I have my doubts about the actual criteria that goes into the selection of tracks into this compilation, because Celtic Dreams contains a rather… eclectic, let’s just say, bunch of tunes from Triniti to the Secret Garden to Hayley Wastenra to even The Corrs and bloody Ronan Keating. I suspect that “Celtic” in the context of the track selection means nothing more than “Irish or Scottish artists” or “music full of thin whistles and uilleann pipes”. Or in the case of Ronan Keating’s cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’s Iris, “oh, whatever.”
Designed to target the same folks whose record collection include anemic violins and airy arias from the likes of Secret Garden, Clannad, Enya, and Celtic Women – now, why are you trying to sneak a peek into my CD closet? – Celtic Dreams contains the usual suspects like Secret Garden having several tracks here. Personally I find their version of You Raise Me Up most unforgivable because it makes me appreciate Josh Groban even more and that is evil beyond belief. I don’t know what the Cranberries’s Dreams and Ronan Keating’s Iris are doing here, but I do like the remixed version of The Corrs’s Goodbye which is a marked improvement over its original saccharine version.
The best tracks are easily Sissel’s haunting Salley Garden and Triniti’s sublime version of Now We Are Free while the Fron Male Voice Choir’s rendition of Shenandoah is not bad at all. Roison O’Reilly is someone new to me and her tracks here showcase a most lovely voice, especially on My Lagan Love. Maybe I should try to look up more of her music. On the down side, I cringe at the corny cover version of Sting’s Fields of Gold, especially at the airy female vocals that sound as if the poor ladies are at the verge of a physical collapse.
Oh, and there are also cover versions and various remakes of Enya’s tunes plus some choice selections from the Lord of the Rings movies (clearly, the new Titanic of Celtic music compilations everywhere nowadays) . Anything with bag pipes, violins, and tin whistles automatically qualifies as “Celtic”, after all.
All in all, this is a rather predictable and unexceptional compilation of popular and crowd-pleasing New Age and elevator music selection. There are a few good tracks here, but on the whole, it’s a collection that you may want to buy only if you don’t already have sixty compilations with the words “Celtic”, “Dreams”, “Nature”, “Spirits”, or the like in their titles.