Forget the Christmas ads - these Irish charity singles have all the festive feels you need
While everyone enjoys a wallow in the big budget Christmas ads of brands like Sainsbury's and John Lewis, the cynical among us might argue that while they carry messages of goodwill, they are, ultimately, weapons of commercialism, advertisements for brands who want you to spend your few shillings in their stores over the festive season.
However, perhaps we should spare a thought - and a few of those shillings - for the humble charity single, created by artists who donate their time and talent to raise funds for Irish charities. If you've been wondering how to help the homeless and others this Christmas, and are perhaps a little strapped for cash, they're a no-brainer. Here are some quality recordings to get you started...
'Homeward Bound' from the Street Lights album in aid of Irish homeless charities
The homeless crisis is to the forefront of everyone's mind as the depths of winter have descended and thousands of families, including children, face Christmas without a home.
A gaggle of of top Irish musicians - Bell X1, Snow Patrol, Saint Sister, Richard Hawley with Lisa Hannigan, James Vincent McMorrow, Damien Dempsey, Luka Bloom, Villagers, Stephen James Smith, David Gray, The Frames, Lisa O'Neill, Glenn & Ronan and Celtic Woman - have united to record tracks for the 'Street Lights' album to raise funds for three homeless charities - Peter McVerry Trust, Simon Community Ireland and Focus Ireland.
The single 'Homeward Bound' features on the album with vocals from artists including The High Hopes Choir, Gary Lightbody, Cathy Davey, Villagers, Loah, Bono, Roisin O, Join Me In The Pines, Little Green Cars, Saint Sister and Colm Mac Con Iomaire.
To donate €4 to the Street Lights Project text street lights to 50300 (Focus Ireland, Simon Community and Peter McVerry Trust between them will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278)
Buy the album in physical form: https://goldendiscs.ie/products/street-lights-cd
Tommy Fleming records 'Give a Little Bit' with teenagers in Rwanda for Bóthar
Legendary Irish singer Tommy Fleming flew to Rwanda earlier this year to record a very special Christmas charity single with local teenagers to raise funds for Bóthar work with Rwandan genocide widows.
Although it was a difficult trip in many ways, Tommy was inspired by the people of Rwanda and teamed up with students from the east Rwanda school, Rwamagana High School to record their uplifting version of Supertramp's 1977 hit, Give a Little Bit.
Tommy said, "It's so imperative that you support this fantastic cause. The song is all about giving a bit love, giving a bit of peace, giving a bit of everything but mainly giving a bit of hope."
‘Give A Little Bit’ can be downloaded from Bóthar’s website www.bothar.ie
Students at St Colman's College, Cork sing 'Lean on Me' in aid of three children's charities
A Cork school has released a rousing version of 'Lean on Me' to raise funds for a pupil of the school who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Fourth year students at St Colman's College in Fermoy, Cork recorded a their version of the classic Bill Winters hit, 'Lean on Me', to raise funds for a classmate who was diagnosed with cancer, and for charities including Bumbleance, Ronald McDonald House, and Our Lady's Hopsital in Crumlin, where their friend is being treated.
The pupils are aiming to raise €20,000 and donations can be accepted via their fundraising page HERE They are also asking people to share the campaign with the hashtag #colmansstandtogether
'Lean on Me' is available to purchase on iTunes.
'O Holy Night' by the RISE Choir in aid of Alzheimer Society of Ireland
The Galway-based RISE Choir have recorded their first Christmas charity single in aid of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. Their stunning rendition of 'O Holy Night', under the direction of vocal coach Dr Caren Hession, is available to download from iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play for just 99c.
You can catch them singing live in Eyre Square Shopping Centre on Thursday December 20.
Josh Keating records 'Not About Angels' in aid of Marie Keating Foundation
Ronan Keating’s nephew, Josh Keating (13), has released a charity single to help raise vital funds for the cancer charity set up in his grandmother’s name,. the Marie Keating Foundation.
The track, ‘Not About Angels’, is available now for download on iTunes and Spotify and all proceeds are being donated to the charity’s cancer awareness and prevention work.
The track was originally recorded by Birdy and Josh chose it because of its connection with cancer, he first heard it when it appeared on ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ movie soundtrack.
“I have always loved to sing and been passionate about music. The opportunity to record this single came up and I just jumped at the chance," he said. "The fact that I can, hopefully, raise a lot of money for a cause so close to mine and my family’s heart, makes it even more special."
'A Kid at Christmas' from Tommy Rockit & The Crazy 88 in aid of Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin
The Crazy 88 are a musical project comprised of members from different Irish acts - Tommy Rockit & Pete Jordan from Stone Trigger, Paul Scott and Shelly Rockit from Stillroom and Paul Price from Hooligan and their single 'A Kid at Christmas' is available now for download and streaming.
All proceeds are going to Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin. The video (above) features 98fm's Jeremy Dixon and the pupils of Canal Way Educate Together National School.
'Take Back the City' by Luke Clerkin in aid of Inner City Helping Homeless
Dublin singer songwriter Luke Clerkin penned the track 'Take Back the City' while he worked on the campaign of the same name earlier this year. The powerful track aims to highlight the housing and homelessness crisis and to raise funds for Inner City Helping Homeless, which has an office located on Amiens Street in Dublin's city centre, which is operational 16 hours a day, seven days a week, with only one staff member and 220 volunteers.
'Take Back the City' by Luke Clerkin is available to stream and download now.
'On the Streets' by Clare O'Riordan in aid of Cork Simon Community
Cork singer songwriter Clare O'Riordan is also aiming to raise awareness about homelessness, and raise funds with her original song, 'On the Streets', for Cork Simon Community. The beautiful song is part of a collection of new music she recorded in the US recently which will feature on her upcoming album Outside and Clare describes the song as a 'meditation on homelessness'.
“I was inspired to write this song after I saw an elderly homeless man on the streets of Cork city. His image and vulnerability stayed with me and as I wondered about his life story and what he might say this song came to me," she said.
‘On The Streets’ is available in digital format from iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon and from her website store clareoriordan.com