here for reviews of individual CDs.
This a personal
selection which will hopefully become more comprehensive in time. Initially
I have listed the music by performer, indicating useful or inspiring songs.
Some are effective to enhance prayer and meditation, some may be used
to encourage discussion of key themes. Many are available through religious
book and music shops such as Veritas,
online retailers like Amazon,
Discs is a great source for the American material. Some recommended
songs may turn up on other albums by the same artists or on compilation
albums. Links are given to artists' websites where there may be samples
their work to listen to or download.
Superb singer songwriter from America.
Her mainstream albums often contain spiritual themes of a general
nature, e.g. bereavement on the Sand and Water (1997) album,
but in Autumn 2004 she released the album Hymns, (review
versions of traditional Catholic hymns in Latin most conducive to
meditation, with some English language tracks including the outstanding
"Oh God of Loveliness". In Spring 2007, she released a DVD
of a wonderful concert of spiritual songs from St Paul's Cathedral
in London - If Love Could Say God's Name (review here),
and in Autumn 2007
released Prism,a double
CD, of spiritual songs from many religious cultures, with some new
material as well.
One America's best known contemporary Christian music singers. Her
Christmas albums are a treat, combining traditional songs with some
excellent new ones. The rock orientated albums are worth looking
into - e.g. on Lead Me On (1988) there's "What
About the Love?" a striking indictment of judgementalism. Legacy
... Hymns of Faith (2002) on the other hand is a reflective,
largely acoustic collection of traditional gospel songs.
Sadly deceased, Heard was an insightful
songwriter little known in Ireland. Some of his work was gospel orientated
and all of it was infused with true human values and spiritual insight.
Best album is Second Hand (1991) an acoustic rock collection,
which features among others "Lonely Moon" about how secular
culture can squeeze the Spirit out of people. Another highlight is
the powerful statement of faith "My Redeemer Lives" from
the compilation album High Noon (1993)
Many of you may remember Angela - she visited Irish schools a few
years ago as part of the Challenge Team from Canada, but kept a low
profile about her considerable musical talents! She has released two
albums, Grace Child (2001) and Hope for Sure (2004).
There's plenty of scope for enjoyment, discussion and meditation on
the latter album in particular - try "I Know That My Redeemer
Lives", "Beginning of Wisdom" and "Keep Me Near"
for starters. Sound clips are available on Angela's website and the
albums can be ordered from there also.
These New York sisters specialise in delicious harmonies from. Their
album Zero Church (2001) is a collection of musical prayers
that will grace any colection, and provide material for discussion
and meditation. "God Bless the Artists" has to be a highlight,
considering the theme of this website; "Anyway" may have
been written by Mother Teresa; "Each of Us Has a Name" is
a sensetive reflection on identity; "A Prayer" was written
by a soldier who regrets what he has done in war and wants to make
up for it; "Hallejuah" is a moving reflection on illness.
One of the best known Irish composers
of modern liturgical music. His work, e.g.
In the Quiet (2002) is
particularly suitable for class prayer services and meditation. Another
World (2004) figured prominently in the album charts following
the Autumn 2004 tour and features guests like Brian Kennedy and Maire
Brennan. His latest is Song of the Celtic Soul
Another of the small band of Catholic performers
in the field. Sal was originally part of the 80's rock group Classix
Nouveaux, had a chart hit in the UK with "San Damiano",
and did retreat work in The UK and Ireland. His best work is the album
Look at Christ (1991), a sensitive light-rock treatment
of the decades of the Rosary. There is much here for school folk groups
and class prayer services, including the standout track "Holy
The most famous Catholic composer
and performer of contemporary Christian music. His output of high
quality reflective albums has been prolific. Particularly suitable
for school use are Songs for Worship (1983), instrumental
albums like The Quiet, Brother to Brother (1996), a
fine collection of duets with Michael Card featuring songs for many
occasions and themes, and Table of Plenty (1997) his collection
of favourite worship songs by other composers. The retrospective Signatures
(2003) offers a good chance to catch up on some of JMT's most
popular songs. City of God (2005) featuring more classic folk/gospel
songs from the Catholic tradition, including Here I Am, City of
God, Sing to the Mountains, Abba Father. The latest, his 50th
album, is Living Water - clips available on his website.
mostly secular material, but there are some spiritual gems on her
albums. On Jennifer Warnes (1977) there's a short version of
"Oh God of Loveliness", while on Famous Blue Raincoat
(1987) there's the well known and deeply moving "Song
of Bernadette" and the intriguing "Joan of Arc", a
duet with Leonard Cohen, which provides plenty of discussion material.