In musicology, Cantilena means “a vocal or instrumental melody of a highly lyrical rather than a dramatic or viruoso nature,” or “a slow, smooth, melodious style of vocal writing.” You couldn’t find a more fitting description of Bill Douglas’ music. At the heart of his musical resume is a gift for singing, lyrical melodies in the best tradition of Classical, Western folk and vocal music. Douglas’ first Hearts of Space release (Jewel Lake, 1988) exposed such a rich vein of melody, song, and rhythm that one album scarcely touched the highpoints. So Cantilena is in many ways an extension of the mix of spirited Celtic dances, poignant ballads, modal folksongs, and contemplative melodies that Jewel Lake brought to appreciative audiences across the U.S., Canada, and Spain – where it became a surprise hit after national airplay.
These twelve songs span a range that extends from simple folk melodies to deeply emotional music of near religious profundity. In addition to all the keyboards, Douglas plays bassoon on many tracks throughout the recording. Jewel Lake vocalist Jane Grimes, flautist Anne Stackpole, and percussionist Geoff Johns return, with new additions Bil Jackson on clarinet, David Lockington on cello, plus additional percussion from Chris Lee and John Galm.