A Christmas Celebration
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2006, Volume 13, #12
Written by Kirk deCordova
What did it take to dislodge Celtic Womanís platinum-selling, self-titled debut from its 81-week stint atop Billboardís World Music chart? Why nothing less than another effort from Celtic Woman. This time, itís a holiday offering entitled A Christmas Celebration that the talented female troupe from Erin has concocted.
A Christmas Celebration is a musical extravaganza that is well suited to almost any environ. The collection is traditional, though it also never loses its contemporary appeal. It leans toward a classical ambience, yet it also exudes a pop-oriented air. The orchestral production is tasteful and appropriate, and it never leaves a saccharine taste upon the listenerís palate. While the introduction of Celtic instrumentation gives the recording hints of an Irish accent, the influence of the Emerald Isle is not too overpowering or pronounced. Therefore, the audience is able to savor the polished vocals of Chloe Agnew, Orla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, and Meav Ni Mhaolchatha as well as the enchanting fiddle of Mairead Nesbitt.
A Christmas Celebration includes standard carols and songs as well as classical and Celtic-tinged tracks. Traditional sounds pour forth from O Holy Night; Away in a Manger; Silent Night; and O, Come, All Ye Faithful. The angelic voices of Celtic Woman ó whether in a solo, duet, or ensemble fashion ó lift these familiar favorites to new heights. Holiday classics include The Christmas Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and an energetic rendition of Let It Snow. Other gems are Carol of the Bells (which features an inspired fiddle solo) and The Little Drummer Boy (which is supported by a chorus of Gregorian chants). Several tunes of classical and Celtic origin ó such as Panis Angelicus with the Irish Film Orchestra and a Celtic version of That Night in Bethlehem ó help to complete the album.
While the bulk of A Christmas Celebration ruminates upon the usual fare that is found on many holiday-oriented outings, one track (Christmas Pipes) ó with its superb vocals and the addition of uilleann pipes, low whistles, and bodhran ó seems to rise above the rest. Nevertheless, the endeavor is so uniquely and endearingly delivered by Celtic Woman that A Christmas Celebration undoubtedly would make a fresh and welcome addition to anyoneís holiday collection. Itís perfect as background music during a festive gathering, and itís suitable for anyone who enjoys carefully listening to quality Christmas music that features an excellent vocal performance. For something a little different this holiday season, perhaps a bit of the Emerald Isle is just the thing.
A Christmas Celebration is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box