Music Around the World: Celtic Woman

Mehalet KesateBirhan, Staff Writer

If you are a fan of Celtic music then you’ve probably heard of Celtic Woman; if not then friends you’re been missing out. Celtic Woman is an all-female Irish musical ensemble that started in 2004.

Their debut album, Celtic Woman reached #1 on the World Music Billboard chart and remained there for 81 weeks. They have since released eight more albums, the latest of which is Celtic Woman: Emerald- Musical Gems released on February 25th 2014.

As an ensemble Celtic Woman is somewhat of a revolving door with many members joining and leaving throughout the years. Yet the beauty of their music has never wavered. Each song is sung in perfect synchronicity, each voice is exquisite, as sweet and delicate as spun sugar.

I received a copy of A New Journey, which featured five vocalists and one fiddler, years ago as a gift from my older brother who had seen me enthralled by Celtic music. He also gave a DVD of their live show in Slane Castle, Ireland, which was breath taking. I eventually was able to see them perform at the Fox Theater in St Louis, which did not disappoint. I have come across several great Celtic artists since then but always find my way back to Celtic Woman.

The Voice is without a doubt my very favorite song from A New Journey. It is sung in English and although open for interpretation, most say that the voice singing is that of Mother Nature. Another favorite is Dúlaman, which is actually a traditional Irish song and is sung in Irish. Most people believe it is a song about seaweed but it is actually about a woman trying to choose between two men and compares them to two kinds of seaweed. Máiréad Nesbitt is the fiddler/violinist and has so far been a permanent member of Celtic Woman. She is absolutely brilliant and is the breath of life during performances. As the vocalists usually remain in one spot as they sing, she danced across the stage bare footed with a smile on her face and very talented fingers.

In New Journey the song Granuaile’s Dance is performed by her alone, no words, just an exceptionally well played violin. When all of the members of this ensemble are featured together in one single song, what they create is simply magic. A good example is The Sky And The Dawn And The Sun, which starts slowly and beautifully, taking its time to build up to a very energetic and dynamic song in the end. It is hard to describe the brilliance of Celtic Woman in a few short words so try it for yourself and see what I mean when I say that their music soothes the soul like no other.