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June 2019
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CD review



In Ireland, this combination has found its own niche, with The Celtic Tenors leading the young pretenders pack. The Celtic Tenors -- Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson, and Niall Morris -- have drawn packed houses in Ireland and released their second album So Strong. The musical mix includes popular classics, contemporary material, and songs with a strong Irish flavor and relevance. Nowadays leather jackets, brushed denims and James Dean-like rugged good looks replace the familiar opera suits and austere stares, but essentially the song remains the same. Producer Mike Moran, a dynamic keyboard player and arranger with credentials as long as one's arm, ensures the project is in safe hands. The Vard Sisters -- Wendy, Cathy and Lisa (another phenomenon worthy of investigation) -- join for "Nella Fantasia," with the mix of male and female voices complimenting each other. Paul McCartney's "Mull of Kintyre" for me revisits memories of schooldays singalongs, while hearing "The Green Fields of France" sung by tenor voices recalls Barbershop choirs rather than lusty-voiced ballad singers. While the overall atmosphere is more "refined easy listening," as opposed to "spit and sawdust" barroom intimacy, The Celtic Tenors make their own contribution to a long neglected and now resurrected aspect of Irish music.