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1
What are your favourite instrumentals from the Celtic Woman albums?

It's such a difficult choice because there are so many good ones!

If I missed any in the poll above, please let me know.

Here are my top 10 at the moment:

1. The Coast Of Galiçia (SftH)
2. Across the World (VoA)
3. The Hills of Ireland (Destiny)
4. Granuaile's Dance (ANJ)
5. Tara's Tunes (Ancient Land)
6. The Kesh Inn (Homecoming)
7. The Ashokan Fairwell / The Contradiction (CW)
8. For the Love of a Princess (Homecoming)
9. Love and Honor (Ancient Land)
10. Skyrim Theme (Dragonborn) (Destiny)

2
Mairead Carlin / Mairead Carlin talks fashion
« on: June 13, 2019, 06:40:19 PM »
Mairead Carlin always seems to be wearing something stylish. She talks fashion in this article for Image.

3
Mairead Nesbitt / Celtic Heart concerts
« on: June 09, 2019, 03:24:44 PM »
Tim Janis appears to be doing Celtic Heart concerts in Detroit and Connecticut this December.

That's why PBS is airing Celtic Heart on those two stations only.

Detroit

Sunday, Dec 8, 2019
7 PM
Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, MI

Detroit PBS Thank You Gifts (search for "Tim Janis")

Quote
Tim Janis 1Ticket w/M&G Sun 12/8/19 7PM: Detroit Music Hall
$125


Connecticut

Monday, Dec 9, 2019
Warner Theatre, Torrington, CT

Connecticut PBS Thank You Gifts (search for "Tim Janis")

The Detroit PBS description of the concert and M+G was pretty vague, leaving one to wonder if he was performing Celtic Heart or a Christmas show perhaps. Connecticut PBS was pretty explicit though:

Quote
Single Ultimate Experience Ticket to Tim Janis Celtic Heart Concert
Includes:
VIP Ticket to Tim Janis in Concert on Monday, December 9, 2019 at 8 p.m. at the Warner Theatre, Torrington, CT
VIP Lanyard
Meet & Greet/Reception with Tim Janis Mairead Nesbitt, and Others

Single Ultimate Experience Ticket
Tim Janis: 12/9/19: Single Ultimate Experience Ticket
$90

BONUS: Tim Janis' Water's Edge CD for each pair of Tickets


I've Tweeted Lynn and Mairead to see if I can get confirmation if either or both of them will be at the shows in December.

4
Ancient Land on Tour / Red Rocks Writeup (May, 2019)
« on: June 08, 2019, 11:14:57 AM »
Red Rocks Writeup (Part 1)

On the morning of the big show, I headed over to Red Rocks! I had seen pictures of the venue of course, but to actually be standing there at the top of the amphitheater, looking down at the stage where my favourite group was about to perform, was truly special.

They were still in the early stages of putting together the stage when I arrived. The lighting racks had not yet been raised and they were just beginning to lay down the triskele.

Inside the visitor center at the top (back) of the amphitheater was a hallway with all the past Red Rocks concerts listed. There upon that wall I found the dates of Celtic Woman's previous shows at Red Rocks. After years of seeing videos of those amazing shows, reading the rave reviews, and wishing I had been there to see it, my wish had finally come true.

I got a considerable amount of souvenirs from the gift shop, but I spent less time than money in the the visitor center. I was eager to get back out there and take in the spectacular amphitheater with my own eyes. Bad knees weren't going to stop me from walking down the steps and back up to take in the view from different vantage points.

The weather was great at that point and I had some time to spare before the start of the fan gathering, so I walked along the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks park. The trail runs loops around some spectacular rock formations, surrounded by foliage, to the south of the amphitheater. It took less than an hour and wasn't overly strenuous. The views all along the trail were incredible! As I took in all that scenery and fresh air, I couldn't help but reflect on the places I've been and the things I've seen over the past few years since I started going to see Celtic Woman shows. That group and its lovely leading ladies have inspired me to visit so many amazing places. They have connected me with great new friends. They have enriched my life in ways I couldn't have imagined.

I finished the trail just in time to head over to the fan gathering at the Outback Steakhouse, where about 23 of us assembled to catch up with each other and to celebrate our favourite group. As I had been at the fan gathering before Lisa Kelly's (barely two weeks prior to Red Rocks), I was feeling a bit antisocial. I didn't mingle and chat with too many people. I mostly stuck to chatting with the people around me with whom I was most comfortable. Perhaps that was a wasted opportunity, but there have been a few fan encounters at shows recently (including at one of Lisa Lambe's two shows) that were genuinely uncomfortable and I didn't want to inject any social stress so close to such a highly anticipated show.


Tickets, Please

Following the fan gathering, I headed over to the box office just after it opened at 4 PM to pick up my Meet and Greet passes as well as my tickets and Ancient Land DVD from PBS.

These Meet and Greet passes had a bit of a history going back to December 2018 when I ordered them. Due to a system issue of some sort, my original pledge didn't include the Meet and Greet passes. I had to contact PBS back in December to get that sorted out. After the pledge confirmations were sent out, my confirmation still didn't include a Meet and Greet (another system issue). I had to contact PBS again to confirm I had a Meet and Greet. In April, PBS sent out a notice that they had mailed the DVD and tickets that came with the pledge. They were supposed to arrive by the end of April but didn't. It's not uncommon for things to take longer to get here. But after I returned from the first of my first series of concerts in May, the package still hadn't arrived. So I contacted PBS again only to find that they had attempted to deliver the package but for some unknown reason, it had been returned to them. So I was to pick up the tickets and the Meet and Greet passes at the box office before the show.

Well there I was at the box office, just hours before the show. The package with the DVD and tickets was there waiting for me (although it apparently took some effort to find it). But the Meet and Greet passes were not. Someone had to contact PBS to let them know there was a group of us waiting for Meet and Greet passes.

As we waited, we could see ominous clouds rolling in. It started to drizzle. As we waited, Ronan's parents stopped by to pick up their tickets, as did Tara's husband.

Finally, a representative from PBS came by and dropped off the passes ... only they didn't bring all the passes. So as it continued to rain on and off, the rest of us continued to wait. After an hour or so, PBS arrived with the rest of the Meet and Greet passes and we were off to the venue!

At the venue, there was more waiting. Like the a ride at an amusement park, the things we want to see the most sometimes demand the most patience. By the time we got to the merch table near the bottom of the amphitheater to gather for the Meet and Greet, there wasn't much time left but to wait for the Meet and Greet.


Meet and Greet

The Meet and Greet was held in a rock-walled hallway / room near the stage and the dressing room. Traditionally, I've been near the end of the line at the Meet and Greets. But I wanted a few extra minutes to walk back up to the top (rear) of the amphitheater before the show, so I got near the front of the line. As we were waiting in the hallway, some of the fans in the line sang me a happy birthday!

For many years, I despised hearing that song, especially in my honour. A lot of those years before I started seeing Celtic Woman shows were miserable. What was the purpose of celebrating another year when the road ahead seemed as bleak as the road traveled? Celtic Woman shows have given me pleasant memories to reflect upon and something to look forward to. I don't think I've ever enjoyed the song more than I did on that day, so thank you all who sang along for that special moment.

After a short wait in the hallway, the girls, a bounce in their steps and smiles on their faces, emerged from the dressing room area! Megan was first this time. In a throwback to my first concert of the Ancient Land tour in Rochester, NY, she opened with a handshake. She wished me a happy birthday. I told her how much fun it had been preparing their gifts this tour and asked her which was her favourite. I was a bit surprised at her answer as I was expecting it to be their least favourite. No matter. They all seemed pleased when told them that for the last gift of the tour, I had donated to all their charities. That was met with an adorable and satisfying "awwwwww" that could apparently be heard from down the hallway.

After giving Megan a hug, Eabha was up next in line. I told her that of all the tours I've seen, Ancient Land had been my favourite. It had been filled with energy, feeling, and beautiful music. I told her how grateful I was to everyone on and off the stage who had poured their hearts into this tour to make it so amazing for all of us.

Third in line was Mairead. She wished me a happy birthday. For the first time, I tried a little rhyme at the Meet and Greet:

For years I've blown out candles
Hoping wishes would come true
But I never dreamed a birthday gift
As wonderful as you


It was simple and I feared it would come across a little cheesy, but I delivered it as well as I could. It was met with another resounding "awwwwww" so it seemed the girls liked it. I told them it was very special to be with them at this bucket list venue on my birthday and that I was looking forward to another year with their music in my life.

Last was Tara. I told her that it wasn't just the music that made Celtic Woman so special. I love Celtic Woman as much as I do because of kind, talented, and adorable people like those that that were standing before me. I thanked her and the other girls for all the work it must take to be as amazing as they are then gave Tara a big hug. We ended up saying a few more words I don't quite remember, but they must have been meaningful, because Tara ended up hugging me again. Either Mairead or Eabha said "bonus hug" and the girls giggled adorably. I secretly wished that the girls would have sang me Happy Birthday too, although I was never going to ask them to do it, especially not when there were almost 20 people waiting behind me in the Meet and Greet line.

I was so content with myself for getting through two consecutive Meet and Greets without forgetting what I wanted to say, I almost forgot to stay for the photo! Ironically, the photo itself ended up being perhaps the worst Meet and Greet photo I've ever had. My phone overexposed the picture quite significantly. But although those Meet and Greets are technically glorified photo ops, it's the opportunity to tell those girls how special they are that means the most to me.

I don't think Sett was pleased at the amount of time I took with the girls (nor were some of the other people in line, I'm sure). It was at least a minute and a half and probably more. But for all the hassle and worry involved in securing those Meet and Greet passes this time, I was going to be sure I got my money's worth.  ;D


For the first time, my writeup ended up being so extensive that it exceeded the maximum character length of a post, so I had to split it up into two part. Part 2 is coming up next!

5
Mairead Nesbitt / Tim Janis's Celtic Heart: Album Writeup
« on: June 07, 2019, 06:58:21 PM »
Caution: The writeup below may contain spoilers!


Tim Janis's music is very relaxing and so is this album. The is essentially an instrumental album. The harps, whistles, and flutes, were all excellent and relaxing instrument choices. The voices are used like instruments too. Rather than words, the music relies on angelic humming. The sound is atmospheric ... almost hypnotic.

Lynn's voice is perfect for this album. Its beauty and resonance draws in and enchants the listener. It doesn't overpower the other instruments, but also never gets overshadowed or lost among the other sounds. It's remarkable how her voice maintains such a perfect balance.

Lynn definitely arranged at least some of the songs (she probably arranged most of them). Some of the songs have her distinctive style that she's used on her solo albums and her group projects, like CaraNua. At first, I thought the "da-dum, da-dum" in some of the backing vocals might become distracting. But that thought lasted only for a moment. I found that it to was soothing and it created a rhythm that was almost like a heartbeat. Where her voice carries, our hearts will surely follow.

Lynn's voice is at the forefront of pretty much every song, while Mairead's involvement is a bit more subtle. Mairead gets the spotlight in Western Realms, Fairy Glen, Kid ar an Sliabh, and Hidden Forest. Fairy Glen is fun and soothing at the same time. Kid ar an Sliabh has a familiar and catchy swashbuckling flavor. Most of Mairead's songs had a very different feel it did feel a bit out of place, as though they were injected into the album as afterthoughts to add some energy between all the relaxing, atmospheric songs.

My favourite track on the album is Hidden Forest. It features Lynn's voice of course, but also a breathtaking melody by Mairead. The song starts out like the others, lovely and tranquil. Then out of nowhere, it will come sweeping in to whisk away your heart. It's one of the most gorgeous things I've ever heard.

The album comes to an abrupt end. The meaning in that I'll leave for you to contemplate. But one thing it achieves very well is leaving you longing for more.

For people that don't know Tim Janis's music and haven't read this writeup, I'm not sure this album would be what they'd be expecting if you told them that Lynn and Mairead were performing on the an album. It's definitely a different style than Celtic Woman and for those who are expecting catchy lyrics, they'll be surprised, one way or another. But this album fulfills its intent exceedingly well and both Mairead and Lynn are used very effectively, though Mairead more sparingly.

Every Tim Janis album I've heard has been amazing. Some have even catchier tunes and epic orchestral swells. But none of those other albums have Lynn and Mairead. If you enjoy relaxing music, I think you're going to love this one, even in the absence of words. If you're like me, one of the things you love about Celtic Woman music is that it relaxes you. Celtic Heart is immensely soothing and hopefully it will touch your heart like it did mine.


Track List

1. Fall of the Great Forest (4:20)
2. Isle of Skye (2:10)
3. The White Forest (2:59)
4. Western Realms (2:58)
5. Mountain at the River (4:23)
6. Winter's Gate (3:13)
7. The Ancient Woods (5:01)
8. Fairy Glen (3:21)
9. Shadow Glass (2:27)
10. Beyond the Evening Star (2:50)
11. Spirit of the Trees (2:14)
12. Kid ar an Sliabh (2:15)
13. Light on the Sea (2:51)
14. Hidden Forest (3:53)
15. Through the Mountains (2:34)
16. The Light of Highland Meadow (2:54)
17. The Ring of Brodgar (4:57)
18. Spirit Lake (3:06)
19. Celtic Heart (4:13)

Running time of the CD is 1 hour 2 minutes.

6
Lisa Lambe / Lisa working with David Downes again
« on: June 05, 2019, 07:33:13 AM »
Lisa Lambe appears to be recording with David Downes again!

I suspect it's a small project, a single perhaps, but it will be great to hear those two collaborating again.

7
Alex Sharpe / Alex EP
« on: June 03, 2019, 07:33:17 PM »
Alex has been working on an EP.

Release date to be announced soon.

Here's a short sample:
https://www.facebook.com/212618112092508/videos/2349991568594600/

8
Caranua / Alex and Lynn Q+A
« on: June 01, 2019, 06:15:57 PM »
On May 16, 2019, Alex and Lynn held a little Q+A session on Facebook Live.

Some key points:
- The first official CaraNua CD is tentatively expected to release in July, 2019!
- CaraNua is potentially doing a concert in Utah in September or October 2019!
- Although CaraNua is interested in touring, their focus right now is recording. They're waiting for the right opportunity and timing to consider a tour.

9
Mairead Nesbitt is performing at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England on Friday, July 12, 2019:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mairead-nesbitt-live-at-the-icc-tickets-60141816793

Mairead Nesbitt Live at the ICC
Friday, July 12, 2019
8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

Irish Cultural Centre of New England
Canton, MA

General Admission is $30 (it looks like these are no longer available from the site above, so they may be sold out)
Ticket with Meet and Greet is $50

It seems like there's no assigned seating, at least not for the VIP tickets, so presumably it's first come first choice (like Chloë's shows or like the shows at Johnstown Castle).


P.S. Yes, I will be going.

10
Mairead Nesbitt / Celtic Heart: Videos
« on: June 01, 2019, 05:48:25 PM »
Tim Janis posted a video on YouTube that begins with some footage from the Celtic Heart concerts in Maine earlier this year:

https://youtu.be/FHWp5i0QN0A

The video is 2 hours long, but only the first few minutes feature the new music, Mairead Nesbitt, and Lynn.

After about 8:37, there's looping stock video and stills, backed by music from Tim's previous albums. It's really great music and some stunning scenes, but it isn't the new music. It does loop quite a few times.


11
Mairead Nesbitt / Celtic Heart CD / DVD / PBS special release date
« on: May 30, 2019, 05:53:04 PM »
The Celtic Heart album (featuring Lynn Hilary and Mairead Nesbitt) releases June 7, 2019!

It looks like there will be 19 tracks:

1. Fall of the Great Forest (4:20)
2. Isle of Skye (2:10)
3. The White Forest (2:59)
4. Western Realms (2:58)
5. Mountain at the River (4:23)
6. Winter's Gate (3:13)
7. The Ancient Woods (5:01)
8. Fairy Glen (3:21)
9. Shadow Glass (2:27)
10. Beyond the Evening Star (2:50)
11. Spirit of the Trees (2:14)
12. Kid ar an Sliabh (2:15)
13. Light on the Sea (2:51)
14. Hidden Forest (3:53)
15. Through the Mountains (2:34)
16. The Light of Highland Meadow (2:54)
17. The Ring of Brodgar (4:57)
18. Spirit Lake (3:06)
19. Celtic Heart (4:13)

Running time of the CD is listed as 1 hour 2 minutes.

Source:
https://music.apple.com/ca/album/celtic-heart/1464246714

The PBS special debuts in June (I've already seen it listed for Detroit PBS on June 10th)! Note: Some PBS stations may not carry it. The only ones I've seen so far are Detroit and Connecticut. Check your local PBS listings.

Running time of the PBS special is listed as 90 minutes.

I'm not sure of the release date of the DVD yet (I assume there will be one, but I asked anyways and am awaiting a reply).

12
Ancient Land on Tour / Adorable Homeland
« on: April 25, 2019, 11:23:13 PM »
Too cute not to share.

The girls received some inspiration tonight before their show.

Here's a short clip (attached) of Homeland performed by some adorable young fans.

13
Hayley Westenra / Hayley re-launching her website
« on: April 21, 2019, 12:02:11 AM »
It looks like Hayley is re-launching her web site:
https://hayleywestenra.com/coming-soon/

It has a stunning new image of her as a placeholder.

14
Ancient Land / Celtic Woman: Ancient Land DVD Chart Performance
« on: April 20, 2019, 09:14:03 PM »
DVD

Ancient Land

Billoboard Music Video Sales chart

Weeks on Chart:   4
Peak Position:2
Peak Date:March 3, 2019
Chart Debut:March 3, 2019

Week                 Position

Mar 03, 2019     2
Mar 23, 2019     6
Mar 30, 2019     7
Apr 06, 2019     5

15
Celtic Woman / Brendan Graham Songs
« on: April 15, 2019, 11:23:54 PM »
Brendan Graham wrote the lyrics for some of Celtic Woman's best songs.

Here's a list of some of them:

You Raise Me Up
The Blessing
The Soft Goodbye
Christmas Pipes
The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun
The Voice
Sing Out
The Call
Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears
O America
Sometimes a Prayer Will Do
My Land

Some other notable songs he wrote that were covered by Celtic Woman performers or guests:

Crucan Na Bpaiste (Deirdre Shannon)
Always There (Orla Fallon)
Sleep On (Hayley Westenra)
Orphan Girl (Anabelle Sweeney)

Can you think of other Celtic Woman songs to which Brendan Graham contributed?

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