Sounds of the Season

 

One of the first signs of the Christmas season of course is the sound of music; music certainly plays a major role in stirring our feelings for this magical time of year.  Some would argue that it starts too soon and is based on consumer spending. To a point I have to agree, especially when the same songs are played over and over in a mall or store, I sympathize with the store clerks or box store greeters.

I have to admit that I am someone who could (and have) play Christmas songs in July just because I love the melody and it instills all sorts of good feelings inside me. In Newfoundland I feel we are blessed with a unique musical heritage that has gifted us with wonderful songs of the season. Some of these songs are adaptations of songs from our ancestors, and some are songs of our native province. They have character and tell of past Christmases or events that are dear to our heart.

I would like to start a new tradition, below is “my”  Top 10 Christmas songs from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Please take the time to read and comment on songs you might not agree with or tell me of your songs you would place there. Please note only songs from NL, written and performed are acceptable.

# 10

Ok, lets start things off with the Irish Descendants; “Heading Home for Christmas” is a song that grows on you. Their Christmas CD “The Gift” is in fact a gift of wonderfully arranged songs that can be played from start to finish.  To pick up a copy go to http://www.avondalemusic.com/artists.html

# 9

“Merry Christmas from Home”

 

One of the greatest ambassadors of Newfoundland and Labrador wrote and performed this song. Kevin Collins has unique voice, it is very crisp and clear, certainly one of my favorite artists.

This CD can be purchased at http://landwashdistribution.com/christmas.htm . Take a look at this site as it has a great assortment of Newfoundland/Christmas music.

 # 8

“Christmas Tree Eyes”

This is probably an unlikely song for my list, but if you really listen to it I find it is easy to get swept up into the lyrics and melody of this classic song. I first heard it while listening to VOAR radio while running a errand with my father, he really liked it (and still does), and I guess when I hear it, it will always remind me of him. The Ellis and Wince Coles recording is still available at http://www.geocities.com/winelco/albums.htm

# 7

 “Christmas Eve in St.John’s”

I love this song, for those of you who have not heard it, go find it!! You can buy it here http://www.tidespoint.com

Not only is D’arcy Broderick one of the best fiddlers in the province and in Canada, he has one of the most identifiable and amazing voices in traditional music. 

# 6

“I’ll Be There Christmas Eve”

Written by the legendary Ron Hynes for the Ennis Sisters. It is a beautiful song with amazing tight harmonies.

 # 5

“Christmas in the River”

Well this song had to be on my list.

Back some years ago when I played in the Celtic band Erin’s Call, we recorded a song composed by my brother Barry. I heard the song on the radio yesterday for the first time this season; it still makes me smile to hear about our childhood at Christmas, every word is so true!! Many people from Riverhead and other communities take great pride in the song, as the setting is so indicative of rural Newfoundland and Labrador during the holidays. Thanks for writing it Barry.

 

# 4

“The Mummers Song”

Bud Davidge wrote this song 25 years ago as part of the duo Simani, and if this were a countdown from the local radio stations it would probably be # 1 on the list. But!! It is my list and it sits at # 4.

This song has help keep alive the old custom of Mummering (Jannying) and is a favorite of Mainlanders and Newfoundland and Labradorians . There is even a book published based on this song which was illustrated by Ian Wallace and published by Groundwood Books. If you get an opportunity pick it up, it is worth the read, the illustrations are also fantastic.

   # 3

Hello, Mom And Dad (We’re Coming Home For Christmas)

A Frank Willis is known for composing songs that are truly Newfoundland in content. This particular song tugs at the heartstrings of most people who are living away and long for the opportunity to come home for Christmas. This song has been around for years and is still heavily requested.

# 2

“Children’s Winter”

An amazing song written by the late Dermot O’Reilly, it needs to be said that he was not born in Newfoundland and Labrador but he lived here from most of his life and left a legacy that will never be forgotten. This original version is the best, for those of you who are not from NL you can tune into www.vocm.com or www.ozfm.com (there are others) and request this classic.

  # 1 !!! 

“Christmas in the Harbour”

Written by Gary O’Driscoll for a CBC TV special this song bloomed into a holiday classic immediately. Gary has produced and collaborated with some of the best bands in our province including one of my favorite traditional bands The Irish Descendants.

When you listen to this song pay careful attention to the accordion work going on in the background.

There is so many more bands who have recorded Christmas music but the songs are not penned by them or someone in Newfoundland and Labrador. Once again if you would like to recommend more traditional Christmas music I would love to hear from you by using the comments page on the bottom of each blog. (Come on, let’s have some fun with this and get involved. If I get a good response I will post “your” 10 ten trad songs of the season so pass this along). If I have an opportunity I will do a top ten traditional and Irish Christmas song list. I have many to choose from!!.

*Please note that if any information given above in inaccurate I would appreciate the correction.

Take care

Ron

       

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20 thoughts on “Sounds of the Season

  1. Hi Ron:
    Until reading your list, I did not realize how many Newfoundland Christmas Songs and Christmas albums there are. Another one that I really like is Amber Christmas, featuring top Newfoundland artists including Pamela Morgan and Anita Best. And of course, we are all looking forward to David Chafe and Andrew Dale’s Release of their new CD at St. Matthew’s Church in Bay Roberts on December 18th!

  2. I love Amber Christmas, Pamela and Anita have wonderful voices. Pamela actually has family rooted in Coley’s Point.
    December 18 is going to be a real treat for everyone, I too am looking forward to this.
    Thanks so much for the comments.
    Ron

  3. Hi Ron ,

    This is Your Sister . This site is very Cool I must say. You made alot of good Points , and You brought alot of thought, of Christmas and Its meaning. Since I been In Edmonton Alberta , Its very Lonely at Christmas Time . And The Song Hello Mom and Dad I coming home for Christmas . Brings Tears to My eyes. Its Touches me Like never before since I been away. And then Christmas in the River, is another since it touched my heart, since You and Barry brought it to life , of our childhood . It saddness me to know That everyone home, spends christmas together and I am not there with my Husband and kids. But I know there is Alot of Newfoundlanders wishes like me , to be with there
    with their Families this time of the year. So I will Pass on this site to My Good Friends that are here , That wishes like me , They were there Home on the Rock… And They will have some home to see and Enjoy like me. Because No matter where We may go , Newfoundland is our Home! Love Your Sis… Tan

  4. Hi Sis,

    It is great to hear from you!! Glad you like the blog and thanks for passing it along. I know it is a difficult time of year being so far away, but the good thing is, you have your family with you, and a new husband, despite not being in Newfoundland I am sure it will be a wonderful Christmas. Just keep the songs of NL in your heart. We all miss you but are proud of you too.
    Loves ya
    Your Bro Ron

  5. Hi Ron,

    Nice job on the list. You are a humble bugger. I would put “Christmas in the River” by Erin’s Call a lot higher on the list. It’s the only one that makes me tear up every time I hear it. It’s #1 for me

    – Jason

    • hi uncle ron, i agree with uncle jason, christmas in the river is my absolute favourite christmas song as well. i listen to it every year! and yes..i need a box of tissues to go along with it.. xox

  6. Christmas songs galore … there are just so many
    Christmas In the River is by far one of my favorites, just brings it all home for a lot of us and those vocals … just loves em!
    I love The Seven Joys of Mary by Great Big Sea, so different!
    The Celtic Connection does my favorite version of Children’s Winter, harmonies by Jennifer just make it soooooo sweet.
    I’ll be there Christmas Eve by the Ennis Sisters is enough to give you shivers, so beautiful.
    And I really wish there was a recorded version of The Morgan Brothers “Old Toy Trains” then that would clearly be my favorite.
    This site is awesome Ron, thanks and I’ll be sure to share this new found treasure!
    – Trac

    • Hi David,
      Check out my December 17, 2008 Blog, I have a couple added from youtube, Childrens Winter is amazing.
      I hope you like.

      Ron

      • Hi Ron, “Christmas in the River” has been one of my favorites since the first time I heard it on the radio, is there anyway I can buy a copy of this cd or song?? I would love to have it. I have looked for it every where over the years.

  7. Hey Ron,

    I found this site while searching for ‘Christmas in the River’. I was hoping to find a site that hosted it or even possibly had it for sale for download. So tell me, does such a place exist? I would absolutely love to hear it.
    I also agree with Tanya whole-heartedly. As much as Christmas is a time of good cheer and such, it will have a sad undertone for those of us living away who long to be nearer to our families, especially this time of year. Glad to have found your ‘rant’ and I’ll be sure to bookmark this site and check back frequently! 🙂
    Charlene (Jordan) Boutilier

    • Hi Charlene,

      Thanks for finding my blog, please pass it along to anyone you may think would like it.
      There are not many recordings of it left. Let me see what I can do.

      Thanks again
      Ron

    • Hi Tammy,
      It is a difficult song\CD to find as there was only a limited amout made. I have a couple @ my office in Bay Roberts. You could also listen to this link, it has a annual Christmas radio show I produce with Luke Welsh. The last song is Christmas in the River. I hope this helps!!

  8. here is the link to a radio show I did in 2010, a hour of songs I am sure you will enjoywith the song you are looking for at the end. I hope this helps.
    Ron

  9. Reblogged this on Delaney’s Rant and commented:

    Hi all , here is a blog I posted from a few years back, it is the top 10 Newfoundland Christmas songs…have a look and listen. this year I will be posting a poll of the best Christmas songs of all time. So start thinking and get ready to participate!!

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