Reviews of Winter Songs AKA Christmas Songs



December 2002

A hushed, ethereal tone pervades "Winter Songs" by Anúna, the Irish choir that was heard in the original "Riverdance." The mostly female choir floats through Celtic, medieval and American songs and carols with piping, nearly vibratoless voices. 


Anúna has roots in traditional music and early music, and now and then it's accompanied by an Irish harp, a tin whistle or a lone guitar. Yet the arrangements drift in and out of modern harmonies, often sustained without words, as if borne aloft by the "angel voices" in the songs. 


The delicately reverent music never falls to earth.

John Pareles



December 2003

The trade that Anúna plies is still as esoteric as it was when they hit the stage back in 1987, defiantly pairing their ghostly vocals with a muscular self-confidence. Call them opportunistic, but Anuna's release of the seasonal Winter Songs is a refreshing alternative to the shiny happy festival fare that swamps the market at this time of the year.


As expected, they've tackled stalwarts such as Away in a Manger and Silent Night (elevating the latter well beyond it's usual maudlin setting), but it's the layered treatment of a 16th Century hymn Riú Riú and theit inclusion of a Graham/Mac Dara Woods song Winter Fire and Snow that reflects the thundering blood flow in their veins. Strapping harmonies hammocked by Michael McGlynn's innate belief in the music.


Undeniably spirit-soothing.


Siobhán Long