The Chieftains’ The Bells of Dublin
Chyrisse Tabone’s recent review of the Dunedin Celtic Festival coinciding with the advent of the holiday season, brought to mind an exceptional Christmas CD, The Bells of Dublin by the legendary traditional Irish music group The Chieftains.
Like the ensemble itself, this 1991 treasure successfully blends genre purity and eclectic musical forms. The Chieftains join the The Renaissance Singers on various choral selections performed in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral.
Nanci Griffith does an effectively stark rendition of “Wexford Carol.” Rickie Lee Jones, accompanied by cello, does a surprisingly poignant rendition of “O Holy Night.” Equally surprising is Marianne Faithfull’s “I Saw Three Ships A Sailing.”
Not overlooking the connections between Irish and French-Canadian music, Kate and Anna McGarrigle (AKA, Rufus Wainwright’s mother and aunt) join the Chieftains for “Il Est Ne`” and “Ca Berger.” The French Celtic tradition is further represented by Brittany’s Nolwen Monjarret’s vocals on “A Breton Carol.”
An edgy element is provided by Jackson Browne”s “The Rebel Jesus.” Elvis Costello goes a step further with his scathing portrayal of family holiday gatherings in his “St. Stephen’s Day Murders.” This alludes to the December 26 tradition of wren-hunting, a custom more straightforwardly represented in “The Wren! The Wren — Hunting of the Wren.”
This 62 minute CD comprises several Celtic medleys, giving the listener more musical selections than the 23 bands suggest. The Bells of Dublin is a perfect addition to the holiday collection of lovers of modern Celtic music
The Chieftains with Elvis Costello “St. Stephen’s Day Murders”
I love music and I love to write, so Rock at Night is a perfect forum for me.I appreciate all genres from classical to country and am astounded by the number of extraordinarily talented but under-recognizedmusical artists. So my articles often feature such “well known unknown” musicians and composers.
Before email, I would include a record review along with my holiday greetings as an alternative to annual reports of personal achievements and acquisitions. Among these, I wrote of Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man in 1988 and Bruce Cockburn’s Nothing But A Burning Light in 1991, urging my friends and family to listen to these masterpieces.
Now I can continue to express my enthusiasm for various musical artists to a wider audience.
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