August 7, 2008

Celtic Music

Celtic music, there is nothing like it. Just the word 'Celtic' (pronounced with a hard 'C' by the by, not with a soft 'C') is a mysterious, enchanting sound. Having grown up in a family where St. Patrick's Day is a big event, and listening to Celtic music, I have always had a great fondness for it. There is something about the instrumentals; it can be sad yet soothing or wild and free. I must confess I simply adore hearing singers with Irish brogues!

One of my favorite singing groups is Celtic Women. Now, before you go and rip my head off, YES I KNOW that they don't have Irish brogues, lilts or anything of the sort! (Though they do occasionally sing in Gaelic.) Yes I also know that much of the music they sing is not traditional Irish music! But I like it anyways. And they do have some traditional Celtic music in there!

So, now that we have that settled...

I like the Celtic Women. So I will be giving you a brief review of the songs they sing that I particularly like, and as a bonus... some of Celtic Thunder's songs as well. (Who are even LESS traditional Irish... I know!) For those traditional Irish balladists out there who can't stand Celtic Thunder/Women... don't worry. The High Kings are Saturday possibly. (Sometime in the next month for sure.)
One final note, I link to the songs being reviewed in the title. Now, as many of you know, the Celtic Women singers dresses... well... they leave a lot to be desired. So! I tried my best to find the songs with them singing it but you can't see them. Savvy? I'll let you know if there was a particular favorite song that I couldn't find a non-concert version for.

Mo Ghile Mar
This is one of those non-traditional Irish sounding songs... but it has Gaelic in, so it is partially redeemed. I love listening to the upbeat, flowing melody and dancing lyrics. This, in my opinion, would make a terrific song to sing while rowing/paddling a canoe or boat like that, because it has a good beat and it just seems... so ... watery. Images of the sea, waves, and ships just fill my mind when I listen to this song.

The Soft Goodbye
Now this is a beautiful song! The melody is a lovely lilting one, with an Irish flair yes! The song though is rather bittersweet, one of parting and goodbyes, yet one of hope, love, and reunion. For that reason, it has always been one of my favorites. Haunting, yet beautiful.

The Butterfly
This is an instrumental song, played by Celtic Women's fantastic fiddler, Máiréad Nesbitt. This one is an actual video of her, because her outfits are pretty good. Not to mention it is really neat the way she jumps all over the place while playing! So this song is one of those great Irish fiddle songs. It starts out slow and flitting... just like a butterfly! It then picks up into a lively, fun melody. Not my absolute favorite Celtic fiddle song ever, but very nice in its own way.

Orinoco Flow

Another fun sea song! Written by Irish singer Enya and sung by the Celtic Women... so that makes it Celtic enough... doesn't it? This is really fun to listen to and to sing, because it is so lively and upbeat! One can't help but sway and sing along!

Dulaman and Si Do Mhaimeo i
Well, I really love these songs, but I couldn't find them without Meav and her dresses are... well... bleh. Which was disappointing, because I love the way she sings them! They are both completely in Gaelic and are very lively, upbeat, energetic, lilting songs. The way her voice just trips along the words in such a bouncy, light manner makes it sound as if singing is easier then breathing! I saw a video of Hayley Westenra singing it... but Maev is way better!

Granuaile's Dance
Now is this a neat song! This is another fiddle song, played by Mairead. When it starts out, it is about midway between upbeat and laid back... but after about two minutes it really picks up! So lively, bouncy, dancing and captivating!


Celtic Thunder! This has to be my absolute favorite song from them! (After Caledonia) The melody is dark, haunting, wild and raging and completely irresistible! Not to mention I have a weak spot for drums... when used as they are in this song. This is not traditional Irish at all... but it is so cool!
As long I am listening to the song... my thoughts on Celtic Thunder. They sound the best when they are all singing together, though I really like the Bald Irishman's voice.
And Puppy Dog's. That's another thing... When I first saw these music videos I didn't know their names, so sisters, friends and I came up with some. So Damien McGinty is Puppy, Kieth Harkin is Surfer Dude, Paul Byrom is Figaro (you know, from the opera?), George Donaldson (my favorite) is the Bald Irishman and Ryan Kelly is The Snake... because he looks like one and he gives me the creeps!
Individually... I don't think they wound the best (except for George... he's got that Irish voice!) But together they sound really great.

Ireland's Call
This is apparently the Irish Rugby Anthem. I have no idea what Rugby is... but the song is pretty neat! It has that beat to it that makes it enjoyable to listen to, tap your foot to and makes you want to learn the lyrics. Very good listening.

This is a beautiful song, sung by George Donaldson. It is a song about love, marriage, staying true, troubling times, fidelity and life. The refrain is especially full of meaning and beauty, so I'll put the words here.
Life is an ocean and love is a boat
In troubled water that keeps us afloat
When we started the voyage, there was just me and you
Now gathered round us, we have our own crew.

What can I say? I love this song! It is so heartfelt and gorgeous. Whenever I listen to it... I just feel so full and overflowing, if you know what I mean. Uplifted, soaring, chills up my spine. It's just like that, for me anyhow. And one of my favorite things about this song is, that in the refrain "Caledonia" (latin for Scotland) is easily replaceable with many things like... Redwall Abbey *cough*( Yes I have done that)... America, even "Dearest Lord." Ye might want to try it sometime!
Both Celtic Women and Celtic Thunder sing this, and they are the same... yet different. When Lisa (Celtic Women) sings it, it is more haunting, yearing and longing. When the Celtic Thunder gents sing it... it's, I don't know. It's just different.
I like the Celtic Thunder version slightly better, but I liked to both so you could decide for yourself. Click on "Cale" and you'll go to the CT version. Click on "donia" and you'll get the CW. Be sure and let me know what you prefer!

Well, that's it! *whipers* This took me over an hour... so you better comment! OK fine.... I would be really happy and pleased if you would comment so that I know this did not all go waste. Thank you!

Caledonia's been everything I've ever had!


  1. My favorite songs are:

    #1:Mo Ghile Mar!

    #2: The Soft Goodbye!

    #3: The Butterfly!

    #4: Granuaile's Dance!

    #5: Heartland!

    #6: Ireland's Call!


    #7: Caledonia!
    (the Celtic Thunder version ;)

  2. I love love love love Caledonia and heartland! why didn't you pit the voice up?

  3. Catherine MorlandAugust 8, 2008 at 3:26 PM

    gotta love that Irish twang! *wink, wink*
    My favorite by Celtic Thunder would have to be The Mull of Kintyre (it's not on their CD, alas, alack) They sound the best when they sing together. Puupy's voice is pretty good too. I just love when he sings Come by the Hills!

    Out of Celtic women, my favorite would be all the celtic harp songs. Some of their non-celtic songs on their second CD are pretty good too. (like Largo from Winter)

  4. Love, love, LOVE Celtic music. I grew up on it and I don't think I will ever get tired of it. Honestly, I think it's some of the best music in the world...also the main reason I started Irish dance! Who can listen to a good fast reel without wanting to dance?!

  5. I LOVE how you call Ryan "the snake". Dude's got some evil looking eyes! I love his version of "Heartbreaker" though.

    btw, their second CD with the rest of the songs from the concert went on sale a little over 2 weeks ago. It made me very happy. :D

    Wait, didn't we talk about Celtic Thunder on the Mom boards?


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