This unique Christmas album has become, as reviewer Tom Lennie predicted,  a consistent favourite in many households around the world during the festive season.  The choirs of Peterborough Cathedral, full band, the London Telefilmonic Orchestra, solo singers and instrumentalists and some of England’s finest musicians have contributed to this beautiful interpretation of favourite carols. Canadian singer Jane Siberry also brings her unique style to Silent Night and the Polish carol Infant Holy, Infant Lowly.

The album idea and concept grew from new arrangements of traditional carols which David Clifton was developing for Carol services and Christmas events in London, and his long held vision to combine traditional seasonal music with a modern feel was recorded and released under the band name IKOS.  This Greek word can be translated as ‘window of light’, chosen because of the depth, mystery and meaning of the historical Christmas message, and the collaborative nature and team effort of the recorded work. It is also the name of a collective, a group of like-minded musicians and artists, some of whom appear on this album. IKOS concerts and events arranged by flautist/saxophonist and founder member Dave Fitzgerald in the past have included some of the core group of artists who appear on this festive recording. The Hammersmith concert saw a guest appearance from Dave Markee on bass guitars, and the IKOS Songs of Praise BBC TV special also featured Joanne Hogg from the Celtic Irish band Iona on vocals, Nick Beggs on Chapman Stick and bass guitar, and Terl Bryant on drums and percussion. The contribution to this recording from the choirs of Peterborough Cathedral, Canadian singer Jane Siberry, and the featured soloists, make this a very special blend of musical styles in this celebration of the Christmas season.

David’s research for the booklet which accompanies the CD gives a brief history of the origin of each carol. Many of our traditional carols are written to popular folk melodies. In the Middle Ages, the singing of church music was restricted to the priests and monks, and the congregation simply listened. In everyday life, however, especially at festivals such as Christmas, people sand of their traditions and faith. Troubadours danced ’round dances’ called ‘caroles’, and bystanders sang, improvising words and tunes. Inspired by saint Francis of Assissi’s Nativity Plays, which began in 1223, the custom spread through Europe. Eventually the word ‘carol’ (from the old French ‘carole’ and the Latin ‘chorula’) came to mean the song rather than the dance, with the subject matter telling of the birth of Jesus and surrounding events.

The beautiful paintings are by London artist Charlie Mackesy, and you can view more of his work and find information about his latest exhibitions at www.charliemackesy.com

This recording draws from the roots of many of our Christmas carols, and unites contemporary and traditional instrumentalists, choirs and singers in a celebration of the true message of Christmas.

As well as downloads from this website, CD’s are also available in the UK from Amazon

Albums by IKOS

Christmas Carols & Songs / 2002

Reviewer Tom Lennie wrote this in his review of this beautiful recording back in 2002: "This album is a gem of a production, and is set to become an annual delight in many a household." His words have indeed come true.

Christmas Carols and Songs is a beautiful blend of traditional carols sung and performed by a band, soloists, string orchestra and featuring the boys and girls choirs of Peterborough Cathedral, the first time that the two choirs with their differing tonal characteristics have been recorded together. This recording draws from the original roots of many of well-known carols; it unites contemporary and traditional instrumentalists, choirs and singers in a celebration of the true message of Christmas.

IKOS are

  • David Clifton - Vocals, guitars, mandolin, mandola, arrangements,
  • Mark Russell - Keyboards, string and choir arrangements,
  • Dudley Phillips - Bass guitar, double bass
  • Steve Creese - Drums and percussionTerl Bryant  - Percussion
  • The Choirs of Peterborough Cathedral
  • Master of the Music, Christopher Gower
  • Organist, Oliver Waterer

Accompanying Musicians

  • Jane Siberry, Lizzie Deane - Guest vocals and harmonies
  • Greg Miner - Irish harp
  • Paul Twelftree - Flugelhorn
  • Mike Haughton - Alto saxophone and recorder
  • Simon Russell - Bass guitar (Silent Night)

The London Telefilmonic Orchestra

  • 1st Violins - Richard Studt, Hilary Sturt, Levon Chilingrian, David Adams, Levine Andrade
  • 2nd Violins - Jon Morton, Fran Andrade, Ian Humphries, Catherine Leonard
  • Violas - Louise Williams, Jon Thorne
  • Cellos - Nick Holland, Lionel Handy, Jo Garcia

Produced and arranged by

  • Mark Russell and David Clifton

Mixed by

  • Jon Kelly

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Radio Mixes / 2005

The Radio Mixes EP is a five track selection which was manufactured especially for broadcast. There is an edited version of Infant Holy Infant Lowly (with the choirs and organ of Peterborough Cathedral, orchestra and guest backing vocals from Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Siberry) and edited/re-mastered mixes of O Little Town Of Bethlehem, For Unto Us A Child Is Born, In The Bleak Midwinter and the ever-popular children's carol, Away In a Manger. These tracks have received extensive airplay around the world, particularly in Great Britain the USA, and are some of the most popular carols on the IKOS album.

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