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Origin:
Ireland
Decades:
2004–present

Celtic Woman is an all-female musical ensemble conceived and assembled by Sharon Browne and David Downes, a former musical director of the Irish stage show Riverdance. Downes' concept was to tap into the American marketplace's taste for Celtic music and culture by confecting a group that blended the Irish elements of Michael Flatley's music and dance with the structure of all-girl pop groups such as Spice Girls and Pussycat Dolls. In 2004, he recruited five Irish female musicians who had not previously performed together: vocalists Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Lisa Kelly and Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt, and shaped them into the first lineup of the group that he named Celtic Woman. Downes chose a repertoire that would range from traditional Celtic tunes to modern songs.

The group's lineup has changed over the years; in 2009, the group consisted of Chloë Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, Alex Sharpe and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt; Alex Sharpe left the group in May 2010. Five albums have been released under the name "Celtic Woman": Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration, Celtic Woman: A New Journey, Celtic Woman: The Greatest Journey, and Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart. The group has undertaken a number of world tours. Cumulatively, albums by Celtic Woman have sold over 6 million records worldwide

The foundation for Celtic music's popularity outside Ireland and Europe was built by tapping into the success of artists such as Enya and Clannad, along with stage shows Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Celtic Woman has been described as being "Riverdance for the voice."


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