Anna Atkinson presents Frost and Flame: A Celtic Musical Christmas Celebration at Cedar United Church. (Photo courtesy Marjie Callaghan)

Anna Atkinson presents Frost and Flame: A Celtic Musical Christmas Celebration at Cedar United Church. (Photo courtesy Marjie Callaghan)

Singer presents Christmas concert in the languages of the Celtic realms

Anna Atkinson holds annual food bank fundraiser at Cedar United Church

The Celtic people speak and sing in many languages, and Anna Atkinson will be showcasing seven of those tongues at her upcoming Christmas benefit concert.

The local vocalist and VIU English professor will be performing in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Latin, Cornish, Breton and Manx in Frost and Flame: A Celtic Musical Christmas Celebration at Cedar United Church on Dec. 22. For the seventh year her Christmas show will also serve as a fundraiser for the Loaves and Fishes food bank as well as Cedar United.

The meaning of the songs won’t be entirely lost on the audience, Atkinson said, as actor and minister of Cedar United Erin Sterling will be providing spoken word translations throughout. She said the concert is named in reference to the vivid, evocative nature of the Celtic languages.

“It’s the immediacy of the sensation of frost, and the incredible scorching heat almost of the visions of the angels across the sky,” she said. “All of that comes through in the languages of the various Celtic realms.”

Atkinson said although it’s challenging to memorize a song in an unfamiliar language, let alone seven, much can be lost in translation. She said there are two ways that could go, and both are unsatisfying.

“You can either make it a really literal translation and try to lose nothing of the original language and then the song sounds ridiculous because the words don’t fit the tune anymore,” she said. “Or you can do a really loose translation that fits the tune really well, but doesn’t capture the original essence.”

Atkinson said singing in languages other than English is one of the things she enjoys most about being a Celtic singer.

“The other thing that’s really important to me about singing in these languages is that they are languages that are indigenous to the places where the Celts were,” Atkinson said. “And many of them, including Breton and Cornish, were endangered languages and in fact still do suffer some sort of cultural pressure from English.”

Atkinson said that by remembering and keeping the Celtic tongues alive through her performance she hopes to be standing in solidarity with indigenous languages from around the world that are at risk of disappearing.

“Perhaps one day I will be gifted to even be able to sing in the indigenous languages of this place, which would be a wonderful gift indeed,” she said. “I do love hearing those languages spoken and sung.”

WHAT’S ON … Anna Atkinson presents Frost and Flame: A Celtic Musical Christmas Celebration at Cedar United Church, 1644 Cedar Rd., on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets $20, available via phone at 250-327-2247 or email at anna.atkinson@viu.ca.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Nanaimo area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo councillors like new sustainable buying policy

Finance and audit committee recommends council approve new procurement policy

Action at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo sports organizations qualify for COVID-19 relief funding

Province announces support for curling, rowing, gymastics, softball, rugby, squash, football clubs

FOI records provided to the News Bulletin from the City of Nanaimo in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)
Samra’s numerous FOI requests to City of Nanaimo aren’t ‘vexatious,’ privacy commissioner decides

Former CAO says records will assist her in a future B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Most Read