A Gaelic Christmas: Mary Mc Laughlin
Label: Gourd Music
Performers: Barry Philips, Danny Carnahan, Robin Petrie, Shelley Phillips, Steafan Hannigan, Steve Coulter, William Coulter
Steve Coulter, harp
Barry Philips, cellos
Shelley Phillips, oboe and English horn
Robin Petrie, hammer dulcimer
Steafan Hannigan, percussion, pipes and bansuri
Danny Carnahan, octave mandolin
William Coulter, guitar
Internationally acclaimed for her lush harmonies and atmospheric arrangements, Mary McLaughlin introduces her latest album.
A Gaelic Christmas is a collection of Christmas carols and hymns all sung in the Irish Gaelic language.
The material spans several centuries and includes ancient traditional Irish carols such as "The Wexford Carol" as well as Gaelic versions of beloved Victorian carols including "Holy Night," "I Saw Three Ships," and "Silent Night." Guest musicians, including many Gourd artists, enhance Mc Laughlin's rich multi-tracked vocals to create a unique and timeless holiday album.
The material in this collection of Christmas songs spans several centuries; some of the melodies will be very familiar while others will be less so. In some cases I have translated original texts, in others I have either written new words in Irish Gaelic or set ancient texts to music. Irish traditional singing style (sean-nós) is strictly unaccompanied and has no harmony; when a group sings together, it is in unison. Yet many traditional Gaelic songs lend themselves beautifully to harmony.
These Christmas songs certainly suggest harmonic arrangements so I've taken the liberty of both writing choral parts and adding instrumentation to them. In these liner notes I have included phonetic pronunciation of the titles (in parentheses). The complete choral package will be available from my web page, in 2008. This package will include phonetic transliterations of the songs, sheet music and instructional CDs of pronunciation and choral parts. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy these arrangements and may you have a wonderful holiday season!