Music
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Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Celtic Women

(World Music Network; US: 13 Mar 2012; UK: 12 Mar 2012)

Selections for several tastes on this compilation—my own swings over to the sharp-cut softness of Julie Fowlis from the Outer Hebrides and T With the Maggies from County Donegal, but there’s Sharon Shannon, too, for anyone who wants American-Irishisms. Celts without their roots in the British Isles are not totally ignored, either, though more of them wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Susana Seivane appears with Spanish guitar and Cécile Corbel harps in from France on a cloud of Breton glimmer.


This is a singer’s album, the sound throughout is clear, luminous, nonharsh, with an absolute absence of rough earth and musical sandpaper—there are no Celtic women equivalents of the Pogues, apparently, which seems like a gap in the world. The women here never lose their tempers, either, though the sight of a man home from the war with one leg missing and an arm blown off is enough to somber anybody.

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