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Celtic Woman 

Four Irish singers, fiddler blend traditional with contemporary in concert Thursday.

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  • Women of Woman

What began as a one-shot deal, a taping of a concert of leading Irish female solo singers in Dublin, is fast becoming a sensation along with other Irish touring entertainment groups such as Riverdance. Celtic Woman –- four singers and a violinist along with a backup chorus and band, all dressed in beautiful costumes and performing under wondrous lighting –- owes its popularity in Arkansas to its 2004 taped show that airs regularly when AETN is doing a pledge drive.

Now, Celtic Woman will appear live at Robinson Center Music Hall on Thursday, April 20, in a fund-raising concert for the state’s educational TV network.

Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are available for $70, $85 and $100.

The singers and violinist are all soloists on the Celtic Collections label, led by Sharon Browne, who, along with Riverdance music director David Downes, came up with the idea of the original show featuring the girls. Some of the members of Celtic Woman have performed with Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and similar international touring shows.

They blend traditional Gaelic songs with new-age styles, such as a cover of Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” that sounds fully their own. Behind them, a band adds such traditional Irish instruments as the uilleann pipes, the bodhran (a type of drum) and tin whistles. But the song list also will venture toward more American music such as Broadway showtunes and classic Disney songs.

The singers are Meav Ni Mhaolchatha, Lisa Kelly, Chloe Agnew and Orla Fallon, who also plays harp. Mairead Nesbitt is both a classically trained and Irish-traditional violinist.

The group, which has gained immense popularity in Japan and Asia, is on a nine-week tour of the United States. They spent St. Patrick’s Day evening at Radio City Music Hall in New York, showing off a new set of songs for this tour. Their “Celtic Woman” CD has been No. 1 on the Billboard world music charts for more than a year. On their website, they call the past year — going from small promotional appearances to full-blown, sold-out concerts — a “roller coaster.” The Boston Globe called Celtic Woman’s show “an Irish phenomenon.”

For tickets or more information, call 682-2386 or visit www.aetnfoundation.org/1205celticwoman.

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