(This Deluxe Edition features 4 bonus tracks "Sing Out!", "Shenandoah" (Live from Slane Castle), "At The Ceili" (Live from Slane Castle), "Spanish Lady" (Live from Slane Castle) plus a Claddagh charm, the Irish symbol of Love, Loyalty and Friendship.)
Celtic Woman is actually a group of six women who have fairly set the music world alight. Chloe Agnew, Orla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, Mairead Nesbitt (fiddle), Meav Ni Mhaolchatha and newcomer Hayley Westenra combine popular, tradional and classical numbers to take listerners on a velvet ride to another world. And that's translated to huge international acclaim in terms of audience size, critical props, chart success, and awards. Public broadcasting aided the group's cause in the States with their first PBS special airing over 3,400 times on 316 PBS stations nationwide since its March 2005 debut.
With the release of A New Journey -- which has rocketed up the charts, going to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the magazine's Top World Albums in its first week of release -- the stellar vocal group builds on their initial successes. Here is an album for those who appreciate true aural beauty. Listening to this album is the equivalent of wandering the halls of a fine art museum and losing oneself in the time and place of evocative landscapes.
The disc is brimming with enchanting, plaintive melodies. Tracks like "The Prayer," which is so sweetly sad it's impossible not to be moved by it. Chloe Agnew provides the angelic lead vocals on this number which, in a fashion typical of the album, swells on a tide of orchestral arrangements and a chorus of voices. Equally touching is "The Blessing," on which Lisa Kelly's vocals weave delicately over serene piano-and-strings accompaniment. And the lyrics tug the heart strings as well: "When the storms of life are strong/ When you're wounded, when you don't belong/ When you no longer hear my song/ My blessing goes with you."
The traditional songs are a treat. There's the playful "Dulaman" with its jigging whistle flute and matching vocals sung in Gaelic; the ultimate song of longing, "The Last Rose of Summer;" and a cover of the evergreen "Scarborough Fair." On the latter, Hayley Westenra's vocals soar over wafting strings, breathing new life into a song that has been recorded countless times.
Other special treats include Handel's "Lascia Ch'io Pianga," an ethereal a cappella version of "Over The Rainbow," and the instrumental "Granuaile's Dance" with its playful fiddle dancing off through the green hills of Eire.
A New Journey is more than a landmark album in the history of this divine vocal group. It is a celebration of music in its purest forms. By turn touching, amusing and uplifting, it will reach inside and strike a chord in music lovers around the world.
By Adrian Zupp
|Number of Discs:||1|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.29|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.63 x 0.75 x 5.0|
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