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Christmas Music Playlists with Celtic Woman Songs
Celebrate Christmas The Emerald Isle Way
Factfile - Celtic Woman
- Their 3 Christmas albums are Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration (2006), Celtic Woman: A Celtic Family Christmas (2008 - a collaborative album with The High Kings), Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas (2012).
- In 2011 they had a Germany-only release, Celtic Woman: A Celtic Christmas, a compilation which included new songs (An Angel & There Must Be An Angel) and some live recordings.
- Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration peaked at #5 in the US Holiday albums chart and has been certified platinum.
If it weren’t for the success of the Irish dance phenomenon Riverdance we may have never had Celtic Woman (they were set up by one of dance troupe’s musical directors) but the all-female group has gone on to become a success story in its own right. Since their formation in 2004 Celtic Woman has had a revolving cast of flame haired Irish singers but the end produce has always been the same. Ranging between the mystical and the religious this is a deeply emotional sound that has undeniable widespread appeal. Given this focus it didn’t take long for the Celtic Woman franchise to turn its attention to the season of goodwill. So with their self-titled debut album holding court in the U.S world charts for a record number of weeks it took the 2006 follow up ‘A Christmas Celebration’ to knock it off its perch.
While ‘A Christmas Celebration’ rarely strays from tried and trusted carols, and the vocals forever get to the kernel of how these standards traditionally sounded, such as ‘O Holy Night’, ‘Carol of the Bells’ and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ there were moments of heightened levity. ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ was certainly one of them, a rendition of the carol which showed a remarkable attention to detail with a insatiable cheery attitude. When the girls go off script on secular numbers such as ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ there are mixed results, as much for been compared to the greats who have given such wonderful renditions in the past. So it is on the cinematic productions of the likes of ‘Carol of The Bells’ that Celtic Woman prosper, infiltrating plenty of Irish instruments into the fray alongside the choral nuances of the brilliant old carol. The Wexford Carol is also a standout with a stripped back demeanour and vocals that paint a vivid picture of the real meaning of Christmas. Somewhat surprisingly ‘A Christmas Celebration’ ends on a poppy version of ‘Let It Snow’. It is a really odd choice given the atmosphere of the rest of the album and even though the orchestral embellishments sound impressive in their own right it all seems a little out of sync with what preceded it.
With sales of 1 million plus ‘A Christmas Celebration’ was an impressive success and it didn’t take Celtic Woman too long to repeat the trick with 2008’s ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’ which this time also featured Irish ballad group the High Kings. Although it had only 6 tracks and was a U.S. only release ‘A Christmas Celebration’ proved to be much more secular in its approach than its predecessor with novel takes on Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ and Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring’.
Celtic Woman’s next Christmas album, ‘A Celtic Christmas’, would arrive 3 years later in 2011 but again it had a limited geographical release with Germany its main market. The quirky distribution was mostly due to the fact that the majority of the songs on this album were drawn from ‘A Christmas Celebration’ and the non-Christmas oriented ‘Lullaby’. One of the new tracks worth mentioning is Celtic Woman’s cover of the Eurythmics ‘There Must Be An Angel’. There's was a much quieter and more reflective take on the energetic original with only one of the band’s singers getting involved it sounded quite acoustic in nature.
Given the compilation feel to ‘A Celtic Christmas’ and its limited geographical release it was no surprise when Celtic Woman gave Christmas 2012 a brand new collection of festive tunes. ‘Home For Christmas’ offered a balanced mix of secular and religious Christmas songs all turned out in Celtic Woman’s inimitable style. The girls weren’t going to change what had become a bestselling formula by that stage but that didn’t mean that ‘Home For Christmas’ proved to be in any way stale. In truth they were no real surprises but it would take a hard heart to reject their versions of ‘Winter Wonderland’ and an especially triumphant ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’.
Actually my favorite time of year is Christmas. Anything to do with it is my favorite. The music, the food, the decorations, the love that’s in the air.
Celtic Woman Christmas Album & Single Covers