(08 April 2000) With music written and/or arranged by Phil
Coulter, Roma Downy's Celtic-influenced Healing Angel
(BMG Classics (USA) 09026-63551-2, 1999), is a lovely album that
stretches Musical Discoveries' coverage in an altogether different
direction—the spoken word. The attractive Roma Downy, an Irish
woman with a lovely spoken voice and gentle accent, is the star
of the popular television series Touched By An Angel.
Healing Angel contains 15 tracks, all with rich instrumentals
and several with lovely vocal parts.
Coulter's latest album Highland Cathedral is reviewed at
Musical Discoveries here.
Besides the spoken vocal parts of Roma Downy, the album features
tremendous vocal performances by Aiofe Ni Fhearraigh, Brian Kennedy
and others. Aiofe sings Coulter's arrangement of the traditional "Be
Thou My Vision," a track that has also recently been recorded by Máire
Brennan (review) and Joanne Hogg
(review). Aiofe's version here is
tremendous in every respect.
Roma Downy's spoken parts are sensitive and heartfelt and well
supported by tremendous instrumentals provided by a bevy of major
Irish recording artists. Brendan Monaghan plays uillean pipes,
Frank Gallagher plays whistle and solo viola and Alison Hood plays
solo cello. Further supporting instrumental work is provided by
The New Chamber Orchestra led by Michael Darcy.
The female vocal numbers are tremendous in every respect and
Aiofe Ni Fhearraigh's vocal work is also featured in the tracks "A
Simple Prayer" (vocalise) and "An Irish Blessing" (lovely sung part).
The music perfectly suits her voice. Her self-titled solo album
(Gael Linn(Ireland) CEFCD 172, 1996) performed with Máire Brennan
and other major guests is also worthy of further exploration.
Phil Coulter wrote, "As a record producer you rarely get to work on
a project as rewarding as this. Writing the words, or adapting them from
old Celtic prayers and other texts, was a spiritual experience in itself.
Composing the music to enhance them was a joy, from the very first
note to the final orchestral cadence. And putting it all together in
the studio with Roma was the kind of job most producers would die for."
Healing Angel is a lovely album of Celtic instrumentals
accompanied by sensitively spoken words by a major television star.
Aiofe's three solo vocal numbers are the highlights of the recording.
You can order the album at amazon.com
here. Artwork accompanying the CD contains lovely images of the artists
and a complete set of lyrics. Certainly worthy of further exploration the
album is a very nice listen!