ARTS AND FEATURES — 16 December 2013

Celtic Woman

By Madeline O’Connor

A POPULAR carol that has proved an online hit for Irish ensemble Celtic Woman has been named Britain’s favourite Christmas carol.

The 19th century song has been recorded by a variety of singers such as Celine Dion and Mariah Carey, but a Youtube video of the Irish group singing it could be the most popular, having amassed over 10 million hits so far.

O Holy Night (Cantique de Noel) was written by Frenchman Adolphe Charles Adam, best known for his ballet Giselle. An online poll carried out by Premier Christian Radio saw the festive number take 16 per cent of the total vote, taking the top spot ahead of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

Announcing the winner, Pam Rhodes said: “Oh Holy Night fits the mould of a traditional carol perfectly because it was first performed at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in 1847. The words had been written by Placide Clappeau, the mayor of Roquemaure, who took his poem to Paris to ask his friend, Charles Adam, to write the melody. The carol has been a favourite ever since.”

Celtic Woman, in existence since 2004 were masterminded by David Downes, a former musical director of Riverdance. The group, whose line-up has changed several times, have released eight albums including the festive offerings A Christmas Celebration in 2006 and this year’s Home for Christmas.


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