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A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns ~ now available at www.shaunaburns.com  ~
Winter Star
Carol of the Bells
White Christmas
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Luma
The First Noel
Silent Night
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
The Gathering
What a Wonderful World
Carol of the Bells (Instrumental)
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Instrumental)
I’ve always been picky when it comes to holiday albums. The holiday or Christmas albums I like should contain the following:
1. It has to possess a haunting element that makes your hair stand.
2. It if isn’t haunting , at least it has to sound jazzy,  traditional or classical to show that the musician is really into deep stuff.
3. It must contain at least one track that has a long history that goes back to the Medieval times(Gabriel’s Message for example) so I can say that the artist has done his or her research and is not making a Christmas album just to hand out something to the consumerist culture that makes Christmas music dull. It has to have SOUL.

Priestess of the Piano: Shauna Burns

Priestess of the Piano: Shauna Burns

A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns made it to my list must listen to albums because of the three things I noted above. If she’s not singing in any track I really admire her talent with the piano. I know comparison to artists like Tori Amos might be common. But what makes her stand out as an artist in her own right is where she bends musically in terms of style and origin. I hear uilleann pipes and Celtic harps in some of her tracks. I think she is schooled well in the tradition of mystical sounds as she incorporates this imagery in her music. She even goes further as ‘wearing’ this style in her album artwork.
Ms Burns is also keen on layering her voice and doing experiments with her vocals so fans of ambient music can relate to this. I will take Luma as an example. She only sang few words and left  the rest to the piano to communicate the emotions. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is another stirring track. I love this tune. I  heard this version in And Winter Came by Enya. Loreena McKennitt also covered this in her A Midwinter’s Night Dream album. I am pleased that the version of Burns version is unique as it incorporates the use of uilleann pipes and the piano takes center stage again.
There are two instrumental tracks like Carol of the Bells and God rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. They make me travel through the mind when I listen to them.

Looking for something really seasonal-sounding and unique this Christmas? Try A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns and it will be a good introduction to her other recordings.