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Folk: Gentle Moods: Type: Acoustic Moods: Type: Soundtrack World: World Traditions World: Celtic

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Anne McCaffrey, Tania Opland & Mike Freeman

Tania Opland, Mike Freeman and Anne McCaffrey create the music of Pern, the setting of many of McCaffrey's best-selling books.

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The back story to the novels is that colonists came to Pern from Earth millennia earlier, but the new world lacked the natural resources to maintain their technology. Crucial information that had to survive through the centuries was written into music, and a special class of musicians created to preserve and disseminate that music.

Since the colonists came from many different countries and cultures, and brought with them the full spectrum of terrestrial music, those influences would have all been present in the music of Pern from the start, but as the level of technology declined and the society reverted to feudalism, musical styles that suited acoustic instruments - and memorable lyrics for unamplified voices - survived.

Tania Opland and Mike Freeman were already performing music from many (Earth-based) countries and cultures, on a diverse assortment of instruments, before Anne McCaffrey approached them about composing the music she'd been describing in her books for so many years. They had been about to record their first duo album at the time, but they were so taken with the idea that they put their project on a back burner and got to work on "The Masterharper of Pern". Their cross-cultural collection "Cut to Rhythms" didn't get finished until more than a year later.

They've revisited Pern for "Sunset's Gold", with guest vocals from Alicia Healey, William Pint, Felicia Dale, Toni Wood, Joe Prater, and Emily Groff, and instrumental contributions from Philip Boulding (folk harp and valiha), Harper Tasche (folk harp and bray harp), Madeleine Doherty (concert harp) and Felicia Dale (hurdy gurdy). Opland and Freeman, as usual, pitch in with vocals, guitars, violin/viola, recorders, hammered dulcimer, cittern, mandola, djembe, congas, frame drums, bells, bones, glasses, pan lids...