Behind The Celtic Melodies: Phil Holland and Dave Palmley

Article plus Interview

2 traditional Irish jigs.
Phil: fiddles and bass
Dave:guitars, mandolin and bodhrun.
for info on how to buy the new CD “THE VISIT” by Dave Palmley and Phil Holland write to

The Visit is one of my most played album this month as we mark our departure from Yule and welcome Imbolc. The album cover of stone circles evoke pagan musings , and yet the music is universal. This is a musical venture that the  classically trained musician Phil Holland did after her solo albums; venturing into a more upbeat and more Irish/Scottish driven arrangement.

   Dave Palmley who also made a mark with his own releases(His UK single Looking Closer is timeless) and added a twist to these wonderful tracks. I can tell where Ms Holland’s style ends and where Mr Palmley’s own comes in. But they create such wonderful musical chemistry that everything is seamless and spontaneous. It’s like these guys have been collaborating for years.  Tracks like Baidin Fheilime, The Clare Jig, The Hills of Connemara and the rest are given freshness. And the length of time for this album to happen?

  (PHIL and DAVE):  We didn’t expect to start an album for a while, but when we started playing together, the rapport was amazing and it just happened.In the space of 2 months we wrote, arranged and recorded everything that you hear on the album. It was just something that needed to come out. Initially we thought we would do mainly some of our favorite traditionals but we found that our combined need to write and create was just too strong and the album ended up being half and half…6 traditionals and 6 original pieces.

In fact since we completed “The Visit” we have continued writing and recording and the next album looks to be already on its way with even more originals that seem to be taking a more progressive direction, although always with a Celtic feel which is inevitable given our combined backgrounds and love of Celtic music.

 I am fascinated by the power of this type of music to bind people together. You could be anywhere in the world and still find someone who shares exactly the same vision as you.  

 We became aware of each other’s music and began corresponding, exchanging thoughts and creative ideas.

There was a mutual understanding and admiration of each other’s work and we decided we really wanted to write, play and record together.

Dave was in England but has actually now moved to Italy so that we can work together on a permanent basis.

Although we’ve only been together as a duo for 3 months there’s already quite a bit of interest in the European Celtic scene and a couple of tracks have already been played on BBC radio. We feel very excited about the music we are making together and we’re looking forward to sharing it with lovers of this genre.


 There are a couple of tracks in this album which are my personal choices. One of my favorites is the carrier single “Brave Warrior I and Into Battle Jig”. The melody is beautifully heartbreaking and this track is divided into two parts, the slow beginning and the rapturous second half.

 We started writing the Jig first and initially it was intended as a simple jig. However when we heard its assertive, almost battle-like quality, we realised we could do more with this and the Brave Warrior was born!

We imagined the gaelic warriors of ages past preparing for battle, and what would go through their minds, thinking of homeland, family and possible death and loss. It was a very poignant image but also very proud and strong. The piece itself is very essential, using only 4 tracks; guitar, celtic harp, fiddle and drum, and in this respect is symbolic of the essential nature of the gaelic warriors and their fight for freedom.

It was a wonderful experience writing “Brave Warrior I and Into battle Jig”, because it came to us so spontaneously, almost like a gift, and as it unfolded, we could see and hear the beauty of it. After we recorded it and listened back we heard the depth of feeling and yet it sounded very fresh, uncluttered and natural.

As this is an instrumental, since writing it we have actually starting working on a song version of it with lyrics, which will most likely be on the next album.

   This sounds like an interesting thing to anticipate!


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