various artists,
A Celtic Collection
(Putumayo, 1996)

Putumayo is well respected for its fun and well-informed collections of world music. A Celtic Collection is no exception to this rule. Featuring some of the big names in Celtic music and a few less well-known artists, the collection covers the broad variety of styles, tempos, languages and instruments that are "Celtic." The countries represented are from beyond the United Kingdom, with selections from Canada and the United States included, although Wales is mysteriously absent.

Capercaillie, Dougie MacLean, Andy Irvine, Figgy Duff, Sharon Shannon, Andy M. Stewart, Mary Jane Lamond and Old Blind Dogs are all present and accounted for on the well know side of things. The New St. George, Fiona Joyce, Deanta and John McCutcheon come in on the less well-known side of things. Each artist or group contributed one track and all of them are good. There is some nice variety and a few tracks that you will probably be happy to have that you didn't previously.

This collection lives up to its name. It is a collection of Celtic music. It makes no claims to being definitive or complete or the last word in Celtic music. The music gathered here is representative of the genre (except for the lack of any Welsh artists), but not the final word. Everyone will be able to think of at least one group they think aught to have been included, but that is part of the problem with a compilation. Also, Putumayo has four other Celtic albums and a Dougie MacLean collection to help round out the Celtic side of its musical collections. The liner notes are well researched and provide a short biography of each group.

This particular collection of Celtic music is a great listen due to the wide range of artists and the variety of styles represented on the 12 tracks. It is well worth buying if you are looking for a good album to add a bit of diversity to your Celtic music collection or if you are interested in the genre and don't know very many artists yet. Plus, if you like this one, there are already many more Putumayo albums, both Celtic and beyond, that are equally well done.

by Jean Emma Price
31 December 2005

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