One of the first countries to become Christian, Armenia is a mystery to most of us. This recording done by John Graham at Geghard Monastery is more than beautiful. It is a connection to a different place and time. Graham is a historical musicologist resident in Georgia (the country, not the state) who coordinates tours in this region. His website at John Graham Tours is rich with photos and commentary - and of course, massive amounts of music, both sacred and folk. I stumbled across his site several years ago. And now I'm saving my shekels, pennies, euros, pesos, etc. for a tour. In the meantime, take a look at these amazing countries and people. There is so much beauty in this world when we take our eyes off the sidewalk in front of us, isn't there?
Here's a nice seasonal (OK, a little early) work by a Northern Irish composer. Sean Doherty (born 1987) is also a member of the New Dublin Voices. He has won numerous prizes and is getting a good amount of performance. Interesting note: his Ph.D. dissertation was "Solfaing: A History of Four-Syllable Solmization to the Present Day." I'm sure this would be a treat to read for all the shape-note singers out there with a scholarly bent.