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Celtic Christmas Podcast

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Dec 5, 2020

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 Christmas Podcast. 
"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.
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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 interesting.
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.
Find out more about Runa at
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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 . Nollaig shona daoibh.