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June 2019
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HMV - best CDs of 2003

The Celtic Tenors - Irish Album (EMI classics 5576292)


The Celtic Tenors, not to be confused with the older, less good-looking but equally talented Irish Tenors, return with their third album. And to ensure they stay a step out of the way of their similarly named rivals they have teamed-up with Irish legends The Dubliners for a rousing version of The Wild Rover and a cracking Whiskey in the Jar.


Matthew Gilsenan, Niall Morris, and James Nelson are all top rank classical singers with countless international opera performances on their CVs, but they still retain a love of their native folk music and are able effortlessly switch from a lovely version of the traditional ballad Mary From Dungloe to the sheer jaunty silliness of Phil The Fluters Ball.


Elsewhere the boys bring an invigorating swagger to The Star Of County Down, show real diversity with the beautiful Celtic hymn Ag Criost An Siol and thrill with the rapid fire a capella vocals of Fionnghuala. Only Mull Of Kintyre seems strangely out of place in a set which happily balances lyrical Phil Coulter ballads with good time Irish rabble-rousing.


No wonder Irish eyes are smiling - they won't be the only ones.