Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Karl Scully are the Irish Tenors, and with so many tenor groups out there it is hard to keep track of them all.
But their new holiday CD, “Christmas,” leaves little doubt who leads the pack. Majestic renditions of “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night” will raise the spirits and warm the heart of any Scrooges out there refusing to celebrate the season in these tough economic times.
I spoke with Wright about the CD and traveling over the holidays. Here’s how it went.
Why has the Irish tenor music become so synonymous with Christmas?
Experts say the tenor’s range evokes emotions that no other voice does. If that is true, then it might be perfect for an emotional time of the year like Christmas.
I know I love singing now because there is such a bank of great songs associated with a full orchestra, and I think the voice with orchestra brings something special to this magnificent, sacred music. We’ve been at it 10 years and a lot of people thought it would come and go, but people are hungry for this music still!
Ronan Tynan was part of the Irish Tenors. What do you think about the current controversy around him?
I contacted him right away because I laughed at first. It is so typical of him, always quick with a joke. I always said to him, ‘Ronan, your mouth is going to get you in trouble.’ But he has this huge heart, a huge sense of humor and the energy comes to his mouth a bit quick. It was innocent enough and he is a sincere guy who would not hurt anyone.
The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” is on this CD and that is more punk rock than classical music. How did you arrive on that song?
We had to tame it down a little bit. Our audience would not be rock and roll, and I don’t think they would take the full effect of Shane, but it was such a powerful beautiful song with a great melodies.
There are very few Irish songs, like “Wexford Carol” that Anthony sings in our show. It’s nice to have one holiday tune that we can claim as our own. It is the one song that gets huge applause. Hopefully, we have done the right thing with it.
How does being away on tour in the holiday season affect your family?
They’ve lived with it since they were born. For years before the Tenors I had an active solo career, so they’ve grown up with it. It lends a bit of excitement to it because there is that drama as to whether I come home in time.
What are your holiday wishes?
I’ll be wishing for the rain to stop. It is an unfair world. We have an abundance of rain in Ireland when there is drought elsewhere.
All kidding aside, my wish for people is contentment. What eats people’s soul is a lack of contentment. I wish people find that one thing that makes them happy for what they have.
The Irish Tenors “Christmas” CD is available on Razor and Tie Records. They will play Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey on Friday, November 27. Log onto www.theirishtenors.com for a full tour schedule.