Various Artists

Putumayo Presents: Women of the World - Celtic II

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Like its predecessor, Putumayo Presents: Women of the World -- Celtic, this superb compilation boasts a variety of Celtic and Celtic-influenced folk by female singers. This is hardly a CD for purists; rather, its focus is artists who provide a contemporary approach to the music of Ireland and Scotland. Not all of the 12 artists heard are from those countries -- Natalie MacMaster, Pamela Morgan, and Mary Jane Lamond are Canadian, while Eileen Ivers was born in the Bronx. Most of the songs are best described as modern folk-pop with Celtic touches, including Dublin singer Susan McKeown's Joni Mitchell-influenced "Jericho," Morgan's "It Ain't Funny," and the female duo Touchwood's "Sovay." But for fresh-sounding, contemporary takes on traditional Gaelic songs, check out Eithne Ni Uallachain on "Ta Se Na La," Karen Matheson & Capercaillie on "Mi Le M'Uilinn," and Mary Jane Lamond on "Bog A' Lochain." Putumayo's first Women of the World - Celtic collection sold over 130,000 units (which was a lot for a world music release on a small label), and the label showed equally good taste this time.

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