Annie Lennox Reveals More Details of Her Holiday Album
Tue, 12 Oct 2010 09:03:47
On November 16, golden-throated vocalist Annie Lennox will release her sixth solo album, and first-ever holiday recording, A Christmas Cornucopia, which is a stunning collection of new and inspired interpretations of eleven traditional festive songs. The disc is rounded out by her new composition, and first single, "Universal Child."
"I've known these songs and carols all my life, and I've sung them since I was little," said the songwriter and singer of such beautiful tracks as "The Holly And The Ivy," "Silent Night," "The First Noel," and other, more unconventional songs such as "Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant," and "Lullay Lullay." "They're just in me. They're a huge part of my life. So it's not an arbitrary selection. Those relationships with those pieces of music were there intrinsically before I approached the recording."
The music on the album was mostly played by Lennox, in collaboration with co-producer Mike Stevens, and recorded in his southwest London studio at the bottom of his garden. But to achieve the resonance and vibrancy that were integral to Lennox's ideas, the pair also worked with a 30-piece orchestra at Pinewood Studios. They also traveled to South Africa and recorded with the African Children's Choir, a remarkable organization with whom impassioned campaigner and activist Lennox has long had a relationship.
This release is beyond a holiday album; it's stocked with layers upon layers of culture and cultural significance.
"There are 34 different choirs. They're like a big extended family - the people who work with them, their careers, are called aunties and uncles," Lennox said. "And it's so precious - if you asked them, as we did with these eight and nine year olds, 'how is your life different now that you're in the choir?' They would say things like, 'Now I get really good food to eat.' Or, 'Now I wear nice clothes.' "I had met them several times before, through 44664 (Nelson Mandela's HIV AIDS foundation) - we had this ongoing connection, and I felt that if I was to record any children's voices it had to be theirs."
The Annie Lennox Foundation, the star's own charity, raises money for charitable projects supporting and educating women and children in Africa with HIV/AIDS. "All the income that I earn from 'Universal Child' will be paid to the Annie Lennox Foundation," commented the singer of her first single.
As befits its title, A Christmas Cornucopia offers an abundance of songs - drawn from British, French and German traditions - and an array of convictions close to the singer's heart. On "Lullay Lullay," "a lullaby I've known for years and the darkest carol I think," Lennox draws direct links between the Nativity and the plight of Africa's child soldiers. "Lullay Lullay alludes to the killing of first-born boy children by King Herod... and going back more deeply into the story of the song, I kept getting images of child soldiers in my head...The violation of children is endemic in many so places. Even though this carol is ancient, the brutality of the subject matter is just as relevant today."
Are you going to check out a A Christmas Cornucopia?