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Interview:
Irish Eyes -- And Others -- Still Smiling For Celtic Woman
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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There’s a luck of the Irish, they say. But Orla Fallon thinks there’s more than that to Celtic Woman’s success.

“I think there’s something in the music that really reaches out and touches people,” says the singer and harpist, an original Celtic Woman from when the group was launched in 2004 by David Downes, musical director for the U.S. touring company of “Riverdance.”

“There really seems to be a genuine love and appreciation for the music and what we do. There’s a wonderful variety of styles and types of music in the show, and there’s something that appeals to every particular taste and person.

“People just seem to have fallen in love with the show.”

Celtic Woman has given that audience quite a bit to fawn over, too. The group’s three albums — “Celtic Woman,” “Celtic Woman: A New Journey” and last year’s “Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration” — have all

topped Billboard magazine’s world music chart and, in fact, held the top three spots in the 2007 year-end poll. The first two have also been certified platinum for sales of more than one million copies.

All three have also been released on DVD and televised as popular PBS specials. And the show expects to play to its one millionth fan by the end of its current North American tour.

“When we filmed the first (‘Celtic Woman’) show for PBS back in Dublin all that time ago, we never thought it would go on and on like it has,” Fallon says. “We’re so blessed. As performers we’ve grown and developed, and I think that our audience has grown and developed, too. They’ve kind of grown along with us, and they’ve really loved all the changes and developments in our style.

“Along the way we’ve made so many new friends, too. The whole audience has just gotten bigger and bigger, and the great thing is it’s not just Irish. It appeals to people across different cultures. It’s great.”

Since this year’s Celtic Woman production is a continuation of the “A New Journey” tour, the biggest changes have been in personnel, according to Fallon. The latest new member is Alex Sharpe, a veteran of productions of “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “Les Miserables” and the film version of “Evita” who replaces Meav Ni Mhaolchatha.

Lynn Hilary joined in the fall of 2007 to fill in while original member Lisa Kelly went on maternity leave.

“The two girls bring a whole new energy to the whole show. They’re a fabulous addition,” Fallon says.

Celtic Woman, meanwhile, is hatching plans for some additions to the group’s repertoire.

Fallon says that Downes and his associates are working on a new Celtic Woman project, which will likely be another album and PBS/DVD combo.

“Yeah, there’s plans in the pipeline for a new special we’re hoping to do this summer,” says Fallon, who’s also working on a solo album with members of the Celtic Woman backing band. “We don’t know when or where it’s going to happen yet, so just watch this space.

“We’re excited about it, but we don’t have too much information about it yet. It’ll be as much of a surprise to us as anyone, I think.”



Celtic Woman and the High Kings perform at 8 p.m. Saturday (April 12) at The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $62.50, $47.50 and $32.50. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.



Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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