Celtic Woman is an all-female Irish musical ensemble conceived and created by David Kavanagh, Sharon Browne and David Downes, a former musical director of the Irish stage show Riverdance. In 2004, Downes recruited five Irish female musicians who had not previously performed together: vocalists Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Lisa Kelly and Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt, and shaped them into the first lineup of the group that he named “Celtic Woman”, a specialty group. Downes chose a repertoire that ranged from traditional Celtic tunes to modern songs. The show was meant to be a one-time event held in Dublin, Ireland, but multiple airings on PBS helped boost the group’s popularity.
The foundation for Celtic music’s popularity outside Ireland and Europe was built by tapping into the success of artists such as Enya, Moya Brennan and Clannad, along with stage shows Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. Celtic Woman has been described as being “Riverdance for the voice.” Celtic Woman has been named Billboard World Album Artist of the Year six times. Cumulatively, albums by Celtic Woman have sold over nine million records worldwide.
Celtic Woman’s line-up has changed over the years. Eleven albums have been released under the name “Celtic Woman”: Celtic Woman, Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration, Celtic Woman: A New Journey, Celtic Woman: The Greatest Journey, Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart, Celtic Woman: Lullaby, Celtic Woman: Believe, Celtic Woman: Home for Christmas, Celtic Woman: Emerald – Musical Gems, Celtic Woman: Destiny, Celtic Woman: Voices of Angels, and Celtic Woman: Ancient Land. The group has undertaken a number of world tours.