...Whoa, this is way better than "Silver Bells."
December 6, 2010 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I've fallen in love with a couple songs off Sting's If On A Winter's Night... Anyone know of other seasonal music like this?

What I'm digging especially are his reworkings of British Isles traditional songs (like this, a traditional English tune) or songs that sound like they could be (like this Robert Louis Stevenson poem combined with a Gaelic countertune). Think more quiet and contemplative, and not so much of the medieval stuff -- more "bunch of people sitting around the fire in the front room with their fiddles" than "the lords and ladies of court singing of Christmas". Preferably songs that aren't the standard carols I've heard a gazillion times.

I realize this is a pretty narrow field. Thanks for your indulgence.
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You might like Loreena McKennitt's "To Drive The Cold Winter Away" and "A Midwinter Night's Dream". I do, and I hate Christmas music. Could be a touch medieval for you. At any rate, it's lovely music, and it's not what you hear all the friggin' time over and over and over and over...
posted by Savannah at 8:39 PM on December 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

I came in to give the Loreena McKennitt suggestion as well, so seconding that. You may also enjoy the Chieftains' Bells of Dublin.

Just to throw something out there: I recently downloaded the Indigo Girls' new holiday album, Holly Happy Days. It's not at all what you're looking for in your description (more traditional and certainly not Gaelic), but it's got beautiful harmonies and a lot of fiddle & banjo, and while some of the songs are standards, others are more introspective. Again, not at all what you were asking about, but you might enjoy this too.
posted by widdershins at 5:48 AM on December 7, 2010

Damn, meant to bold the Chieftains album, as that's really my main answer to your question, so here you go: Bells of Dublin.

Also, Sarah McLachlan did a holiday album called Wintersong - it's definitely introspective! Also somewhat quiet and contemplative, though sadly more in a depressed way. Probably way more modern than you're looking for, but thought I'd throw it out there.
posted by widdershins at 5:50 AM on December 7, 2010

I'll second the Bells of Dublin album. I'll have to check into my collection at home to see what else we have there that I actually like. As for the Soul Cakes song you linked above, my family loves it. My little one calls it "The Chicken Song" and screams in delight when it comes on.

I did pick up Annie Lennox's new Christmas album. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is the best song on the album. Unfortunately, I felt that Annie was just bludgeoning the rest of the songs. Just my opinion though. My older child loved the album so I handed it over.
posted by onhazier at 6:43 AM on December 7, 2010

You might be interested in The Voice Squad's recordings. Their repertoire is comprised mostly of Irish and English carols with a few traditional songs thrown in. Christmas isn't Christmas for me without listening to some Voice Squad.
posted by LN at 7:50 AM on December 7, 2010

You might like some of the songs from On A Winter's Night.

I also find that "side two" of Shepherd Moon is a nice soundtrack to watching a snowfall.
posted by mikepop at 8:59 AM on December 7, 2010

Ă€ine Minogue, To Warm the Winter's Night
posted by initapplette at 2:18 PM on December 7, 2010

Response by poster: I have Bells of Dublin, and while I do like it, it's a little more "traditional" than what I had in mind. I've heard "O Holy Night" before, I've heard "The Holly and The Ivy" -- "Soul Cake" was new on me. So if it helps, I guess what I'm looking for are songs from the British Isles that didn't manage to cross over to the New World.

(But I do like Bells of Dublin , largely for "The St. Stephen's Day Murders," a song about cheerfully poisoning your family on December 26 because you're so #$*#@ sick of them all. I save that song for special.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 PM on December 7, 2010

let me ransack the collection this weekend... I'll see what I come up with.
posted by SaharaRose at 5:35 PM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: let me ransack the collection this weekend... I'll see what I come up with.

I think you actually may have started this (I discovered "Soul Cake" from one of your mixes).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:52 PM on December 8, 2010

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