LIVE REVIEW

Concert: ‘The Spirit of Irish Christmas’ by Anúna

By MAARTEN BAANDERS

From Leidsch Dagbled December 18th 2006

Leiden, Leidse Schouwburg

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There are not only Christmas songs in ‘the Spirit of Christmas’. Anúna has a rich and surprising repertoire. The choir alternates without any trouble from English to Irish, Latin and old Spanish and from one century to the other. Even the lyrics are a real adventure to listen to. Emotional and at the same time comic are, for example, “The Dawn” from the 7th century, about a monk who sees a woman rising from the dawn, “An Oíche” concerning [a young couple] who, despite being warned, go outside into a winter storm without wearing hats and “Ceann Dubh” about a worshipped village boy.

The sound of the choir is magnificent: light, restrained and clear. Sensitive subjects are sung with tenderness and the more lively rhythmic songs are presented on stage with humor and pleasure, particularly when a solo is being accompanied by humming sounds as in the very light children’s song “Geantraí”.

Anúna succeeds in uniting discipline with very excellent, and light, singing. The spatial effects that Anúna creates with their soft and clear sounds are astonishing. They do not need any special sound effects. In “Maid in the Moor” you can feel the loneliness of nature, and when the singers are spreading out throughout the theatre singing “Jerusalem” with voices echoing each other, it seems that the Leidse Schouwburg is as big as a cathedral.

The Spirit of Christmas, by Anuna is an adventure you do not experience every day. A real treat.