AN­NIE LEN­NOX A Christ­mas Cor­nu­copia (La Len­noxa/Uni­ver­sal Is­land Records)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

The for­mer Eury­th­mics singer’s sig­na­ture husky voice is a per­fect match for the carols and sec­u­lar tunes se­lected for this CD — her first Christ­mas al­bum. While Len­nox doesn’t “per­son­ally as­cribe to any spe­cific re­li­gion,” as she writes in the liner notes, she ad­mits that she sung her fair share of tra­di­tional hol­i­day mu­sic as a child. It’s ev­i­dent that she also de­vel­oped a deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the mu­sic and held onto it well into adult­hood. A Christ­mas Cor­nu­copia is shap­ing up to be the most mov­ing hol­i­day re­lease of 2010 by a high-pro­file fe­male artist. The al­bum hardly smacks of Len­nox’s celebrity, though. One rea­son may be her bal­anced choice of songs and de­cid­edly un­hip mu­si­cal col­leagues, who in­clude the African Chil­dren’s Choir. While there are stan­dard num­bers, like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentle­men” and “O Lit­tle Town of Beth­le­hem,” they are beau­ti­fully sung and ar­ranged with the word “haunt­ing” in mind. The lesser-known “Lul­lay Lul­lay,” also called the Coven­try Carol, tells the story of King Herod’s murder of first-born boys in the quest to de­stroy Je­sus. So this isn’t the kind of al­bum the Mup­pets are go­ing to ped­dle on Christ­mas Eve. Cor­nu­copia is in­fused with a deep spir­i­tu­al­ity that tran­scends the height­ened com­mer­cial­ism of the sea­son. Len­nox makes hol­i­day mu­sic beau­ti­ful and pro­found again, and she makes it seem ef­fort­less. Pro­ceeds from the sale of al­bum sin­gle “Uni­ver­sal Child,” a Len­nox orig­i­nal, go to the An­nie Len­nox Foun­da­tion, which raises money for HIV/AIDS aware­ness pro­grams in Africa. — Rob DeWalt

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