of Winter Songs AKA Christmas Songs
THE NEW YORK TIMES
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.
delicately reverent music never falls to earth.
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.
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.