CD Narada Presents: The Best of Celtic Christmas (CD 949665),
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Narada Presents: The Best of Celtic Christmas
0. DISC 1:
1. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Cathie Ryan (previously unreleased)
2. Christ Child's Lullabye - Kathy Mattea
3. Christmastime in Ashland - Cormac Breatnach/Martin Dunlea
4. Nowel: Owt of Your Slepe Aryse - Anonymous 4
5. The Mummer's Jig/Christmas Eve: The Mummer's Jig / Christmas Eve - The Boys of the Lough
6. Get Me Through December - Natalie MacMaster
7. I Saw Three Ships - Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band
8. Silent Night - Mairi MacInnes
9. Snowy Path, The - Altan
10. Away in a Manger - El McMeen
11. Nouel - L'Ensemble Choral du Bout du Monde
12. Ding Dong Merrily on High - Frankie Gavin/The Carl Hession Orchestra
13. Ceol NaNolag - John Whelan
14. Seacht Suilc na Maighdine Muire - Aoife N Fhearraigh
15. Adeste Fidelis (O Come, All Ye Faithful) - Bonnie Rideout
0. DISC 2: DORDAN: THE NIGHT BEFORE A CELTIC CHRISTMAS:
1. Enniscorthy Christmas Carol - Dordn
2. Leanbh Ghil Mhilis - Dordn :: Bright Sweet Child - Dordn
3. Christmas Eve Reel (Tommy Coen's Reel) - Dordn (Tommy Coen's Reel)
4. Mistletoe Waltz - Dordn
5. Draocht Na Hoche (The Magic of the Night) - Dordn :: The Magic Of The Night - Dordn
6. Winter Solstice - Dordn
7. Oiche Nollag (Christmas Eve) - Dordn :: Christmas Reel - Dordn
8. March of the Dreoiln - Dordn
9. Oche Chiin (Silent Night) - Dordn :: Silent Night - Dordn
10. Filte An Fhna (The Wayfarer's Welcome) - Dordn :: The Wayfarer's Welcome - Dordn
11. Don Oche Ud mBeithil (Because of a Night in Bethlehem) - Dordn :: Because Of A Night In Bethlehem - Dordn
12. Polly in the Holly - Dordn
13. Gartan Mother's Lullaby, The - Dordn
14. Ding Dong Merrily on High - Dordn
15. Shades of Auld Lang Syne - Dordn
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 13236
Adapters: Dougie MacLean; Kathy Mattea.
Liner Note Author: Earle Hitchner.
Arrangers: Andy Watts; Denis Woods; Martina Goggin; Dougie MacLean; Collette O'Leary; Dearbhaill Standun; William Jackson & Scottish Orchestra of Music; Kathleen Loughnane; Kathy Mattea; Mary Bergin; Aly Bain; Moya Brennan; Aoife N Fhearraigh; Steve Cooney; Bonnie Rideout; Cathal McConnell; Cathie Ryan.
Narada Records has a long history of brilliant world music compilations and Christmas samplers, and this enjoyable, joyous yet often poignant gathering of Celtic music's brightest stars adds another beautiful ornament to that evergreen tree. The key to any successful musical smorgasbord is variety, and this celebration of the holidays in Ireland offers that in abundance. Cathie Ryan's folksy "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" opens the disc whimsically, while Kathy Mattea's rich, soulful voice imparts the "Christ Child's Lullabye" with a convincing refrain of "Hallelujah!" and simple, hypnotic guitar accompaniment. Each tune features a different lead instrument or vocal: flute ("Christmastime in Ashland"), a soft, classical-flavored choir ("Nowel"), acoustic guitar and pennywhistle (the festive "The Mummer's Jig/Christmas Eve"), and yet more pennywhistle and small Irish-accented choir ("I Saw Three Ships"). It's not all happy clappy, however. The festive mood is beautifully balanced by sad reflections like Natalie MacMaster's "Get Me Through December," which may remind you that the holidays aren't a joyous affair for those who are suffering. Listeners who find themselves in a funk may just snap out of it after hearing this thoughtful gathering. ~ Jonathan Widran
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