various artists,
The Best of Celtic Woman
(Celtic Collections, 2002)

For some fans of Celtic music, one of the nicest aspects of the genre is a beautiful air sung by a beautifully voiced woman. The Best of Celtic Woman is a fine compilation of 19 songs by some of Ireland's established and lesser-known female artists.

The CD opens with "From a Distance" sung by Julie Gold, the song's writer. Although the song was popularized by Bette Midler, I have to admit that I prefer Nanci Griffith's version over this. Fortunately, the rest of the CD gets better.

Meav and Lisa Kelly, who both were vocalists in Riverdance, provide us with several good songs. Meav sings "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls," a song already familiar to Enya fans. She also does a wonderful version of "Aileen Duinn," the haunting song performed by Capercallie's Karen Matheson in the movie Rob Roy. Lisa does an equally memorable version of "Siuil a Run."

Aoife Ferry, an artist who has a sound similar to Clannad's Moya Brennan, offers a pleasant rendition of "Caledonia," the Dougie MacLean song written about his love for Scotland. The Irish duo Rua gives us a nice version of "She Moved Through the Fair" and a beautiful original song called "Garden of Graves." On the folkier side, "Hand in Your Hand," sung by Aine Furey of Bohinta, is one of the CD's better songs.

Among the well-established artists, Altan adds a sweet interpretation of the traditional "The Lass of Glensee." De Danann's lovely "Then You'll Remember Me" is also included.

My only complaint is a wish that the CD's liner notes told more about the artists. The Best of Celtic Woman is a good collection of songs sung by some beautiful voices and is a good choice for those who enjoy the softer side of Celtic music.

- Rambles
written by Dave Townsend
published 25 April 2004

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