Spirit of an Irish Christmas

Róisin Dempsey


"Spirit of an Irish Christmas" 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.

Roisin DempseyRóisín's 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 Days".

Roisin Dempsey – Spirit Of An Irish Christmas (TARACD 4014)
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.
Pete Fyfe

"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 it’s 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 Róisín’s 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 year’s Christmas shopping, as well as this album you might want to look at Tara’s impressive catalogue with Stockton’s Wing, Planxty, Christy Moore, Nollaig Casey, Andy Irvine, Davy Spillane and The Voice Squad among their artists."
Michael Everett - Mardles