"Spirit of an Irish Christmas" (TARACD4014),
features a collection of best loved Christmas carols which have
been given a traditional Irish quality. The songs are performed
by Róisin Dempsey and the arrangements feature a band of
celebrated Irish musicians, including David Hayes, Declan Masterson,
Colm O Tiarnaigh, Nigel Davey and Nick Bailey, who brought their
wealth of expertise together to help create a unique sound to highlight
Róisín's wonderful voice.
"Spirit of an Irish Christmas" includes
tracks such as; 'When A Child is Born', 'Dun Oiche Ud i mBeithil',
'Good King Wenceslas', 'Ave Maria', 'O Holy Night' and many more
all give a unique Irish feel.
singing career began with Alan Cutts in the Wexford School of Music,
and continued on to St Patricks College Maynooth, where she obtained
an honours Music and Theology degree specialising in performance.
During this period she regularly performed with the Maynooth chamber
choir, and was delighted to return to Maynooth College in March
2001 to sing the soprano solo in the Bach St Matthew Passion.
Róisín has toured and recorded with
several international acts over the years, including "Riverdance
- the show", Anúna, and Liam Lawton, not to mention
numerous other freelance projects, recordings, and film scores.
Róisíns time with Anúna (1994
- 2000) was spent travelling extensively to such locations as Europe,
Canada, and Morocco, and collaborating with such diverse artists
as The Chieftains, Michael Crawford, and Secret Garden. Róisín
was also featured as a soloist on a number of albums with Anúna
such as "Behind the Closed Eye" and "Deep Dead Blue".
Roisin toured with Riverdance the Show on their
Irish and Asian tours in 2001, and since coming home she has enjoyed
a busy schedule of classical, liturgical, and recording work in
Ireland, including Zoltan Kodaly's sacred work for the Wexford Festival
Opera 2002. In June 2003 she once again took her place to sing on
the Riverdance stage for the spectacular opening ceremony of the
Special Olympics in Dublin.
Roisin toured with Fr Liam Lawton as a featured soloist
from 1995 - 2002 taking in several Irish tours, as well as a series
of concerts in Sweden and the USA. She has been principal female
soloist on three of his most celebrated albums, "Light the
Fire", "Sacred Story", and "Ancient Ways Future
Roisin Dempsey – Spirit Of An Irish Christmas
I love Christmas! It always brings back fond memories of my youth
and particularly of singing soprano in the school choir. It also
reminds me of all those great Christmas carols and songs, and the
warm glow I get whenever I hear the lyrics of ‘God Rest Ye Merry
Gentlemen’ and ‘Good King Wenceslass’. Roisin Dempsey has impressive
credentials having worked with Anuna, The Chieftains, Michael Crawford,
and Secret Garden and lots of this experience has rubbed off on
this, her first solo recording. Along with producer David Hayes
(keyboards & backing vocals) she crosses several musical boundaries
with influences as diverse as Johnny Mathis and Canada’s Loreena
McKennit. If you like your carols infused with Celtic melodies (think
of the old Horslips Christmas recording) then this album will appeal
to you. The arrangements of the songs are light, with percussion
driven rhythm, and the inclusion of Declan Masterson on Uillean
Pipes, whistles and bouzouki is a brilliant masterstroke. The songs
are treated with respect, including a beautifully understated ‘When
A Child Is Born’, and co-joining the melody of ‘Greensleeves’ with
the lyrics of ‘What Child Is This’ will bring a wry smile to anyone
who knows either. As a seasonal offering this is a well crafted
release although personally I’m looking forward to a recording that
isn’t tied down to a theme.
"This CD arrived with perfect timing for Christmas,
but sadly not for publication date as last Christmas will just be
a fading memory by the time you read this review. But its
never too early for this year
This is a straightforward album of traditional Christmas
music, songs and carols. No individual tracks stand out they
are all good but what will amaze you is Róisíns
crystal clear voice. This is her first solo recording although she
was a member of Anúna for six years and has worked with The
Chieftains as well as touring with Riverdance.
The album is given an Irish flavour by surprisingly but very
effectively adding tunes to the end of well known carols, so, for
example, Good King Wenceslas (sung as usual to the mediaeval Finnish
tune Tempus Adest Floridum) flows into a reel, Christmas Eve. Don
Oiche Úd i mBeithil and the Wexford Carol ensure a truly
Irish Christmas experience.
Now about this years Christmas shopping, as well as this
album you might want to look at Taras impressive catalogue
with Stocktons Wing, Planxty, Christy Moore, Nollaig Casey,
Andy Irvine, Davy Spillane and The Voice Squad among their artists."
Michael Everett - Mardles