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Eileen Ivers - An Nollaig - An Irish Christmas

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Eileen Ivers - An Nollaig - An Irish Christmas (c) Compass Records, 2007

The Bottom Line

There aren't a whole lot of world music Christmas albums in existence, so generally speaking, I'm happy with whatever I can get. That said, this is a great Christmas album. It's not, however, a great album by normal standards - it's perfectly good, but not great. But as far as providing holiday ambience, it'll do just fine.
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Pros

  • Good musicianship
  • Diverse song selection
  • Nice and atmospheric

Cons

  • Borderline schmaltzy
  • Simply not very exciting

Description

  • The strongest recording that Eileen Ivers has ever done.
  • Great atmospheric music, especially for Irish-Americans.
  • Not a brilliant or overly inspired album, but perfectly nice.

Guide Review - Eileen Ivers - An Nollaig - An Irish Christmas

Eileen Ivers has always struck me as a much better live performer than recording artists. It's not that she doesn't have the fiddle skills to pull off a good recording, it's that she tends to get a little bit too melodramatic (musically speaking) for my taste... a few too many high notes, unnecessary note-swelling, etc. However, Christmas music is supposed to be a little bit more precious than regular music. With that in mind, Ivers may have found her perfect genre - Irish-inspired Christmas Music.

The song choices are good here (and, much to my delight, do not include "The Little Drummer Boy")... a couple of classics ("Hark, the Herald...", "Do You Hear What I Hear?"), several good Irish tunes, a little Irished-up Bach ("Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring") and even "Christmas Time is Here", from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Most vocal duties are handled by Tommy McDonnell (who, if you don't recognize him from Irish music, you might recognize from The Blues Brothers), with a couple of special guests, most notably Susan McKeown on the album's strongest track, the haunting ballad "Don Oiche Ud i mBeithill".
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