Celtic Woman is the eponymous debut album of the singing group Celtic Woman. The members of the group were first featured on the PBS musical special also by the same name. With the help of said special, Celtic Woman reached #1 on the World Music charts within weeks and remained there for a record 68 weeks. the astonishing success led the group's musical director David Downes, to adopt the title 'Celtic Woman' as their permanent name. Since then, Celtic Woman have toured the United States and Japan. The album was performed by vocalists Chloë Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, Órla Fallon, and violinist Máiréad Nesbitt. This text has been derived from Celtic Woman (album) on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0
Celtic Woman is an all-female musical ensemble conceived and assembled by Sharon Browne and David Downes, a former musical director of the Irish stage show Riverdance.httphttp Downes' concept was to tap into the American marketplace's taste for Celtic music and culture by confecting a group that blended the Irish elements of Michael Flatley's music and dance with the structure of all-girl pop groups such as Spice Girls and Pussycat Dolls.http In 2004, he recruited five Irish female musicians who had not previously performed together: vocalists Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Lisa Kelly and Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt, and shaped them into the first lineup of the group that he named Celtic Woman. Downes chose a repertoire that would range from traditional Celtic tunes to modern songs.
The group's lineup has changed over the years; in 2009, the group consisted of Chloë Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, Alex Sharpe and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt; Alex Sharpe left the group in May 2010. Five albums have been released under the name "Celtic Woman": Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration, Celtic Woman: A New Journey, Celtic Woman: The Greatest Journey, and Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart. The group has undertaken a number of world tours. Cumulatively, albums by Celtic Woman have sold over 6 million records worldwide
The foundation for Celtic music's popularity outside Ireland and Europe was built by tapping into the success of artists such as Enya and Clannad, along with stage shows Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Celtic Woman has been described as being "Riverdance for the voice."
Celtic Woman was taped on 15 September 2004 for PBS television at The Helix, Dublin, Ireland, in front of a sold-out audience. Organized by producer Sharon Browne, Chairman & CEO Dave Kavanagh, and musical director and composer David Downes, this performance was first broadcast on PBS during March 2005 in the United States, and within weeks the group's eponymous debut album, Celtic Woman, reached #1 on Billboard's World Music chart, eventually breaking Andrea Bocelli's long-standing record of chart-topping longevity on 22 July 2006 by having stayed at #1 for 68 weeks. The album held the top position on the Billboard World Music chart for 81 weeks total. Much of the group's success in America has been credited to the extensive PBS publicity throughout 2005. The live performance at The Helix was released on DVD alongside the studio album.
The release of the second album, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration, on 19 October 2006 knocked their first album to the #2 spot on the World Music chart.
In preparation for their third studio album, Celtic Woman performed at Slane Castle in County Meath, Ireland, on 23 and 24 August 2006, with this show airing on PBS during December 2006. The studio album, titled Celtic Woman: A New Journey, was released on 30 January 2007. As with their debut, the live performance was released on DVD simultaneously. This album immediately hit the Billboard 200 at #4 and the Billboard World Music chart at #1, moving their previous two releases down a notch and securing the top three positions on that chart for the group.
In response to the popularity of the performance at Slane Castle in 2006, PBS aired a special concert of Celtic Woman performing again in The Helix Theatre, Dublin, Ireland on 7 December 2007. This performance included songs from the group's second album, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration.
A fourth album, Celtic Woman: The Greatest Journey, was released in 28 October 2008. The group's fifth album, Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart, was released 26 January 2010. It peaked at #48 in July 2010 on the ARIA Top 50 Albums chart.
The group recently released their sixth album, Lullaby, available through PBS pledge or the QVC shopping website.
On February 15, 2011, it was released by other major retailers as a limited edition album. It reached #1 on the World Charts and #3 on the Children's Charts, a first for Celtic Woman.
Celtic Woman has performed three tours in America, with additional performances overseas. The group appeared live in more than a dozen US cities in 2005 for their original album debut. The group toured the United States twice with their "Celtic Woman: A New Journey" tour, visiting 88 cities in 2007 and over 75 cities in 2008. In early April 2008 it was announced that The High Kings would be opening the act for the group through June 2008.
The 2009 Isle of Hope Tour was announced in late 2008, and features a blend of original music from composer David Downes and Brendan Graham (the author of the group favorite "You Raise Me Up"), renditions of songs such as "Fields of Gold" and "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" and traditional performances of "Danny Boy", "The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun" and "Spanish Lady". This tour finished on 22 November 2009.
A new tour called "Songs from the Heart", featuring some of the same music and some new music, began in February 2010. PBS television presented a special concert starting 28 November 2009. It was taped in HD at the Powerscourt House & Gardens. It included a 27-member film orchestra, Discovery Gospel choir, 12-member Aontas Choir, 10-member Extreme Rhythm Drummers with an 11-piece bag pipe ensemble.
A second "Songs from the Heart" tour opened in February 2011 with three singers (Agnew, Kelly, Lambe) and one fiddler (Nesbitt) and consists of about 80 concerts in North America in spring 2011 and 10 performances in Germany and Austria during summer 2011.
The original performers in Celtic Woman were Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and Máiréad Nesbitt. During Ní Mhaolchatha's pregnancy in 2005, Deirdre Shannon was selected to fill her place during tours. Shannon departed in February 2006, and Ní Mhaolchatha returned to the group in time to record A New Journey and tour for that album.
The second lineup change was announced on 6 September 2006, with the announcement that Hayley Westenra officially joined Celtic Woman on 24 August 2006. As well as being featured on the album and DVD for A New Journey, Westenra alternated with Ní Mhaolchatha during tour events to maintain the live five-person lineup.
On 20 August 2007, Ní Mhaolchatha took a permanent break from Celtic Woman to focus on her solo career. Ní Mhaolchatha's replacement, Lynn Hilary, made her first appearance on 10 October 2007 in Estero, Florida, United States.
In December 2007, Lisa Kelly, who was expecting a new child in 2008, took maternity leave from the group. Alex Sharpe filled her position on the A New Journey tour during this leave.
For the 2009 Isle of Hope Tour, the group comprised vocalists Chloë Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly and Alex Sharpe; and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt. The Celtic Woman website reported that Órla Fallon was taking a full break to spend time with her family and focus on recording a new solo album and that, therefore, Alex would take over full time in Órla’s place.
The group completed the entire 2009 tour as well as the first leg of the Songs from the Heart tour, from February to May 2010, with this lineup. After the tour ended, it was announced that Alex Sharpe would take a full-time break from Celtic Woman in order to spend time with her family.
After the Songs from the Heart tour, in November 2010, Lynn Hilary announced that she was leaving the group to return to Ireland. Singer and actress Lisa Lambe joined the group as part of the 2011 tour lineup.
When asked how the group members got along, member Lisa Kelly responded,
"We get along because we're so different. Chloe Agnew is hip, Méav Ni Mhaolchatha is rational, Orla Fallon is angelic and Mairead Nesbitt is energetic."
According to Chloë Agnew, the friendship between the vocalists was the number one question they were asked. She explained:
"I think people are always looking for a 'Desperate Housewives' story, that they all hate each other and nobody actually gets along. It's all for show. And the truth of the matter is, it's not. The reality is we do all get along. The five of us are like sisters, best friends."
* The High Kings
* Celtic Thunder
ReferencesThis text has been derived from Celtic Woman on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0