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The Long Dance of Summer - Celebrating the Summer Solstice

The Long Dance of Summer - Celebrating the Summer Solstice
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  • by Jessica Radcliffe, Lisa Ekstrom, Martin Simpson
Sale Price: $6.50   Originally: $15.00


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Product Description

The Long Dance of Summer - Celebrating the Summer Solstice

by Jessica Radcliffe, Lisa Ekstrom, Martin Simpson
This is a companion project to Beautiful Darkness, Celebrating the Winter Solstice. Produced by Jessica Ruby Radcliffe, featuring English guitar legend Martin Simpson, and long time musical partner Lisa Ekstrom from Band of Angels plus a host of other fine musicians playing traditional and original music based in the folk tradition. English, Irish, Gypsy, Incredible String Band, antique and modern all celebrating summer and romantic love, a treasure trove of beautiful acoustic song, poetry, and tunes. The Long Dance of Summer was almost finished when Martin and Jessica's 20 year marriage and musical partnership ended in 2003. Soon after, all recordings and paperwork were thought lost in Hurricane Katrina. Miraculously 10 years later, a safety copy of the CD master was unearthed deep in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Many luminaries of the English folk scene are represented including Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Chris Parkinson, and Gina Le Faux who played and sang on these sessions adding beautiful work to Jessica's vision of an atmospheric pagan holiday. What's gone is gone and can't be done over but the music remains, and so it goes, The Long Dance. Lisa Ekstrom was delighted to help finish the CD with some great tracks of her own, and went back into the studio to make it happen with Derek Bianchi, Dusan Ristic and Paul Kotapish. This CD brings the summer to you fine and full, joyful, abundant and laughing. All fans of Beautiful Darkness, Celebrating the Winter Solstice will want this music to celebrate the other side of the year. 1. Northern Lass/Snowflakes/Snowflakes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow / Martin Simpson / Traditional
2. Time Is a Little Girl/Over the River and Through the Woods - Jessica Radcliffe
3. The Time Is Drawing Near - Traditional
4. Kolyada/Old One - Traditional
5. Raven Och Bonden/A Gift/Giving the Gift - Caitlin Matthews / Traditional
6. Give Me the Moon - Jessica Radcliffe
7. Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance/In Winter's Shadow - John Matthews / Traditional
8. O Vent - Traditional
9. The Cutty Wren/I Look for You - Jessica Radcliffe / Traditional
10. Til Here Is There - Robin Williamson
11. To Drive the Cold Winter Away - Traditional
12. One Small Candle/Beautiful Darkness - Jessica Radcliffe 13. The Winter Wedding/Wexford Carol/The King/The Holly and the Ivy - Traditional 14. Solstice Fire
15. Tourne Tourne
16. Bright Child/Magic - Jessica Radcliffe
17 The Holly Bears the Crown - Traditional


Released in 2000, Beautiful Darkness was one of the loveliest and most unusual holiday albums to come along in some time. It was a rare release, in that the people who made it -- Jessica Radcliffe, Lisa Ekström, and Martin Simpson -- seem to have made the album for artistic reasons, not commercial ones.
The album is all of a musical piece, relying heavily on mood to portray the undercurrent of the long winter nights. The instrumental work is as spare as the leaf-less winter woods, with guitar, bells, cello, and accordion creating a deep, subtle atmosphere.
Radcliffe handles most of the spoken-sung parts, and her fragile voice adds a touch of haunted ambience to the music.
If one gains the impression that Beautiful Darkness' heavy mood is a contemplation on death, it's only a fitting subject for the Solstice season. For anyone prone to sitting before the fireplace in mediation during chilly evenings, Beautiful Darkness is a desirable companion. For those who are sick to death of the same old holiday offerings, Radcliffe, Ekström, and Simpson offer a refreshing change.


Jessica was born in Los Angeles and was exposed to a diverse wealth of music through her family of Irish and Spanish heritage. She recalls learning Leadbelly tunes from her grandfather, who had a brief stay in jail with the blues legend. Jessica began writing poetry at an early age and naturally ventured forth into music playing her first show at thirteen. Her writing has been published worldwide and she has performed extensively with spoken word and song throughout the US, the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.
Jessica has moved twelve times in the past twenty years: from London to Ithaca, NY, and on to Northern California, where she established a built-in following, to New Orleans, to England, and she is now living back in New Orleans. Her work has been greatly influenced by her journeys.
The St. Louis Post observed of Jessica: "She writes lyrics that transform her life experiences into eloquent tales and metaphors." With music that is deeply rooted in the traditional music of England, Ireland, and North America, Radcliffe renders her very contemporary take on tradition, by infusing it with the varied influences of Richard Thompson, Skip James, Rickie Lee Jones and Billie Holiday. Jessica's superb songwriting, singing and stagecraft makes for unforgettable performances, whether live or recorded. She has made a series of critically acclaimed recordings, is a mother of three and her magical dinner parties are the stuff of legend!
She was married for 19 years to English guitarist Martin Simpson and has now returned to us with a voice as delicate and as strong as a spider's web, and a powerfully compassionate observation of the human condition.