Today, Halifax songwriter Ben Caplan dropped his re-imagining of a Christmas classic’s O Holy Night.
Check out the music video of the performance.
About the song:
“I don’t love Christmas music,” said Caplan (he/him). “Being Jewish, Christmas wasn’t a big thing in my home, and I have to admit that I find a lot of that music corny. That said, I have a deep felt belief that if you don’t like something, you should do something about it. There are some truly beautiful songs and carols out there, and I wanted to make something that tip-toes towards the sublime rather than shopping-mall-easy-listening.”
Caplan, whose work frequently draws on Eastern European folk traditions, got the idea to record “O Holy Night” from his friend and collaborator, Donald MacLennan, who also performed violin on the song.
“As soon as I started thinking about recording the piece, I began dreaming of string quartets and pipe organs,” said Caplan. “I used Arcade Fire’s ‘My Body is a Cage’ as a reference point. I love the way that recording slowly builds from minimalism to cacophony, and the rich sound of the pipe organ. I reached out to my friend Jeff Reilly to help me produce, commission arrangements, and work with classical musicians, whose language I don’t speak so well.”
Recorded over two days at Daniel Ledwell’s Echo Lake Studio and Halifax’s Fort Massey United Church, “O Holy Night” features contributions from sixteen artists and engineers. To capture Caplan’s maximal vision for the song, he and Reilly recruited the Blue Engine String Quartet, who fleshed out “O Holy Night.”
“From Donald’s initial concept, to the initial arrangement with my live band, to Peter Togni’s string and organ arrangement, the producing, recording, mixing, mastering, and artwork, it took a small village to bring this into the world,” Caplan said. “I want to dispel the myth of the lone genius. It took a lot of people with a lot of talent to pull this off. Consider it my Christmas present to you.”
O Holy Night gets: