Here's a new variation on world fusion, with Russian and Celtic influences combined, and a modern electronic ambience also included on some of the songs. This compilation, Celtomania, is the work of three Moscow bands, Art Ceilidh, Si Mhor, and Telenn Gwad, which gives the CD varying levels of production quality; however, most selections are quite excellent. "In a Land Far Far Away" by Art Ceilidh opens the album with hand percussion and gentle flute sounds, then moves into fiddling that resembles the superb quality of Hickory Wind's later work, continues on into piping, and ends with a crashing chord. Impressive. "Day Falls" sadly has the fingers-slipping-on-strings sound, distracting from an otherwise melodious ballad. From a technical standpoint, this one could do with re-recording. On the plus side, though, it does show that Telenn Gwad's lead singer has a quite enjoyable voice, and the other instruments interweave harmoniously. It just needs an upgrade on the strings. Give it a bit more polishing, and this will be a fine selection. There's a varied and tasteful range of songs throughout the album. "The Dunes," by Si Mhor, is effectively eerie while, for contrast, they do a fine and lively job on "Swedish Jig." Telenn Gwad's "Over the Rainbow" is not the song from The Wizard of Oz; rather, it is a pensive looking back on lost love, and on this cut their technical quality is right on the mark. "Swallow's Tail I" is an appropriate choice for the big finish -- a brisk, rollicking combined performance by both Art Ceilidh and Si Mhor. It's a high-energy, fine-quality instrumental that will make the audience want to get up and dance. It will definitely leave listeners reaching for repeat play, and also hoping strongly for additional albums in the future. So for a well-varied sampling of some of the best of Russia's Celtic music, Celtomania is highly recommended.
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