Various Artists

The Rough Guide To Celtic Music

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The Rough Guides have had some notable success with compilations of Irish and Scottish music, but never a cross-national Celtic album until now. Luckily, they go beyond the usual two domains of influence to more far-flung locales of the genre as well as innovative takes on the genre. The album opens with some relatively traditional sounds from Ireland, but moves into Galician song courtesy of Mercedes Peon, and Capercaille adds something of a hip-hop beat to their following work. Canada's Natalie McMaster fires up her fiddle for a nice collection, and the French group Skolvan follows her with a nice instrumental. Before the album is done, more Spanish Celtic music is provided, some Americans take a shot, as do more French and Welsh, and a few more Irish and Scottish groups. Between the multitude of cultures the music remains a relative constant, working as the glue that holds the album together despite stylistic differences and linguistic changes. Somewhat less coherent than the more targeted predecessors in the line, but more interesting as a result as well.

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