Renaissance revelers rejoice-the extraordinary "now age" musical entity known as Blackmore's Night will be releasing their latest album, The Village Lanterne (SPV Records), on April 4. Led by the stunning velvet-and-brocade-garbed singer/songwriter Candice Night, and anchored by instrumental virtuoso, Ritchie Blackmore-formerly chief songwriter and guitar wizard for Deep Purple and Rainbow-Blackmore's Night creates a remarkable musical adventure by blending a contemporary rock sensibility with melodies and lyrics that hark back to the enchantment and mystery of the Renaissance and the Middle Ages.
Mixing guitars and drums with now-exotic instruments from centuries past, such as shawms, chanters and the rauchpfiefe, performed by Night, along with Blackmore playing masterfully on the hurdy-gurdy, the group turns each song on Lanterne into a timeless, dream-like opus, whether it's a captivating original Night/Blackmore composition like "25 Years" or "Village Lanterne" or the miraculously revamped version of the Rainbow hit "Street of Dreams." Their music, colorfully peopled with both the simple folk and valiant heroes of the Middle Ages, casts an entrancing spell with their infectious melodies and narrative song craft. "The imagery in the lyrics is very important to me," says Night. "I want the listener to not only hear the song, but to deeply connect to it, to really feel it. Only then can you be transported into a more beautiful, magical place. It is a wonderful escape from these days of high pressure and extreme sensationalism to be able to go to a more relaxing, innocent and simple time."
Also of note is Night's affecting interpretation of Joan Osborne's "St. Theresa" and Blackmore's gallant new reading of his Deep Purple classic, "Mond Tanz/Child in Time." "We have no boundaries," says Blackmore about the musical fluidity of his current band. "We can play whatever we want to, whenever we want, whether it's folk, rock, pop or Renaissance music. It's a liberating feeling to not be stuck in a box or to have a neat little label stuck on your style of music."
Blackmore's Night was founded in the mid-nineties by Night and Blackmore, musical and life partners who found one of their most profound connections through their mutual love of Renaissance music. The pair has effortlessly transformed their deep and abiding passion for the magic, romance and chivalry of medieval times into a fantastical journey that music fans around the world have been voraciously eager to share. "We try to stay connected with the old ways because we find that in these days of cyber reality, everything moves way too fast," says Night about their love for the Medieval past.
Their first album Shadow of the Moon, released in 1997, struck a robust chord with audiences all over the world, particularly in Europe (the album remained on the German album charts for 17 weeks) and in Japan, where the album debuted at #2 and racked up a gold certification. After amassing hit songs in North and South America and touring sold-out castles, theaters and churches in Europe, the band released their sophomore disc, Under a Violet Moon. Topping the success of their debut, the album was voted #1 vocal album of the year in the United States by The New Age Reporter and the National Public Radio stations. Blackmore's Night, it was now clear, was no musical fluke. And Night, with the already world-renown Blackmore as her knight with shining guitar, had become a star in her own right.
Fans were absolutely mesmerized by the sound of this beautifully gifted singer and lyricist transforming her inventive and enchanted folk tales into mythical flights of song, our generation's own Stevie Nicks-ian angel. "When you are singing in a castle courtyard, with cobblestones beneath your feet, the ramparts around you, the moon rising overhead, and a few thousand people are dressed as you are, singing the same song, there is such a positive energy there, its unparalleled," offers Night. "It is the true essence of harmony."
As more albums and awards followed--Fires at Midnight (2001), the live Past Times with Good Company (2002), Ghost of a Rose (2003), and Beyond the Sunset-The Romantic Collection (2004), a selection of the band's most tender ballads-the accolades continued to accrue-gold records in the Czech Republic, Russia and Japan, video hits in Canada, a holiday smash on the Adult Contemporary charts in the U.S. with "Christmas Eve."
In 2005, the group released the live double DVD, Castles & Dreams, which was broadcast on Public Television Station WLIW in New York this past January and which the network will air onPublic Broadcasting stations nationwide during one of their coveted pledge-drive slots throughout 2006. With just a touch of the dial, viewers all over the country will be able to travel back half a millennium and become part of the fantasy of the group's unforgettable Renaissance world.
The release of The Village Lanterne will inevitably increase the size of Night and Blackmore's devoted and faithful flock. To paraphrase Night's poignant liner notes, let us all now turn to the realm of magic, of faeries….and believe.