Holiday music

Holiday music

Which are your favorite holiday Celtic recordings? Are there news ones this year to know about? I love Celtic holiday music.

Re: Holiday music

For the past few years I have been playing a flute set (with or without backing) Suo Gan, Ave Maria, Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella, O Holy Night, followed by the Dreidlel song. Yeah I know it breaks some rules. We don’t play a lot of Christmas music but this set has always been well received by the audience I’m playing to. That’s about as far as I go.

Re: Holiday music

Jaimi, my musical taste is a little eclectic. I hope you like one or both of the following clips.

"…this six-member group includes members of the band Teada, and Seamus Begley from County Kerry on accordion and vocals. The show also includes Irish harpist Grainne Hambly, Irish piper and whistle player Sean Gavin, All-Ireland fiddler Oisin MacDiarmada, and dancer and pianist Samantha Harvey. On lead vocals and Irish flute is Teresa Horgan who has sung here with FullSet and with The Outside Track."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rC9GUWX4MI


"Official video for Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8

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Re: Holiday music

Of the big commercial acts, I think the Christmas stuff from Celtic Women is as good as it gets. Just gorgeous arrangements and orchestrations of very traditional carols, mostly. Most of their holiday stuff doesn’t sound all that Irish, specifically. But it’s beautifully executed.

Cherish the Ladies has some lovely Christmas music out, too, over the years, - and it sounds more trad than the Celtic Women stuff, if that’s your taste.

The Irish Tenors can tear the cover off the ball. One of them, Anthony Kearns, happens to live near me, here in Florida, and he’ll occasionally have a song in a local pub where we have sessions here in Orlando. The man can make a busy pub come to a screeching halt with his singing. It’s extraordinary.

I haven’t heard the Irish Tenors’ Christmas recordings, specifically, but I know their musicianship. I’d be pretty confident putting their recording on around others!

I love love love Kate Rusby’s Christmas album, "Sweet Bells.". Ok, she’s English, but you’ll like it. She has two more, now that I’m looking her up: "The Frost is All Over" and "While Mortals Sleep." I will be checking them out as soon as I can!

Re: Holiday music

Which holiday? Summer? Or is it Christmas you are talking about?

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‘Drive the Cold Winter Away’ from Horslips, back in the 80s has some cracking Yuletide tracks as I remember - I’ve no idea what happened to my copy.

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My two favorites are Cóig’s Carols album and Ancient Noels by Maggie Sansone and Ensemble Galilei. Although the second is not strictly trad, the arrangements are lovely and you will hear fiddle, whistle, and harp.

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My cup runneth over, thanks for all the great suggestions! Ross Faison, I’d love to hear you play that flute set you mentioned!

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I still love the Chieftons Bells of Dublin and the Windham Hill collection of Celtic Christmas Music. It’s fun to play along with!

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A few years back, a friend came up with a version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear", unusually set in 6/8 jig timing, which can throw you a bit when you’re used to it in very straight 4/4.
Set me to thinking about other Christmas music/carols that are in jig timing, and came up with a medley: I Saw 3 Ships Come Sailing In/We 3 Kings of Orient Are/The Seven Joys of Mary/ It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (6/8 version). Good fun to play.

Re: Holiday music

I don’t know if there is any relation to the season other than the tune titles here, but I’ve always liked this set as "Holiday Music" that fit the theme, and is off the beaten path of standards. Winter Solstice tunes if you’re not especially religious, maybe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNo7qDYbo-g


John Doyle plays a mandola here (I think), which is cool. I always tell myself I’m going to learn the first and last tunes, and then never get around to it.

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The Shetland tune "Da Day Dawn" has been traditionally played in Shetland on New Year’s Day though some say that it would welcome in Christmas Day - or the Winter Solstice - or Yule also. A bit confusing but it is a lovely tune and posted on The Session. But being a very old Shetland tune, you can’t really call it celtic. By the way is Yule another name for Christmas, or is it an older pagan festival? I don’t know.

Re: Holiday music

Susan K , Yule is indeed an older pagan festival, derived from the old Norse ‘Jul’ [nothing to do with July]
but the Winter solstice Dec 21st. I think the name and many of the ceremonies were hi -jacked by the early Christian church as being conveniently near Christmas! Yes i love Da Day Dawn and Christmas Day in da Mornin, very strange, dark tunes.

Re: Holiday music

Yep, like those two as well: we play Christmas Day in Da Mornin preceded by Jimmie Shand’s Welcome Christmas Morning.

Definitely not all "Celtic" but other wintry/seasonal tunes we play that are NOT carols or Christmas songs are:
Lara’s Theme (from the film Dr Zhivago - all that snow!)
Midwinter Waltz
Ice on the Water - George Reynolds
The Snowy Path
Cold Winds from Ben Wyvis
Walking in the Air (The Snowman)
And we also have a simple arrangement (tho not so simple in the second half!) of Troika (a 3-horse open sleigh?) from Lieutenant Kije (Prokofiev)

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I know it’s not trad, but Enya’s got a chrissy album I think. I have all her music except this one, soon to be rectified. ‘And winter came’ and another chrissy EP with four songs.

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Boys of the Lough’s "Midwinter Night’s Dream" is fantastic of course!