Celtic Woman

Celtic Woman is a musical ensemble comprising six Irish female artists: vocalists Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, Alex Sharpe and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt. The group's repertoire ranges from traditional Celtic tunes to modern songs. To date, the group has released three albums, Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration and Celtic Woman: A New Journey, and have undertaken a number of world tours.

The foundation for Celtic music's popularity outside of Ireland and Europe was previously set by artists Enya and Clannad, along with stage shows Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. To this end, Celtic Woman has been referred to as "Riverdance for the voice."


Celtic Woman was filmed on 15 September 2004 for PBS Television at The Helix, Dublin, Ireland in front of a sold out audience. Organized by producer Sharon Browne, Chairman & CEO Dave Kavanagh and musical director and composer David Downes, this performance was first broadcast on PBS during March 2005 in the United States, and within weeks the group's eponymous debut album Celtic Woman reached #1 on Billboard's World Music chart, eventually breaking a long-standing record on 22 July 2006 by staying at #1 for 68 weeks, and held that position for 81 weeks total. Much of the group's success in America has been credited to the extensive PBS publicity throughout 2005. The live performance at The Helix was released on DVD alongside the studio album.

The release of the second album, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration, on 19 October 2006 knocked their first album to the #2 spot on the World Music chart.

In preparation for their third studio album, Celtic Woman performed at Slane Castle in County Meath, Ireland, on 23 August and 24 August 2006, with this show airing on PBS during December 2006. The studio album, titled Celtic Woman: A New Journey, was released on 30 January 2007, and as with their debut, the live performance was released on DVD simultaneously. This album immediately hit the Billboard 200 at #4 and the Billboard World Music chart at #1, bumping their previous two releases down a spot and securing the top three positions on that chart for the group.

In response to the amazing popularity of the performance at Slane Castle in 2006, on 7 December 2007 PBS aired a special concert of Celtic Woman performing again in The Helix Theatre, Dublin, Ireland. This performance included songs from the group's second album Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration.


Celtic Woman has performed a total of three tours in America, with additional performances overseas. The group appeared live in more than a dozen US cities in 2005 for their original album debut. The group toured the US twice with their "Celtic Woman: A New Journey" tour, visiting 88 cities in 2007 and over 75 cities in 2008. In early April 2008 it was announced that The High Kings would be opening the act for the group through June 2008.


The original members of Celtic Woman were Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Lisa Kelly, Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and Máiréad Nesbitt. During Ní Mhaolchatha's pregnancy in 2005, Deirdre Shannon was selected to fill her place during tours. Shannon departed in February 2006, and Ní Mhaolchatha returned to the group in time to record A New Journey and tour for that album.

The second lineup change was announced on 6 September 2006, when Hayley Westenra was stated as having officially joined Celtic Woman on 24 August. As well as being featured on the album and DVD for A New Journey, Westenra alternated with Ní Mhaolchatha during tour events to maintain the live five-person lineup.

On 20 August 2007, Ní Mhaolchatha was announced as taking a permanent break from Celtic Woman to focus on her solo career. Ní Mhaolchatha's replacement, Lynn Hilary, made her first appearance on 10 October 2007 in Estero, Florida, United States.

In December 2007, Kelly was announced as expecting a new child in 2008, and thus has taken maternity leave from the group. Alex Sharpe will fill her position on the A New Journey tour during this leave.

When asked how the group members get along, member Lisa Kelly responded "We get along because we're so different. Chloe Agnew is hip, Méav Ni Mhaolchatha is rational, Orla Fallon is angelic and Mairead Nesbitt is energetic." According to Chloë Agnew, the friendship between the vocalists is the number one question they're asked. "I think people are always looking for a 'Desperate Housewives' story, that they all hate each other and nobody actually gets along. It's all for show. And the truth of the matter is, it's not. The reality is we do all get along. The five of us are like sisters, best friends."


Title Date of release Media format
Celtic Woman 1 March 2005 CD & DVD
Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration 3 October 2006 CD & DVD
Celtic Woman: A New Journey 30 January 2007 CD & DVD


See also

External links

Official sites

Current Members

Former members

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