“Celtic Fairy Dream” by 2002, the follow-up to the group’s highly successful “Celtic Fairy Lullaby” (2016), couldn‘t have been released at a better time. Taking a break from negative news has never felt better. Indeed, 2002 has always been one of the best New Age music bands, but today it is more apparent than ever that Randy and Pamela Copus’ daughter Sarah lifts the band to incredible new heights. Take my word for it: Even Enya would be amazed by “Celtic Fairy Dream”. It has musical magic dust sprinkled all over.
“Celtic Fairy Dream” will be released tomorrow, 24 April 2020.
2002 debuted in 1992 with the album “Wings”. Since then they have had 12 albums on the Billboard Charts, encompassing a wide range of genres and styles. “River of Stars” (2000) spent 74 weeks on the Billboard New Age chart. With the release of “Trail of Dreams” (2014) it became clear that a new band member would offer something radically new. In my review I wrote; “Sarah Copus’ vocal is great, and I’m sure it will improve even further in the years to come. Already at age 10, she has just the right expression for New Age music, and the voice layering is done with skill and love.” “Celtic Fairy Lullaby” (2016) and “A World Away” (2018) showed that I was right; A new era in the history of 2002 had begun.
Castle of Dromore
The album opener is called “Castle of Dromore” – and what a magnificent song it is! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself instantly looking for the replay button; Sarah’s vocal is amazing, reminding of a youthful Enya as heard on the album “The Frog Prince” (1985) (check for instance out the song “Dreams”, and you’ll hear how similar their voices are (Enya was about 23 at the time), and Sarah’s pitch may be even better and more refined). Another interesting aspect is the sharp, larger-than-life Vangelis synth in the background, which literally makes time stand still. You’ll never notice that over 5 minutes have passed. “Castle of Dromore“ is an Irish lullaby about a mother comforting her child to sleep singing ‘hush-a-bye-loo’. The melody appears, according to the booklet, in Hoffman’s collection of Petrie’s tunes (1877) and in O’Neill’s “Music of Ireland” (1903). The music video to “Castle of Dromore” is also terrific:
Talking about Enya; Next out is “The Green Fields of Autumn”, which is a traditional song many will remember from Clannad’s album “Magical Ring” (1983), under the name “Coinleach Ghlas An Fhómair”. 2002’s version is much more dreamy, in tune with the album’s overall theme. I love the synth lead, harp, nylon guitar and, a big WOW for the heavenly vocals. It is breathtakingly beautiful, yet unpretentious. A++ for the production.
“Lullaby (Suantrai)” is an Irish lullaby about Mary, who sings to her new-born son. Sarah’s vocal fits perfectly, and the voice layering is done with skill and is “just right”. I must also mention the flute segment in the middle, which serves as a link between the song’s traditional roots and the modern arrangement.
“South Wind” is an instrumental track with harp, flute, and light piano. 2002 is true to the Irish theme. The booklet reads “This air appears in Edward Bunting’s 1796 Collection of Irish Folk Music. Edward Bunting said he got this air in 1792 from an old man known as “Poor Folk” who roamed the northern counties playing a tin fiddle.”
David of the White Rock (Dafydd y Garreg Wen)
The album is well-produced from start to finish, and 2002 takes no shortcuts. “David of the White Rock (Dafydd y Garreg Wen)” perhaps the most challenging song on the album from a vocal perspective, and Sarah shows how much she has grown as a singer since we heard her on “Trail of Dreams”. She can even sing Irish, as heard on “Close Your Eyes (Dun do Shuil)” (although I cannot say that her pronunciation is correct but it sounds fabulous!).
“She Moved Through the Fair” is a must, of course. The 2002 version is much less vulnerable than Loreena McKennitt’s , but it is really a bit too much to ask that a young singer like Sarah to be able to communicate such a dramatic narrative. “She Moved Through the Fair” is, after all, a tale of life, love, and tragic death. This version doesn’t lack anything in the synth department, though.
“Genevieve’s Waltz” is a song by Manus McGuire, and is in that sense a more “modern” song. It flows wonderfully, and I like how the guitar takes over from the flute halfway, exploring and refining the theme. The conclusion is magnificent!
Of all the fine lullabies on “Celtic Fairy Dream”, the song “Little Bird (Éiníní)” is the most sleep-inducing. It is like a sleeping pill, but much more effective. “Across the Waves (Trasna na d’Tonnta)” ends the album triumphantly. Nothing beats the feeling of returning home. The song is a feast for the ears.
In conclusion: I wrote above that “Celtic Fairy Dream” by 2002 couldn’t have been released at a better time. It offers the band’s many fans much-needed comfort during these difficult times. That said, it is a truly timeless album that will play well also under much more joyful circumstances. The fairy theme aside, “Celtic Fairy Dream” is really a down-to-earth release with many classical inspirations that will give joy to new and old fans alike. It is a great installment in 2002’s Celtic Fairy series, and the songs “Castle of Dromore” and “The Green Fields of Autumn” are destined to become New Age music hits.
It is tempting to ask; When will 2002 release an “Orinoco Flow”, “May It Be” or “Caribbean Blue”? My answer is simple; It is a matter of time. “Only time.”
Score: 97/100 – See our scoring policy
For more information and music samples, see 2002music.com