Our family became fans of Celtic Woman the moment we saw one of their programs on PBS. The immense talent of the vocalists – Lisa Kelly, Chloe Agnew, Lynn Hilary, and Alex Sharpe, along with violinist Máiréad Nesbitt – and the entire crew of virtuoso musicians involved with the production took our breath away.
Celtic Woman is known for covering well-known tunes with a modern, Celtic twist, as well as presenting standard Irish songs and folk tunes with their unique styling.
I recently received a copy of their newest CD – Songs from the Heart (available online and in stores now) – from EMI Music as part of the Music Moms review program. When we first started listening to the CD in the car, we couldn’t get past Track 6 – my kids kept insisting we go back to listen to all of the songs again! I finally reasoned that for a full review, I’d have to listen to the full CD. Once they agreed, I was happy to prove to them that the rest of the CD was just as amazing as the beginning.
I think what you’re immediately struck by when listening to Songs from the Heart is the amazing talent of all the musicians involved. You feel their passion and spirit coming through the music. The songs have the common thread of love, but they each seem to tell their own story – love of home, love of country, love of a man or woman, love of a child. The collection is powerful and moving. Some tracks I honestly liked better than others, but overall the CD leaves you feeling refreshed and uplifted. (note: visit Celtic Woman’s YouTube Channel to see videos of some of these songs!) Here’s a rundown of the track list and my thoughts on the songs:
- Fields of Gold – My least favorite track on the CD, though maybe because I’m not a huge fan of the original Sting version.
- Amazing Grace – You think you’ve heard this song sung every possible way it can be sung, but this version will still surprise you! Gorgeous!
- Níl Sé’n Lá – OUR FAVORITE, by far! Sassy, upbeat, infectious. Powerful. LOVE IT.
- My Lagan Love – This is a traditional 15th-16th century Irish love song. I found out that it’s been covered by many artists before – it’s even on a Sesame Street CD! This version is haunting and soulful; I found myself holding my breath during part of it.
- When You Believe – Famously recorded by Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston, this is an Academy Award winning song from the Prince of Egypt. Personally, I absolutely prefer this version over the pop version, because I feel it captures much more of the powerfully reverent spirit of the movie.
- The New Ground – Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears – You need to listen closely as this story of a young woman’s journey to America unfolds. I can only imagine through this song what it was like for so many to leave their homes and come through Ellis Island.
- The Coast of Galiçia – Máiréad shines in this energetic tune on violin.
- Non C’è Più – Half-Italian, half-English, this song reminds me of something you’d hear in an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical – and that’s a GOOD thing in my book. Dramatic and lovely.
- The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress – Famously recorded by a number of other artists, I wouldn’t put this at the top of my favorites for this CD.
- You’ll Be In My Heart – Much like Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” I’m not a big fan of the original of this song by Phil Collins (for the movie Tarzan). My kids said they prefered this version though, so it gets their vote!
- Goodnight My Angel – Originally recorded by Billy Joel, this is a fantastic choice to be covered by Celtic Woman. The women add a serene sensibility to this lullaby that almost made me cry.
- Galway Bay – Originally recorded by Bing Crosby, I had never heard this song before but was happy to hear this story of the Irish homeland.
- The Lost Rose Fantasia – This violin piece by Máiréad is thoughtful and passionate.
- O, America! – Written specifically for Celtic Woman, this song is full of power, majesty, patriotism, and hope.
It’s no exaggeration to say that I got goosebumps during several of the songs on the CD. I am BEYOND EXCITED that my husband and I have also been confirmed for two tickets to review the Celtic Woman show when it comes to Houston in April! Look for a post from me about it in early May! To see if the Celtic Woman production is coming to your area, VISIT THEIR SITE TO CHECK ON TOUR CITIES/DATES.