Tag: christmas


Nashville Mandolin Ensemble – Christmas and more

Some days ago I wrote about Carol of the Bells, and that the first version of this tune that I liked was the version played by the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble on the CD of Patty Loveless Bluegrass & White Snow.

And some days ago I found new videos of the NME with some Christmas tunes.

Nashville Mandolin Ensemble “O, Holy Night”

Nashville Mandolin Ensemble “Christmas in County Kerry”

The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble plays very good arrangements of classical and modern tunes for plucked instruments – mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos and guitars. It does not sound like a typical European mandolin ensemble, and it does not sound like Bluegrass – I would say it sounds really like American mandolin ensemble music, like the groups that existed at the beginning of the 20th century all over the USA. More recent groups with a similar sound are the Mando Boys with Peter Ostroushko who made a CD years ago, or the Modern Mandolin Quartet.

Founded in 1991 by Butch Baldassari of the Blair School of Music, NME performs period arrangements for mandolin orchestra along with animated transcriptions of classical, jazz and pop music, along with new music from contemporary composers.

And on the myspace page I found the following description:

With its scintillating contemporary qualities, the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble has been hailed for revitalizing and reshaping a type of ensemble music that enjoyed nationwide popularity at the turn of the 20th century.

I have collected the following playlist with videos of the

Playlist – Nashville Mandolin Ensemble

Playlist Nashville Mandoline Ensemble 2

Additional Information

NME on myspace – Bach, Beatles, Bluegrass – with some examples from their CDs: http://www.myspace.com/nashvillemandolinensemble

Homepage about the NME with informations: http://www.soundartrecordings.com/nme.shtml

Recommendation (Amazon partnerlink)

Bach >> Beatles >> Bluegrass – Nashville Mandolin Ensemble

aa mandolin guitar

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah is one of the most famous songs by Leonard Cohen, and very many cover versions of this songs do exist. This song has also been used in the Shrek movie. I have listened to some versions of Leonard Cohens Hallelujah and want to present some interesting versions of this song in my blog.

Leonard Cohen has died aged 82 in Nov. 2016.

Leonard Cohen

Allison Crowe

A beautiful cover version by Allison Crowe with piano – maybe this is the most viewed version of this song at youtube with more the 4 million views:

Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) – Allison Crowe live performance

The following version by Nynke Laverman in the Frisian language of the Netherlands is also very interesting, I liked this version very much, although I do not understand the language:

Hallelujah – Cohen in Het Fries – Nynke Laverman

Nynke Laverman singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. From “De Partisanen – Leonard Cohen in Het Fries”, a Netherlands tribute project presenting a collection of Cohen classics in the Frisian language.

Jeff Buckley’s version of this song is also very famous, here is a video with one of his versions:

More information:

Site about Leonard Cohen and his works: http://leonardcohenfiles.com/

Wikipedia about Hallelujah:  Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)

German: Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)

Songtext German / Englisch: http://www.boelters.de/LC/Hallelujah.html

The Essential Leonard Cohen Limited Edition, Original recording remastered

(Amazon partnerlink)


Christmas Music from Canada – Noel! Noel! The Spirit…

I am just preparing some presents for Christmas and I am listening to some nice music from Canada:

Noel! Noel! – The Spirit Of The Season

Throughout the show four unique and dynamic performers share music that expresses their vision of Christmas. Using both personal anecdotes and songs each artist will share their experience of this magical season.

The concert included more than 20 songs and instrumentals that have some connection with christmas. (link not valid any more)

Paul Tobin

I have already heard a nice song by Paul Tobin about his leaving home.

Known mainly as a blues man in the Saskatoon community, Paul Tobin’s latest CD ‘All Nigh Blue’ draws on the genre while showcasing Paul as a singer-songwriter in his own right. Paul’s very personal songs reflect on the past and make observations about our contemporary world.


I liked very much the fiddle tunes by Karrnnel that are influenced by Ukrainian music – here is a promotional video with some examples of the music by Karrnnel:

Karrnnel may only be 27 years old, but he is the most decorated competitive fiddler in Saskatchewan’s history

Claire Pelletier

Several songs are sung by Claire Pelletier in French, especially I liked the song: D’où viens-tu bergère

Gifted and award-winning Quebecois songstress Claire Pelletier carries on the tradition of  her native Kamouraska.

Here is a video that I have found with music by Claire Pelkletier and pictures from a “Village de Noel”:

Alexis Normand

The fourth artist in this concert is Alexis Normand whose Jingle Bells version in French “Vive le Vent” is very nice.

Alexis Normand is a young Saskatoon singer songwriter, graduate of the National Songwriting Academy (L’École nationale de la chanson) and winner of Radio-Canada’s Muziklip contest.

youtube Channel Alexis Normand

The concert ends with a special Christmas “Orange Blossom Special”!

Check my page about Christmas music to find more!

♬ ★ The Best Music for Christmas ♬ ★


Carol of the Bells

I have heard Carol of the Bells first on the Christmas CD “Blue Grass & White Snow” by Patty Loveless. According to the the reviews it was played by members of the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble – with mandolins, mandocellos, guitars, flute and tubular bells – a very beautiful (and I think still my favorite) version of this song. You can find a review of this CD at: http://countrymusic.about.com/od/cdreviewsal/fr/BlugrassWhtSnow.htm

Unfortunately this version is not available at youtube.

But there are many, many videos at youtube, and I have selected my favorite versions with plucked instruments for this post.

Carol of the Bells: John King ukulele

Classical guitarist Phillip Lester demonstrates his solo fingerstyle guitar arrangement of Carol of the Bells.

Carol of the Bells – Tom & Krystin perform this traditional carol from their Christmas Guitars CD.

“Carol of the Bells” by Eric Loy (Harp Guitar)

A very special instrument – the harp guitar – is used in the following video:

And finally a beautiful version with a mandolin and two guitars:

Many more versions with Tubas, Cellos, Percussion ensemble, One Man/Woman Choirs, Jazz Choirs, School Choirs, Church Choirs, Pop-Stars like Destinys Child or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, instructions for guitar can be found in my playlist Carol of the Bells.

Sheet Music

I have found several sources for free sheet music of Carol of the Bells

The first is a version of for a recorder ensemble with finger cymbals and triangle – this might also be played with mandolins and guitars – just try it:

Amy L. Heavilin: Carol of the Bells (recorder)

A version for four cellos ca be fond in the Folk Cello Blog: Carol of the Bells (Cello)

TABs for the ukulele version by John King can be found at: http://www.nalu-music.com/ukulele-tablature/carol-of-the-bells-ukulele/

Two versions for piano can be found at: http://www.music-for-music-teachers.com/ukrainian-bell-carol.html

On the following page you can also find a version of Carol of the Bells (Ukrainian Bells) wuth a playlog file to practice and some other christmas carols: http://www.musicstudents.com/archive/christmas.html

More free sheet music sites for christmas carols from Germany and other countries can be found on my homepage, direct link to the page (only German – I will translate this and add it as a post in this blog): http://www.mandoisland.de/noten2009/weihnachten.html

Additional information

Many information about Carol of the Bells, including a list of notable performances of this piece can be found at wikipedia: Carol of the Bells

Nashville Mandolin Ensemble at myspace: http://www.myspace.com/nashvillemandolinensemble

Homepage Patty Loveless: http://www.pattyloveless.com/

Harp guitars: http://www.harpguitars.net/

Playlist: Carol of the Bells

Link collection – free sheetmusic for christmas: http://pinboard.in/u:mandoisland/t:weihnachten/t:noten

Mandozine Tabs for Christmas: http://www.mandozine.com/music/

Related article: ★ The Best Music for Christmas 2016

Recommendation for guitar players (Amazon partnerlink)

Fingerpicking Christmas: 20 Carols Arranged for Solo Guitar in Notes & Tablature