Celtic Woman makes Irish culture a global affair

For the CDTMarch 15, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    What: Celtic Woman

    When: 7:30 p.m. March 20

    Where: Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park

    Info: 800-ARTS-TIX, www.cpa.psu.edu

When it comes to global sensations, it’s rare to find a performer who is as excited to be on stage as her fans are to be in the audience. But for Chloe Agnew, that’s what happens every night on tour.

She is one of the four big voices of Celtic Woman, an all-female group from Ireland. The quartet will perform at Eisenhower Auditorium just three days after St. Patrick’s Day. But despite their proud heritage, Agnew and her bandmates have transcended the label of Irish singers and have become a world-music powerhouse.

Worldwide, the group’s crystal-clear vocals and orchestral accompaniments have sold more than 7 million albums. In very little time, the group went from new-age anonymity to global celebrity.

Today, appearances on programs including “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” have helped the group become a household name. And the group sells out theaters all around the world. For Agnew, who was just 15 when the group formed in 2004, it’s all a blur, but she’s grateful for every second.

“I’ve given up on planning,” she said. “I never know what’s around the corner and each day constantly gets bigger and better.”

Despite its global popularity, which includes being named the No. 1 world music artist by Billboard Magazine, Celtic Woman has enjoyed immense success in the USA. The singers have performed for three presidents, including President Barack Obama’s first Christmas at the White House.

“We have a great fan base here in the states,” said Agnew, who calls the United States the group’s second home. “It’s incredible that there is such a demand to come back every year.”

There are very few nights off on the group’s three-month cross country tour. Agnew said the stage show is new, but the women reach into their back catalog to perform older classics, including “You Raise Me Up” and “Orinoco Flow.”

“Our goal is to have people leave feeling better than they did when they walked in,” she said. “It all comes down to the music, which comes from the heart and soul.”

She added that the performances are an escape from an otherwise challenging world. And she and her bandmates are honored to provide that escape for so many people.

“People deserve two hours to escape it all,” she said. “Leave your worries at the door. Come in and lose yourself.”

And fans lose themselves each night to the talented ladies’ pitch-perfect performance and entertaining vocals. Some of the biggest voices to come out of Ireland arrive in Eisenhower to give another audience that chance to escape.

To Agnew, the group’s near 10-year career has gone by in a flash. The two hours she can give her fans means everything to her and the rest of Celtic Woman.

“Not a day goes by that we take it for granted,” she said. “Music is a universal language and everyone needs it sometimes in their life.”

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