St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner once again, and while this year will be quite different thanks to people’s fears over the COVID-19 virus, one agency that isn’t letting the virus ruin celebrations is Putumayo Music. The label, known for its extensive catalog of World Music offerings, released a new collection of songs from acclaimed female Celtic singers Friday. The compilation, titled Celtic Women features 10 songs from the likes of Cathie Ryan, Karen Matheson and Rebecca Pidgeon performing their own originals and updates of other Celtic tunes. That variety of songs is one of the record’s key elements to address in examining its presentation. The liner notes that are featured with the collection play into its presentation in their own way, and will be addressed a little later. The compilation’s sequencing rounds out the most important elements of Celtic Women, as it does its own part to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this musical collection. Collectively, they make Celtic Women a presentation that needs no luck to be successful among its targeted audiences.
Putumayo World Music’s new compilation Celtic Women is a presentation that is certain to appeal to its targeted audiences – primarily fans of said genre and female audiences in general. That is proven in part through the songs that make up the body of the record. The 10-songs featured in the compilation are a mix of originals and covers. The arrangements range from the melancholy to the playful throughout. The lyrical themes range from the lighthearted to the all-too-familiar topic of relationships to even the sociopolitical. The fact that the arrangements and lyrical theme featured throughout the album are so easily able to connect with listeners through their variety ensures in its own way, the record’s ability to appeal to the noted audiences. That the songs are covers and originals (and in some cases re-imaginings of originals), adds to their interest even more. All things considered, the songs that make up the body of Celtic Women go a long way toward making the compilation appealing for its target audiences. They are collectively, just one of the record’s key elements. The liner notes featured with the recording add to that appeal.
The liner notes featured in Celtic Woman are important to address in that they provide the background information about the songs that make up the record’s body. They also give background on the women who perform each song and their fellow musicians. Audiences learn for instance, that performer Cathie Ryan is the descendant of Irish immigrants and that she was first introduced to Celtic music through her parents’ singing when she was a child. Her notes state that her performance here of the song ‘Garden Valley’ is a cover of Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean’s song of the same name. Listeners learn that the song, at its heart, focuses on the forced Scottish migration sparked by the Highland Clearances that took place from 1750-1860. That in itself can serve as a starting point in research for some who might be history buffs. To that end, that information proves valuable in its own way, not just for its entertainment value. The liner notes additionally note that Karen Matheson’s performance of the song ‘Ca Na Dh’fhag Thu M’fhichead Gini’ was based on an old Celtic work sung by Celtic women as they beat wool to soften it. In other words, it is based on a work song. Here in this note, is more interest for history buffs, as it could serve as a starting point on the trend of people even in Celtic culture using music to help keep work progressing. We’ve all heard about work songs that African-American slaves used and that railroad workers used while building the Trans-Atlantic Railroad. This in itself shows another way in which music and work have traditionally been coupled. It shows once more, the importance and value of the liner notes. Another example of the importance and value of the record’s liner notes comes in the background on Eilis Kennedy and her performance of Cailin Mo Runsa.’ The liner notes state of Kennnedy, she is full-blooded Irish, having grown up with a large family in west Kerry “in the southwestern corner of Ireland.” The liner notes state her performance of the aforementioned song is another cover, this time of Highland tenor Donald Ross’ song by the same name. The story of how Kennedy learned and sang the song offers its own share of interest for audiences. Not to give too much away, the story is somewhat bittersweet. Between this story and the other information provided throughout the compilation’s liner notes, the whole of the record’s liner notes offers plenty of added value to the LP. That value, considered alongside the value in the songs, shows even more why this compilation will appeal to its target audiences. It is just one more aspect of the record worth noting. The collection’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
From start to end, this compilation’s sequencing does its own share to keep audiences listening without skipping any songs. It starts off with a reserved, mid-tempo arrangement in ‘Take You Home’ but immediately after, pulls back dramatically in the song’s second offering. That reserved energy remains through the first half of the album’s 36-minute run time before finally picking back up slightly in ‘Do O Deighdl Lom,’ which comes just past the record’s midway point. The album’s energy pulls back immediately after that song in ‘Garden Valley.’ That reserved sense remains in place in ‘Cailin Mo Runsa,’ but in a distinctly different fashion. It is something that has to be heard to be understood. The reserved energy eventually gives way to something slightly more light in the record’s finale, ‘Wild Mountain Thyme,’ but only slightly. Even with that in mind, it is still just enough of a change to keep the record engaging for its target audiences. Keeping all of this in mind, the subtle changes in the songs’ energies does its own share to keep audiences engaged and entertained. When this aspect is considered along with the album’s overall content, the whole of these elements makes Celtic Women a work that will easily appeal to women and the most devoted fans of Celtic music and music with Celtic roots.
Putumayo World Music’s latest Celtic music collection – its fourth at least in recent years – is a presentation that will appeal to its target audiences. That it features a variety of songs performed by female vocalists will make it appealing to female audiences. The balance of covers and originals adds to that appeal for the noted audiences. The liner notes that come with the album add to its appeal for their intrinsic and extrinsic value. The record’s sequencing ensures in its own way, listeners’ appeal because of the subtle balance of the songs’ energies throughout. Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of Celtic Women. All things considered, they make Celtic Women a work that women and Celtic music devotees alike will enjoy. More information on this and other titles from Putumayo World Music is available online at:
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