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Celtic Angels At Christmas DVD Review (1 Viewer)

Todd Erwin

HW Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Apr 16, 2008
Hawthorne, NV
Real Name
Todd Erwin
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... Originally produced for Canadian Television in 2006, Celtic Angels At Christmas arrives on DVD just in time for the holidays, a blend of traditional Celtic and Celtic-inspired Christmas songs performed by six talented female musicians.

Celtic Angels At Christmas

Studio: New Video
US DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011
Original Release Year: 2006
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 47 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: None

Movie: 3 out of 5
If you are familiar with Celtic music from Canada, then you are likely familiar with the artists that appear on Celtic Angels At Christmas, a 2006 holiday special produced for Canadian cable channel VisionTV (that has also appeared on Bravo!).

Excerpted from the DVD’s liner notes: Gillian Boucher is a remarkable fiddler known across the globe as one of the strongest bearers of Cape Breton music and culture. Also from Cape Breton, vocalist Stephanie Hardy is the latest artist to emerge from the vibrant East Coast music scene. Fiddler Kendra MacGillivray plays the music of her Scottish ancestors with energy and passion. Canada s leading ambassador of Celtic dancing, Sabra MacGillivray, shows off her champion style and introduces a fun group of young wee angel step dancers. Scottish artist Maggie MacInnes, a master of the clarsach (Celtic harp) performs heartrending traditional Scottish hymns in Gaelic. Patricia Murray, Prince Edward Island s leading Celtic singer, absolutely glows in magnetic performances of the carols she has chosen for the show.

The program makes for good background music for a family holiday gathering, but the production values reminded me of The Lawrence Welk Show or a well-produced cable access program. The sets consist of white sheets hung on the walls, with white bare trees and cut-out snowflakes in the background and candles in the foreground, while the artists perform their songs, desperately trying to maintain eye-contact while the director changes cameras on a whim. If you were expecting this DVD to be something along the lines of one of the many Celtic music concerts seen on PBS (as I was), you will be sorely disappointed.

Still, the songs are enjoyable, and musically these Celtic Angels are extremely talented. Each of the songs are introduced by the artist prior to the performance.

Stephanie Hardy - The Holly Bears a Berry
Patricia Murray - The Wexford Carol
Maggie MacInnes - Taladh Criosda
Sabra, Kendra, and Tro MacGillivray - Timour The Tartar/Miss Shepherd/Archie Brown
Gillian Boucher - Ave Maria
Stephanie Hardy - I Wonder As I Wander
Kendra MacGillivray - Oh Holy Night
Maggie MacInnes - Gura Mise Tha Fo Eislean
Gillian Boucher - Yuletide Mdeley: Sir John Fenwick’s Waltz/The Lismore Lassies
Patricia Murray - The Holly and the Ivy
Sabra MacGillivray - Winter Wonderland
Maggie MacInnes - Laoidh Mhoire Mhaighdean
Patricia Murray, Maggie MacInnes, Stephanie Hardy - Silent Night
Gillian Boucher - It Came Upon A Midnight Clear/Irish Jig

Although the video is divided into six chapters, each chapter contains more than one song.

Video: 3 out of 5
The video is presented in its original 1.33:1 broadcast aspect ratio. Although I am not sure if the blown out whites in many of the shots were intentional, with that exception, this is a pretty good transfer for a DVD when upscaled on both my Playstation3 and Panasonic BD-60 Blu-ray players. Detail is very good, with vibrant colors are vibrant that never bleed. Compression artifacts and video noise are minimal and hardly noticeable.

Audio: 3 out of 5
The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack, encoded at 224 kbps, does its job, and that’s about it. Stereo separation is adequate, with lyrics directed to the center channel when in Pro-Logic mode, but the music often sounds almost flat. Similar to the production design, the sound design is about what you would expect from a music special produced in the 1980s (although this was produced in 2006).

Special Features: 0 out of 5
There are a no extras on the disc.

Overall: 3 out of 5
Celtic Angels At Christmas is an enjoyable holiday-themed music special, highlighting some talented musicians, but the production and sound design really hinder this DVD. I can only recommend this for a much older, more conservative audience, or as background during a holiday party.

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