Joglaresa are a band that specialises in Medieval music and, given the season, this was a concert of carols and related material mainly taken from their latest album.

I was a little worried that the gig might have been a bit formal and worthy, especially looking at the academic qualifications of the band, but it was nothing of the sort. The band sang and played with gusto, obviously enjoying not just the songs but also the sheer joy of singing and playing.

It was so good to hear a band who were prepared to let the superb acoustic of the hall do its stuff and not try to battle it with PA, a decision that was amply rewarded by lovely renderings of the traditional (if recently built) instruments employed; an early violin, appalachian dulcimer (Ok, maybe not so traditional to medieval times but from a family of instruments that were common then), bagpipes ("My inside out sheep" as Belinda Sykes referred to them, "With the fleece still on the inside."), various items of percussion (including bells Jeremy!) and Gaelic flute as well as providing echo and resonance to the voices. One could see the way the singers responded as they allowed their voices to soar without stress.

The songs were a mixture of traditional medieval carols, some with modern settings or adapted to suit the instruments, carols from the Wexford tradition, dance tunes from across the centuries as well as more recent stuff (relatively) like The Coventry Carol. Personally I enjoyed The Hern Flew East and Blow Northerne Wynd most but it was all great fun and a lovely start to the season.