Various - Celtic Mystique: Women of song (Etherean Music)
Women have, throughout Irish history and folklore, played a leading role. They've always been there urging their husbands on, be it in battle, or otherwise. They have also played, and indeed still do play, a vital role in the development of Irish music and song. This twelve-track collection is a tribute to the mysticism that women have lent to Irish music, and showcases the vocal talents of twelve Celtic-influenced female vocalists from across the globe.
Opener 'Maclan of Glencore', performed here by Moira Kerr, is a very Clannad-like affair. Very bright and airy; an excellent choice for a lead-off song. The medley of 'The heather, she grows/Island spinning song' by Elyra Campbell shows the diversity that can be achieved in the tradition by bringing in outside influences. There is a slight oriental influence in here somewhere. On more of a strictly traditional note there is Anne Martin singing 'Oran leannan sithe', in Irish and in true sean-nůs style, with minimal accompaniment.
Sounding like William Orbit produced it, Gabrielle Angelique's 'Ancient souls' is an emotive Clannad meets Tori Amos piece of work. Brilliant, especially the solo piano part and the staccato strings. Sharon Murphy, who has previously collaborated with Dagda, the Irish trance/ambient artists, lends her beautiful voice to the collection's stand out track. Opening in a traditional style, this emigration song suits Sharon's powerful, yet still soft voice perfectly; her heart-warming rendition of 'Homes of Donegal' could bring a tear the eye of a potato.
Even the brief electro/trance passage doesn't take away from the mood, in fact it really shows how adaptable the tradition is. It emphasises that any style of music, world or modern, can be blended successfully with the Irish style - once it's done right of course and once you can tell someone's put their heart into it. And how do you know when someone's done their best? You can hear it in their voice of course.