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Dan Carollo - guitar

Featured musicians:

Rónán Johnston - keyboards

Produced by Dan Carollo
Record and mixed by
Rónán Johnston at "Rojo's Place", Dublin, Ireland. 2010


Cover photography by Dan Carollo (See online photo gallery)
CD jacket design by Dan Carollo

Cover: Winter trees on the hills near Glendalough monastic site.  County Wicklow, Ireland









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About the CD:

This is my third CD recording project to date. This was recorded and mixed in a whirlwind timeframe of two weeks in June 2010.  Many of these tunes are ones I had played during the monthly Communion service at St. James Crinken Church in Shankill, Ireland.  Included on the recording are six traditional hymns and five tracks composed by myself (see titles marked with *).


The title "The Communion of Saints" comes out of the idea in the traditional creeds (ie. The Apostle's Creed).  Although elements of theological speculation were later attached to the idea of "communion of saints", in its most natural form -- it simply refers to the fellowship and heritage of all believers (both living and dead) spread out through time (past, present, future), across cultures and  languages who participate in the shared experience as members of "one body" in Christ.  I also had in mind the idea of "Holy Communion", a different, but also related idea.  


Unlike previous CD recordings, where I used several other instrumentalists, I decided to focus on just solo guitar arrangements with subtle keyboard accompaniment (provided by Rónán Johnston, known for his soundtrack for the PBS documentary "Over Ireland").  

The result here is a more contemplative sound than in past recordings.


All tunes were recorded using my Taylor 412-K acoustic guitar in DADGAD tuning.



About The Tunes:


1. To Be A Pilgrim

The words come from a song known by the title "Who Would True Valor See" from  John Bunyan's "Pilgrim Progress".  It was later put to the tune  from the traditional Sussex melody "Monk's Gate"  by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), and English composer of several well-known hymns and collector of English folk songs. Ironically, he was described by his second wife as  "an atheist ... [who] later drifted into a cheerful agnosticism."


2. St. Kevin's Hymn*

This hymn was written from numerous other tunes I had going around my head. It is inspired partly by a hymn called "O Jerusalem", as well some of the music from the Taizé Community of France.  St. Kevin was the founder of the monastic site of Glendalough in the 6th century,  located in County Wicklow, Ireland, about 20 miles south of where our family lived for almost 3 years.


3. Brethren, We Have Met To Worship

Words for this hymn are by George Atkins, 1819. Music from the tune "Holy Manna" attributed to William Moore in 1825 I first heard an instrumental arrangement of this hymn by classical guitarist Christopher Parkening  ("Simple Gifts" - 1990).


4. Walk The Kids* / Dalkey Island*

These are two tunes I wrote in a slip-jig rhythm. "Walk The Kids" title is inspired by my daily walks with the kids as I drop them off at school. Dalkey Island is a small island just off the coast near Dún Laoghaire harbour in Ireland. The island is the site of the 8th-Century St Begnet’s Church. I had fantastic views of the island from our house in Bray, Ireland


5. Beech Spring

The tune itself comes from an old "shape-note" hymn and was published in a Hymnal titled "The Sacred Harp" in 1844. Shape notes were a form of simple notation using various shapes, rather than lines on a staff, to represent the pitch.  The tune is commonly heard in the hymns "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy" written by Joseph Hart 1712-68 and "Lord Whose Love in Humble Service", written in 1961, words by Albert F. Bayly


6. What A Friend We Have In Jesus

The words to this well-known hymn were written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855. to comfort his mo­ther in Ireland while  in Canada.   This music comes from Charles C. Converse (1868) under the tune "Erie", after the port town in Western Pennsylvania.  In World War I, the tune was paired with the words to “When This Bloody War is Over.”  Translated into multiple languages, it is  known in Indonesia as the hymn "Yesus Kawan Sejati".  And in Japan as "Itsukushimi Fukaki" ("Deep Affection").


7. The Waves*

I loved the water and numerous beaches around Ireland where we had lived for almost 3 years.  The repetition of the flowing and ebbing of the tides reminds me of constancy of faith, hope, love in a world that appears at once  both orderly and random, beautiful and terrifying.


8. What Wondrous Love Is This

This hymn is also a well-known "shape-note" tune found in the "Sacred Harp" hymnal of 1844. Sung in Dorian mode, it has a beautifully meditative sound well-suited to accompanied singing.  I find it has a striking similarity to old Irish "Sean-nós" style of singing.  This is my own arrangement  for instrumental guitar.


9. Easter Slip Jig*

This is a somewhat experimental tune I wrote, intended as sort of hymn of joy set to the dance rhythm of a slip jig with the themes of Easter, resurrection, spring, and renewal.


10. Doxology

The tune comes from "Old 100th", which is found in the Geneva Psalter 1551. The hymn later associated with this tune was written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, an Anglican Bishop. It was originally the final verse of a longer hymn called "Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun". I remember singing this often at the Methodist Camp in Beaver Creek, Colorado.


'Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow

Praise Him, all creatures here below

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost [Amen]'


11. Drawing In The Sand*

I had been working on remnants of this tune a few months back.  But it fell into it's completed form almost on the spot in Ronan's studio.  It's a very brief arrangement of what's intended to be a longer tune -- which we faded in and out, leaving the listener with just a bit of mystery -- a story left unfinished, if you will  ("There's room for more, Sam!", says Frodo).  The title of the tune recalls John 8, where the Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman caught in adultery.  It is one of those odd details that have the ring of authenticity: 


"...Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. " (NIV)

References include:

The companion to Southern literature: themes, genres, places, people ...
By Joseph M. Flora, Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Todd W. Taylor

HymnSite.Com (Rev. Linda K. Morgan-Clark )


Sacred Harp Singing: History & Tradition
by Steven Sabol of the Potomac River Sacred Harp Singers



And, of course, WikiPedia


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