Celtic folk song, with its soaring melodic lines, broad range of subject matter, and almost visceral emotional pull, has long tempted classically trained singers and arrangers to create harmonies, choral and instrumental arrangements, and perform them in carefully-modulated 'art song' style. Many popular art songs have been created this way, but these products have little to do with the original song-- except for the haunting DNA-trace of melody. These performances almost always frustrate people used to Celtic traditional music. Adding standard harmony to British-Isles melodies is almost like over-salting the soup, if not done lightly and judiciously. it's a difficult trick to pull off.
The Wee Heavies have not only managed to pull it off, they do it with style and joy! Their harmonies are an enhancement rather than a detraction; their voices are full, sure, and gorgeous. These guys follow the noble tradition of a cappella groups such as the Voice Squad and the Watersons, letting the songs and the voices work together for the best advantage of both. The Wee Heavies love their songs, know where they come from, and get them out there, for the delight of folk and classical audiences as well. A Wee Heavies performance is alternately fun, moving, awe-inspiring and a true delight.
-Judy Stein, artistic director of The Focal Point, St. Louis, MO