HAYLEY WESTENRA: Treasure
By Simon Sweetman
Still a year shy of 20, Westenra has released her fifth album, a mix of originals and favourite hand-me-downs. She now seems to be straddling the ethereal Celtic-inspired sound of Lorena McKennitt, the 'popera' of Sarah Brightman and the often naff, but technically sound pop-balladry sound of Celine Dion. There's no denying that her voice is sweet - and renditions of Scarborough Fair and Danny Boy will make your grandparents weep. Her originals are improving with each album, and though for some it might still seem easy to take potshots, Westenra is growing musically, and seemingly growing her audience (remarkably!) with each album. Her success really is extraordinary when you consider her age, and the fact that she comes from lil ole Nu Zillan. I am no great fan of her music, which is not to say I don't like it, I am just not the target demographic. But I've listened to all of her albums and I appreciate her talent - and the fact that she is a star climbing ever high in the sky. This album entered the UK Album chart at No. 9 and claimed the No. 1 spot on their Classical Album chart.