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> Emma Christian, Manx Songstress
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 05-Jun-2004, 07:29 PM
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Hello all!

One of my favorite Celtic singers is a lady by the name of Emma Christian, who is from the Isle of Man. She has four beautiful songs (three of which are sung in Manx Gaelic, the fourth being music only with Emma playing on recorder) on Narada's Celtic Voices album, which also includes songs from Mary McLaughlin, Connie Dover, and Mairid Sullivan. This would be an excellent addition to anyone's collection of Celtic music IMHO!

Here is some information about Emma.

From the liner notes to Celtic Voices (1995, Narada Media):

Traditionally said to be named after the Celtic sea god Mannanan Beg Mac y Lir ("Little Mannanan Son of the Sea") the Isle of Man lies in the middle of the Irish Sea. Despite its small size (227 square miles) and population (under 75,000), the Isle of Man has a Celtic culture that runs wide and deep, offering a rich bounty of traditional songs, tunes, and mythology evoking the ancient Kingdom of Mann. Early Manx inhabitants were Celts who spoke a form of Gaelic derived from Old Irish, and Manx Gaelic has recently been reintroduced into the island's schools.

One devoted ambassador for Manx Gaelic and other traditional island culture is Emma Christian, who was born on the Isle of Man in 1972. Her magnificent singing in Manx Gaelic, coupled with her profound knowledge of ancient Manx customs and lore and her exquisite touch on the clarsach (Celtic harp) and recorder, places her in the forefront of the island's leading traditional performers.

Among Emma's musical influences and teachers is Charles Guard, the eminent Manx harper largely credited for first introducing Manx traditional music to the outside world. Emma formally studied the recorder at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester England, and in 1990 entered Cambridge University to study Celtic history. She is now researching a doctorate on the history of the medieval church in the Isle of Man and the western islands of Scotland.

Not surprisingly, church is one of the venues in which Emma likes to perform. Others include castles, cathedrals, and chapels where, late at night by candlelight, she creates a close, intimate
atmosphere for her audiences - an atmosphere consistent with her approach to and respect for Manx traditional music.

Emma's singing and instrumental playing are haunting, emotive and delicately beautiful as can be heard on the four selections here. Ushag Veg Ruy ('Little Red Bird"), the first song Emma remembers ever singing, is a version of a popular Manx lullaby telling of a bird's often frustrated attempts to find a hospitable sleeping place. Oikan ayns Bethlehem ("Birth in Bethlehem"), a lovely recounting of the nativity story, it one of the briefer Manx carvals, religious poems set to Manx traditional melodies and composed for the late-night Oie'll Voirrey (Christmas Eve) celebrations. O Kirree T'ou Goll Dy Faagail Mee ("O Kirree, Thou Wilt Leave Me") is a short, plaintive Manx traditional melody on recorder, an instrument Emma plays in the ornamented style of a wooden flute.

Closing Out CELTIC VOICES is Arrane Oie Vie ("The Goodnight Song"). This song, signaling the time for guests to leave for home and bed after a Manx traditional gathering, has become a poignant anthem for preserving the Manx traditional way of life. It is a fitting conclusion to an album celebrating the ongoing vitality of Celtic music through four impressive voices that undoubtedly will he heard from again.

From the website:
http://www.ceolas.org/reviews/Narada/Voices.html

Emma Christian
The Isle of Man is a small island of 70,000 inhabitants, between England and Ireland. It has it's own celtic language and music style. Singer, harpist and recorder player, Emma Christian the the best known exponent of the Manx style of music. She learned harping from Charles Guard, (the previous best-known Manx musician) and sings in the Manx language. She divides her time between touring and performing, and studying the role of the medieval church in Man and the Western Isles for her doctorate. She released the album Beneath the Twilight in 1994 and I believe another one is in the works.

Ushag Veg Ruy/Little Red Bird
This Manx lullaby shows off Christian's crystal clear voice, backed by her own simple accompaniment on harp

Oikan Anys Bethlehem/Birth in Bethlehem
A Manx religious poem (carval) set to a traditional melody. A slow song, with synthesizer background brings this less to a New Age sound than to a quietly religious atmosphere.

O Kirree, Thou Wilt Leave Me
She plays this short traditional piece on recorder, in the style of a fife.

Arrane Oie Vie/The Goodnight Song
The album closes with this lullaby, used in Manx gatherings to show the guests to the door and close up for the night.


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Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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manxman 
Posted: 05-Jun-2004, 07:56 PM
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Thanks wizard. I'll have to look out for her stuff. Actually I know her mentor Charles Guard, but then on a small island it's not difficult to know nearly everybody.

The name Christian is a traditional manx surname. An infamous "Christian" was Fletcher Christian of "Mutiny on the Bounty" who settled with his mutineers on Pitcairn island in the Pacific. He came from the Isle of Man originally.

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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 05-Jun-2004, 09:41 PM
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Hey Manxman! How are you tonight?

If you're really interseted, you should look around on the internet! I'd bet you could find some samples to download! I think if you do you'll be impressed!
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Vannin 
Posted: 01-Jul-2004, 06:17 PM
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Fletcher Christian was actually from the North of England but his family had roots in Mann.

As for Emma Christian her CD, Beneath the Twilight is, for me, completely mind blowing work biggrin.gif
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 01-Jul-2004, 10:14 PM
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Hi Vannin! I only have three of Emma's songs but hope someday to get the whole CD. I just love her voice! And I also love hearing her sing in Manx Gaelic.
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Vannin 
Posted: 12-Sep-2004, 06:01 PM
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QUOTE (WizardofOwls @ 01-Jul-2004, 10:14 PM)
Hi Vannin! I only have three of Emma's songs but hope someday to get the whole CD. I just love her voice! And I also love hearing her sing in Manx Gaelic.

Listening to the CD sends shivers down my spine and all the way back up again wink.gif

Must visit here more and post more often! My status is "Peasant", how can I possibly be a peasant, I'm Manx!! biggrin.gif
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vielong 
Posted: 18-Jun-2009, 06:39 PM
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my friend let me borrowed her cd few days back and all i can say is im hooked with it..

this song uhhmm rocks..
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stefans1 
Posted: 01-Aug-2009, 01:53 AM
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I stumbled on this list in search of information on Emma.

I heard her album (Beneath the twilight) on the radio here in Finland in the late 90's. All I could do was to stand still in the middle of the room, with chills running down my spine, listening. Never heard anyone singing like that before.

Here song had stayed in my mind for years, and eventually I tried to get hold of this album. No luck so far.

Yesterday I found a few of her songs on the album Celtic Songs of Love on iTunes.

But I would still love to purchase a copy of her album. Anyone on this list have an idea on where I could find a copy?

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Ainwyn 
Posted: 31-Oct-2010, 01:27 AM
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I bring this topic back from the dead to repeat Stefan's request! Does anyone know where I can get Beneath the Twilight?!?! I've been looking everywhere for it! Can't get it on any of the Isle of Man sites, can't even find a place to download it illegally! Isn't everything supposed to be available on the internet? lol
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Robert Phoenix 
Posted: 31-Oct-2010, 06:28 PM
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I'm looking-so far all I've found is the various artists CD she has been on which are available over at CD universe
http://www.cduniverse.com/sresult.asp?psyc...c&altsearch=yes


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