Celtic Music

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.



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7 responses to “Celtic Music

  1. Pingback: Music » Celtic Music

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  3. Susan and Nick

    Oh, wonderful!! 🙂 That list should keep me going for quite a while. Thankyou for taking the time to post your favourites I’m looking forward to sampling them all.


  4. debbieu

    Sweet Sarah,

    What an exciting list! Thank you for planting a few new ideas in my head for our ever-expanding music library (it currently fills an under-stairs nook, holding many of the treasures you noted). Based on your preferences you may enjoy Kate Price’s music (check out cdbaby.com) and if you haven’t visited gourd.com you are in for a REAL TREAT! My family especially loves Shelley Phillips and her renaissance instruments. My children have grown up to the strains of The Fairy Round wafting through the gardens as they make-believe the afternoons away. My 17-year-old breaks into a wide grin every time she hears the tinkle of the windchime in the opening bars of the cds initial tune. Lastly, The Village Green (music of Old Sturbridge Village) is a wonderful companion to The World Turned Upside Down. This wide array of tunes enhances any cup of tea on an autumn day and can make a pie-baking afternoon seem like time travel to a simpler day. EnJOY!

    With a Smile,
    From your Kindred Friend in CA : )

  5. I’ll have to check out some of the music from the above comment. One of my all time favorite places to visit is Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass.

    Okay, I raided my son’s CD collection because he has a few of my celtic CDs. Here are some favorites.

    Celtic Quilt by Daniel Kobialka (a gift from my daughter to me)

    Celtric Cry; The Heart of a Martyr
    (gift from my daughter to her brother)

    with: Matthew Ward, Charles Billingsley, Scott Krippayne, and Shannon Wexelbert


    Celtic Christmas

    There is a favorite shop in a nearby town that sells the most beautiful dulcimer music. It reminds me of the Celtic sound because I can play it and feel I’m in another world.

    I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the titles you mentioned.

    By the way, I know there will be many of us that are happy you are pondering, writing, and blogging. 🙂

  6. Hello, Sarah. Irish music is one of my very favorite categories, and here are some of my best:
    Cherish the Ladies — “The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone”
    Heidi Talbot — “Distant Future”
    The Tannahill Weavers — “Arnish Light”
    Clannad — “Live in Concert”

    Even though she’s categorized as “new age” music, Enya (Eithne Brennan) is very Irish and wonderfully imbibed with the spirit of that island.

    Perhaps my two top Irish CDs are ones I picked up at tiny jam sessions in Galway and Doolin. I don’t think they’re available in America, but get them if you see them:
    Pat Broderick — “Castle Nights”
    The Ceili Bandits — “Hangin at the Crossroads”

    Thanks for starting a fun discussion!

  7. Sarah

    Hey everyone, thanks for all the comments and suggestions, I’ve been in a sort of music euphoria with all these new Celtic suggestions.

    Debbieu- Thanks for the info, I went to the Gourd.com site and just forwarded it to my family as a Christmas list. 🙂 Can’t wait! I liked the bit about your daughter smiling at the first strains… I can relate.

    Brenda- Thanks for the suggestions, I can’t wait to look for them. This is so much fun! And yes, Sturbridge is such a great place, I was there years ago but want to go back.

    Steve- First of all, I’m green with envy at the fact that you have been to Ireland. That place just captures my imagination. Thanks for the suggestions, I’ve never heard of some of them and will definitely track them down, especially the ones you actually got in Ireland if I can. Thanks!

    Susan- You’re very welcome!

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