Celtic Christmas [Windham Hill]
by Various Artists
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- Released: September 1, 2003
- Label: Windham Hill Records
Jazziz - 12/95, p.28"...often exuberant, often atmospheric, and always delightful....Everything about this project, from the all-star lineup to the refreshing material, is praiseworthy..."
- 1.When the Snow Melts - Phil Cunningham / Manus Lunny
- 2.Solus - Tr¡ona N¡ Dhomhnaill :: Light - Tr¡ona N¡ Dhomhnaill
- 3.On A Cold Winter's Day / Christmas Eve - Kevin Burke / M¡che l O Domhnaill
- 4.Winter's End, The - Liam O'Flynn
- 5.Ciara - Luka Bloom
- 6.Nollaig Na Mban (Women's Christmas, 6th January) - Cormac Breatnach
- 7.Third Carol For Christmas Day - Maighread N¡ Dhomnaill / D¢nal Lunny
- 8.Snow on High Ground - Nightnoise
- 9.Galician Carol - Carlos Nunez
- 10.Soillse Na Nollag - Altan :: The Lights Of Christmas - Altan
- 11.King Holly, King Oak - Johnny Cunningham
- 12.Snow - Loreena McKennitt
- 13."We Follow a Star" - Jeff Johnson / Brian Dunning
Producers include: Phil Cunningham, Manus Lunny, Kevin Burke, Micheal O Domhnaill, Shaun Davey.
Compilation producer: Micheal O Domhnaill.
Includes liner notes by Sam Sutherland.
As one might expect, any Windham Hill collection of Christmas music expresses the peaceful, mellower side of the season. These are the same kind of instrumentals that play overhead creating pleasant background music as shoppers bustle to finish holiday gift buying. And while anything labeled "background music" may be seen as musical Milquetoast, it is nearly impossible to sip eggnog and talk to Uncle Dave and Aunt Suzie over a backdrop of Alvin & the Chipmunks. Selections by Luka Bloom, Solus, Loreena McKennitt, and others blend a number of Celtic new age styles into a seamless mix that flows easily from Phil Cunningham and Manus Lunny's "When the Snow Melts" to Jeff Johnson and Brian Dunning's "We Follow a Star." Instrumentally and vocally, Celtic Christmas delivers a sound as hushed as the winter landscape on its cover, relying on stripped-down arrangements of harps, whistles, fiddles, and keyboards in a variety of combinations. Cormac Breatnach's instrumental "Nollaig Na Mban" (it translates into "Women's Christmas, 6th January") is adorned with a whistle, acoustic guitar, cello, keyboards, and tenor sax. And while that may sound like a large ensemble, the careful interplay between musicians still allow for quiet, open spaces. For those who value Yuletide conversations with kinfolk or perhaps just wish for soothing music in the busiest of seasons, Celtic Christmas is a snow covered island of tranquility. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
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