Celtic Woman balances contemporary pop with traditional music

The Celtic Woman show is coming to North Charleston tonight.

The siren call of Celtic Woman will enchant the North Charleston Coliseum, tonight at 7:30 p.m.

They crossed the sea, taking America by storm, in March 2005, and they're doing it again for the 2009 "Isle of Hope" Tour.

"The group originally got together to do a one night show, a special for PBS," said Alex Sharpe, newest vocalist for Celtic Woman. "It was recorded in Ireland and when it went out it just took off amazingly."

Celtic Woman albums have held no. 1 position on Billboard Magazine's World Music Chart, including their recent album, The Greatest Journey Essential Collection, debuting at no. 1. The group also appeared on Martha Stewart, Live with Regis and Kelly, and The Bonnie Hunt Show.

"Celtic isn't just Irish, it's also Welsh, and part Scotland as well. The Celts are kind of like a race, I suppose. It's not just Irish. It's not just an Irish sound.

The band consists of traditional elements, like the uilleann, the tinwhistle. A violinist, Mairead Nesbitt as the solo fiddler, as well as other percussion, winds, and strings create a serene backdrop for the sirens of the misty isles to harmonize their perfectly angelic voices.

"It's a very uplifting, very pure sound," said Sharpe. "Tons of people, when we do meet and greets, always come up to us, they say how much the music has inspired them through struggles."

David Downes, musical director, composer, and pianist is responsible for gathering the talent that is Celtic Woman. The original four lasses of Celtic Woman were, Lisa Kelly, Orla Fallon, Meav Ni Mhaolchatha, and Chloe Agnew, but Lynn Hilary, Hayley Westenra, and Sharpe joined the gang through some simple twist of fate.

"Now I don't the history of all the girls : I got a call from him last year, when Lisa was having her third baby. She was not going to be available to do the spring tour last year," said Sharpe. "I was actually delighted to be able to take part, and then to get a chance to be part of such group. I mean they're such a huge, huge success: it was a real privilege."

The group's success is not limited to the Emerald Isle, Celtic Woman are well received in Japan, Europe, and America.

"The music appeals to a broad spectrum of people and ages," said Sharpe. "I mean: I know it's Celtic Woman and done very much in Celtic Style, but there's very different types of songs. We'll have traditional Celtic songs and we would have some more contemporary ones. So there's kind of something for everyone."

The Celtic Woman remains loyal to their Irish soil. "We're all based in Ireland and we only come across for our tours and promotional trips," said Sharpe.

So catch these fair maidens gifting us with a sampling of culture from their homeland before they high tail it across the pond.