Michael Londra Beyond The Star
BEYOND THE STAR is Michael Londra’s gift for the holidays to us all. A collection of 11 seasonal and seasonless songs, the CD is a truly classic work from the contemporary Irish tenor who has had a stellar year with 2 Emmy nominations for his PBS special “Beyond Celtic”. Michael also participated in a very special performance with Judy Collins for the Kennedy family at the JFK celebrations in Ireland and at the President’s graveside in Arlington and finally performing as special guest of the mega show Celtic Thunder.
Before his homeland, Wexford was known for its opera, it was and still is known for caroling. “The Wexford Carol” is a part of a tradition that has continued for more than hundreds of years in Kilmore Village. Official Wexford Ambassador, Londra sings a version that is pure and true. The glory of song and the glory of language meet in his Irish-English renditions of “Silent Night” and the beloved Irish carol “Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil.” Ave Maria,” “O Come, O Come Emanuel” and “Magia Sara” are timeless showcases for the breadth, depth and range of Londra’s shimmering vocals.
Unlike many of his peers, Londra has also ventured into songwriting, and the album’s title track is an example of his multi-faceted talent. “I wrote ‘Beyond the Star’ years ago, but didn’t see its potential until my producer, Steve Skinner, helped me flesh out the song. I get lots of requests from choirs around the U.S. to sing it at Christmas. I never thought I’d see the day when people would listen to and like something I wrote.” Skinner, who has worked as a producer/arranger with talents diverse as Celine Dion, Taylor Dayne, Chaka Kahn and the late Arif Mardin also co-wrote the memorable “With Strings of Lights.” Another song on the CD familiar to fans of Londra’s annual “A Celtic Yuletide” concerts is “Winter, Fire and Snow,” written by Brendan Graham, who wrote Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” “I love his writing,” Michael explains, and have sung this song in my concerts for a few years.”
Uileann pipes combine with Londra’s voice on “In the Bleak Mid Winter. “They are my favorite instrument if they are played properly,” he says. “Magnificent, plaintive and guaranteed to make me homesick. Chicago-based Pat Broaders plays the pipes here. He is annoyingly talented, and fun to work with . I only work with people whose company I love. It is almost as important as their particular musical gift. I have no desire to work with brilliantly talented people who are miserable.”
This Christmas season–as in seasons past, Londra will be touring with “A Celtic Yuletide,” featuring a modern Irish sound and some of the best Irish dancers in the world. His stories will be full of warmth and humor, his songs overflowing with the spirit of the season and the seasonless joys of life and living that he shares on BEYOND THE STAR.