Search - Hayley Westenra :: Celtic Treasure

Celtic Treasure
Hayley Westenra
Celtic Treasure
Genres: Folk, World Music, Special Interest, Pop, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
 
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

Hayley's third solo album is a very personal collection of classical arias, Irish and Maori folk songs - representing treasured people and places on her remarkable musical journey. Recorded in Dublin, Ireland, Hayley's t...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Hayley Westenra
Title: Celtic Treasure
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Decca
Original Release Date: 1/1/2007
Re-Release Date: 3/13/2007
Genres: Folk, World Music, Special Interest, Pop, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Traditional Folk, Australia & New Zealand, Celtic, Easy Listening, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Sacred & Religious, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 028947585312, 0028947587613, 028947587675

Synopsis

Album Description
Hayley's third solo album is a very personal collection of classical arias, Irish and Maori folk songs - representing treasured people and places on her remarkable musical journey. Recorded in Dublin, Ireland, Hayley's third solo album is a very personal collection of classical arias, Irish and Maori folk songs - representing treasured people and places in her remarkable musical journey. For the first time the album also includes several original tracks written by Hayley herself. Celtic Treasure is a celebration of Hayley's family roots, and her grandparent's journey across the World on the first boat that left Ireland for New Zealand in the 1880s - taking with them a rich musical heritage. Her grandmother - a singer, and her grandfather, who played the accordion, were to be important influences on Hayley's musical development. Hayley grew up hearing her grandmother singing Italian opera arias in English. Hayley has continued this tradition by recording the well-known aria One Fine Day... ('Un bel di) from Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Hayley's grandmother also sang Irish folk tunes, and Hayley includes one of them - Danny Boy on the album as a tribute to her. Another Irish folk tune Sonny, is the first recording in which Hayley accompanies herself on the piano. In the same vein as Hayley's signature song Pokarekare Ana from her debut album Pure, Hayley's deep sense of pride as a New Zealander, and the simple beauty of her voice come together in E Para Ra - a Maori lovesong reflecting her own love of her homeland. Hayley's first recordings of her own songs bring together all these musical influences. They include her compositions Let Me Lie and Summer Rain and her lyrics to a haunting lute song by the Elizabethan English composer John Dowland, called simply Melancholy Interlude.

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CD Reviews

Brilliant!
ekovalsky | Scottsdale, Arizona United States | 03/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hayley has an extraordinary voice, a rare talent that may manifest once in a generation. I think she has at least equalled Sarah Brightman which is no small accomplishment, particularly since she has yet to celebrate her 20th birthday. Her choice of program material continues to be excellent and there are no fillers on Treasure (I have the UK version, ordered directly from Amazon UK). My standout tracks are Let Me Lie, Notte del Silenzio, Shenandoah, Summer Rain, One Fine Day, Sonny, and Abide by Me. If you buy the US version, I suggest the Walmart version as you will get an exclusive bonus track, Mummer's Dance by Lorenna McKennitt. Although some of the material does fall into the Celtic music category, I prefer the UK naming. The different versions of all Hayley's releases are a source of confusion and frustration, but blame this on the label and the different chart targets among the worldwide markets.

Some of Hayley's own material is featured on Treasure, including Let Me Lie and Summer Rain. The latter is reminscent of Enya's best work. I am certainly impressed with her songwriting ability and hope to see more original work on future projects. Hayley also plays the piano beautifully on Sonny, a piece I find no less moving than Angel by Sarach McLachlan. That is high praise indeed. As much as I love Hayley's classical material, the more contemporary pieces are my favorite... ditto for Sarah Brightman.

Hayley is absolutely beautiful and a great performer. If you don't already have it, order her DVD (Live in New Zealand) with Treasure. My favorite tracks on the DVD are Pokarekare Ana, River of Dreams, Across the Universe of Time (great backup vocals by her sister Sophie -- another future star ?), Who Painted the Moon Black, Hine e Hine, and Wuthering Heights. I have without exception preferred Hayley's covers to all others' renditions and even the original. This includes Wuthering Heights, a song that I never thought anyone but Kate Bush could pull off. Hayley has an unparalleled vocal range and has full control and clarity across it all.

I am a serious audiophile and the recording quality is high. Thankfully Hayley's gorgeous voice is crystal clear and the engineers did not over-compress the music. [Josh Groban's CDs suffer badly from poor recording technique which is most unfortunate]. I think a duet with Hayley Westenra and Josh Groban would be amazing, by the way.

Already very popular in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Europe, I think Hayley will soon break out and become a household name in the USA. She is participating in the 2007 Celtic Woman tour. While I am a fan of Celtic Woman (particularly Lisa Kelly), I think Hayley can only be properly showcased as a soloist. Given the success I expect her latest CD to have, and the exposure from the Celtic Woman tour and New Journey concert DVD, I am hopeful that Hayley will embark on her own USA tour in the not too distant future."
A jewel of an album...
Ruth Anderson | 03/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hayley Westenra's third CD, Celtic Treasure, is a somewhat misnamed as it isn't strictly "Celtic" -- it's an eclectic collection of songs that perfectly showcases her crystalline soprano. The disc features several favorites that are staples on Celtic music releases, such as "Scarborough Fair," "Danny Boy," and "The Water is Wide." Also included is "Last Rose of Summer," a gorgeous duet with Meav from the group Celtic Woman, a nod to Hayley's current involvement with that ensemble (as featured on the recently released A New Journey CD & DVD). Their voices blend beautifully. In addition to these well-known "classics," Hayley expands her artistic horizons with this album which features her in the roles of song writer, arranger, and pianist on a handful of selections. Two of her song writing efforts are particularly striking - "Let Me Lie" is a lovely, lyrical song with an arrangement that possesses a lush, almost cinematic quality, while "Summer Rain" features a driving rhythm reminiscent of Enya's classic "Orinoco Flow." There is a nod to the pop sensiblity that was exhibitied on Hayley's second disc, Odyssey, in songs like "Summer Fly" which recalls the jazz stylings of "I Say Grace" from that disc, allowing Hayley to "cut loose," this time on a toe-tapping, folk-flavored tune. Hayley's extraordinary talent has become more and more evident with each successive album, exhibiting a continued trend of artistic growth and vocal maturity. Her voice has lost none of the purity found in her 2003 debut (aptly titled Pure) or the ability to hit unbelievably high notes with apparent ease; rather, her voice possesses an added depth and richness indicative of her maturation as a vocalist. It's worth getting this album from Walmart, as there it includes a bonus track -- Hayley's version of Loreena McKennitt's "The Mummer's Prayer," which is wonderful. For fans of classical crossover artists like Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban, and Amici Forever, Hayley Westenra is a vocalist to watch. She consistently raises the bar with every release, cultivating her voice and skill, delivering each song as a perfectly polished gem."
The best one yet!
Jennifer Ortiz | 03/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Celtic Treasure opens with `Let Me Lie,' a beautiful, slow piece that shows off Hayley's vocal timbre and her ability to express emotion in her singing. The peaceful sounds of the harp and flute take you away to a grassy field, and you can almost see the clouds passing overhead as you lie on the ground. The song gradually builds up into a beautiful, dramatic chorus -- "heal me through as I lay here with you." This says so much about how Hayley values the earth -- her involvement with the Women's Environmental Network, her belief in natural remedies and alternative medicine, and her unabated love for her mother-land of New Zealand. What a promising way to open an album! (And the rest of it does not disappoint!).

The second song, `Scarborough Fair,' is beautifully arranged and orchestrated. Hayley's stunning vocal performance brings out all of the emotion and Celtic flavour that made this piece so timeless in the first place. `Shenandoah' follows, a wistful song about a man taking his love with him across the Missouri River. There are many things people have compared Hayley's voice to -- a songbird, an angel, a violin -- but I think her voice is most like water: it flows fluidly and effortlessly into every soaring note, and fills every little nuance in the song, giving it a fullness and sparkle that belongs to Hayley alone.

`Summer Fly' starts off quite misleadingly, with a flute that makes you expect another slow, Celtic song like the previous two; instead, it turns into a delightfully upbeat piece that takes you right into a summer night somewhere along the coasts of Cape Breton (the fiddler in this track is Cape Bretonian Natalie MacMaster) where the people are all dancing and socializing, hiding the burdens and sadness in their hearts. Hayley skilfully balances the cheerful melody with the sad lyrics; it is a bittersweet song that brings back a lot of memories for me.

`Summer Fly' is followed by `Whispering Hope,' a brief hymn with a comforting message and a very satisfying fullness in its sound. I love the simplicity in this piece, and the inclusion of the choir produces a really warm, earthy effect. `Danny Boy' steers the album back into a Celtic direction. This is a standout track which features Hayley's voice at its best; the minimal backing allows the listener to truly appreciate the beauty of her soaring high notes. I'm struggling to find words to describe it, but, as this review has nearly reached a page in length (and I'm not even halfway done!), I think it is sufficient to say that this song is pure magic!

`Summer Rain' begins with a pulsating rhythm of pizzicato strings that is maintained throughout the song. Hayley gets the message of the song across crystal-clearly; her diction has improved a lot since Pure (and her Kiwi accent lends an extra-special touch to the songs without being obtrusive in the least). This piece paints a bright and vivid picture of life and love; while it is relaxing, it is not "background music," which is a real plus for the whole album.

The next song on the list is `The Last Rose of Summer,' which she sang in the CD `Celtic Woman: A New Journey,' with Meav. While I really like this song as a song, I find this particular version lacks the depth found in the vocals and arrangement elsewhere on this album. Don't get me wrong -- anything Hayley does is miles away from being "bad" (I'm not being biased -- it's true!) but this is a bit of a lowlight for me. I do, however, like the idea of it being done as a duet; it gives the song a bit of a new spin, and Meav's voice is lovely!

When I first heard Hayley would be singing `One Fine Day,' I was surprised because this is a very operatic song. However, Hayley makes it her own by having it arranged with guitar and soft orchestral backing, which gives it a bit of an `easy listening' tone. This does not make the song any less dramatic; only more `approachable' for its listeners. The Italian lines give it a nice touch, and the long, high note at the end is breathtaking!

The next song, `Sonny,' is one of my favourites on this album. Its lyrics are very simple but they just break your heart when you listen to them. Hayley sings this song in a soft voice; almost a half-whisper that speaks straight to the listener's soul. A real gem! `The Water is Wide,' follows. This song seems a natural choice for any classical crossover artist, but as usual, Hayley's version is delightfully unique; with lush orchestration and flawless vocals. As a side note, it is worth mentioning that Hayley plays the piano in both of these songs.

`Melancholy Interlude' is a beautiful but brief piano-piece-turned-song, featuring lyrics written by Hayley. While the melody is lovely, it's really the lyrics that make this piece for me as they fit the song perfectly. Songs like this are always in danger of becoming "dark" if overdone, but Hayley lends just the right amount of... well... melancholy, to make it hauntingly beautiful without being depressing!

The album closes with `Abide With Me,' a beautiful hymn full of hope; which can draw its listeners out of despair and sorrow by its sheer beauty and comforting lyrics. The album, at times sombre, at times lively, at times wistful, at times earthy -- ends on a most heavenly note!

The iTunes bonus track edition of CT also includes the track 'E Pari Ra', where Hayley goes back to her Kiwi roots to sing a beautiful traditional Maori melody. There's something magical about this song; it makes me think of nature; of things living, blooming, of tears and of laughter. There is so much captured in that song -- a most beautiful ode to Hayley's beloved homeland!"