Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best of Celtic Christmas

A snowy path, a clear night, excited anticipation leading to quiet reflection, joyous celebration and connection with friends -- and all that, at the Christmas holiday season. Narada’s Best of Celtic Christmas has all that.

It’s a double disc set. One comprises all music from the Galway based group Dordan. They combine traditional Irish music with classical -- that’s one of their specialties. Fiddle, flute, harp, and guitar, and sometimes voice, are the instruments Dearbhall Standun, Mary Bergin, Kathleen Loughnane, and Martina Goggin employ to fine effect in songs and tunes including The Wayfarer’s Welcome, Oiche Nollaig, and Polly in the Holly.

Altan, Boys of the Lough, Bonnie Rideout, Maddy Prior, Natalie MacMaster, Kathy Mattea, and Cathie Ryan are among those who contribute cuts to the second disc, a very fine evocation of the season, and of what it sounds like in Ireland and Scotland, and in Irish America. I usually prefer single artist discs to collections, but this is one of my favorite recordings to play at Christmas, and sometimes at other time of year as well. It opens with just Ryan and guitar getting to the quiet heart of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear and circles through fifteen tracks to a lively and joyous Adeste Fidelis/ O Come All Ye Faithful from Scottish fiddler Bonnie Rideout.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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