Thursday, August 16, 2012

Celtic Woman - Believe

The Celtic Woman were in South Africa recently for a Promo Tour of their up and coming 'Believe Tour' to be held at Carnival City in Johannesburg on the 28th & 29th September and at the Grand Arena, GrandWest, Cape Town on the 2nd October.

As soon as they landed they were keen to see the sights of Table Mountain. They're fortunate with the weather and the sunset was just glorious. For them, there is nothing quite like an African sky and the vibrancy of the colours of the sunset was just incredible. They're loving to be in South Africa to promote their Album, DVD and Show. Chloë and Máiréad have been with the Celtic Woman from the beginning so they've done a lot of Promo Tours. This tour has been the most fun and they've had a lot of laughs. Even though their schedule has been hectic at times, the tour has been really relaxed and they've thoroughly enjoyed it. Along with Lisa and Susan this is a force to be reckoned with. Before the tour they spent some time at home. Home for the Celtic Woman is Dublin, Ireland and the surrounding towns of Wicklow known locally as the 'Garden of Ireland'. This is near to the fabulous Powercourt House where they've previously performed and a venue that is incredibly beautiful, just like the woman themselves.

'Believe' is their latest album and it came about almost a year ago when the DVD was filmed. The songs were chosen by David Downes who is their musical composer, director and arranger. He works with the woman to select the songs. After they worked through the album, the title became the positive and life affirming title that it is. With 'Believe', they've been on an amazing journey. They went to America which was the very first live concert of the tour at the fantastic Fox Theatre. The concert was the most electric two nights they've experienced. The energy was phenomenal. The audience was amazing and sometimes travelled thousand of miles to be there. The States was the first country to embrace the Celtic Woman back in 2005 and it literally became an overnight success there. In the last few years it has been their second home and they're always  been welcome with wide open arms. They've done some amazing DVD's over their time but 'Believe' is very close to their hearts as their fans have treated them so well in the past. They've even made journeys to Ireland specifically to see the Celtic Woman. As a thank you to the fans for being so loyal, it was the woman's way of coming to them. It was very special and the DVD captured that night so beautifully.

As they are modern woman, they love doing a mix of Celtic 'pronounced with a strong C', Traditional and Classical, with sounds of the 21st Century. With contemporary songs such as 'Bridge over Troubled Waters' you'll hear the traditional elements such as the pipe coming through. The whole show is woven together with a entrancing thread. It's a Celtic journey that makes people feel comfortable, because the diversity in the music appeals to so many different people. There are children, teenagers, their parents, grandparents who are in the audience. Just about every walk of life are at the shows and it has something for everyone. The whole family can come together and enjoy a broad spectrum of music with dancers, bagpipes, a choir and world-class band. This is the clearer vision of who the Celtic Women are and what is so beautiful about it. They aren't trying to fit into any box and that's what makes it magic.

'Awakening' is an original composition. What added to the magic was that it was so new and fresh. It's a very soothing song but also has a captivating drum beat behind it.  The song is a powerful opening to the show and the camera crew captured every angle on stage with a panoramic 360 degree lens.  They'll never forget the opening, while standing back stage, when Máiréad opened the show, with a single spotlight on her, her violin and bow silhouetted against the backdrop. With the violin opening the show it's like a key to a door, like the 'lion, witch and the wardrobe' just before the drummers explode onto the stage. Such contrasts and such beauty. Irish music is influenced by rhythmic and catchy melodies. Whilst being in South Africa they've listened to African music and see that everyone has a song inside of them. Through hardship songs were born about love, lament and loss, about land and leaving. Songs such as 'Sailing', 'The Parting Glass', 'A Women Heart' are so heart-felt and which South African audiences can relate to.

The woman's different personalities shine through in the show. Initially it was a huge appeal  to have pure music, but now they incorporate a bit of talking. They're comfortable in each others company, and have grown with their fans and audiences all over the world, so it's really nice to have a conversation and a bit of fun. It's a feel good show, and they themselves always feel great afterwards. If people can take two hours out of their lives and come enjoy themselves, it's the best feeling in the world. No matter what day they've had to see people up on their feet and dancing their way out of the theatre is phenomenal. That is the best part of their job. The solo songs they perform are chosen to express their personalities according to their vocal style and their individuality comes through transferring their energy to the audience and the audience to them.

The timing was perfect for their newest member, Susan, when she got a call to join the group. She was recommended by the woman as well as the producers of the show. So it came about that she got a really lovely phone call one day, and she was very surprised and delighted. The first thing she did was go on the 'Believe' tour to America, then toured to Europe. It has been a whirlwind tour and together they've performed at some dream places.

The woman have a close relationship and a few of them know each other as children. In Irish schools they teach Gaelic which is a huge influence in their upbringing. Some of the first songs they learn are Gaelic songs. Prays are all done in this language and is very much a part of their lives. In Ireland there is an all Gaelic television station. They have young, gorgeous presenters from the rest of Ireland with a beautiful native tongue of speaking. There is sense of being 'cool' by speaking the original language. In many way it is at the moment very trendy to treasure the old ways and in recent years has had an injection of youth into it. Summer camps are hugely popular and promote sports and music all through speaking Gaelic. The language and dialect lends itself to be very musical and there is a huge flourish to keep the language alive and develop beautiful musicians. When they step away from it a little and see if from a distance they realize that their heritage, although sitting quietly in the background, is what it is to be a Celtic Woman.

As the sun sets and is gradually getting darker, these songs birds are lighting up the night sky.  We're honoured and privileged to have these amazing woman in South Africa for a heavenly three nights'.

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