Nov 19, 2020
Welcome to Hang the Holly. You'll meet Laura MacKenzie this
week as we take an inside look into the latest episode of the
Celtic Christmas Podcast.
The The Holly and The Ivy is already getting a ton of
downloads. Over 1000 in less than a week after it came out. So I
have high hopes that all of these incredible artists will special
attention this holiday season.
Show #56 features Christmas music from The Irish Rovers,
Steel Clover, Matthew Young, Emish, Spencer & Beane, Laura
MacKenzie, Cantus Lunaris, The Jig Is Up!, Andrew D. Huber,
Rosmerta, Haggis Rampant, A Shamrock in Kudzu, Sarah Marie Mullen,
The Selkie Girls, The Gothard Sisters.
If you enjoy the show, please do all of these artists a favor.
Share it with your friends on social or in your community.
You can also rate the podcast or post comments on Apple
Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher. And of course, subscribe to
the podcast at CelticChristmasPodcast.com
And now Laura MacKenzie
It’s not hard to believe that Laura MacKenzie has Irish dance
in her background – you can almost hear it when she plays her
music! This talented artist has not only been the recipient of some
coveted fellowships, but she also has her own designated namesake
“day” in Minnesota because of her work in traditional Irish music.
(In case you are wondering, it’s November 22nd.) Laura has been
mentored by some wonderful musicians on everything from button
accordion, to Irish flute, to Scottish smallpipes. Yes—she’s
definitely one of those Celtic artists that plays numerous
instruments! She has also been awarded some heavy-hitting titles,
such as a Master Folk Artist, a "Celtic music wizard”, and a "High
priestess of Celtic music”. It’s doubtful that any of these
monikers were handed out lightly!
If you’re looking to lay in something unique in terms of
holiday music, this lady presents some fun options. Yuletide
Bagpipes is exactly what it sounds like—a nice collection of tunes,
featuring a wide array of pipes. You’ll hear border pipes,
smallpipes, lowland pipes, medieval greatpipes, and even some
cornemuse. It’s hard not to feel festive with this type of music
wafting through the air. The album begins with Joy to the World/I
Saw Three Ships and offers 15 bright tracks that end with her
version of Auld Lang Syne.
Celtic Holiday is another one of MacKenzie’s holiday albums;
this one features 14 tracks with many favorites peppered
throughout, such as “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”, “God Rest Ye
Marry Gentlemen”, and “What Child is This/The Greensleeves Jigs.
There’s an especially haunting version of “O Come, O Come Immanuel”
that is almost meditative. Just lovely. It’s always interesting to
see what various artists do with the arrangement of tunes that are
familiar to almost everyone. Each has their own take on how to
present it, and this is especially true of holiday music like these
For those who can’t decide which of these sounds better, the
obvious compromise would be to go with “Heigh Ho, The Green Holly”,
which is a collection of Celtic Christmas music that was selected
from both of the previous albums. It really is a good mix of the
two. This would probably also make a great gift if you know someone
who loves the pipes and is in need of a bit of holiday cheer this
season. Quite honestly, we could probably all use a bit of that in
2020. Take a look at the track lists and see if one of these albums
piques your interest, or tune in and hear Laura MacKenzie for
yourself on show #56: The Holly and The Ivy. Visit her website
The Celtic Christmas Podcast is free to enjoy. However, it is
supported by the generosity of Celtic music fans like you over on
Patreon. Get Christmas Cheer. Subscribe at CelticChristmasPodcast.com
Nollaig shona daoibh.