Prairie Ceilidh

A Prairie Ceilidh Christmas

Blue Arch Music (Canadian import)

It’s easy to screw up a seasonal collection—play familiar material and sound predictable, or mix the sacred and the secular and make an incongruous mess. This traditional band from Calgary draws from mostly U.K. sources, save two contemporary songs and “The Huron Carol,” a native (Canadian) American interpretation of the nativity. Prairie Ceilidh is the husband-wife team of Tim Janz (guitar, flutes, recorder) and Elisa Sereno-Janz (fiddle), with Brent Van Dusen (percussion) and John Hyde (bass). The group brings a deep, rich tone to these songs. Tim and Elisa beautifully harmonize baritone and soprano voices on several songs; they also take solos. Steve Weisberg’s “Christmas for Cowboys” should not work here; it sounds a bit like the Sons of the San Joaquin. Yet it’s a delight, and the other contemporary tune, Janz’s “A Winter Wish (for Sarah)” also fits in well with the traditional tunes.