Review by: Matt Ginger
Although I do not believe you need to be Irish to appreciate the amazing range and be wowed by the diverse talents of Celtic Woman. I, personally, have a deep place in my heart for Ireland, its people and music, making this a most memorable show.
Currently on their Isle of Hope Tour, I was initially impressed just by the sheer vocal range of Celtic Woman, which spanned from traditional Irish songs to popular classics. One piece that stood out stronger than many others, was their homage to Ellis Island, which was especially moving.
Celtic Woman were accompanied by a very talented percussion section that was flanking both sides of the stage, as well as a small set of equally talented supporting guitarists and flautists. I would still have to insist though that Máiréad Nesbitt was the show stopper, literally by leaps and bounds. Every time Máiréad took the stage you felt the excitement in the crowd in anticipation of what can be best described as her amazing flying fiddling, almost acrobatic moves. Her raw talent on the instrument would be enough to impress anyone on her own, but add to that, an Olympic gymnastic-like floor routine and you have a truly magical experience.
This magical evening was enhanced greatly by holding the performance for two nights at the beautiful Chicago Theatre (otherwise known as “the Wonder Theatre of the World” when it opened in 1921).
All in all, Celtic Woman provided a most memorable evening that saw many standing-ovations and rousing foot stomping/hand clapping displays of talent. It is hard to write something that hasn’t already been written about this amazing group, but these five beautiful and talented sirens from the emerald isle do not disappoint and I highly recommend you see them the next time they’re in town.
Created by Composer and Musical Director David Downes and Executive Producer Dave Kavanagh in 2004, Celtic Woman’s story has, from the very beginning, been one of overwhelming success. Between their self-titled debut, their Christmas CD ‘A Christmas Celebration’ and ‘A New Journey’ CD Celtic Woman has held the Number 1 position on the Billboard World Music Charts for a record-breaking 95 consecutive weeks. Their CDs and DVDs have gone platinum in the U.S. and South Africa, as well as going gold as far a field as Australia and Japan.
To date, they have completed four triumphantly successful U.S. tours, selling out such exalted venues as New York’s Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Opera House and L.A.’s Greek Theatre. Celtic Woman’s PBS special has also been a runaway hit, airing an incredible 3,400 times and 316 different PBS stations since its debut in March of 2005. They have also dazzled network television audiences with appearances on The Today Show with Regis & Kelly, The Megan Mullaly Show and on Brian Boitano’s NBC Skating Spectacular on New Year’s Day 2007.
The group’s live TV special, A New Journey: Live at Slane Castle, premiered on December 6 2006 on PBS with more than 90% of all PBS stations on board to broadcast the special during the December pledge period, exceeding previous successes on PBS. The concert was filmed at Slane Castle, Co. Meath, on the banks of the Boyne River ‘ the home of Ireland’s ancient High Kings and the wellspring of Celtic culture.
Celtic Woman’s following in the United States – where they have performed in the White House to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day ‘ is now being rivalled by the group’s popularity in rest of the world. Tours in Japan, Germany, South Africa and Canada have all been hugely successful. The numbers keep getting higher and the Celtic Woman name keeps getting bigger. Still, despite the many recent triumphs for this uniquely Irish success story, the best is definitely yet to come…
Photos © 2009 by: Matt Ginger