*Anne Fridal: This new project is all about my love
for Christmas, and to everyone at Christmas. Its a
compilation of traditional Christmas pieces the Bach/Gounod
Ave Maria, the one that everybody can play; the Schubert
Ave Maria; then there are other classical pieces, like Mozarts
Alleluia. Then you go into more Christmassy
songs, like O Holy Night, which as you know is a standard
I was introduced to Sheldon Blackman by my old friend
Geraldine Connor, in Tobago when we were trying to relax
over there, and we (Sheldon and Anne) came up with an opera
version of The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy. That was made
famous by Geraldines father, Edric Connor.
We were just jamming, but it turned out so well that I
said to Sheldon, You are on my album! Its
the most popular one on the CD. We also did a jazzy version
of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
Roger Israel has been the engineer for all of my CDs,
from 2003s Symphony in G, From Opera to Kitchener
(with Phase II Pan Grove, arranged by Boogsie Sharpe).
Being the engineer, hes capable of doing everything.
He played keyboard and also included a bit of semi-classical
The last thing on the album is my poem A Trini Christmas.
I went through the whole thing with turkey baking and Santa
and ending with the message that one should not just think
about Jesus at Christmastime but all through the year.
WomanWise: What were, for you, the most memorable songs,
musicians, producers in the project?
Anne Fridal: Edric Connor, Geraldines dad, he was
my fathers best friend he stayed in my fathers
house in Bergerac for something like six months. Geraldine
and I landed up at the Royal College of Music in the same
year. We were walking up the stairs at the college and were
the only two ladies of colour there. We confronted each
other and introduced ourselves. I discovered our parents
were good friends and we were both Trinidadians. She was
my roommate for two years.
The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy has brought back a lot
of memories to me. As a child, thats something we
sang every Christmas. In England we used to do a church
concert, at Emmanuel Vicarage in West Hampstead, that Edric
Connor sang at, along with Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper.
So thats one song thats on my mind all the
time. All the other songs, of course, are meaningful. O
Holy Night really captures the spirit of Christmas. The
Mozart Alleluia I love. My vocal ability is coloratura
embellishment, thats what I do best. So the Mozarts
Alleluia, I included it because it shows vocal prowess.
WomanWise: Whats the perfect setting in which to
listen to this CD?
Anne Fridal: There are so many settings! The perfect setting,
I would say, is to put it on from the beginning, have it
played all through Christmas week. But on Christmas Eve,
you put it on for the wrapping of the presents, youre
doing your turkey and fixing up the house. You can take
it off when youre having a rest at midnight. And when
you get up in the morning, you put it on. It would be like
church. You could play it over and over for Christmas Day!
I have a lot of nerve saying that, but the feedback Ive
had is that the people who have it would listen to it like
A lot of the music you could listen to at Easter. I also
have The Holy City and The Lords Prayer on it. Trinidadians
love that (The Holy City).
WomanWise: How do you feel about this time of year?
Anne Fridal: I love Christmas, its my favourite
time of year. Its bringing family and friends together
when sometimes you cant see them all the time. Its
special this year for me because all my family is going
to be here, everyone including my newly acquired
niece of eight months. Christmas this year is going to be
started by me giving a speech about how happy I am to have
everybody around me.
Its also a time when I like to give something back.
There are so many kids out there. My eldest sister, Joyce
and myself are going to do another little drive. It makes
me feel good, knowing that Ive done something for
the less fortunate.
WomanWise: What are your plans for the new year?
Anne Fridal: I am still doing a lot of travelling. I will
be here only for a short period. Ill be travelling
to the States again. Ill also be travelling to England.
I really am looking forward to going to England. I will
be singing at Harewood Castle in Leeds, specially invited
by the Earl of Harewood.
Next year is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of
the slave trade. Slaves had a lot to do with the building
Harewood House. So the (Harewood) heirs are giving back
to the community, in putting on Carnival Messiah (Geraldine
Connors stage musical). It wont just be a show,
it will be like a mini-Carnival, with Trinidadians as well
as English people, a real melting pot.
And I will be doing the role of Mary, Mother of Jesus.
After that, were hoping to do lots of exciting things.
With All My Love at Christmas is available at Crosbys