Celtic Woman is an all-female musical ensemble conceived and assembled by Sharon Browne and David Downes, a former musical director of the Irish stage show “Riverdance.” Downes' concept was to tap into the American marketplace's taste for Celtic music and culture by confecting a group that blended the Irish elements of Michael Flatley's music and dance with the structure of all-girl pop groups such as Spice Girls and Pussycat Dolls.
In 2004, he recruited five Irish female musicians who had not previously performed together: vocalists Chloë Agnew, Órla Fallon, Lisa Kelly and Méav Ní Mhaolchatha, and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt, and shaped them into the first lineup of the group that he named Celtic Woman. Downes chose a repertoire that would range from traditional Celtic tunes to modern songs.
The group's lineup has changed over the years. In 2009, the group consisted of Chloë Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, Alex Sharpe and fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt. Alex Sharpe left the group in May 2010.
The group's 2005 debut album, “Celtic Woman,” reached #1 on Billboard's World Music chart, eventually breaking Andrea Bocelli's long-standing record of chart-topping longevity by having stayed at #1 for 68 weeks. The album held the top position on the Billboard World Music chart for 81 weeks total.
The release of the second album, “Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration,” in October 2006 knocked their first album to the #2 spot on the World Music chart.
Their third studio album, titled “Celtic Woman: A New Journey,” was released in January 2007. This album immediately hit the Billboard 200 at #4 and the Billboard World Music chart at #1, moving their previous two releases down a notch and securing the top three positions on that chart for the group.
A fourth album, “Celtic Woman: The Greatest Journey,” was released in October 2008. The group's fifth album, “Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart,” was released in January 2010. It peaked at #48 in July 2010 on the ARIA Top 50 Albums chart.
The group recently released their sixth album, “Lullaby,” through PBS pledges or the QVC shopping website. Cumulatively, albums by Celtic Woman have sold over 6 million records worldwide.