CELTIC WOMAN FACTS:
Members: Chloë Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Lisa Lambe, Máiréad Nesbitt
Genre: World, Classical
Albums: Celtic Woman (2005); Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration (2006); Celtic Woman: A New Journey (2007); Celtic Woman: The Greatest Journey (2008); Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart (2010)
Other: David Downes, part of the team that formed the band, was a musical director for Riverdance.
Few bands are more responsible for bringing mainstream attention to Irish music than the all-female ensemble Celtic Woman. Over the past six years, the quartet has been playing sold-out shows across the globe, and despite several lineup changes over the years, the band remains among the most popular live acts throughout Ireland and Europe.
Celtic Woman was the brainchild of Sharon Browne and David Downes. The two were looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of Irish-influenced shows such as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. The band's first mainstream performance occurred not too soon after their founding, when they performed in front of a sold-out crowd at a concert that was later aired on PBS in March 2005.
Encouraged by the popularity of their first foray into the mainstream, the band's 2005 self-titled debut album was an immediate hit. The record reached the top spot on Billboard World Music Chart. Thanks to their recordings of "May it Be," "Danny Boy" and "Ave Maria," the album stayed on top of charts for an astounding 68 weeks.
Celtic Woman's second album, 2006's Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration, was equally as successful. With a unique take on a number of holiday classics, including "White Christmas," "Carol of the Bells" and "O Come All Ye Faithful." The record also reached the top spot on on the world music charts, and broke onto the Billboard 200 charts as well, peaking at number 35.
In 2007, the band reached a new level of success with the release of their third album, Celtic Woman: A New Journey. The record was released following another PBS special, and debuted at the number four spot on the Billboard 200. It also reached the top spot on the world music charts once again, thanks in part to covers of classic tunes such as "Over the Rainbow" and "Scarborough Fair."
Over the last several years, Celtic Woman has continued to grow in popularity throughout the world. The group has performed at venues ranging from the United States to Japan. Their current lineup of Chloë Agnew, Lisa Kelly, Lisa Lambe and Máiréad Nesbitt has continued the band's impressive streak of successful albums, and with more than 6 million records sold worldwide, Celtic Woman shows no sign of slowing down.