June 13 2017 12:27 AM

Éabha McMahon of Celtic Woman talks Irish music, the Titanic and coffee

Photo by Todd Kaplan

A quartet of ladies brings a taste of the Emerald Isle to the Wharton Center stage this weekend.

Celtic Woman brings its latest show, “Voices of Angels” to the Wharton Center stage Sunday as part of the group’s North American tour.


“Voices of Angels” is the group’s first album to hit No. 1 on Billboard Classical chart, and it also debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s World Album chart. The album showcases three vocalists, Susan McFadden, Mairéad Carlin and Éabha McMahon, and the group’s newest addition, violinist Tara McNeill. The ladies are backed up by a full band, four choir singers and Irish dancers.


“Irish music has the ability to really touch people, it has a way to resonate with all audiences,” McMahon said. “People always leave Celtic Woman uplifted.”


The Celtic Woman lineup has changed over the years, with performers leaving the group to start families or pursue other opportunities. McMahon has been with Celtic Woman for almost two years.


“It's been an amazing adventure,” she said. “The sound and integrity of Celtic Woman stays the same, but the women change. This is an amazing platform for Irish women to have careers in Irish music, which is brilliant.”


“Voices of Angels” includes a cover of “My Heart Will Go On,” originally recorded by Celine Dion for the blockbuster film “Titanic.” The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic was just a few years ago, in 2012.


“We wanted to give tribute,” McMahon said, noting that the Titanic made a stop in Ireland before setting off on its fateful voyage.


McMahon said she loves watching how audiences react to the music.


“If the song is known or if the song is something the audience has never heard before, there is a twist on every song — the Celtic Woman sound,” McMahon said.


McMahon said she has never been to Wharton Center before, but the other singers have. She looks forward to visiting new cities and trying local coffee brewers.


“We drive through the night, so we arrive in the morning, 1, 4, 5 in the morning,” McMahon said. “We wake up in the next city, so we have time to explore before the show. I am a coffee fanatic. My brother runs a coffee shop back home, so I like to go and try local brewers and get a local cup of coffee.”




Celtic Woman “Voices of Angels”

3 p.m. Sunday, June 18

Tickets start at $47

Wharton Center

750 E. Shaw Lane, East Lansing

(517) 432-2000, whartoncenter.com