Music shows to watch on TV over Christmas

A round-up of the musical shows on TV this Christmas
Music shows to watch on TV over Christmas

Imelda May. Picture: Christie Godwin

ALLOW singer Imelda May to demonstrate to us what an Irish Christmas looks - and sounds - like in a festive special on Christmas Eve.

In Christmas In Ireland With Imelda May And Friends on Sky Arts at 9.30pm, the Dubliner leads a knees-up that includes songs, music, and literary flourishes too.

Filmed in the Pepper Cannister Church in the heart of Georgian Dublin, Imelda is joined by friends and family, and the odd famous face, for the one-hour show.

It features festive favourites like The Wexford Carol and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas with the host joined on stage by Glen Hansard, Jack Lukeman and Loah, as the legendary Grafton Street Christmas Eve Buskers are brought indoors for one night only.

Alongside these performances, Sharon Corr recites Patrick Kavanagh’s A Christmas Childhood and Dubliners legend John Sheahan performs a self-penned festive poem, set to the soundtrack of the iconic Marino Waltz.

A festive evening full of art and heart – not to be missed.

Meanwhile, fans of the mighty Phil Lynott can rock along to Dancing In The Moonlight – The RTÉ Concert Orchestra Plays The Music Of Thin Lizzy on RTÉ1 on Wednesday, December 28 at 9.25pm. Recorded at Collins Barracks, Dublin, it features special guests Mundy, Jack O’Rourke, Wallis Bird, Tom Dunne, and Shobsy, as well as getting insights from the performers, musicians, and people who were close to Phil and his band

Jack Lukeman.
Jack Lukeman.

For a more traditional slant, in Christmas In The Castle on Christmas Eve on RTÉ1 at 9.30pm, Dáithí Ó Sé and Sinéad Kennedy deck the halls of Dublin Castle for a gorgeous festive celebration

It features Nathan Carter, Jack Lukeman, Shobsy, Erica-Cody, Emma Langford, Ryan Sheridan, The Bugle Babes, Donnycarney Ukrainian Community Choir, Glória LGBT+ Choir, DCU Chamber Choir and the Choir of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, accompanied by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

What is your favourite carol? Hear the UK countdown in The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Carols on Sky Arts on Thursday December 22 at 8pm. 

Broadcast from The London Coliseum, join the English National Opera’s choir and orchestra as they make their way through the carols voted by the public.

Fancy some music a little more contemporary? A sequel to last year’s How Ireland Rocked The ’70s, How Ireland Rocked The ’80s on RTÉ1 on Tuesday, December 27 at 6.30pm looks at the big live outdoor music shows held in Ireland in that decade, from Siamsa Cois Laoí through Slane, Self Aid and U2 at Croke Park to Féile 1990.

Contributors include Bob Geldof, Lord Henry Mount Charles, Mike Scott, Peter Aiken and Cáit O’Riordan.

Ed Sheeran on stage at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture; Eddie O'Hare
Ed Sheeran on stage at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

Music from Michael Bublé and Ed Sheeran is among the highlights on Pat Shortt’s Entertainment From D’Telly on RTÉ1 on Christmas Eve at 6.15pm, as he takes a festive trawl through the RTÉ Archives with an hour’s worth of cracker Christmas entertainment.

Dessie: Glór Na Bó Finne on TG4 on Christmas Day at 10.25pm is a documentary celebrating the life, times and music of the late Inisbofin singer Dessie O’Halloran.

It follows his cousin and long-time collaborator John O’Halloran as he goes on a journey to find out about this enigmatic and quiet man, who died in 2019.

Percy French, best known as a writer of humorous songs, as well as being a legendary entertainer, a talented author, poet, banjo player and an accomplished landscape painter who travelled the world performing, will be the focus of Percy French: Siúlach Scéalach on New Year’s Day on TG4 at 8pm.

The documentary Willie Clancy: 50 Bliain den Cheol on TG4 on Friday, December 30 at 9.20pm celebrates a half century of the renowned annual Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare.

Poet Paul Muldoon also gets a salute, in Paul Muldoon Laoithe’s Liricí on TG4 on Wednesday, December 28 at 9.20pm. Musicians he has worked with include Paul Simon, PJ Harvey, Bono, and Paul Brady.

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