Feminist idol, songwriter for decades, philanthropist, activist for AIDS, friend of Nelson Mandela – In her 65 years, Annie Lennox lived many lives.
Ten years ago, with the publication of her first Christmas album, she added another string to her bow.
“A Christmas Cornucopia”A Christmas Cornucopia.
The 2020 winter has been unprecedented,”The winter of 2020 was unprecedented,”
“The people had immense suffering.
There’s loss, there’s sorrow, there’s terror, there’s unrest, there’s uncertainty, so there were all sorts of different levels of people experiencing this.
“Christmas is a really strange thing because it was originally supposed to be the recognition of the birth of Christianity,” he said.
“And I’m not a Christian, and I’m not religious, but I have a sensitivity to transcendent things.”
Lennox is an 80’s survivor, a shape-shifter whose political and social problems have inspired her as much as her music.
She wears a more glorious Zoom backdrop than others, as we speak: a vivid, modern cottage used as a recording studio with an enviable view of the hills of California.
Designed in the same year that Lennox was born in Aberdeen in 1954, the house serves as the singer’s kind of spiritual retreat.
It also houses her piano, where, during the coronavirus pandemic, she serenaded and chatted with her nearly 400,000 fans on Instagram.
“I post these things because they come from the heart,” she says.
It might sound a bit cheesy, but it’s true, and I know everybody can watch what I do.
It might be someone who doesn’t like you and tells you that, or it might be people who respond and say stuff like, “Your music helps me, these little clips help me get by.”
I’m not Mother Theresa, I don’t want to do such a thing.
“I’m just communicating in a really weird time, a Covid time, where there’s this restriction on everything and the world is turned upside down.”
Lennox is intrigued by the traditions and values behind Christmas, but she’s not entirely sold on spirituality.
As a girl, she eagerly awaited Christmas services at school, where children would march to church to sing Christmas carols and look at the giant tree in “big crocodile lines”
“I’m a sponge for music,” she says of those memories.
“Something I hear and it remains with me.
I love the melodies, and the baby Jesus and everything that I didn’t quite get.
You know that there is a baby Jesus lying in a manger, with shepherds and kings and angels, and then there is a crucified Jesus, with blood and thorns, with pain and cruelty.
That’s very scary…. and maybe it’s a sign of the life we’re heading through.
“We’re born in innocence and then we suffer and die, so maybe on a symbolic level it’s what Christianity is about – rebirth and death and all that.”
A Christmas Cornucopia, rounded out by a Lennox composition, Universal Boy, contains interpretations of popular holiday carols and songs.
How does she perceive Christmas? Is she repulsed by or drawn to the sense of community by rampant capitalism?
You don’t think that your affiliations are floating somewhat? They’re amorphous, sort of.
I am amorphous, I love stuff and I see stuff.
I see things that I love, and I see things that really repel me, so it’s a whole mix of things.
Christmas Cornucopia has a pagan side to it, a pre-Victorian appeal to the ancient, something to do with nature.
That goes beyond the Victorian idea of Christianity and where these Christmas carols come from.
“These Christmas carols come from the mid-19th century, and so they’re a marker of time, they’re a marker of our history, they’re a marker of people’s experience.”
Together with The Eurythmics, Lennox and Dave Stewart have staged a handful of one-off charity meetings, including at the Sting Rainforest Foundation Fund benefit concert last year.
But there are no plans, she explains, for a full reunion.
We’re living really different lives. He’s not living near me, but we’ve got a decent friendship.
Whenever I and Dave come together, we become one entity called the Eurythmics,”We just live different lives, and that’s always the point – whenever me and Dave get together, we become one entity called the Eurythmics,”We just live different lives, and that’s always the point.
We become a kind of unit wherever we are, that’s how people view it, and it was really important for me and that time, au, au, that time.