The new songs are now on a special edition of Amarantine released for Christmas. The pieces are pieces that mean a lot to me for Christmas. The only original pieces: it’s Adeste Fideles, which is O Come All Ye Faithful, and I’ve always sung it in Latin, so I thought it was important to me to sing it as I’ve always known it singing it as a child growing up. And then I’ve always loved We Wish You A Merry Christmas. It’s sort of very up-tempo, it’s quite manic, and it captures a lot about Christmas that was very exciting to me. And then the two original pieces: Christmas Secrets, I think Christmas is a time of secrets, you know, no matter what they are for different people, it can mean different things for them. And Magic of the Night is about the night itself, Christmas Eve, it’s a very magical time.

It will be interesting to see when the album is finished what the main influences are going to be. I find that when I worked on We Wish You A Merry Christmas I was drawn to it because it’s a very lively piece of music, and there’s a part of Christmas that has that atmosphere to it. I wanted to capture that in the song, but to make it very much to sound like me as well. So it was quite a challenge, and I enjoyed working on that piece.

Christmas songs are very traditional, so to actually be writing a traditional, hoping to capture what Christmas is all about I am trying to make it that it’s not too new a sound. That you kind of capture what Christmas is about, not necessarily what it means today. So it’s quite interesting to see how people are gonna react to these new Christmas songs.

I have a very fond memory of my first time going to midnight mass with parents, because you have to be a certain age to be able to stay up so late at night. And I have a fond memory of being in the choir and singing Silent Night, Oiche Chiun in Gaelic.

I do remember as a child in Gweedore, which is in the north-west of Ireland, having snow at Christmastime. And it does add to the atmosphere, to actually wake up and have the snow, to be able to go out and build the snowman. So it’s quite exciting for a child to see snow, it was something that was quite magical for Christmas.

To me and my family Christmas is a time that hasn’t changed that much, because we always make an effort to try to get together no matter where we are in the world, how busy we’ve been. We always try to make a time for each other for those few days around Christmas.

I will have a few Christmas trees in the castle, because it’s quite beautiful to decorate. It’s an old Victorian castle, so it looks quite beautiful when you decorate the castle in Christmas decoration. Hopefully, I will have the time.

For next year I will be working on the Christmas album. Again, it will be a challenge to see what the themes are gonna be about, what the songs are gonna be about, so I am quite excited about that. Therefore, I will be releasing a Christmas album for winter 2007. I will hopefully get to travel and to perform some of the songs, so I am quite excited about that.

On Amarantine my lyricist created with me a new fictional language, and it came from working on Lord of the Rings and singing in Tolkien’s fictional language Elvish. It was very, very interesting and so when we were working on Amarantine, it came about that we decided to experiment with a fictional language. A lot of people have said how much they enjoy it even though they don’t understand it. But then they don’t understand when I sing in Gaelic or Latin, various languages. They enjoyed it very much; there was a very positive reaction. At the moment, working on the Christmas album, I am not sure if there might be a Christmas Loxian song.

I have to say on travelling to promote the album Amarantine that it was yet again a very positive reaction to the music, to the different languages I sing, the different themes that I covered in the album. To me it’s very important and it’s very encouraging. It’s something I work on in the studio, and then you have people who enjoy the work. It’s so rewarding and so encouraging to me, to continue with my work, so I enjoy it very much.

To me, working on an album is a long time putting the album together. Since the success of my fist album, it’s been very important to me to forget the success, because I find that that can distract you in the studio, because I am trying to write the music, to perform the music and I feel that I don’t want to repeat what I’ve done previous. So it’s very important to me when I go to the studio that I isolate myself completely from thinking about performing, thinking about sales of the album, and I do it so well that every time when I finish an album, it feels like my first album. I feel, ‘Is there anybody gonna listen to this music? Are they gonna enjoy the music?’ The fact that there is success with an album to me is again so encouraging, so rewarding, and it just makes it for me that to go back to the studio … it brings being creative within yourself. So, I enjoy that.

I was in Kyoto last year and it’s so beautiful. I was there briefly few years previous, it was only just for a day, and it wasn’t long enough to see Kyoto. So this time I ended up getting to see more of the city. It’s seeing the older side of Japan, which I am fascinated about, it’s seeing more of Japanese culture. I enjoyed it very much. Visiting the Japanese gardens for a moment, that was very, very special to me.

When I travel, there are moments I can be with different people, different cultures, it can be a landscape, it can be beautiful garden – that in itself is always an inspiration to write music. But I am not sure how it will evolve. It’s something that I have to wait and see when I am in the studio. I sit there, and then I will concentrate on the music, and then when I write a piece of music, I can hear the influence is from that garden, it’s from being in a different city, meeting with people. The influences are very much there from travelling.

WM Japan | December 2006 
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