 16th C Scottish diplomat, former Franciscan and poet. The lovely first verse commands the heavens to rain down the dew "for now is risen the bright Day Star". New Christmas refers to an incident in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII decreed that the official calendar be adjusted by 11 days to accomodate a cumulative discrepancy in the Julian calendar. The British Isles refused to participate in the alteration, continuing to celebrate "Old Christmas" on January 6 until 1752 when it finally joined the European system. Confusion and rioting were the result. The tune is in the collection of Neil Gow, a renowned 18th century Scottish fiddler.


The sound samples are from the most representative section of a track. The times listed are the total track time, not the length of the sample! The samples range from one to two minutes in length.

If you do you'll get multiple samples playing at the same time

Angels We Have Heard CD cover
began playing Celtic Harp in 1988. Her unique self-taught style has won three major competitions on the instrument. A New England native, she has an avid interest in the folklore of that area as well as it's Celtic roots. Her concerts and other recordings also feature her "vibrant and lovely" voice and compelling original songs. In addition to solo performances, she also appears with multi-instrumentalist Fred Gosbee as "Castlebay". They have toured the eastern U.S., Ireland, England and Scotland performing at festivals, arts centers, folk clubs, and on radio and television
Other recordings by Julia Lane
Song of the Sea - All original songs in the Celtic Spirit
The Tapestry Series - Six CDs of traditional and original Celtic music arranged for harp, strings, and winds.

The artistry of Julia Lane shines on this collection of holiday carols, performed on celtic harp they are delightful and refreshing. These all new arrangements make a wonderful addition to holiday listening.

In Dulci Jubilo / On Christmas Night mp3 [3:08]

Of course we cannot forget those heavenly messengers, the angels! Legend has it that IIn Dulce Jubilo was sung to a priest in his cell by visiting angels. Originally a plainsong, it has evolved into one of our most beloved carols. On Christmas Night is a less-known English carol that also depicts the angelic choir.
Ding Dong Merrily mp3 [1:56]

A favorite method to banish evil influences was bell ringing. Ding Dong Merrily on High, a French carol, reminds one of the carrillons and tower bells of the great cathedrals.
Dancing Day / Bring A Torch mp3 [2:22]

The original meaning of the word "carol" was "round dance". Circle dancing around a fire was a big part of ancient celebrations attempting to rid the world of evil spirits.
Soalin' / God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen mp3 [3:48]

Soalin' describes the practice of going house to house gathering donations to help the needy through the winter. In return, the house was blessed with a song or good luck charm.
January Thaw Julia Lane mp3 [1:53]

Folk in New England look forward to those few magical days toward the end of January when there is often a a few days respite from the deep freeze of winter before the plunge into the cold days of February. Julia composed this tune to the accompaniment of dripping icicles.
Joyeux Noel Julia Lane mp3 [2:27]

This tune is hauntingly familiar, yet new.
The Royal Gift mp3 [2:36]

Neil Gow, a prominent 18th century Scottish fiddler is known to have penned The Royal Gift.
Christmas Potpourri mp3 [3:07]

Here are some old favourites blended in a new way.
Jesus Rest Your Head mp3 [3:00]

On this side of the Atlantic, immigrants have continued to create music in celebration of the season. Jesus Rest Your Head,from Appalachia, has touched me ever since I first heard it as a child. Simple yet substantial, it is the product of the faith of folk transplanted to a new land.
What Child Is This mp3 [3:30]

This melody, also known as Greensleeves, is purported to have been composed by Henry VIII.
The First Tree in the Greenwood / The Holly & The Ivy mp3 [3:27]

The winter holiday season is unique as so many traditions come together to celebrate in common. Much of our modern ceremony and lore has its roots in the Celtic and northern European cultures. Evergreens, as pagan symbols of everlasting life, have become part of the Christmas celebration
Away in the Manger mp3 [2:49]

So often with folk melodies regional differences create variants.I have blended the three versions of Away in a Manger that I know, although there may be even more!
The Winter Moon Julia Lane mp3 [3:22]

There are few sights more lovely than the full moon shining over new fallen snow.
Lo', How a Rose mp3 [2:33]

The image of the rose blooming in the winter is a reminder of the beautiful miracles in our lives. Delicate and beautiful as a rose, the evergreen melody Lo, How a Rose is the work of the 16th century German composer Michael Praetorius.
Simple Gifts mp3 [1:57]

The Shakers of Maine have left a legacy of elegant simplicity that takes on special meaning during the holiday season. Simple Gifts is the most famous of their great body of tunes. Composed in 1835 by Shaker brother John Brackett, the melody was used in Aaron Copeland's Apallacien Spring, Sidney Carter's Lord of the Dance, and most recenty in Michael Flatley's Irish dance extraviganza called Lord of the Dance


2006-08-07 Castlebay, Inc.
email us