The recording and touring act Celtic Woman has been bringing audiences its brand of Irish-influenced music for nearly 10 years. Amazingly, Chloe Agnew, 23, has been with the group since the women first performed together in 2004.
Born in 1989 in Dublin, Ireland, to parents who were accomplished musicians, Agnew got her big break at age 11, recording the song This Holy Christmas Night with David Downes, later co-founder and musical director of Celtic Woman, for a charity to aid the children of Afghanistan.
At 12, she was signed to a recording contract and made her first album, titled Chloe. Her second album, Chloe: Walking in the Air, followed in 2004, and shortly after its release she became a part of Celtic Woman.
What was meant to be a one-night concert performance by Celtic Woman has blossomed into a well-established career that includes several best-selling albums, PBS specials and DVDs; singing for three U.S. presidents; sold-out concerts around the globe; and devoted fans who have helped the group be named Billboard Magazine's World Music Artist of the Year seven times.
Celtic Woman will play two shows Saturday at the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts in Richmond. It will be at the Louisville Palace on Wednesday.
Celtic Woman has toured extensively in the United States.
While every tour has been well- received by fans, Agnew said, the current show has added twists and old favorites that have been getting great responses from audiences.
"We've changed things up a little bit and introduced some new elements, which we've never really experimented before with Celtic Woman," Agnew said.
The lineup includes classic Irish songs such as Orinoco Flow, You Raise Me Up and She Moved Thru' the Fair.
"We kind of hope that when we see people come into the theater," Agnew said, "and they lose themselves in this music and they really just let go of their worries and their troubles, ... if we can make people leave feeling better than when they came into the theater, then that's our job done well."
A high point in Agnew's career with Celtic Woman came this past New Year's, when the group played a show before an audience of more than 1 billion in Beijing. Agnew said it was a huge honor to participate, but it was nerve-wracking.
Agnew — a multitalented performer who studies piano, guitar and recorder and sings not only in English but in Irish, Latin, Italian and German — says that with all the success Celtic Woman has achieved, one of the things she enjoys most is the friendships she's developed with her fellow performers.
"To me the most important things I've gotten out of Celtic Woman are certainly the friendships that I've made. And the very special familylike relationships we've made with each other here on the road," she said. "It's really, really special because we spend so much time with each other."
IF YOU GO
■ 3 and 8 p.m. April 20. EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond. $42.50-$77.50; available at (859) 622-7469 or Ekucenter.com. The EKU Center Supper Club offers dinner before the show. Call (859) 622-7469 for reservations; go to Ekucenter.com/eku-center-supper-club for menu.
■ 7:30 p.m. April 24. Louisville Palace, Louisville. $47.50-$72.50; available at (502) 583-4555, Louisvillepalace.com or Livenation.com.