various artists,
Celtic Dreamland
(Putumayo, 2007)

Celtic Dreamland should come with a warning.

I very nearly slipped this compilation disc into my car stereo tonight as I was coming home from work. Fortunately, I had another Putumayo disc handy -- something a little livelier, hailing from the caravan fires and dance floors of Eastern Europe -- and I put this one off for later. Otherwise, I may well be napping in a gutter somewhere.

To suggest that this collection of 10 tracks is soothing is an understatement. Sitting here in my home office, I quite nearly relaxed myself right out of my skin. And yet, while I typically prefer the more energetic vein of Celtic music, I found the quality here to be every bit as good as I have grown used to from the Putumayo label.

The tracks here are primarily vocal, sung in either English or Gaelic. Performers here are Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola, Teresa Doyle (with an absolutely gorgeous rendition of "Dream Angus"), Dougie MacLean, Karen Matheson (best known as lead singer of Capercaillie), Aine Minogue, Mary Jane Lamond, Mairi MacInnes, Susan McKeown, Seamus Egan (of Solas) and the Cast (Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis).

This revelation comes at the close of a long, hard and stressful day, and the tranquility offered by Celtic Dreamland is a commodity I greatly appreciate right now. Thanks, Putumayo -- I owe you one.

Oh, yeah ... this CD would be great for kids, their target audience, particularly if they have trouble settling down for sleep.

review by
Tom Knapp

20 February 2010

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