Welcome to Hang the Holly. I'll introduce you to Runa as we
take an inside look at artists in the latest episode of the Celtic
"The Snows That Melt the Soonest" is the 4th episode of 2020
and show #58. It features Christmas music from Runa, Stephanie
Claussen, David Pedrick, Matt & Shannon Heaton, Steel Clover,
Mark O'Connor, Marc Gunn, deCeadaoin, Andrew D. Huber, The Rogues,
Sheri O'Meara, Abbots Cross, Reilly, Prydein, The Jig Is Up!.
The show is generously brought to you by the Patrons of the
Celtic Christmas Podcast on Patreon. Please show your Celtic
Christmas Cheer, make a pledge to support the show.
If you enjoy the show, you can rate the show or post comments
on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcatcher.
And now on to Runa
As holiday albums go, The Tide of Winter is much more than a
collection of standard Christmas tunes. Each of the 13 tracks here
offers something a little bit unconventional. The first track,
"Brightest and Best / Gaudete / Noel Nouvelet” starts out with
voice as instrument, blended harmonies softly wafting around before
things pick up speed midway through alongside a percussive beat.
RUNA seems to enjoy challenging the listener by defying the more
typical patterns one's ear has learned to expect in favor of going
where the muse leads them. For example, you’ve never heard “O Come,
O Come, Emmanuel” done like this before! Those who enjoy a
different take on things will want to pick this album up to go
alongside their more tried-and-true favorites. It will provide just
the right amount of contrast—as well as something to keep things
Track 3, "Christ Child Lullaby / Dún do Shúil” offers a
hymn/lullaby that's blended in three languages; English, Irish
Gaelic, and the original Scots Gaelic. This provides an additional
soothing feel alongside the comforting rhythm of the lullaby
itself. It’s a nice take, a simple arrangement, and an interesting
inclusion. Very easy on the ears. Juxtapose that track with the
next, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, which features a funky vibe
and a perky, upbeat sound and you have the perfect way to sum up
this grouping of songs…non-traditional, yet intriguing!
It’s very tough to be experimental—without being too
experimental. After all, part of the charm of holiday music is the
fact that it’s familiar. That said, RUNA doesn’t abandon the thread
entirely, they merely embellish on it in their own way—which seems
to be a great way to compromise. In all, the band isn’t intent on
exploring just for the sake of being different. You get the sense
that they are doing it to create depth, and to be true to the
perspective that has developed within them as musicians.
Their “Instrumental Medley” both pays homage to Christmas
music and showcases the skill of the musicians, and while “Silent
Night” maybe isn’t as predictable as the standard radio holiday
version, it’s every bit as lovely—as well as a nod to the Austrian
“Stille Nacht”. The band’s liner notes sum this choice up well,
saying, There is something magical about returning to the roots of
such an iconic carol and to rediscover the beauty and depth in its
simplicity.” And, indeed, there is.
This album is perfect for those looking to expand their
collection of holiday music, without having things become too
repetitive. You’ll find fresh arrangements throughout, and enough
holiday spirit to go around the table—twice.
If you hear music you love, then support the artists. Buy
something from them. Sign up to their mailing lists. And share the
episode with your friends on social or in your
The Celtic Christmas Podcast is free to enjoy. However, it is
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. Nollaig shona