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New music: Frost and Fire's "Midwinter Spring"

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Just in time for winter, the Vermont-based band Frost and Fire has released its debut album, Midwinter Spring. It includes original music, classic songs and tunes with titles like "Deep Freeze" and "Caald Nights o' Winter". The ensemble includes Aaron Marcus, Viveka Fox, Peter Macfarlane and Hollis Easter. The music on this first album is a blend of new and traditional Celtic music that ranges from elegant to energetic. Todd Moe spoke with Hollis Easter about Midwinter Spring.

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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Midwinter Spring, the title of their debut album as well as the band's name Frost and Fire came from the fourth of T.S. Eliot's four quartets, "Little Gidding." They came up with their band name at the same time they came up with the name of their first album. A lot of the material recorded for this album has never been recorded anywhere else. The band composed several new compositions for this new album. They call themselves Celtic because people are reletively familiar with the term. However, Celtic music covers a lot of ground. Hollis says, "We draw from alot of different influences. I was raised in the Scottish music tradition, Peter's English but also plays Scottish music, Aaron has done alot of appalacian music, Vivica is out of the sort of Kate Breton and Irish fiddling traditions. So we draw from alot of these influences but try to create something knew. I'm pretty happy with what we've come up with."

Including a mixture of different kinds of music on the new album was important to the band. "There are both traditional songs by Stephen Foster and Robert Burns and new compositions by Aaron Marcus, one of our band mambers. Some music that illustrates the tradition of dance music coming out of the British Isles and also dance music in Americas." When they produced the album, the band wanted a little bit of dancable music and music for people who wanted to listen to that traditional sound. Therefore, their goal was to showcase music from both their concerts and dance showcases.

Hollis says, "Pushes the boundaries a little bit of what contra dance in particular sounds like. We've found that the dancers seem to really enjoy that. One of my favorite things is coming up with some new music and watching how it affects the dancers and how they change the character of their movement based on what we're giving them from stage. And that's one of the things that's really fun about playing for dancers is you get that immediate feedback about what your giving them from how they move and how they look at each other and what sounds they make and how they talk between the sets, it's really fun."

On December 31st, Frost and Fire will be playing a contra band at Burlington's First Night Festival. You can find more details about this event on their website, www.frostandfire.com. There is no dancing experience required. The new CD Midwinter Spring is available on their website, as well as their winter and spring concert schedules.

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