Holiday Releases from Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy,The Gothard Sisters and SeaStar!

Holiday Releases from Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy,The Gothard Sisters and SeaStar!

Plus Kyle Carey’s Kickstarter update, The Celtic Social Club and Friday Frolics.

Well well well, lads and lassies my mailbox is buzzing! Music keeps coming in from all sides and this is the busiest holiday so far. There is just so much music to taste (with my ears of course). So first up…

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.

It’s been a while since I heard major releases from these two Canadian artists. I never thought it would be a holiday album with their combined musical talents. I am yet to listen to A Celtic Family Christmas so I can post a reactionary entry.

Here’s an in-depth info from their website for those who are curious. Again my big thanks to Anita Daly for always pointing me to the great artists! The album is available from

 iTunes, Amazon and the  Linus label store. The latter also sells other Canadian Celtic music artists of you are curious. Really worth checking out!

“For the album A Celtic Family Christmas, we’ve taken some classic Christmas songs and flavored them with our own brand of Celtic tradition,” says Natalie MacMaster. “We have celebrated Christmas in a big way our entire lives and finally have recorded the music. What ease and joy with which it came pouring out!”  She continues. “Many Christmas songs have gorgeous melodies that stand strong as instrumental pieces and I want it to stay with our fans throughout the holidays and beyond.”

The album creates a counterbalance between both the traditional and modern. Donnell says, “I feel there is a lot of depth behind the melodies and meanings. What I love about this record are the layers of ancient instruments, weaving through and around one another to create a Celtic Christmas tapestry.”

Please visit http://www.acelticfamilychristmas.com or for additional information on Natalie MacMaster visit www.NatalieMacMaster.com and for information on Donnell Leahy visit www.DonnellLeahy.com

Sound great right? I’ve always considered these two as the ‘stalwarts’ of Celtic music. They are the force of nature in the industry, bringing old and new fans together with every release. I am so excited to listen to the album to let you know what I think.

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New Christmas Album: Falling Snow by The Gothard Sisters

Have you seen any of their YouTube videos? If you haven’t yet, you should. They are amazing stage performers and they combine their mastery of the visual as well as musical side of their careers. They have a new album out, just perfect for the holidays.

Falling Snow will be released in the middle of December (16th to be exact) and I am sure this will enchant listeners.

“It was high time for a new Christmas album featuring the songs we’ve been playing at the Christmas shows over the last few years – there were many great songs and arrangements just begging to be recorded,” says Greta Gothard.

“The music of Christmas is so beautiful, it has been a delight to work on these arrangements of eight classics – Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Still Still Still, Winter Wonderland, Skater’s Waltz, Good King Wenceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, French Carol (Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant) and Joy to the World, as well as including two new tunes that the band wrote – Christmas Flower and The Happy Elf.”

The press release adds that  although the sisters are known for their Celtic music styles, their western American heritage can be heard in their music. This has always been part of their specialty as a trio and the fusion works positively. Expect magical sounds wrapped in sweet melodies floating, bright as tinsel in the cold magical air! Christmas is coming!

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SeaStar is a blend of both the old and the new, the tranquil and passionate, the dramatic and playful.-Official band website.

Here’s another American band bringing to us cool music. They are called SeaStar. I love that name! They describe themselves as an original Celtic Folk band from Seattle.Seattle is also the original home of Grange music in the 90s, if you remember. The same place in the western United States with many Loreena McKennitt devotees.

There are four members  who are also friends ” who love to play music and share stories with others.” Another interesting background is that they already toured around Ireland, Scotland and other places in Europe.They even shared the stage with notable performers  like Dougie MacLean.

The new album is called Never Go Back. The band described the music as “Dusty dreams, salty seas, and a few silver linings tangle with powerful vocals, contagious melodies, and singable choruses.” They also promised to ” bring together a unique fusion of Celtic, Americana, Folk, and Bluegrass.”

Sounds like an interesting combination! I will post my reaction after I’ve listened to the whole album so watch out for that.

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Kyle Carey has reached her Kickstarter goal with 102% this week. This is really good news because it means her fans are passionate about what she does. I am so excited that the new album will happen and we are all part of it! Congratulations Kyle!

I received this link from the Facebook Celtic Music Fan page and it is an interesting concert held in Brittany. They are called The Celtic Social Club. And judging from the Reggae infused music, they are very inclusive  and they keep the listeners groovin.’ Just look at those people! Visit their website to know more.

 

Have you also heard of the Friday Frolics? They are a Celtic/Folk band from Barcelona Spain. I remember featuring a band from Spain before called Aulaga Folk so I feel a bit nostalgic.
Their  second album is called  Factor 3,has just been released. I haven’t heard the new album yet but I will post the entry here when I am done listening. Their Facebook page is right down below. Check out the amazing video. The music will blow you away. Sooo good!

facebook.com/FridayFrolics

 

Energetic Debut Album by ShamRocks!

Energetic Debut Album by ShamRocks!

Plus…Liz Madden’s “Will You Go Lassie Go” from “Legacy” and The New Blackthorn Stick, the World’s First Irish Clarinet Album.

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Anatoliy Khomenko – violin, mandolin, vocals
Sergiy Khudoliy – accordion, vocals
Alexey Sletkov – drums, additional gang vocals
Nick Turunov – guitars, vocals
Serge Vdovychenko – lead vocals, bass guitar
Andrew Yakovenko – guitars, vocals, tin whistles, flute, mandolin, kazoo

Additional musicians

Alexander Nemish – additional backing vocals
Iryna Dzhola – additional backing vocals

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I love hearing new music. And I have forgone the formula when it comes to writing. I’ve been posting on this site since 2009 and if you look at my archives you can tell that I’ve posted quite a lot. The thing I am grateful for is my fervent love for music. I might grow tired of blogging. Who knows I might pursue a different career path a few years from now. But listening to music will always be my first love. Music takes to a place of joy when the world seems cruel. And years from now, there will come time when we will be taking out the records we bought when we were in our 20s and marvel at how we’ve change. We can also take pleasure at being able to travel back in time and get that understanding as to how we’re in our current state.

ShamRocks

So allow me to introduce this wonderful band from Kyiv, Ukraine. It is the capital and largest city of Ukraine. It is situated in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of last year was 2,887,974. Ukrainians are wonderful and talented people. I am so glad that this blog can now reach the fans of  ShamRocks. 

According to Anatoliy Khomenko( violin, mandolin and vocals) “we play Celtic Punk / Stout Rock – our signature mixture of Irish, Finnish and other types of folk music with a variety of rock and metal styles.” Check out their track Kaalifornipolkka. It is their take on Californication, originally by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The polka elements along with the hard rock styles are really fascinating. As my rapper friend Rory Kirwan would say “This is dope!”screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-4-05-32-pm
Captain’s Log is the band’s first album. It also happens to be (from their words) a collection of the best tunes over the 7-year period, from the first demo ever recorded to the latest studio creations. This is the quintessential introduction to ShamRocks as well as the history of Ukraine’s celtic punk scene as a whole. All tracks have been mixed and re-mastered through analog tape to create that immersive “crowded pub” feel.
Lord of the Dance could be a nod to the famous Irish dancer Michael Flatley, but whatever your interpretations to the lyrics behind the songs, it can’t be denied that the band has created a kind of music that has an impact to the Punk, Metal,Ska and Alternative music community. With their raw-sounding intensity and melodic tunes(coupled with the Celtic and folk styles), one can appreciate the genre busting appeal of Shamrocks.
There are ten songs in Captain’s Log. And as indicated above, these songs have been with a band for a couple of years. There are covers as well as original tunes. Fans of Shane McGowan and Dropkick Murphys will get a treat!
I enjoyed the album. It’s a great company to working day when you want something lively to go with your coffee. I also take this for a bike ride. Nothing like a lively tune to greet the day on wheels.
See bandcamp for track listing:
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Liz Madden
Liz Madden’s contemporary singing style is what makes people warm up to her music. Her rendition of Will You Go Lassie Go is tinged with pop, rnb, jazz and even ethnic colours. Anyone who listens to this track will say it is beautiful because of its universal appeal. I am wondering if Legacy is as universal as this track. It makes me curious. I will post an observation when I get the album!
Trivia:
Legacy was recorded with Fionán de Barra (a member of RUNA, has toured with Clannad), mixes Gaelic chants and English vocals, and features guest performances from Joanie Madden (of Cherish The Ladies) and Eamonn de Barra (of Slide). In addition to more than a few original tunes and takes on traditional pieces, the album features recordings of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds & Rust” and Emmylou Harris’ “Boulder to Birmingham”. Thanks to Eric Mace of Valley Entertainment for the info.
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The New Blackthorn Stick
I am crazy about clarinet music! Here’s a new album sampler by The New Blackthorn Stick.
Clips of Gallagher’s Frolics with Mary Bergin and Steve Holloway, Come by the Hills sung by Donie Carroll, Lord Mayo with Dermot Byrne, Floriane Blancke and Mike Stewart, Tom Steele with Brian Conway and John Walsh, Finn McCool’s Favorite with Jerry O’Sullivan, and more…
You can also hear it from this podcast: http://www.andylamyclarinet.com/podcasts__reviews/
Updates from Moya Brennan, Kyle Carey, The Ballyfermot Rakes and Jennifer Licko!

Updates from Moya Brennan, Kyle Carey, The Ballyfermot Rakes and Jennifer Licko!

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Moya Brennan

Album progress 

Moya Brennan has the spirit of rock n roll. Maybe not overtly as one would expect but it is there. As a longtime fan of Clannad, and have researched  the band’s history, I’d say it is only fitting that she would shine on her own. She might not be as hyper as Icelandic singer Bjork or outspoken as Tori Amos but the need for constant challenge and restlessness is there.She is also prolific and has an amazing body of work to boast!

Innovation is always part of her evolution as an artist. You can hear it in her melodies and arrangements. She does not shy away from collaborating with other big artists. Her associations with Schiller and Chicane brought forth good results. It exposed her voice to the younger audience who were not born yet when Clannad’s first UK top 40 hit “A Theme From Harry’s Game” shot into the mainstream.

Provisionally titled River of Songs, she picked her children to work with her in this album. I have heard a few snippets via Paul Jarvis’ Snapchat posts and I can say they are amazing! There is no shortage of experimentation there. And although 10 seconds cannot reveal everything, I sort of get the idea what it’s going to be. It is bold, big and contemporary. It will definitely appeal to the younger ears while still enchanting and captivating original Clannad fans.

Her son Paul Jarvis is doing interesting things with the guitar and some experimentation with other musical instruments(including technology). Aisling Jarvis(apart from making a name for herself as a singer-songwriter/ sound engineer) is manning the sonic landscape. She was also hired by Clannad for the same job with their recent album Nádúr.

Apart from her ability to play many musical instruments along with the harp, she is also a philanthropist and a mom. And we all know, moms are awesome!

The new Moya album will be released early next year and I am so excited!

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Kyle Carey…

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Kyle Carey combines Gaelic tunes and artfully crafted songwriting.

Have you been following the Kickstarter Project of singer-songwriter Kyle Carey? She has one week to go to fulfill her campaign in order to record a new album. Check it out The Art of Forgetting here:

I’d say she’s one of a kind. A true gift to the Celtic music community. Supporting her art means preserving the musical culture that we really love.

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From Dublin…

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The Ballyfermot Rakes

For those who love Irish folk in its true sense can now bask under the artistry of The Ballyfermot Rakes. A little bit about the guys:

The Ballyfermot Rakes are a folk duo who formed following many great sessions together in the vibrant Dublin traditional music scene.
Their intuitive ability to entertain pub crowds with folk songs and lively traditional dance music has already taken them around the country this summer, exciting audiences at festivals and venues.
They have quickly honed an exciting, dynamic set which draws influence from some of the great Irish folk groups such as Sweeney’s Men, The Dubliners and the Fureys.
As the name suggests, this duo of Darren Lynch (bouzouki, vocals) and Derek Copley (banjo) are natives of Ballyfermot in Dublin, and both take great pride and influence from the rich musical connection of the celebrated Furey and Keenan families, as well as from singers like Liam Weldon and Paddy Sweeney to name a few.Darren Lynch’s keen ear for a song, along with intricate bouzouki work, adds a rich, diverse layer to this folk outfit. The bouzouki is also the perfect compliment to the driving melodies of Derek Copley’s tenor banjo playing, which ranges from haunting airs to wild, foot-stomping jigs and reels.
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Christmas in in the air…
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The Lights of Christmas by Jennifer Licko featuring Patrick Mangan from Riverdance. 
I did a review of Sing by Jennifer Licko so I am sure you have an idea what she is capable of in musical terms. Glad she is releasing aholiday album called The Lights of Christmas. Here’s a snippet of what to expect from the new recording:

Album Information: 

Celtic Album of the Year winner (Celtic Music Radio), Jennifer Licko releases her first Christmas Album – The Lights of Christmas – via Sabas Records. The album features the Jennifer Licko band which is comprised of Riverdance Star, Patrick Mangan on fiddle and award winning Irish guitarist, Patsy O’Brien. The backbone of the band is Jennifer’s long time British producer, arranger and keyboardist; Bob Noble.  He has produced five of Jennifer’s seven albums including this release ‘The Lights of Christmas’ .  Vocal production took place at Remidi studios in Florida as well as Estudio Cajueira in Brazil with Grammy award winning sound engineer, Mauricio Cajueiro. 

“A true reminder of what the Christmas season means” says one music fan.  ’The Lights of Christmas’ is a follow up to The Jennifer Licko band’s extremely successful annual Celtic Christmas tour hailed by critics as one of the best Christmas traditions of the year. The album continues the theme with favorite Christmas carols, given the unique special celtic touch, and some traditional Irish Christmas songs that share traditions and stories of Celtic lands.

The Jennifer Licko band will be touring the Southeastern United States from Dec 8 – Dec 18th with their ‘Celtic Christmas’ concert in support of ‘The Lights of Christmas’ album. For more information and tour dates, please visit www.jenniferlicko.com 

Track List

1. Pat a Pan

2. The First Noel

3. Brightest and Best

4. Soilse na Nollag

5. The Holly and The Ivy

6. There is a Star

7. Children’s Winter

8. Silver Bells

9. Bread and Fishes

10. O Little Town Of Bethlehem/Hark The Herald Angels Sing 

11. Rebel Jesus

Awesome. Will be reviewing this as soon as I get a copy. Cheers!

Ten Years of Áthas Plus Rant Maggie Rant and Celtic Twist.

Ten Years of Áthas Plus Rant Maggie Rant and Celtic Twist.

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To be together for ten years is worth celebrating. I remember we spend only few years in school and then we part. Years later we see each other, this time with families and kids. Things are no longer the same. But to be in a musical group and to have that time (to not just support each other creatively but also as friends) is a gift! This happened to the band áthas and they marked their tenth anniversary with an album called 10 for 10.

According to their website:

May of 2015 marked 10 years of us together as áthas. To celebrate and as a way to say thanks to our fans and supporters, we decided to put together some live tracks and radio appearances from the past several years. We hope you enjoy this stroll down memory lane! 

I say it is a great way to release an album. You can listen to the tracks, stream it or buy it; in any way you can as long as you continue to support independent Celtic music is a blessing! Listen to the music here.

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New record by 

Rant Maggie Rant coming up!

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Make way for this amazing Canadian band as they unleash new songs for eager ears. Just dropped by their Twitter page out of curiosity and found their latest tweet. Thank you so much Twitter for making my life colorful. At least I don’t have to go back to Facebook for a while to know what’s new in music. I can stay here and still be informed.

So yes they have a new album called Latitude and I was able to listen to their previous tunes and I’d say they will never disappoint you. Take a peek and hear snippets by going to their official site.

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Celtic Twist

2011 onwards were strange years for me. So many things happened. Some were so delightful I go over them in my mind when I have the time. There were also sad times which I never bothered to really address.But sometimes regret can open doors. Sometimes anger can pave way to possibilities and opportunities. Resentment can be a powerful tool when you know how to use it-by diffusing the rage and take brave steps to the other side…

I think it’s the same year that I got to know Phil Holland. She made me listen to her albums plus her new project, Celtic Twist(with Dave  Palmley). For a while we had fun sharing music and ideas through Facebook. She has this powerful voice and I was delighted with the things she did to the voice, the experimentation and all. But Facebook was not really their playground. They removed their page.

For a few years I kept wondering what happened to them. I recently got in touched with them through Twitter(again Twitter you are awesome!) and so the thread continues. We might no longer share the same luxury of communicating due to our schedules but it is good to see them healthy and making great music!

More Updates Plus Upcoming Album By Moya Brennan.

More Updates Plus Upcoming Album By Moya Brennan.

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Music comes from the most unexpected places! Ok, I just ripped off Jose Feliciano’s “Love Comes from The Most Unexpected Places.” I do love that song. It’s been a regular part of my childhood playlist especially when we take our afternoon siesta listening to the radio.

But I say unexpected because many artists love to experiment. I think we see the rise of cultural exploration, how it has really taken off in the past ten years. That is why you can now hear Celtic music in many parts of the globe. And yours truly is a Filipino blogger living in a quiet town in Asia. Would you believe?! I love doing this(when not working) and I think I will be doing this for the rest of my life. Nothing like the itch of writing and discovering new music!

Shamrocks.

It is past 3 in the morning while I write this entry. I am listening to this high energy band called Shamrocks. They’re from the Ukraine. According to lead man Anatoliy:” We play Celtic Punk / Stout Rock – our signature mixture of Irish, Finnish and other types of folk music with a variety of rock and metal styles.” But there’s more. They have a good degree of finesse when it comes to recording craft. They sound like they’ve rehearsed a couple of times before going to the studio. I like it. There is that raw punk energy in their songs coupled with clean delivery, so you get something that will last for many seasons.

They are releasing a new album in the middle of this month so watch out for that. More details here: https://www.facebook.com/ShamRocksBand/

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Scéal.

If you are a big fan of Irish folklore then this game will be a treat! Game Skinny already reviewed this:

Sceal, which is developed by Joint Custody and recently released on Steam, is a magnificent mini Irish folklore adventure game. Players take on the role of this young girl spirit who is trying to recover her memories before the day ends.

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Upcoming album by Moya Brennan.
Moya Brennan is releasing a new album next year. This news made buzz in the Celtic community after she posted this update on her Facebook page. She is joined by her children Aisling and Paul on music/production chores.Moya Brennan wrote:

*New Solo Studio Album – Due February 2017*

I am delighted to say that I have been working on my brand new solo album, provisionally titled “River of Songs”. I can’t believe it has been 10 years since the release of Signature, my last studio album, and I can’t wait to share this new music with you all.

To add to the excitement, it is very much a family affair here in the studio! I have been writing songs non-stop with my son, daughter and husband over the past few weeks. My daughter, Aisling Jarvis, is engineering and mixing the album, with some help from my son, Paul Jarvis. And it will be a co-production between all of us! So I am hoping that you will enjoy the old Moya sound coming together with the new modern styles of my kids, while still keeping the Celtic vibe that I know you all love so well.

With the release of the new album, I will be touring throughout Europe early next year. Tour dates are posted on my website here:
www.moyabrennan.com

I will keep you all updated with the progress of the album in the coming weeks!

You can view pictures from the recording session plus a cute shot with their dog!

 

November Updates!Realta, Cookeilidh and Many More!

November Updates!Realta, Cookeilidh and Many More!

 

 

(Réalta – Asturian Set – Clear Skies (Saltón de Meres – Pasacáis del Xarreru)

Promotional video for the Irish Traditional band Réalta – the opening track from their second album Clear Skies (2016).

Clear Skies is available from iTunes, Bandcamp and the band’s own website:

http://www.realtamusic.com/shop/

https://realtamusic.bandcamp.com/albu

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/cle…

For more information about Réalta, check out

http://www.realtamusic.com

http://www.facebook.com/realtamusic

Realta just released their second album Clear Skies and judging from the video it will be better than their first. Apart from their great stage presence and youth, I really like their style of music. They remind me of those great trad bands in the 70s and the newer hip bands that proliferate our Celtic airwaves. They always come up with fresh ideas plus a musical chemistry that really works!

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I’ve been following the posts by Cookeilidh on Instagram. The platform enabled me to discover new music. It is also a great way to advertise this blog. This video proves that their sense of cool is always there be it musical or fashion-wise!

About the band:

Cookeilidh ( Cook – Kay – Lee )

Cookeilidh is a 4 member Celtic band from Victoria, BC, comprised of 12-string guitar, fiddle, wooden Irish flute, electric bass, bodhran, and vocals.

Noted for our high energy performance, we play a variety of Irish & Scottish Trad tunes, with a good dollop of Canadian East Coast and West Coast flavours, along with some tasty originals. Driven by a passion for the timeless and traditional Celtic music of past generations, we enjoy weaving our own special blend of “Trad with Attitude”.

Website: http://www.cookeilidh.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/COOKEILIDH

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How was your Halloween? With so much work load it is hard for me to take time and post an update but I am trying my best because work will never go away as long as we live. So what’s up? There are great releases before the year ends. I wrote bout Kyle Carey’s Kickstarted venture and looking forward to the new album that she’s making.

Here we go with the music. First is an update from Daly Communications:

2 amazing Indie Irish rock acts from Dublin in NYC -THE STUNNING + JAMES VINCENT MC MORROW/ Scottish Play comes to the McKittrick Hotel sponsored by THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND

The Stunning Live!

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The legendary Irish band’s long-awaited return to US this November – 
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 5th ~ CONNOLLY’S, KLUB 45, TIMES SQ, NYC
James Vincent McMorrow:
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HE IS IN NYC on 11/7 @ Webster Hall go to his website for tickets before it sells out! http://jamesvmcmorrow.com/
 
E McKITTRICK HOTEL AND THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND
PRESENT THE NEW YORK PREMIERE OF
THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART
 
PREVIEWS BEGIN NOVEMBER 16, 2016    OPENING NIGHT TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13LIMITED HOLIDAY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH JANUARY 8, 2017
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So there you go. Happy listening and I will catch up with you soon.