Top positive review
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What Gorgeous singing!
on 1 April 2007
For some unknown reason this album is not commercially available in the UK. Amazon got it for me from the USA.
Perhaps someone thinks Celtic music is not liked here. I got the same impression a couple of years ago at an Anuna concert. But anyone who enjoys beautiful female voices and fine singing will love this album.
I came to it as a Hayley Westenra fan, wanting to own everything she has done. My first experience of Hayley was at a live concert, and not knowing what to expect, her impact on me was huge. Within fifteen seconds of the start I was fighting back the tears, such is the beauty of her voice. I simply couldn't believe my own ears.
This CD is fantastic, all the five girl singers have beautiful voices, and I enjoyed Mairead's fiddle playing too.
There is a combination of solos by the girls and group numbers, often featuring stunning harmonies. For Hayley to claim that she is not used to singing in a group is misleading. Some of her backing vocals are sensational!
Tracks as follows:
The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun is an introduction to the girls, and you hear all of the voices in turn. With a heavy orchestral and choral backing,it does its job well.
The Prayer, sung by Chloe, probably the weakest of the five singers but she still has a voice I'm sure some international stars would die for. Chloe is still only 16, so can only get better.
Newgrange, a haunting song about some ancient ruins near Dublin. Sung by Orla, who has the lowest voice in the group,and also plays the harp. Nice.
Over the Rainbow. Not a song I ever liked much. But this a capella version, in four part harmony is stunning. Chloe sings the lead, with Hayley, Orla and Meav supporting. This is the first stunning example of how Hayley in particular can turn a song into something magical without even singing the lead.
Granuaille's Dance. A Jig, played by Mairead.
The Blessing - The first of three solo tracks by Lisa. My least favourite of her three, but still an enjoyable listen. Lisa too has a terrific voice.
Dulaman - This is the first of four successive tracks of stunning brilliance. This is an up tempo number, sung in Gaelic by Meav with a drum and male choral backing. Terrific stuff, and on first listen my favourite track.
Beyond the Sea. What can I say about this? By far the best version of this song I have ever heard (but on this album I find myself saying that on song after song), with interweaving voices and beaufiful harmonies, the girls alternating on singing the lead. Beautiful and atmospheric, with a fiddle solo in the middle, I love it!
The last Rose of Summer. This is gorgeous, sung by Meav and Hayley, in my book the two strongest singers, with some beautiful harmonies towards the end. This is I think my favourite track. Again, the best version of this song I have ever heard.
Caledonia. This is a beautiful, beautiful song, sung beautifully by Lisa.
Lascia Ch'io Pianga. I suppose Hayley had to show her classical background at some point and this is it. As always with Hayley, it is sung with exemplary control and precision, using her beautiful voice brilliantly. Since I first saw her, Hayley has got even better.
Carrickfergus. Orla, sings this gentle song, accompanying herself on the harp. Delightful.
Vivaldi's Rain. Sung by Chloe, I think this is the weakest song on the album, but perhaps that is becuse I can't help comparing it with the same song sung in English by Hayley on her album Pure. Hayley's outstanding range and control makes her version far superior in my opinion. But this is still a good song, well sung - I've just been spoiled.
The Voice. Lisa again. "I am the Voice", she sings, and who would argue? A lovely, haunting song.
Scarborough Fair. Hayley's second solo. I was initially disappointed by this, not sure why but perhaps because I prefer the Paul Simon arrangement of this song. I remembered I had enjoyed Sarah Brightman's verion of it, and thinking it might be better than Hayley's, played both in succession. That soon put me right, Haley made Sarah sound horribly out of tune and weak voiced! This is a good version though, and I have since learned to appreciate it for the fine piece of singing that it is. As always, Hayley seems to stamp her class on everything she does, seemingly without effort. Brilliant.
Mo Ghile Mear. The finale. The album ends as it starts, with a song showcasing each of the girls in turn, and there is even a drum solo! It is a nice song and a good way to end this album
So overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this, and haven't had it off the player since I got it. Right now it would be on the desert island with me - it is that good. Then only thing it hasn't done, compared to my other desert island discs, is stand the test of time. But I'm sure it will, this sort of beauty is timeless.