Album Review by: elfslut
Certain names come to mind when Celtic music is mentioned; Enya, Loreena McKennitt and Clannad are a few. Now there’s a new name to add to that list, Jillian Ladage. The Illinois born singer-songwriter welcomes us to her world with the album The Ancestry. All the music and lyrics were written by Jillian and they prove to everyone listening what a fine grasp of the ancient sounds of Turks and the Celts that she has. Not only does she have a fine grasp on the music of those times, but she also plays several instruments on the album as well as singing. She plays piano and other keyboards as well as the harp.
Celtic music should transport the listener back in time to an earlier age when listening, and Jillian’s sweet, yet haunting voice does just that. The music from The Ancestry has the ability to take it’s listeners back to a time when traveling minstrels were commonplace and village folk celebrated in large halls with the lords and ladies of the realm.
Jillian’s songs are not just songs that sound like those played in ancient times. They are inspired by things she’s learned in her studies. “Bonny Was The Lady (The Legend Of Cong)” was written as a result of her reading S. Lover’s take on the Irish folk tale The White Trout. The lady of the song is promised to a son of a king, who is killed before they are wed. Jillian sings her tale in such a way that the listener can’t help but be captivated by the story of sad lady .
“Endless Knot” doesn’t have quite the same origin as “Bonny” but its inspiration is rooted in the symbolism of the Celtic knot. Jillian sees the knot as a symbol of never ending stillness and a voice that leads us home. It is much like a circle of life and her lyrics convey that.
The lyrics “In peace mountain fall. In the voice of the thrush, there we meet the wind.” Those words show how we are all part of the earth, even after we cease to be. Dark thoughts? Maybe, but the message shows that we are endless, much like the Celtic knot.
The album’s opening track is “Procession” and is one of three instrumentals on The Ancestry Jillian draws her inspiration from the story of Lady Devorgilla, the Lady Of Galloway, who established what is now known as Sweetheart Abbey in memory of her husband, John. The lady so loved her husband that carried his embalmed heart around with her in an ivory box, which was buried with her when she died.
“Eve Of Night” is a melancholy track seeped in the history of the Celts as the Romans drove them from their settlements.
Not all of the songs are melancholy. “Midsummer’s Night” is a particularly festive sounding song that inspires thoughts of dancing around a blazing fire. The violin and hurdy gurdy give this song its distinctive sound. The hurdy gurdy is a particularly appropriate instrument to use, as it’s origins can be traced back to the days before the Renaissance. What better instrument to use on an album that draws so much from the ancient world?
Jillian brings the old world to the new with ease on The Ancestry. The combination of instruments and their arrangements combined with her sweet voice, make this album one of note. It is more than just Celtic sounding songs, it is an education in an ancient culture that still influences many in modern society.
World music welcomes Jillian Ladage with open arms into the fold.
Genre: World, Celtic
Sounds Like: Loreena McKennitt, Enya
Buy: CD Baby