Since several of you asked… I thought I’d post my favorite Celtic albums (go on, twist my arm). There is just something about Celtic music; soulful, keening, mournful, glad, and sometimes all at once! Here are my favorites with further details:
Celtic Visions (Instrumental, Artist: John Mock, Green Hill Music) – My first Celtic CD. Traditional Irish melodies put to symphony. Just the sound of the first strains can send me into a contemplative mood.
Celtic Portraits (Instrumental, Artist: John Mock, Green Hill Music) The second in the series, also full of traditional and a couple of original melodies in symphony arrangement. There is an added drama, an extra flavor of depth to this one. I first heard it while driving up into the Rockies, so maybe that influenced my perception.
Celtic Highlands (Instrumental, Green Hill Music) The Scottish flavored final CD in the trio. Mournful bagpipes, penny whistle, toe tapping, buoyant while yet quite mournful. Sounds like Scottish history in song if you ask me.
Celtic Fantasies (Instrumental, Artist: David Davidson, Green Hill Music) The violin on this album is breathtaking, it seems to weave a small world of melodic enchantment. Every piece is arranged around the violin as this album was done by David Davidson, one of the best violinists in the music business. We heard him in Nashville, no words to describe it.
Celtic Crossings (Instrumental, Artist/Guitarist: William Coulter) I bought this on a whim with some Christmas money and love it more every time I hear it. William Coulter is an acoustic guitarist and all his albums are done on acoustic instruments with fellow musicians. There is a real hearthside flavor to the music, as if you were present watching bards play around a fire. I love finding good, acoustic collections like this
The World Turned Upside Down (Instrumental, Artist/Guitarist: William Coulter) Ditto to the above; this one is not quite so Celtic in its roots, but so beloved in my house, I had to include it.
Celtic Christmas Spirit (Voice/Instrumental, Artist: Caroline Peyton) Caroline Peyton voiced some of the princesses in a couple of Disney movies (I think) and she has a lovely Celtic sound. The songs (not at all Disney) are traditional Celtic tunes that she selected and often sings in Gaelic.
The Visit (Voice/Instrumental, Artist: Loreena McKennit) Loreena is one of my favorite artists in the world. (I’m seeing her in concert next week!) She has a gift for music I think, and travels all over the world setting her albums in the musical flavor and history of certain regions. This is the one she did after spending extensive time in the UK.
Elemental (Voice/Instrumental, Artist: Loreena McKennit) The first album Loreena did; all traditional Irish ballads and folksongs with her own haunting arrangements.
Whisper to the Wild Water (Voice, Artist: Maire Brennan) Maire, (pronounced Moya) is one of a large Irish family of Gaelic-speaking musicians. She is well known for being a member of the Irish group Clannad, but has begun her own career in which she combines her beautiful Celtic music, sung often in Gaelic, with the love of her Christian faith.
The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (Voice, Artist: Kate Rusby) I just discovered Kate Rusby, an acoustic musician and vocalist from the UK. She takes traditional old folk songs and ballads and sings them to her own mellow arrangements. I listened to her all through the Lake District and felt right at home. Her voice is so warm and earthy, her music so natural, it is a comfort to listen as well as delight.
All right. That ought to do for now. I could go on you know. Hope that begins some Celtic inspiration for you all, and if you know of some outstanding ones I’m missing, please post! I’m always on a quest for Irish music old and new.