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Classical Music Review

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A Mexican Christmas


Composer: Various
Performed by: The Newberry Consort and EnsAmble Ad-Hoc
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 November 2021

The Newberry Consort and EnsAmble Ad-Hoc present A Mexican Christmas, an album of 17th century traditional music for worship and celebration. The collection features pieces commonly heard in both liturgical service and in the streets, and evoke the solemnity and fanfare heard in Mexico City’s convents and plazas, with jubilant vocals and lively strings, guitars, and percussion. Organ, harp, bassoon, and a variety of Mexican traditional instruments bring this exuberant and diverse music to life...

If you've ever wondered what a Mexican Christmas sounds like, then here's your chance to soak up some of the traditional music that is heard through the land during the festive period. Not being familiar with any of the tunes I have to admit that it didn't exactly make me feel all Christmassy. In fact a lot of the tracks felt like ancient folk songs.

In the United Kingdom a traditional Christmas isn't quite the same without traditional carols and so music is an integral part of the festivities and so it was an interesting peek into how Mexico celebrates the holiday.

The only track that sounded familiar was 'Serenísima Una Noche', which had a ring of the classic nursery rhyme 'London's Burning'.

It's an interesting collection, but feels more medieval folk than traditional Christmas. It was enjoyable to discover what is traditional for another country, but it's more a novelty album rather than one you'll want to dig out at Christmas.


Darren Rea