Celtic Fantasy (CD, 53:28) Green Hill GHD5191, 2000 Green Hill Productions 2021 Richard Jones Road, Suite 180 Nashville, TN 37215 OK, let’s get this straight right up front – I can’t stand “Lords of the Dance” and I don’t have a very good disposition towards Celtic music at all. So when a CD called Celtic Fantasy dropped on my lap for review, I was not at all optimistic – I figured I’d suffer through a few playings and then do my best at writing a review that didn’t offend anyone. So I opened my mind as much as possible, dropped the disc into my player, and hit the play button. However, within 10 minutes something very strange happened – this music was MOVING me. Celtic Fantasy wasn’t the PBS special style of Celtic music that I had heard before – it was more full and “classical” if you will. The richness and beauty of the strings (led by producer David Davidson) are dominating throughout the entire album, and by the end of the CD you will feel like you’ve been musically transported to the land of green meadows, lush forests, and whiskey-soaked locals. While almost all of the tracks on Celtic Fantasy are effective in their conveying of the Celtic spirit, I found that the slower violin/piano numbers were the most impressive. The beauty of the violins on the track “Brighid’s Blessing” is almost indescribable, and “Mother Sun” is an extremely inspirational composition complete with sweeping string arrangements that are guaranteed to please. Pianist Pat Coil and Vocalist Caroline Peyton duet on the wonderfully soothing track “The Garden” – Peyton ’s voice sounds like it would be more at home in Heaven then here on Earth. I can’t imagine anyone not being in some way emotionally affected by this gorgeous music. Some of the more up-tempo tracks work as well – on “Fairy Dance,” Davidson’s violin dances deftly through the abundant backing arrangements giving the listener the aural illusion that they are chasing the violin through a musical obstacle course during the entire song – always being lured by its notes, but never quite catching it. However, “The Fianna Battle Song” – another up-tempo number – fails to live up to the rest of the CD and almost seems to try a little TOO hard to be meandering and airy. This is the exception to the rule though, and for the most part Celtic Fantasy succeeds in its goals of conveying the story of Irish peasants through traditional music. The closing track “The Farm’s Hand (Vocal)” will leave you soothed and relaxed with its incredible vocal arrangements and its grand strings – a perfect ending to a wonderful journey. So while I still won’t be joining the Michael Flatley Fan Club anytime soon, I will say that I found Celtic Fantasy to be a very surprisingly enjoyable experience. If you’re a fan of traditional Irish music, by all means run out and pick up a copy. Even if you’re an unbeliever like myself, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with this release. - Michael Askounes (firstname.lastname@example.org) TRACK LISTING: 1. Farmer’s Hand Intro (0:41) 2. Fairy Dance (3:02) 3. Summer Skye (4:56) 4. Brighid’s Blessing (5:11) 5. Mo Cairenn (6:26) 6. Farmer’s Hand (3:35) 7. The Fianna Battle Song (3:16) 8. The Knowing Tree (3:42) 9. The Garden (2:17) 10. Myst on the Glen (5:21) 11. Mother Sun (4:01) 12. Fantasy and Dance (3:52) 13. Fields of the Heart (3:25) 14. Farmer’s Hand (3:09)
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