Celtic Woman,
The Greatest Journey
(EMI Manhattan, 2008)

Here are the female superheroes of Celtic music -- Lisa, Chloe, Mairead, Alex, Orla and Lynne, along with some of the top professional musicians available on these shores -- with a gem of an album that deserves the subtitle "Essential Collection."

The group Celtic Woman opens with "The Call," probably not one of the most often sung pieces on offer here but I defy anyone not to be captivated from the first notes. Even the tracks that we sometimes see listed and think we are tired of hearing like "Pie Jesu" and "Danny Boy" get new leases of life as the arrangements, the backing and the performances lift them.

In particular the renditions of "Isle of Inishfree" and "Dulaman" alone are worth the price of the CD. Then you can add "Shenandoah: The Contradiction" and "You Raise Me Up" for extra value. These are apart from bonus tracks like "Mo Gile Mear" and "Spanish Lady," recorded live at Slane Castle.

The ladies of Celtic Woman achieve the almost impossible in taking on Enya's "Orinoco Flow," probably one of the tracks most tied to the original performer, and giving it a new life.

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review by
Nicky Rossiter

6 December 2008

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