Review: CELTIC WOMAN 20 at Thalia Mara Hall

Celtic Woman celebrates its 20th year on tour!

By: Feb. 28, 2024
Review: CELTIC WOMAN 20 at Thalia Mara Hall
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A 20th anniversary tour is an incredible achievement for any production, and being one of the very first stops on the tour is an exciting privilege. On February 23rd, Jackson’s Thalia Mara Hall got to be the second stop on the Celtic Woman 20th Anniversary Tour and that excitement was palpable throughout the auditorium as audience members waited for the band to strike up with the Irish music that the group’s name implies was to come.

Celtic Woman is an all-female Irish musical ensemble, ever-evolving but always stacked with talent, comprised of three principal singers and one fiddler. The production also features 3 male backup singers/dancers, a bagpiper, and an onstage band playing both more popular instruments as well as several traditional Celtic instruments. With a lineup of both traditional Celtic folk songs such as "Dúlamán" and more contemporary covers of songs like Kacey Musgraves’ "Rainbow", with the addition of an original piece by producer Brian Byrne - “Sionann (Shannon)”, the production's leading ladies showcase their incredible vocals in songs with stunning solos as well as gorgeous ensemble pieces that delight with their otherworldly harmonies.

The current principal singers on the tour are Mairéad Carlin, Muirgen O’Mahony, and Emma Warren, with Tara McNeill playing the violin. Though technically all sopranos, each woman contributes to the group their own unique quality. Mairéad effortlessly reaches high notes while also being exceptionally powerful, showcased beautifully by the operatic "Cinema Paradiso". Muirgen has a slightly fuller, richer voice, equal in power but standing out in some contrast in the harmonies of the group numbers, and bringing an elegant strength to her rendition of “A Stór Mo Chroí". Emma, the newest member of Celtic Woman, may be the most recent addition but brings an impressive resume, having spent time on the West End and in Riverdance - singing with a beautiful, clear tone and performing an exquisite solo dance piece. Tara's fiddling is its own feast for the eyes and ears - her expressiveness is absolutely captivating and her skill at playing the violin while literally dancing across the stage is a mesmerizing feat that leaves you breathless on her behalf. Separately, the women are astounding musicians, but the way that they elevate each other with their individual gifts makes it plain to see why they are on their 20th year performing on tour.

The Celtic Woman 20th Anniversary Tour is an awe-inspiring experience, with familiar songs as well as some that you probably won’t even understand, but can feel such deep meaning in that you won’t be bothered by the language barrier. "Must-see” is a more than apt description, to be sure. A link to the tour’s itinerary can be found below!


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