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The Christmas Album

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Album Review

Christmas albums are tricky things, since the artist is usually dealing with a listener's memory and emotions regarding the season when the song is performed. In the case of this CD, the Barra MacNeils wisely chose to stay fairly traditional and perform the songs as they heard them growing up on the East Coast of Canada. Scottish and Irish Celtic music flow through this CD with every drag of the bow over the violin; yet the traditional carols remain unharmed. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is a prime example: its arrangement showcases their incredibly beautiful harmonies, but their version is faithful to the standard. Due to the traditional nature of the CD, it is both celebratory and sad at the same time. It is difficult to listen to these songs performed in this manner and not yearn for childhood innocence. The spoken word track "Singing in the Streets," for example, (featuring Tommy Makem) reduces the listener to tears. Also worth mentioning is "O Holy Night" performed flawlessly by Lucy MacNeil who possesses a truly angelic voice. This CD sits comfortably with the Chieftains' Bells of Dublin CD, and it is a welcome addition to anyone's collection.

Customer Reviews


This is one of the only Christmas albums that plays in my house! Amazing. Lucy has one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard.

A Christmas favorite

I look forward to fall time each year to start playing these songs over and over again. This album is magical.


Formed: 1980 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Hailing from Cape Breton, Canada, the Barra MacNeils have been making music since they were children, when they first began learning various instruments. The group of siblings were barely into their teens when they started playing professionally. In fact, Lucy MacNeil was all of 16 when their debut album, The Barra MacNeils, was released in 1986. Initially, they played traditional maritime Celtic folk music, but have since branched into rock, folk, and even jazz. The group is comprised of Sheumas...
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The Christmas Album, The Barra MacNeils
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Customer Ratings