Celtic Woman – A Christmas Celebration

Celtic Woman – A Christmas Celebration / 2007 Manhattan / 15 Tracks / http://www.celticwoman.com / http://www.manhattanrecords.com /

In the last few years, Celtic Woman has taken the world by storm. Starting out with PBS specials and moving into selling out venues, going Gold and Platinum, and they have reached a level of fame high enough to merit recording a disc of Christmas tracks. The disc captures a perfect blend of Christmas standards, lesser known Christmas-themed tracks, and even a track in Gaelic (a version of “That Night in Bethlehem”). The five piece, consisting of Chloe Agnew, Orla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, Mairead Nesbitt, and Meav Ni Mhaolchatha, are as strong as they ever have been; despite the fact that a number of individuals already have this CD (due to the fact that it was released last year), I still have a feeling that it will rocket back up the charts this year.

 The addition of a number of other musicians to the mix provides the strong vocals of members of Celtic Woman with that much more in the way of backing. In a similar way, the inclusion of the Aontas Choral Ensemble to the mix gives the vocals that much more pep in those particularly difficult songs. What results with the addition of these two batches of individuals is perhaps the most moving and compelling Christmas albums, and puts the disc into a realm where it could conceivably be enjoyed on its own merits. The major thread of lesser known Christmas songs is what gets me the most interested in “A Christmas Celebration”, as it provides me with a greater appreciation for the evolution that has taken place over the last few hundred years in regards to Christmas-themed music.

To top that off, the bonus track, a version of “Let It Snow!” provides the perfect exclamation to what is an impassioned and solid performance by all members involved. The re-release of “A Christmas Celebration” will incite a new wave of interest in Celtic Woman, and bolster sales of their next album, which is due out in 2008. If you are a fan of Celtic Woman, Celtic music in general, choral music, or Christmas songs, pick up “A Christmas Celebration”. It is only if you cannot find anything interesting in those genres where I could even begin to recommend that you pass on this album; give it a go the next time you go to a music store.

Top Tracks: Don Oich Ud I MBeithil, The Little Drummer Boy

Rating: 7.4/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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