Passport St. Paddy's Day Special

It's that fun time of year once again when everybody's Irish! And how better to enjoy St. Patrick's Day than with some Celtic music? So load up a plate of corned beef and cabbage, pour yourself a Guinness and turn up these new releases; they're leprechaun approved!


Arc Music

Fans of this legendary Irish band have been waiting a long time for this special treat; Nadur is Clannad's first new album in 15-years and the first to feature the full original line-up since 1989. The relaxed "Vellum," a New Age-y number inspired by The Book of Kells, kicks off this celebration of all things Irish while vocals from harpist Moya Brennan place "TransAtlantic" firmly in a sylvan setting. Guest singer Duke Special duets with Brennan on the haunting "Brave Enough," the country-sounding "The Fishing Blues," complete with harmonica, is a reminder that American hillbilly music has roots in Ireland and the traditional Gaelic song "Turas Dhomhsa chon na Galldachd" is a beautiful blending of the voices of all five band members. Nadur for the most part is lively but not rowdy and the quiet instrumental "Lamh ar Lamh" is perfect for when the festivities are coming to a close. www.clannad.ie

Extended Play

(Self released)

Accordions and banjos are the order of the day for this Irish five-piece that works strictly with instrumentals. The band is currently finishing up their debut album; Extended Play is only a four-song tide-me-over but a very strong effort that'll have fans counting the days till the full-length drops. The idea here is to dance and "Elixir's Waltz," "What Lies Behind the Wall" and "Bug & Bear's" fit the bill nicely but "Spike Island Lassies" really gets the ceilidh rocking. As the band themselves put it, they give "a new emerald vibe" to the old sounds. www.moxiemuso.com

The Young Dubliners

(Self released)

Only two members of this five-piece are from Ireland and their music has always been a hybrid of Irish and other sounds. Take the rollicking "We the Mighty" for example; the song is essentially punk-flavored power pop with only hints of an Irish lilt here and there. There's no mistaking the band's roots on "Seeds of Sorrow" though; the fast, fiddle-driven song is performed in a celebratory mood and is suitable for dancing and drinking despite the sad implication of the title. And the rocking instrumental cut "Abhainn Mor" really gets its Celtic groove on; you can completely forget about standing still while it plays. Reno/Tahoe area fans: catch the band at the Montbleu Resort Casino on St. Patrick's Day (March 17.) www.youngdubliners.com

Celtic Woman
Emerald: Musical Gems


Here's one that everybody can love as the foursome presents a set of classic favorites including chestnuts like "Danny Boy" and "Amazing Grace." Among the best are the love-of-country "Caledonia," the delicate lullaby of "Scarlet Ribbons" and the jazz-tinged "She Moved Through the Fair." The lovely ladies close out the 13-song effort with the uplifting "You Raise Me Up." Emerald: Musical Gems is also available on DVD with additional songs. www.celticwoman.com

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