Putumayo released a new collection of Celtic music, returning to a genre that has generated some of the label’s best-selling titles. Celtic Crossroads [not be confused with a Narada compilation with the same title] provides a glimpse of new directions in music from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Eastern Canada. Not present are the artists from the Celtic lands of Galicia and Asturias, who have produced exciting crossover recordings. In the 1990s, Celtic music experienced a worldwide surge in popularity thanks to Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Clannad, Altan and others who updated traditional Celtic music. As the songs on Celtic Crossroads reveal, inventive artists have created a second wave of boundary-crossing music that appeals to fans of both traditional and popular music.
Celtic Crossroads features Sinead O’Connor, the controversial pop star who recently returned to her traditional Irish music roots, and Emer Kenny, whose wistful voice and atmospheric style have earned her comparisons to Enya and Bjork. Young up-and-coming vocalists Cara Dillon from Ireland and Welsh discovery Gwenno also contribute captivating performances.
Virtuoso musicians such as Ireland’s wooden flute master Michael McGoldrick, Cape Breton violinist extraordinaire Ashley McIsaac (in a duet with fellow Canadian Mary Jane Lamond) and gifted accordionist Mick McAuley, a member of leading Celtic band Solas, are all featured on Celtic Crossroads.
The collection also highlights cutting-edge bands like Scotland’s Capercaillie, Peatbog Faeries and Keltik Elektrik, all of whom have stretched the boundaries of traditional Celtic music and helped it cross over to more mainstream audiences. Veteran Breton harpist Alan Stivell shows that even old-timers can be innovators, as he blends hip-hop beats and turntablism with ancient Celtic melodies.
A portion of Putumayo’s proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to Amnesty International in support of their efforts to promote all human rights.