Album Review: “Voices Of Angels” by Celtic Woman

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Back in March, I decided to review my first ever Celtic Woman album, as “Destiny” came out back in November 2015. I knew I was late getting it up but I didn’t care! I love that album so much and did you see it was recently nominated for a Grammy?! All four women sound beautiful and diverse all at the same time. I was really impressed considering I have yet to listen to their previous albums and find my favorite tracks on them!

Now I’m back with their newest release called “Voices Of Angels” and not only does it include the Orchestra of Ireland but it also features their new violinist Tara McNeil, who was featured in their live concert DVD for Destiny, she was the harpist on the right side of the stage. The rest of the lineup is still the same with Susan McFadden, Eabha McMahon and Mairead Carlin, they each have a different tone to bring to the table, but in terms of favorites: Eabha is my favorite mostly because she’s the only alto in the group.

If you have never listened to Celtic Woman album’s, they do a mixture of traditional Irish in their native tongue: Gaelic, comporary, and holiday songs. They will also do multiple versions of the songs, you will find out more about that in this review.

So we’re finally going to start this review, the first track is probably the one song that everybody was iffy about, mostly because the great Celine Dion made this song so big that you wouldn’t think anybody could top it. We’re used to only hearing one person sing this song and here you have three singers pulling together to make a beautiful rendition of the song. It still has the same essence of the original, very soft and emotional! When they all sing together in the choruses, it’s so lovely! Somehow they managed to make this work and it just blows my mind!

The second is “Isle Of Hope, Isle Of Tears” and it is on their album “Songs From The Heart” that came out in 2010. This is so beautiful. I love the sound of the full orchestra for this song. I thought Eabha did a fantastic job! Nothing is too much or too little, everything just meshes well together! Next is “As She Moved Through The Fair” which they had featured in their first album “Celtic Woman” back in 2005, it was also included in the “Emerald” album they released in 2014. I think the reason why they tend to repeat the same songs is because some arrangements might’ve catered to the singer that sang the original version and maybe the other singer might be limited on high or low the notes of the song, like Eabha can’t go too high because her voice is naturally deep. It can be too hard for her to hit a higher pitch of a song or it could be that they wanted to pick songs that will sound lovely with an orchestra! Anyways, I’ve heard the “Emerald” version, have it on my iPod and listen to it constantly. I like this version, it kind of has this exotic vibe throughout with the gongs, it’s very pretty, but, yes I still prefer the other way!

The next is another rendition of a previous song they’ve listed on their album “A New Journey” that came out in 2007. It’s called “Mo Ghile Mear (My Gallant Star)” and yes, it’s another song I’ve listened to and fell in love with after some time. This one is very grand, thanks to the orchestra again! It still sounds like a traditional Irish song. The ladies and choir sing in the chorus in Gaelic but majority of is in English. Surprisingly, I actually prefer this performance instead! The fifth track is a song we all know but mostly hear it in church or Christmas time. It’s “Ave Maria” and this was another featured in the first album. This is sung by Mairead Carlin and I think she did a great job on it!

This next song is an instrumental and you all know how much I love these! It’s called “For The Love Of A Princess” you have the eternal “ah” in the beginning, the orchestra playing and of course the lovely Tara McNeil playing a gorgeous composition. I don’t know if it is a contemporary or Irish song since there are no words included and sixith song is called “Time To Say Goodbye” and it is not featured on their previous albums, so it must be one of the new songs that was said to be included on the album. I have to say Mairead Carlin has really surprised me with her vocals on this album, there a couple of spots where she hits some pretty high notes, it almost sounds operatic! It isn’t until the first verse ends that Susan and Eabha join in and it’s very beautiful when they each hit a different note at the same time and you can clearly hear it. The entire thing is brilliant!

“Dúlamán” is next and this definitely another favorite of mine and it’s featured on “A New Journey”.  I love the soft beginning, it still sounds like the original version but then it opens up with the percussion and male choir, but it’s still very airy that I think the first arrangement kind of misses. As it continues on, it sort of grows and become more epic in a way. I can’t choose between the versions, they’re both great in their own ways, but this is a contender too! Now if “Walk Beside Me” sounds too familiar, it was on the “Destiny” album and Eabha holds the command of the song, as she sang the first version all on her own. I think the only difference between the two is because of the orchestra arrangement. I am conflicted with this one, but it is very enchanting!

Next is “O, America” which is a song that I have not heard and it is on their “Songs From The Heart” album and actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this song before hearing it on their rooster, that says a lot for me being American! I do think it’s a very good song. The eleventh track is “A Time For Us” which has a beautiful introduction. This one gives me like a Broadway or just a general play vibe. I think it’s very alluring, as it sounds very fantasy-like between the strings of the orchestra and Mairead’s vocals. It’s interesting! If there is a standard edition of the album, this next song would be the last of it and it is called “Across The World” and it is an instrumental by the lovely Tara again and the orchestra of Ireland. I really, really like all of the strings. I usually love the string section than I do any other part of orchestras. I love the classical sound they give off aganist the celtic violin. It’s very powerful and fun, which to me siginalifies Irish music!

On the deluxe edition, the setlist continues with a 2016 version of “Téir Abhaile Riú” and this is another traditional Irish song that they’ve had on the album “Believe” that came out in 2012. Again, I have not heard that version just the one they shared on their Facebook last month. Since I’ve heard it like this, I may not want to listen to the other one. I actually love this! I didn’t want it to end! The next three songs that are listed on the album are holiday songs. First up is “Joy To The World” which made me very festive all of a sudden. However, when I did this review it was like two days before Thanksgiving so I felt like I was cheating a bit! Anyways, I think holiday songs get better whenever a symphony is involved and I think most people would agree with me. It’s just magnificent of a sound with the ladies and choir! Next is “Silent Night” but instead of it being in English, it’s in Gaelic in the beginning and then it changes back to English. I kind of wished it had stayed in Gaelic the whole time, but I thought it was beautiful to hear such a classic Christmas song to be sung in another language even if I don’t understand it, yet. Last but not least is “Once In Royal David’s City” and this again, I am embarrassed to say I have never heard before, actually I might’ve I just don’t remember it very well. I think it’s lovely though!

I didn’t think there was a way to make the Celtic Woman songs more beautiful, but I guess I was wrong! I think this album as a whole is wonderful! I think it brought some of the fans favorites and brought them into a new light with having the orchestra involved, but let’s face it you add a real symphony to the mix and it’ll be 10x better than what you’re used to hearing on the radio!

Have you listened to “Voices Of Angels” yet? What songs do you like? What are your thoughts of the different variations of the songs that you’ve heard on their previous works?

snowflake

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What’s The Point In Acting?

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Hi 🙂

I have been wanting to write about this topic for a while.. I think it is a very controversial subject to discuss among the disabled community considering they are the ones who inspired me to even bring it up on my blog today.

I have been a lover of films since I was a little girl. I don’t think I’d ever become an actress because I’m not good at accents. However, if you were to ask any of my family members they would tell you I’m very animated and have a great sense of humor, but this isn’t about me per se.

My love of movies goes back a ways, like to when I was seven years old watching Michael Bay’s Bad Boys with my mother. I just saw the humor and all of the action sequences that I wasn’t really interested in anything else. It wasn’t until probably the early 2000’s that I actually remember watching a film and wanting to know basically everything about the story, characters, and the actors that were making these people come to life.

Growing up, I didn’t have too many disabled role models, at that time, I didn’t even know that many people or kids with other disabilities! I do remember the first time I was introduced to a disabled character though, it was 2003’s Daredevil the character Matt Murdock was played by Ben Affleck and as much as I loved him for that role, I was completely unfazed by the fact there was an able-bodied actor playing a blind man.

Prior to watching Daredevil, the whole superhero phase was in its infancy for me. It either happened while we were home for a week while I was recovering from my second surgery or after I was officially released from the hospital that my dad bought the X2 and I discovered Wolverine and I figured out that if he had metal in his body, that maybe I was a wolverine too! This was the start of why I love superheros so much! As other disabled and able-bodied people alike think that they promote ablism I have to disagree, I look at them and their stories as motivation for my own!

Let’s move on to recent films, because there have been a couple of films have been released almost back-to-back from each other. We have the adaption of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars in 2014 and JoJo Moyes’s Me Before You in 2016. I remember seeing the trailers for both of the movies just before they were to be released in theaters and I was more curious about the story itself than I was about the disability theme that both had discussed; you have in TFIOS where both characters have dealt with cancer and then Gus losing his leg through his battle with it. Whereas in MBY you have the lone character who is paralyzed from the neck down and is very suicidal and you have people who are trying everything they can to change his mind about ending his life again.

I had decided to read the The Fault In Our Stars after my sister bought it on my Kindle. If she hadn’t done that, I probably would have watched the movie without even considering it.  After I watched the movie I was still in love with the characters and their friendship with one another. I wasn’t following a lot of the online disability community as much as I do now, so I don’t really remember what they thought of both Shailene Woodley and especially Ansel Elgort, who plays the character with an amputee but I know they probably wouldn’t have given him any mercy. The reason why I say that is because when Me Before You came out earlier this year, the whole community erupted!

It seemed they were more upset with Emilia Clarke who plays “Lou” who takes care of Will (as played by Sam Claflin) who is paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I do remember trying to keep my mouth shut throughout both times this movie came out and I agree with some of the reasons.

I am over the fact that everytime we have a disability related film out, it’s over the lines of pity and sympathic to the people who are dealing with these conditions. People are stereotyping who we are and that isn’t fair to us, however I’m not exactly for the whole thing of bashing the actors who are playing these people. We don’t know how we got these roles. I often wonder if they were sought out by the casting directors and if that’s the case, that’s who everybody should have directed their anger towards when the film came out.

The last film I want to discuss is the 2014’s The Theory Of Everything the story about Stephan Hawking and this was the movie that made me think about what I preferred to seeing for these movies. I’ll explain more about that in a minute. I watched this knowing all about Dr. Hawking, but nothing about how he was before he was diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1963. I thought Eddie Redmayne was a brilliant choice to bring this person to life for younger generations to understand, because I know of Stephan Hawking as the physics dude from many talks about relativity and quantum theory thanks to my papaw! This movie was the reason why I wanted to read Me Before You before watching the movie because I wanted to see how Will is potrayed in the beginning of the book. Eddie is only a good choice because they show Stephan as a normal, “abled” person that Stephan was before he had the condition.

So what is the point to acting? I don’t even know if I really answered that question above. Just so everyone realizes, I do have strong feelings about actors that play disabled characters, whether they’re fictional or real people. However, I try to keep an open mind and sometimes it doesn’t bother me which was the real reason for this post, but there some shows that aren’t so lucky. I believe I have tried to explain my reasons for seeing the positive in the superhero or disability themed films despite the fact that there isn’t a single handicapped actor for these roles but as I thought about it I think we would have harder time accepting if they used CGI on a disabled actor if that role required them to be this normal person, so we have nothing to really complain about because it wouldn’t work out well anyway!

So what do you think of my theory? I want your honest opinions, but please respect that these are my feelings too!

snowflake

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Always Left Behind…

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Howdy!

This post was created on accident, scratch that, this entire situation was created on accident. It’s not exactly a “situation” either. It’s just something that tends to come up every now and then and finally I am ready to talk about it on here.

My sister is getting married next summer. We are getting really excited and nervous (mostly about bridesmaid dresses, the tuxes, weather, etc) about all those small details that you think wouldn’t pop into your head this early but they have and now you get to deal with them in advance!

One of the things that has been eluding my brain is about the bachelorette party. Back in July, Blondie didn’t want to do anything that would be considering a “party” well now she does, but she still has the same feelings about having an actual party part. So she began to text our mother for ideas plus ask how I would feel about it, I already get nervous enough whenever my mom wants to have a sit down talk with me because usually it’s something bad and this was no exception; because she was wanting to have all of the girls go further up the state and celebrate there since it’s the half way point for most of the ladies. However, the fact is that it’s such a long distance, my mom wasn’t really comfortable with that.  Blondie doesn’t want to do anything that excludes me, but I don’t like the fact that her bachelorette party would be basically centered around me because she was trying to get ideas on what to do.

I’ve been basically left out of a lot of different things. I say to people all the time that I don’t have any friends–I have online friends, but majority of them live across an ocean! I mean to say that I don’t have anybody that live close to me to where we could hang out every other weekend like normal friends do. The last time I hung out with a “friend” was in 2012. So yes, I am very much used to being the one that gets left behind.

I don’t know if my disability is to be blamed for this because now I have a lightweight wheelchair that everybody in my family (including myself) loves to hate. We’ve lost a wheel and I’ve fallen out of it a couple of times, but other than that it’s not bad. I wouldn’t consider it a wheelchair but that’s my problem. Anyways, I know what my problem is for this, it’s my weight. I get told frequently that I am getting heavy to lift. I always fear for the back and knees on other people because I know I’m causing more tension in those areas. I can’t change how much weight I put on though, nor can I allow the thought of it control what I put into my body either and I shouldn’t have to for the sake of hanging out with friends, you know?

This year has really been a year where I’ve gone with the flow to the best of my ability. It’s mostly because there were things that happened beyond my control and I felt like I didn’t need to have a say in whether or not I did it. I’ve felt more at peace knowing that I didn’t care about what an old friend was doing, if they haven’t talked to me or even spend a day hanging out with me than they’re not worth my time! Now you know why I deleted you…

Am I sick of always coming second? Absolutely, but am I okay with being the reason why my sister can’t do what she wants for her party, no. So where do I stand?

snowflake

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How To Wrap Presents!

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Howdy!

You’re probably wondering how I have a post about wrapping presents up this early? Well for starters, I have been blogging about my cousin’s pregnancy for the past year now and since my nana and I couldn’t make it to her baby shower back in October, she and I had come up with a plan to get some things for the baby. So my nana and I order two different sets of baby books so she and boyfriend Joe will be able to read to him at night once he’s born.

When it came time to wrap up these items, I really wanted to wrap the books that I had specificly picked out for the baby and I will mention right now that I have never wrapped a gift in my life! Somebody has always done it for me, which back then was fine because I have a slight phobia of tape. I’ve been doing pretty good at handling it recently, but I still can’t stand the sound of duct tape!

We were probably four presents in before she said “you know this would make a good blog post” and I grabbed my camera from my bag and we started taking pictures since I’ve never been properly taught how to wrap a present with my toes, we both figured it was time to learn! Of course, everybody has their own ways, they either do it all pretty or they half ass it. It’s whatever works for you I guess!

My nana gets sent small sections of festive wrapping paper every year and since we literally have a box full of paper we decided to put them into good use! If the item is small, you could cut the paper in half so you could save it for something else. So first, we unfolded a section of the paper and put the book in the middle of the paper, and then once it was in the right area we folded the sides of the paper into one another, we folded both sides inward and put tape on top to secure it in place.

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After that, we moved onto the bottom and top parts of the package. We folded one side and each of the corners into the book itself, putting enough pressure to get out the creases before putting another slice of tape on top of that. We then moved onto the other side and repeated the same method.

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When we finished those steps, we folded the left overs into the actual gift and taped that as well as that will secure that side completely. Once we were done, we moved onto the other side where we used the same techniques again.

All that’s left to do now is to put on your tags and bows if you so desire. My nana didn’t have her bows out yet so we only had the tags, but I thought it would be too much to have the bows on them!

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I thought we did a pretty good job getting all of the gifts wrapped for when Kristi came down for Thanksgiving (yes, we did these six days before Thanksgiving!) and I tried to wrap the pacifiers and they were a disaster! I could only get one half, it was just a smaller area of wrapping paper and once I tried going for the top of it I realized why people just half ass wrapping gifts because I was really confused on how to make it look pretty like the rest!

I’m usually not that bad as a perfectionist, years ago when I was drawing in school, I was really hard on myself which is why I don’t draw now, but doing this was really testing my patience and I was really worried that I’d just give up on it! I still got through it though! I really love learning what else I can do with my toes. One thing that I was really happy about was the fact that I got both of my feet to corporate and work together nicely! Since I write with one foot and now type on my keyboard with the other, they’re finally understanding the word “teamwork” a little bit now!

How do you wrap your Christmas presents? What are your methods? Any tips?

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snowflake

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November Playlist!

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Howdy!

I know I’m putting this up on a Monday instead of Tuesday, but last week I had to do a last minute 3 way switcharoo and I had no other way to get this up in the second week of December….

I have decided that there will be a double playlist for December. Of course, at the end of the year I have a few posts about how the year actually went that includes favorite blog posts and then I have to discuss film and music that I have loved throughout 2016! And then once January starts up, there will be the December monthly playlist that’ll include every Christmas based song I enjoyed in that month so I apologize in advance for that post!

I think the song of the month is “Scars To Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara. It is so beautiful!

Waiting For The End – Linkin Park

Numb – Linkin Park

The Parting Glass – Celtic Woman

Fresh Eyes – Andy Grammer

I See Fire – Celtic Woman

Kids – OneRepublic

Mine – Taylor Swift

Booty – Jennifer Lopez ft. Iggy Azalea

Red Lips – GTA ft. Sam Bruno (Skrillex Remix)

Team – Iggy Azalea

Hard – Rihanna

Stay With Me – Thrice

Hated – Beartooth

Wait Your Turn – Rihanna

Trouble – Natalia Kills

Alone – Marshmello

Upgrade U – Beyonce

AM to PM – Christina Milian

I’m In Control – AlunaGeorge

This Is The Time – Nothing More

Square Hammer – Ghost

Gone – Afrojack feat. Ty Dolla $ign

Army – Ellie Goulding

Commanche – In This Moment

Gemini Feed – Banks

The House Of Shame – Lacuna Coil

Wild Horses – Birdy

Take My Breath Away – Alesso and Dillon Francis

Hey Baby – Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Diplo feat. Deb’s Daughter

Compass – Zella Day

Moving On – Asking Alexandria

Don’t Need You – Bullet For My Valentine

Ready For War (Pray For Peace) – Adelitas Way

The Worst In Me – Bad Omens

Tennessee – Kiiara

Throne – Bring Me The Horizon

She Sets The City On Fire – Gavin DeGraw

Who Am I Living For? – Katy Perry

Make Me (Cry) – Noah Cyrus ft. Labrinth

Castle (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) – Halsey

Paradise (What About Us) – Within Temptation ft. Tarja

A Prophecy To Our World’s End – Xandria

Gasoline – Halsey

Down & Dirty – Little Mix

That’s My Girl – Fifth Harmony

I Hate U I Love U – Gnash ft. Olivia O’Brien

The Weekend – Brantley Gilbert

What were you listening in November?

snowflake

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