Music for the New Year and Possibilities of Hope

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Jan 16, 2023 / 0 comments

It is winter in the northern hemisphere now, January.

I have always found this time of year time for reflection, for creativity, for seeking peace, and of course, for wondering and considering about what the new year will bring.

Music for the New Year and Possibilities of Hope

To begin, this is a rather sombre song, a section of a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson arranged and performed by New England-ased band Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem. Rani sings lead; daisy mayhem are Scott Kessel, Andrew Kinsey, and Anand Nayak. It is a piece which recognizes sorrow and yet considers hope. There is a lot to think about in the song, which you will find on Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem’s album called Wintersong.

January, and wintertime as a whole, is often a time when change and growing takes place, sometimes unseen until spring.

To celebrate that idea, here is the Scotland-based band Breabach with Fas, a set which comprises a traditional song followed by two newly composed tunes. The set is the title track for the band’s most recent release at this writing. Fas is word in Scottish Gaelic which means growth.

Breabach are Calum MacCrimmon, Conal McDonagh, James Lindsay, Ewan Robertson, and Megan Hemderson. Calum and Conal wrote the two tunes which go along with the song, which includes words Megan sourced from Donald MacCormick's Hebridean Folk Songs Collection. Though he doesn’t appear in this video,you will also hear a bit of synth from Keir Long in the set, as well.

Cathie Ryan explores the possibilities of hope, and of persistence at times needed in believing in those possibilities, in the song Somewhere Along the Road. It was written by Rick Kemp. On her album, which she chose to title after the song, she joins it with Jacob’s Waltz by John McCusker. Ryan is Irish American and has lived in both countries; this song well fits the storytelling aspects of both traditions. You may also wish to see Ryan’s album called Through Wind and Rain.

Colum Sands frames hope in family story and in images of nature where he lives in County Down in Northern Ireland. His song is called January Child.

Winter is the oldest season
But quietly beneath the snow
Seeds are stretching out and reaching
Faithful as the morning glow

Carrie Newcomer sings at the start of her song Lean in Toward Light.

There is a good bit more to think about in the song, which also holds sing-along and/or clap-along. dance-along chorus. The lyrics are well worth repeated listenings, too: they could make a good plan for a new year. Newcomer is based in Indiana in the US midwest. You will find the live version of the song on Carrie Newcomer Live at the Buskirk-ChumleyTheater with Friends, as well as in a studio version on her album The Beautiful Not Yet.

Speaking of that new year --  sure, we are well into it already, and indeed you may be reading this at an entirely different season anyway -- but good wishes work any time of year.

With that in mind, we return to the music of Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem as they take on Bonne Année, a song written by Cajun musicians Canray Fontenot and Michael Doucet. They put their own distinctive and lively New England stamp on it, and fill it with good wishes whatever your language or circumstance.

May the creativity of these musicians be good companion to you as this new year begins. Stay with us here too, as we continue to explore Music for Shifting Times.



Thank you for staying with us through this journey. Below, you'll find a link that will take you to an article which has a bit more backstory on the series. It also has links to a number of the stories, including ones called Listening for Community, Music for Winter's Changes, and The Geography of Hope.

Music for Shifting Times

Music for Shifting Times



Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. 

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.