Midnight Clear

The all-year holiday album "MIDNIGHT CLEAR", featuring Carly Simon
Andreas and his friends have spent the summer at their studio for this very special album: MIDNIGHT CLEAR. It is indeed an unusual album, a holiday album – in the widest sense. Some people may ask "is Vollenweider really doing a Christmas album?" He is known for being a very free spirit when it comes to religion as well as politics. As always, he finds what is forgotten, what speaks between the lines, what lays beyond traditions and dogmas, what is the root note of all religions: love…

Andreas explains:

Although I opened our musical world for the first time to traditional and ‘external’ musical elements, this album is dedicated to the message of love, peace, hope and compassion, in the very same way as all my previous works are. For thousands of years, in all the cultures of the world, this message, wherever it came from, has been the most powerful source of strength and motivation to lay hands on the earth and do our part, in the liberation of the good in ourselves. As we all realize these days, this struggle has not lost anything of its profound relevance.

Religions have played, and still do, a highly controversial role in the history of our civilizations. Besides essential contributions to education, healthcare and social development, the religious institutions have, over thousands of years, also been responsible for a violently blasphemous abuse of power beyond imagination. This could be, and is for many people, reason enough for a fundamental rejection of religion in general.

It is time to finally acknowledge, that we are profoundly spiritual beings by our nature, whether we like it or not. We will always be magnetically attracted by the miraculous. We will always have countless questions that our intellectual minds can not provide answers for, and the process of enlightenment will always be like touching the horizon; it slips further away the closer you think you get to it.

It is time to focus on the content, on the essence of the message, which can be found in all existing religions of the world. There’s no need to create new doctrines. It is time to find ways to concretely incorporate these values into our lives. Regardless whether you are a Christian or not, alone the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ e.g. contains enough very valuable guidelines, how to ethically and spiritually organize a highly complex society such as ours. Let us not loose more time which we don’t have. The quality of spirituality is reflected in how we live it. A sophisticated spiritual dialogue is indispensable in the crisis management of today’s world.

For thousands of years, we all have been taught a concept of man as a sinner, a primarily negative being. But only very little effort has been made to tell us about our positive potential, about our sophisticated ability to transform the negative into the positive, through our most profound human faculty of love and compassion. Music as the voice of the soul personally helps me to continuously remind myself of this potential and I am deeply grateful if it has this effect for others too.

Andreas Vollenweider, August 2006, Krete, Greece

The songs:

MIDNIGHT CLEAR is a collection of:
  1. new Vollenweider music
  2. ancient melodies, many of which date as far back as the 11th Century, but all of them historically in the spirit of Christmas, peace and   hope
  3. four very personal, intimate songs of similar character, written together with his long time friend, the legendary American singer/songwriter Carly Simon
The tracklisting:
  1. 1. The Holly and the Ivy  (11th Century, France)
  2. 2. O’er the Hill and o’er the Vale  (15th Century, Italy, orig. title: in vernali tempore)
  3. 3. Midnight Clear  (based on elements of traditional lyrics, melody 16th Century, Ireland)
  4. 4. The Coventry Carol  (15th Century, England)
  5. 5. The Wexford Carol  (12th Century, England)
  6. 6. Suspended Note  (by Andreas, Carly & Teese and Jimmy)
  7. 7. The Yorkshire Wassail  (traditional, England)
  8. 8. What Child is this?  (15th Century, England, orig. title „ Greensleeves“)
  9. 9. Carol of the Drum  (traditional, Czech )
  10. 10. Forgive  (by Andreas & Carly)
  11. 11. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire  (Johann Sebastian Bach, orig. title „Jesu, meine Freude“)
  12. 12. Child in a Manger ( Gaelic folk song)
  13. 13. Hymn to the Secret Heart  (by Andreas, Carly, Teese Gohl, Jimmy Parr, Jim Hart)
  14. 14. Home  (by Andreas)
The musicians and collaborators:

Certainly among the highlights on this album are the four songs which resulted from the collaboration with his long time friend, the legendary American singer/songwriter Carly Simon. During the summer of 2006, the two spent creative days on Martha’s Vineyard, where the songs were written and recorded, together with fellow Swiss Matthias Gohl, piano and keyboards and Jimmy Parr, sound engineer and creative spirit. Besides his long-standing band members Walter Keiser, drums, Andi Pupato, percussion and Daniel Kueffer, saxes and clarinettes, Andreas invited his companion from earlier times, Max Laesser, to participate with all his various guitars, in some of the songs the bass is played by Peter Keiser, Walter’s twin brother, Philippe Kuhn plays the organ, and the cello melodies are played by Martin TillmannAndreas plays - besides various harps - a wide range of his many instruments, such as flutes, soprano sax, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Listen and download

The holly and the lvy

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