A Celtic Christmas

Song and dance, both exuberant and reflective, to celebrate Christmas from the Celtic traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Britanny and Cornwall with the typical harps, bagpipes and other instruments of each area. Most of the songs are in the original gaelic tongues (with translations in the notes). The singers include Colin MacAllister (Ireland), Arthur Cormack (Scotland), Emma Christian (Isle of Man), Julie Murphy (Wales) and Dave Townsend
£10.95
In stock
Catalogue Number
CDSDL417
Reviews
Review

"This wide-ranging Saydisc CD explores the winter ritual songs and traditions of the Celtic nations, drawing on material from Cornwall, Brittany, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and the Isle of Man. 'A Celtic Christimas' offers a refreshing alternative to the cliche ridden Yuletide fare that is normally foisted upon us at this time of year, and folk enthusiasts in particular should find a very worthwhile investment." Kevin Bryan

"Over an hour of attractively packaged, thoroughly researched and well-produced material" Folk Roots "Breaks new ground...the local traditions are rich in song for the season...[the singers] are another feather in A Celtic Christmas' cap" Rock 'n' Reel

"This disc draws together music for the winter season from Celtic parts of the British Isles (Cornwall, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man) and from Brittany. The choice focuses on the three elements of wassailing traditions, religious customs and rituals, and seasonal merry-making. The group – comprising specialists within their particular musical fields – have carefully chosen voices and instruments appropriate to each song and its place of origin. The opening Calennig from Gwynedd - Calennig being a New Year’s Day custom of receiving money or food in return for going round singing verses at doors - is accompanied by the Welsh triple Harp. The ensuing hymn Taladh Chriosda - from the Isle of Barra in Western Isles of Scotland - is sung to the drone of the Scottish Highland Pipes. The third track, a set of jaunty Irish tunes, features the Irish Pipes and fiddle. These are followed by an extremely haunting song Oikan Ayns Bethlehem (Baby in Bethlehem) from the Isle of Man. The fifth track uses songs from Pembrokeshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, the Isle of Man and Ireland, all of which describe the same tradition of catching a wren on St Stephen’s Day. It’s fascinating to hear different takes on the same custom. Other pieces featured include a Breton Noel song and dance and traditional Christmas songs from Ireland …There’s also a Welsh processional tune describing the Twelfth Night ceremony of decorating a horse’s skull and taking it from house to house…There are Scottish sword-dances, verses from a sixteenth century Cornish Mystery Play, a Manx Carval (long religious poem sung on Christmas Eve), a Welsh wassail … and a Welsh Plygain (the tradition of carol-singing during the Christmas Day service). I was interested by Leanabh an aigh, a Scottish hymn that was translated into English as the familiar Child in a Manager. The melody will also be well-known to listeners as Morning Has Broken - yet it is an original Scottish hymn tune by the name of Bunessan. The other very familiar work here is the Cornish carol Arise and Hail the Glorious Star, which the group performs riotously, making a pleasingly lively contrast to the preceding tracks. The disc concludes with a “medley” of Highland Pipe tunes."  [Em Marshall, Music Web International]

read full review here Musicweb-International

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