Various Artists

Celtic Mystique: Women of Song

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Celtic music covers a very wide range. No longer does it just mean the traditional music of the Celtic region, but a host of sounds influenced -- to a greater or lesser degree -- by Celtic music. This compilation does have a few traditional pieces, but the vast majority are self-composed by the artists, whose musical tastes tend to fall on the lyrical, romantic edge of new age. Jennifer Parsignault's "Prayer for St. Symin," for example, is breathy vocals over lush synthesizer chords, a lullaby of sorts, while "Ancient Souls," from Gabrielle Angelique, evokes the mysteries over the past over lush synthesizer chords, and Laura Powers' ode to Stonehenge, "Circle of Stone," features lush synthesizer chords, making the synthesizer very much the instrument of choice for this kind of music. The traditional pieces fare a little better -- the second half of Elyra Campbell's track "The Heather/Island Spinning Song" features some excellent mouth music singing, for example. But even there the saccharine content is decidedly high, as Jennifer White's aching take on "Loch Lomond" and Sheila Ryan's "Danny Boy" show all too vividly. For those who already like this style and are attracted to music that's far from the true tradition, this is fine. But it's unlikely to convert the rest.

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