Posts Tagged ‘Fiona Joy Hawkins’
Christmas is the most important holiday of the year for most people. While this is especially true for marketing retailers, they too, along with the majority of people also recognize the supreme reason for the season, and truly enjoy the building anticipation during the preceding days, weeks and months leading up to Christmas Day.
If you are like me, simply listening to Christmas music can help one transition into the holiday frame of mind. And while everyone has their own individual pace for getting into the Christmas mood sooner or later, I can always depend on holiday music to renew my Christmas spirit.
Listening to popular Christmas songs prompts an association of my own past holiday experiences with family and friends. Likewise there is a vast selection of music to choose from since many popular artists past and present, have produced outstanding holiday music for our enjoyment over the years.
The best Christmas albums in all popular genres including new age are very comparable since many artists compose their own revision of traditional Christmas songs. It seems nearly everyone is familiar with mainstream traditional songs, so for many us there is even less of an apple to oranges comparison in terms of genre. Sometimes they are so much alike the easiest way to classify their melodies is to simply call it holiday music.
Along with the Christmas holidays is the yearly task of finding a suitable gift for family and friends. One gift idea I would like to suggest is the gift of music, and it doesn’t matter whether your gift is in the form of an mp3 or CD. Music is a gift idea that is relatively inexpensive, and most people will enjoy receiving any time of the year. The economical gift of music can be the perfect choice for many special occasions including birthdays, and in some cases, weddings and anniversaries.
Finding the best Christmas albums for your holiday listening experience is pretty easy too. There is an increasing number of outstanding Christmas albums I would consider my favorites so permit me to tell you about 12 Christmas albums in the New Age genre. Listed in the order of the artist tags at my site, the 12 best Christmas albums are listed by alphabet using the artist’s first name. If you are interested in popular holiday albums for entertaining or gift giving, below is my list of the best Christmas albums with direct links so that you may sample or purchase my holiday music recommendations.
12 Best Christmas Albums for Holiday Music.
1. A Midnight Clear – Christmas in Mitford (Soundtrack) by Bill Leslie.
A Midnight Clear is an instrumental album with 16 songs of traditional and original music. Bill Leslie has another sensational new release people of all ages can enjoy listening to with A Midnight Clear. Drawing his inspiration from author Jan Karon and her best-selling Mitford series, nine instrumentalists join Bill Leslie on the newest release in November 2011 of the 12 Best New Age Christmas Albums recommendation.
While Bill Leslie is recognized as an award winning musician, Bill Leslie is a 5 time Emmy Award winning journalist and newscaster for WRAL television network, and a recipient of multiple Journalist of the Year awards in North Carolina. He is also the composing director and soloist of his traditional and Celtic fusion music group Lorica. In 2010 Simple Beauty won an award for Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic at Zone Music Reporter.
2. Holiday High by Cadence Spalding.
Holiday High is an inspiring new age Christmas album with 10 songs with a intermingling of traditional and original holiday music from 2009. The angelic vocals by Cadence Spalding are a beautiful performance on Holiday High. The innovative talents of mixing and layering are introduced by husband Mars Lasar. Together with beautiful vocals by Cadence and Mars Lasar’s special creative touch, Holiday High is a release far apart from many other Christmas albums.
Holiday High is a traditional Christmas album displaying the serene musical qualities of a highly talented couple, who have earned a respected position in the music world by their individual albums. Save The World by Cadence Spalding is another New Age release worthy of your consideration. While Save The World is not a holiday release, Cadence Spalding’s debut release won NewAgeMusic.nu’s Best New Age Album Award in 2009. Her classical new age popular music is a pleasant mix of ballads finely tuned to perfection in the purest sense, and best describes the question of “what is new age music” best.
3. A Christmas Celebration by Celtic Woman.
A Christmas Celebration is a Celtic instrumental vocal album from 2006 with 15 song revisions of traditional holiday music performed with grace and style. This is the second release from Celtic Woman who is made up from a female musical ensemble with Irish origins. Recognized internationally by their charming vocals with instrumental backing, Celtic Woman is a quality group who has earned a worldwide fan base and escalation in popularity over the years.
A Christmas Celebration was certified a Gold album by RIAA in 2009 with a volume of sales reaching over 500,000 copies. Along with international concert tours in the United States and overseas, their PBS television series with special orchestra performances on CD and DVD and over 6 million in album sales, they have entertained a multitude of people worldwide.
The DVD releases A New Journey–Live at Slane Castle is one of their most popular. The CD/DVD editions of Celtic Woman, A New Journey, The Greatest Journey, & Songs From The Heart are equally popular. The sixth and seventh most current albums from 2011 are Celtic Woman: Lullaby & Celtic Woman: Believe.
4. And Winter Came by Enya.
And Winter Came is a 2008 release from superstar Enya with 12 holiday songs with a winter theme. With over 75 million in album sales worldwide, it’s no exaggeration the Irish born Enya is loved by millions by her collection of Celtic, new age, adult alternative repertoire. And Winter Came recalls the enchanting moments of the season with brilliant beauty.
Enya is a phenomenal female artist who has won four Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album, in addition to an Academy Award nomination. Easily becoming one of the most popular award winning female artists in history, Enya and her trademark melodies are the hallmark of year round quality music.
Whether Enya’s holiday album And Winter Came is your first choice, there are more great albums to choose from. The Very Best Of Enya is a popular chose, like Memory of Trees & A Day Without Rain which sold 15 million copies worldwide is a very popular choice. The album Amarantine from 2005 is another fine song collection, and we certainly can’t forget her early classic releases Shepard Moons & Watermark.
5. Christmas Joy by Fiona Joy Hawkins.
Christmas Joy is a brand new 2011 release with 11 songs of four original compositions and seven revisions on traditional holiday music. On Christmas Joy, pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins introduces a bold mixture of classical and jazz influences combined with world music rhythms and instruments of Didgeridoo, Gaelic, Paraguayan harp, soprano saxophone and stringed orchestra. Fiona even lends her vocals on this release. Musicians accompanying Fiona Joy Hawkins on piano and vocals are Philip Aaberg, Will Ackerman, Charlie Bisharat, and Eugene Friesen and Heather Rankin.
Fiona Joy Hawkins Blue Dream album is a piano and instrumental collaboration with other professional artists that received top music honors and again extended the worldwide admiration for her work. Fiona is a multiple awarding winning pianist who covers new age, classical, contemporary, jazz and world fusion music. Recognized internationally by her award winning piano and instrumentals, you can always depend on Fiona Joy Hawkins to create an exciting mix of songs that are without out exception, produced with quality.
6. Christmas for Two by Lisa Downing.
Christmas for Two is a beautiful piano solo album with 12 original revisions of traditional holiday music. Lisa Downing has a special gift herself as a top solo pianist, and this is especially articulated on her holiday music release. Lisa’s collection of original arrangements in traditional Christmas melodies are a mixture of contemplative and energizing pieces which will inspire the holiday spirit in anyone who listens. Lisa Downing has produced another winning album with Christmas for Two.
Lisa Downing did in fact win award recognition with Christmas for Two in NewAgeMusic.nu’s Best New Age Album Award in 2009, and an award for Best Holiday Album in 2010 at Zone Music Reporter. A Delicate Balance is her solo piano, new age, neo -classical release from 2009 that carries with it a special Lisa Downing touch. Along with her business endeavor and talent agency Vision Quest Entertainment, Lisa is a touring concert pianist who performs many concert venues each year, including corporate and private events. She is an esteemed concert pianist who has toured or performed with other renowned artists David Lanz, Suzanne Ciani, Liz Story, Joseph Akins and Peter Kater. Lisa Downing is a great artist who certainly belongs in this Best New Age Christmas Albums recommendation.
7. Keys of Christmas by Louis Colaiannia.
Keys of Christmas is a piano, instrumental and vocal new age album with 9 songs in an assortment of original and traditional holiday music. Due to be officially released on December 1, 2011, Louis Colaiannia is a talented songwriter, pianist and concert performer. When you listen to Keys of Christmas, you can tell right away the classically trained pianist who explores contemporary piano, jazz, new age and chill out music, has in fact produced a wonderful holiday arrangement. Enjoy the season in perfect harmony with Keys Of Christmas.
Louis Colaiannia’s album A Moment Between Eternities is a classic, instrumental new age contemporary release in 2011. The wonderful range in thought and feel with contemporary variations of classical orchestrations express the passion in which Louis composes every one of his album releases. The 9 songs on A Moment Between Eternities are like modern improvisations on classical music by graceful piano songs emboldened by contemporary instrumentals.
8. Christmas Symphony by Mannheim Steamroller.
Christmas Symphony is a new popular instrument album in 2011 with 16 of your holiday song favorites. This beautiful full symphony sound instrumental release is performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and includes some vocals. Many of you may know this, but Mannheim Steamroller is the most popular Christmas music artist of all time. And that’s a fact. With 28 million in album sales in the United States alone, and their legendary concert tours, it’s easy to see why they have become so popular.
The vast selection of Mannheim Steamroller holiday albums include Christmasville, Christmas Sweet Memo, Christmas Song, Celebration, Christmas Extraordinaire, 25 Year Celebration, Christmas Angel, Christmas Live & A Fresh Aire Christmas. With this long list of popular holiday albums like Christmas Symphony, it’s easy to find what you are looking for.
Mannheim Steamroller founder Chip Davis, and co-found Jackson Berkey have recently announced their annual holiday celebration “The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis” will soon begin their Christmas concert tour season, so check their website for concerts in your area. Check out their great selection of gifts too.
9. Christmas 25th Anniversary Collection by Mannheim Steamroller.
The Christmas 25th Anniversary Collection from 2009 is a 2 CD collector’s edition of 25 song favorites. The 2 CD song playlist for this excellent edition was selected by Chip Davis himself. If you are like me there are songs you will remember from years past, but it is all about the technical sound enhancements and playlist that makes this release special. After the 25 year anniversary tour last year, Chip Davis continues the tradition of live concerts for audiences around the country.
Mannheim Steamroller has also released a 2 CD disc album in their Fresh Aire Music Series that is a “best of the best” from the popular Fresh Aire series. The 25 songs selected by the band founding director Chip Davis are some of the most popular songs in the entire 8 disk Fresh Aire series. Mannheim Steamroller’s awards of 16 gold records, 7 platinum records and 4 multi-platinum records, Christmas albums and holiday concerts have made them the #1 Christmas music artist of all time.
10. Christmas from Mars by Mars Lasar.
Christmas from Mars is a new age instrumental album with electronic designs on 10 traditional Christmas melodies. This “Best Christmas Albums” recommendation simply wouldn’t be complete without including the 2007 holiday release from Mars Lasar. Recognized for his versatility and talents in electronic instrumental music, Christmas from Mars shines by the aptitude and expertize he conveys in every one of his albums.
Cadence Spalding performs angelic vocals on this album, so together this husband and wife team’s Holiday High & Christmas From Mars both have vocals by Cadence and Mars Lasar’s special creative touch and technical aptitude that sets their albums apart from many others in this category. Both Mars and Cadence have earned a respected position in the music world by their individual albums and ones they have produced together. Mars Lasar’s most current is a solo piano album with 18 songs entitled Piano Moods From Mars.
11. Christmas Eve and Other Stories by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Christmas Eve and Other Stories are a progressive rock adaptation of 17 songs from 1996 in a 1 CD or mp3 format. If you are familiar with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and their theatrical linage of songs, then you know Christmas Eve and Other Stories is unlike any other artist in my top albums recommendations. While I can advise every one of their songs is non-traditional, I can also say every song is special!
Trans-Siberian Orchestra has two very popular concept theme albums entitled Beethoven’s Last Night & Night Castle. Given their name, it does imply they are a Russian based act, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra is in fact a group based in the United States. Along with a huge fan following, their concert and album sales reach into the millions. Their just as popular Christmas themed album series are The Christmas Attic & The Lost Christmas Eve. Trans-Siberian Orchestra may leave you wondering if they are new age, progressive rock, symphonic, or classical music, but whatever classification you decide, you will definitely be impressed.
12. A Windham Hill Christmas by Various Artists.
A Windham Hill Christmas is an excellent release from 2002 featuring 14 song revisions on some of your most familiar holiday songs featuring Windham Hill artists. In this case, by various artists is a good thing! The Grammy Award winning founder of Windham Hill Will Ackerman even performs on the song What Strangers are These. It’s a wonderful instrumental album with a variety of top artists in the music business.
On A Windham Hill Christmas album there are so many top artists that space doesn’t permit me to list every professional. Popular artists on this release you are sure to recognize are Jim Brickman, George Winston, Tim Story, Tracy Silverman, Alex De Grassi, Liz Story, Paul Schwartz and many more. The hallmarks of this album are a relaxing, right at home feel you will notice right away. It’s some of the best songs available from the experts at Windham Hill.
This concludes my 12 Best Christmas holiday album recommendations. On January 1 2012 New Age Music World will present the Best New Age Music Album Awards for 2011. There are many great releases this year, and I will publish my recommendation for Best New Age Albums on New Year’s Day 2012.
Cover arts are courtesy of each individual artist. Photo copyright Big Stock Photo by Subbotina Anna & ppart.
Fiona Joy Hawkins has just returned home to Australia after her successful United States recording and concert tour. This visit to the U.S. has proven to be a productive recording and concert tour according to her press release where Fiona Joy Hawkins states; “The trip was absolutely exhilarating, considering I would spend weekdays recording and doing interviews and then on the weekends concert performances.”
Fiona has finalized her newest projects 600 Years in a Moment & Christmas Joy due to be released in October 2011. The word is that Fiona lends her own vocals on some songs for the first time too, so we will have to see if this is a new trend for her. The YouTube song video below is a preview of Flight of the Snowbird from her soon to be released Christmas Joy album which will arrive well before the holidays. She also has a concert DVD and has a number of live shows in Australia planned this year.
Actually the song video is a re-recording of Flight of the Albatross from her earlier album, Angel Above my Piano, already a beautiful piece and one of my favorites. This time around however she performs on an Australian 102 key Stuart & Son’s piano, which was later overdubbed with instrumentals at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio. Needless to say Flight of the Snowbird is a masterful re-creation!
Fiona Joy Hawkins most current album Blue Dream is a piano and instrumental collaboration with other artists that had received top music honors and again extended the worldwide admiration for her work. Recognized as an awarding winning pianist who covers New Age, Classical, Contemporary, Jazz and World Fusion genres, it’s easy to see Fiona’s music is well worth the wait!
Visit fionajoyhawkins.com.au for news and concert date info in Australia. Visit Fiona’s official YouTube channel and read my reviews of Blue Dream & Ice on my pages dedicated to Fiona Joy Hawkins. Photo is courtesy fionajoyhawkins.com.au.
Fiona Joy Hawkins
Blue Dream Album
*Album of the Year *Best Contemporary Instrumental *Best Contemporary Instrumental / Piano
David Wahler Michael Brant DeMaria Michael Brant Demaria
Antiquus Album Ocean Album Siyotanka Album
*Best New Artist *Best Ambient & *Best Relaxation *Best Native American
Michael Stribling Bruce Michell 9 Muses
The Promise Album New Earth Goddess Album Feel to Heal Album
*Best Electronic *Best Neo Classical *Best Chill / Groove
Again we invite our readers to visit each individual artist website by our links provided within every review. You can find their individual reviews by scrolling down our main pages or by clicking on their names in the right hand module to visit their dedicated page here at New Age Music World.
The ZMR Best Album Award winning musicians I wrote about this year at New Age Music World are shown above. Every artist listed has a home here so I will be posting more info about these award-winning artists in the future.
Fiona Joy Hawkins has just released a YouTube video with excerpts of her recent concert performance at the Q Theatre in Sydney Australia. In this concert, Fiona is featured showcasing her talents as a pianist, and sings soft vocals. The entire supporting cast of music professionals on the video are Rebecca Daniels playing violin and vocals, Trish McMeakin on cello and Andy Busuttil on percussion, clarinet, and reed instrument, saxillo.
I have watched this new video several times now, and found it gives an excellent sampling of her classic material with several songs from her recent Blue Dream album.
Fiona is also one of many currently under consideration with Zone Music Reporter’s awards ceremony taking place later in February and March.
Speaking of the ZMR awards, we have a special post ready for this weekend displaying 20 qualifying artists and their albums currently under consideration that we have written album reviews on this past year at NewAgeMusicWorld.com.
We invite you to check back for a nice story about the ZMR awards ceremony this weekend. You can go to zonemusicreporter.com for the complete details.
Visit fionajoyhawkins.com.au to find out more about this music professional.
Cover art is courtesy Fiona Joy Hawkins.
Australian composer and pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins has 4 award winning projects at present. Her most recent Blue Dream album is successful in placing an exclamation mark after her name when recognizing Fiona’s outstanding abilities and claim to fame in international status.
Fiona Joy Hawkin’s many achievements include charting at #1 on World New Age radio charts spanning 9 countries, Best Piano album in the NAR Lifestyle Music Awards in 2006, and as finalist in 2 genres in the Los Angeles Music Awards in 2007. Fiona also won an award in the Classical/Jazz category in the Music OZ Awards in 2008, and after being a finalist 5 times, she ranked finalist in 4 categories including Album of the Year in the NAR Awards in 2009.
Ice: Serve Slightly Chilled is innovative, dynamic and bold, confidently stated by yours truly. With an inventor’s approach, Fiona Joy Hawkin’s Ice composition is patently administered on her Steinway Concert piano as a new musical prototype. What impressed me the most was a momentary departure from her exceptional, yet more Contemporary albums that won her claim to fame. Portions of the Rock overtones present in this album challenge some of our basic assumptions of the term Piano music. Another concept is a transition in the way Rock music has been perceived in the past, creating a new approach in the way we view the term Rock music.
It is on the Ice: Serve Slightly Chilled release where Fiona’s patent innovation in New Age, Contemporary piano begins, charting an adventurous course in the way a musician blends Classical New Age, Popular, Chill Out, Jazz, World and Rock. With an inventor’s approach, Fiona patently administers a new music prototype on her Steinway Concert piano.
The Ice album discloses more than an improvement made to a existing musical product. Fiona takes an inventor’s approach in redefining the fundamental basics of the way we perceive Piano and Rock music.
The 10 songs on Ice are issued titles with an icy thermodynamic theme, setting the spine chilling mood in motion by providing a mid tempo application of classic New Age Chill. The song Iced Rain discloses a trademark Fiona Joy Hawkins piano arrangement, yet grants an exclusive design concept by applying a mixture of genres and unique instrumentation.
While Aboriginal Didgeridoo echoes an indigenous woodwind call to the wild, ebony and ivory piano keys appear to reach an entire range of octaves to establish a new dimension in piano music that is spine tingling. Thunderous percussion unites with electrified guitar to diagram the upbeat momentum for this ground breaking discovery by commingling Classic piano and Rock music into a single entity.
Cloud Chill is a song innovation that starts out as a meteorological weather advisory on the horizon when native Didgeridoo once again reverbs an ancient voice into the past, present, and future. Fiona’s epic design in piano rhythms then integrate with electric guitar, blending into musical matter cool enough to penetrate what we term Rock music.
Fiona Joy Hawkin’s novel piano composition first finds a crack and expands, breaking the solid barrier of Rock music from a familiar genre, shattering what was once a large form of music into tiny little pieces into a new music entity. The Ice project discloses more than just an improvement made to a prior existing musical product. Fiona takes an inventor’s approach in redefining the fundamental basics of the way we perceive Piano and Rock music.
The 2 songs I just described titled Iced Rain and Cloud Chill are playing on our Stars Radio so that you may hear this invention in music for yourself. You may also read my review of her latest album titled Blue Dream, and then discover the online art gallery and music website of fionajoyhawkins.com.au. Picture copyright Bigstockphoto.com.
It seems that few instruments can compare to a piano for personally illustrating the emotion and feeling of what an artist wants to share with another. The piano is a divine instrument to play or to simply listen while others perform. I am certain many readers like myself have also had the opportunity to play the piano as younger adults either willingly or unwillingly under the guidance of their parents, which ended with varying degrees of success.
Fiona Joy Hawkins from Australia is the noteworthy artist I would like to highlight today since she has achieved unbridled success as a touring concert pianist. Fiona has reached the number 1 spot in World New Age radio charts across 9 countries, achieving the Best Piano Album in the NAR lifestyle music awards in 2006, and winning the classical/jazz category in the Music OZ Awards for 2008. These are accomplishments even her parents never would have dreamed possible.
Fiona Joy Hawkins has also received multiple nominations as finalist in classical jazz categories in 2007 and 2009 in multiple genres, among her respectable achievements as an Australian born composer and pianist.
Fiona’s most recent 2008 Blue Dream album on the Little Hartley Music label, described as Contemporary World fusion piano music. The release places the listener into a relaxed mood by many refined variations ranging from the poignant quiet moments of thought, to reflective moments with varying rhythms and orchestration phases on the 22 song album which does blend together well from song to song.
Fiona Joy Hawkins most current album Blue Dream is a piano and instrumental collaboration with other artist that has received top music honors and again extended the worldwide admiration for her work. Fiona is recognized as an awarding winning pianist who covers New Age, Classical, Contemporary, Jazz and World Fusion genres, it’s easy to see Fiona’s Blue Dream release was worth the wait!
While already widely recognized, the Blue Dream album should help her break into international markets. One can consider the 22 songs on this album as chapters in a book, that after reading each chapter, the next phase of this story becomes more revealing when finishing all verses, and working your way towards the final chapter.
My favorite track 9 blends powerful, yet soft vocals, only to crescendo into a moving inspirational piece, blending into the next novel chapter. All song chapters and illustrations in Blue Dream will hold your interest by preventing you from putting the book down, and my favorite track 9 blends powerful, yet soft vocals, only to crescendo into a moving inspirational piece, blending into the next novel chapter. Farther in the storyline, Track 12 opens with a classic piano solo interlude as vocals add definition. The plot thickens in this musical storyline by increased keyboard momentum and fine instrumentals, which divulge even greater amounts of dialog on this narrative.
Recorded and produced by Grammy Award winner Will Ackerman, there are a host of talented musicians who solo and accompany Fiona Joy Hawkins on her Blue Dream release. To their credit, they greatly influence the beauty and refinement of the album, without ever exceeding the award winning pianist intentions, and the message she masterfully portrays on the 88 ebony and ivory keyed Steinway concert piano.
Fiona Joy Hawkins is also a painter with her own online art gallery, where paintings can be purchased, along with her 4 available CDs. The novel website to visit is fionajoyhawkins.com.au. Picture Copyright Big Stock Photo – aysarts.