Christy Hodder,
Celtic Energy
(Blue Sky, 2004)

Christy Hodder has lots of pep.

And that, my friend, is an understatement.

Hodder is a Nova Scotian fiddler, so pep is assumed. But with Celtic Energy, she wants you to sweat. The album is set up to accommodate a 45-minute cardio workout, and that means it keeps hopping from start to finish, with nary even a pause between tracks (except for one at the end, leading to the "cool down" track) to catch your breath.

It also means it has the techno-drum beat that seems to haunt all such recordings, and I have to say, I really hate 'em.

But otherwise, Celtic Energy is an upbeat way to pass 45 minutes of exercise, be it a structured workout, a personal exercise plan or even an ambitious attempt to tackle household chores. Hodder, herself a certified fitness instructor, knows what it takes to keep the blood flowing and the muscles from losing their zip.

Hodder's fresh fiddle and sweet vocals lead the way on this program, which includes unusually fast and lively renditions of "Danny Boy" and "Wild Mountain Thyme" along with more typically allegro selections like "Mairi's Wedding," "Lukey's Boat," "I'll Tell Me Ma" and "Donkey Riding."

Drum machine notwithstanding, this is a far better collection of music than you're likely to find on typical workout recordings. It's bouncy and fun and interesting.

Be aware, this album is not for seekers of traditional music by any stretch. These perky arrangements will not have you longing for those mist-cover'd mountains or weeping quietly into a pint, but they will have you tapping your toes (if not full-out dancersizing).

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Tom Knapp

1 December 2007

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