From the liner notes to Celtic Voices (1995, Narada Media):
One devoted ambassador for Manx Gaelic and other traditional island culture is Emma Christian, who was born on the Isle of Man in 1972. Her magnificent singing in Manx Gaelic, coupled with her profound knowledge of ancient Manx customs and lore and her exquisite touch on the clarsach (Celtic harp) and recorder, places her in the forefront of the island's leading traditional performers.
Among Emma's musical influences and teachers is Charles Guard, the eminent Manx harper largely credited for first introducing Manx traditional music to the outside world. Emma formally studied the recorder at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester England, and in 1990 entered Cambridge University to study Celtic history. She is now researching a doctorate on the history of the medieval church in the Isle of Man and the western islands of Scotland.
Not surprisingly, church is one of the venues in which Emma likes to perform. Others include castles, cathedrals, and chapels where, late at night by candlelight, she creates a close, intimate atmosphere for her audiences - an atmosphere consistent with her approach to and respect for Manx traditional music.
Emma's singing and instrumental playing are haunting, emotive and delicately beautiful as can be heard on the four selections here. Ushag Veg Ruy ('Little Red Bird"), the first song Emma remembers ever singing, is a version of a popular Manx lullaby telling of a bird's often frustrated attempts to find a hospitable sleeping place. Oikan ayns Bethlehem ("Birth in Bethlehem"), a lovely recounting of the nativity story, it one of the briefer Manx carvals, religious poems set to Manx traditional melodies and composed for the late-night Oie'll Voirrey (Christmas Eve) celebrations. O Kirree T'ou Goll Dy Faagail Mee ("O Kirree, Thou Wilt Leave Me") is a short, plaintive Manx traditional melody on recorder, an instrument Emma plays in the ornamented style of a wooden flute.
Closing Out CELTIC VOICES is Arrane Oie Vie ("The Goodnight Song"). This song, signaling the time for guests to leave for home and bed after a Manx traditional gathering, has become a poignant anthem for preserving the Manx traditional way of life. It is a fitting conclusion to an album celebrating the ongoing vitality of Celtic music through four impressive voices that undoubtedly will he heard from again.
Beneath the Twilight (Manx Celtic Productions 1994)
liner notes to Celtic Voices (1995, Narada Media)