Celtic Woman: Destiny World Tour

To say that I was looking forward to this evening is a bit of an understatement.  I’ve listened to Celtic Woman for some time now and have tried to see them live a few times. However, as you may be aware, I seem to be jinxed with regard to certain bands and never get to see them. One day I will manage to see Dikanda live but I digress! The point is, it’s not all that surprising that my string of bad luck continued as I woke up this morning with the cold that had been pretty annoying all weekend much worse… seriously, how are sinuses capable of causing so much pain?
But nothing was going to stop Wendy and me from getting to the centre of town to see Celtic Woman perform in the rather stunning Carré!
Celtic Woman is an Irish music group who play a kind of fusion folk music. Their style really seems to change from album to album, the latest album Destiny, seems rather poppy compared to some of the earlier recordings and this transferred to the stage. They also have a rotating line up of vocalists who, despite being all female, don’t really have anything in common with each other vocally meaning that you get quite a different sound depending on the current line up.

At the moment, the group consists of vocalists Máiréad Carlin, Susan McFadden and Éabha McMahon as well as fiddle player Máiréad Nesbitt who is the only one who has, I think, been with the group since it formed. They are, of course, joined on stage by a group of wonderful musicians, who I am unable to name, as well as, for this tour, a four voice male choir.

From what I’ve seen, admittedly only on DVD, Celtic Woman concerts are always a bit theatrical. In this case we had a projection screen which was used quite nicely with images of countryside or subtle effects. The staging was quite simple with multiple levels which was also quite nice. That said, I do have to question some of the choreography and there were moments, quite a few moment, when the dancing reminded me of a cheesy boy band or when the movements seemed completely random, without purpose or effect.

But the important bit was the music, of course. As I said, the album Destiny breaks from some of the more folk led albums and this did translate into the show. That’s not a bad thing at all but was quite interesting. While there were a few songs off of different albums (Amazing Grace, Danny Boy etc.) these were the minority.

The three female vocalists have lovely voices and, they have been really carefully balanced so that each voice brings something different to the group (*). This leads to a great balance as well as a diversity of interesting tone. That said, I could write quite the tome about Éabha’s voice, in particular. At times it was aspirate and gentle, certainly full of character. However, especially when she was singing solo pieces, we were treated to what may well be one of the most beautiful voices… I cannot find a way to describe it without using such clichés as “molten” and “haunting” but you know something’s special when the cliché’s are true!

And I really cannot forget the musicians who are not included in the “Celtic Woman” name… I always find it a bit strange that the name refers to the vocalists and Máiréad but not the others but anyway! The band in general are pretty awesome. Ray Fean deserves a special mention as a wonderful percussionist and a skilled showman as does Anthony Byrne for his bagpipe playing. Okay, I might be a bit partial to the sound of bagpipes!

So, after several years of attempting to see them I finally managed and, I think it’s fair to say that it was worth the wait. Now hopefully I won’t have as long a wait until next time!

(*) The male vocalists also had great voices and they sounded wonderful but as a backing choir they did get less chance to shine!

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