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CELTIC DIVAS - Australian Tour
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There can be few more haunting and evocative sounds in all of music than that of the female Celtic folksingers, their voices drifting out of some mystical past and being reborn onstage in the present. The new album Celtic Divas II currently released by ABC Music is our confirmation.
‘Celtic Divas’ presents a glittering array of artists to perform a beautiful set of songs that emerge from the timeless and windswept landscapes of an ancient world that still lives on in the modern imagination. With elegant accompaniment from some of Ireland and Australasia’s top musicians, they bring us on a journey of movement and migration, through leaving and homecoming, sharing with us the beauty and a poignancy of nations steeped in love, loss and joy.
Celtic Divas will introduce the beautiful Irish duo Lumiere, featuring Éilis Kennedy and Pauline Scanlon. We’ll also hear the sublime vocals of Noriana Kennedy and Nicola Joyce (Grada) as they weave an evocative and haunting showcase.
One of the most talked-about vocal acts to emerge from Ireland in recent times. Comprising the talents of Éilis Kennedy and Pauline Scanlon, ‘Lumiere’ is light and longstanding. It is a clear lens on an age-old tradition, drawing from a well of songs and spirituality, of being true to the past yet offering something entirely relevant to the present.
One of Irelands newest folk talents, Noriana represents the new generation of Irish folk singers who engage you with their unique songbook which crosses oceans from Waterford to America, Scotland and a thousand heart worn places in between. Likened to many as a young Mary Black, she has a rare gift of being able to connect with any listener through understatement and simplicity. Her debut album ‘Ebb n Flow’ marks the first assured steps into what promises to be a long journey along folks storied path. “Ebb n Flow is really a terrific CD reflective of the new reality that is young Irish roots music today” Brian Donovan, Celtic Sojourn Radio, WGHB, Boston.
“Joyce is a magnificent vocalist who sings with sheer beauty and poignancy” (Earl Hitchner, The Wall St. Journal). The fourth Celtic Diva, Joyce who is best known as the lead singer of Gráda, one of Ireland's most successful touring bands. Whether she sings ancient Irish songs, contemporary folk, or her own original pieces, Joyce’s performance is remarkably heartfelt and honest. As a full-time touring musician for the past six years, (twice in Australia with Gráda) Nicola has played in 30 countries around the world and performed alongside some of its greatest musicians. ‘But’, she admits, ‘no matter where you travel it’s hard to find better than a good Irish song.’ From Galway, Nicola has released two critically acclaimed albums to date. The latest, Natural Angle, was recorded with Grammy award- winning icon and producer, Tim O’Brien, and was named by USA’s National Public Radio as one of the Top 5 Folk Albums of 2010.
The cast that forms the Celtic Divas band is star studded with highly regarded folk musicians in the folk music genre from both the northern and southern hemispheres.
The musical director of Celtic Divas is Gerry Paul from New Zealand. With his driving guitar style Gerry is one of Irelands most favoured folk guitarists with ten years experience playing with top contemporary Irish group, Gráda. A mainstay guitarist in The Sharon Shannon Band, an upcoming producer, a member of Grammy Award Winner Tim O'Brien's Two Oceans Trio and a recent winner of the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Award Songwriting Contest, Gerry boasts presence, charisma and energy on stage.
Best know for his playing with The Waifs, Ben Franz was born in Perth and began his professional career at age 17, playing double bass in rockabilly and rhythm and blues bands around the pub scene in Perth. He studied jazz at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts through the early to mid 90's. A musician of genuine class and intimacy, he is now one of Australia’s most recognised bass players.
The Celtic Diva band also features Australian fiddle talent Chris Stone. Chris is an exquisite and elegant fiddle player with a background in Scottish and classical styles. Chris’s credentials continue to grow having recently won the prestigious 2012 Golden Fiddle Award. With verve and virtuosity he is fast becoming one of Australia’s top names in the fiddle playing.
Hailing from Galway, singer songwriter, Noelie McDonnell was lauded by the New York Post as ‘a startlingly good new Irish talent’. Noelies voice and guitar playing has brought him to share the stage with such luminiaries as Greg Brown, Eddie Reader and Luka Bloom. Noelie’s vocal and playing skills in the Celtic Diva show brings ease and a magnetism that is all too rare in modern performers.
Together Celtic Divas bring a fresh outlook and Irish warmth to their shows. The charm about their performances is the bond and respect the four girls have between them. The group came together very organically.
“Myself, Pauline, Eilis and Nicola have been friends for years having shared many late nights singing together in sessions, pubs and parties in Dingle and Galway. It is a dream come true to finally be able to tour Australia together and bring the magic and music of those nights to the stage backed by such a wonderfully talented group of musicians” says Noriana.