Some Music and Dancing this Month

Some Music and Dancing this Month

Ahoy! How are the people of the page? It’s been a while since my last post because of some changes that will always happen as long as we live 😛

Instead of struggling to find something worthy to feature, I found myself looking for ‘news’ bits from Google which is a great way to know what’s going on in our cultural community. This is when I discovered some action happening in Boston this month. If you are a huge fan of The Tannahill Weavers then you will love this news:



Celtic Music, Dance Calendar for April


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The Song A Day Project is an interesting channel. This artist by the name of Zachary Scot Johnson loves uploading his tunes and also adding a brief background about them. This talented singer/ songwriter has already shared the stage with Shawn Colvin, Keb’ Mo’, Kevin Costner & Modern West, Don Williams, Jane Siberry, The Be Good Tanyas, Rita Wilson, Steve Forbert, The Verve Pipe etc. Expect variety when you tune in to his uploads.
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  …And do pick up the new album by the amazing Moya Brennan now available via Amazon and other outlets. The cover art is her own painting. According to her press release, she went back to painting only recently. This also happens to be a family album in a sense that she is joined by her children Aisling and Paul Jarvis. If you haven’t yet picked up the recording of Aisling then I can assure you that she has a strong voice with the musical intensity of Patti Smith. As for Paul, he’s getting good with his guitar and this is his first professional project playing various instruments and also adding some technological input to the record.
What a Treat! Spencer Murray & Pipeslinger

What a Treat! Spencer Murray & Pipeslinger

If you are a fan of Celtic music then the name Spencer Murray is no stranger to you. Yes it is the first time I got hold of his full-length album but I am familiar with his videos for years, via YouTube. The album in question is called Sound and Fury. It has twelve tunes with alternating vocal and instrumental leads.

According to his bio, he has already (quote) performed with Grammy winner Carlos Nunez, Scottish fiddler Bruce MacGregor of Blazin’ Fiddles on his Canadian tour and with the Barr Brothers on the mainstage of the 2016 Edmonton Folk Music Festival. In 2015, Spencer became the first ever Canadian to win the senior flute competition at the New York Fleadh, the biggest Irish music competition in North America and went on to represent Canada at the All Ireland Championships in Sligo, Ireland.

Sound & Fury is a rich musical tapestry encompassing modern and traditional tunes from Scotland, Ireland and various Celtic nations. His bagpipes are mellifluous and he weaves his performance like a master yarn artist. Each melodic line weaves a story that resonates around our ancient souls.

There are bombastic and gentle moments in this album. For instance, in Strong Ciders, a gentle piano melody introduces the track and builds up gradually into complex rhythmic structure, yet maintaining that intimate and wispy feel- as introduced by the guitar. The album features his favorite musicians:  Jake Charron on guitar and piano, Shane Cook on fiddle, Daniel Stadnicki on percussion, Elliot Thomas on banjo and vocals, Keith Rempel on upright bass and Spencer Murray on Irish flute, tin whistle, Scottish borderpipes and Uilleann pipes.

The album showcases each of the musician’s talents as the recording introduces that breath of space between instruments, clarity that keeps us on the loop of who’s playing and what instrument. Sound & Fury closes with Clawhammer Reels that will surely keep enthusiasts tapping their feet! Spencer Murray is also part of The Log Drivers.

Released August 24, 2016

Spencer Murray – borderpipes, uilleann pipes, flute, whistles

Jake Charron – guitar, piano

Elliot Thomas – vocals, banjo

Keith Rempel – bass

Daniel Stadnicki – drums

Shane Cook – fiddle

Daniel Gervais – fiddle

Loretto Reid – concertina

Dana Wylie – vocals

Eric Wright – electronic production

Recorded and Mixed by Harry Gregg at The Audio Department & Riverdale Recorders in Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Mastered by Phil Demetro

Art by Kat Gomboc


Van Morrison Keeps Our Souls Singing Along

Van Morrison Keeps Our Souls Singing Along



  1. Let It Rhymepackshot
  2. Every Time I See a River
  3. Keep Me Singing
  4. Out in the Cold Again
  5. Memory Lane
  6. The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword
  7. Holy Guardian Angel
  8. Share Your Love With Me
  9. In Tiburon
  10. Look Behind the Hill
  11. Going Down to Bangor
  12. Too Late
  13. Caledonia Swing

Keep Me Singing, the much-anticipated album by  Northern Irish musical legend Van Morrison got its release this September. Finally, it is great to be treated to an exquisite musical experience with this album. Morrison has established his name in the music world with Astral Weeks among his other great albums.

My introduction to his music began with his contribution to The Long Black Veil by The Chieftains in the mid-90s. It was also the time when his Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison topped the jazz charts all over the world. His eclecticism is his asset. It is through that vision that he continues to collaborate successfully with notable artists from different genres while influencing them at the same time.

Keep Me Singing has thirteen songs. All of them are classic Morrison with touches of folk, jazz, soft rock and traditional Irish. The timeless sound transcend  decades. Listening to songs like The Pen is Mightier than the Sword calls to mind his earlier albums. The feel of the songs are warm and rich which calls to mind those live recordings from bygone days before the introduction of computers. So for people who love the taste of nostalgia, this album is for them.

The string arrangement feels cinematic and this is expressed in songs like Let it Rhyme, Every Time I See A River, Memory Lane and others. Too Late is the first single off the album and it is an upbeat song. Too Late is the single off the new album. It is an upbeat track that will surely catch your attention. Keep Me Singing is another musical treasure to keep. And the good feeling keeps coming!


Also available from
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Tradition at its Finest:Roots by Andrew Finn Magill

Tradition at its Finest:Roots by Andrew Finn Magill

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Irish music was already dominant in the life Andrew Finn Magill while growing up and spending every summer at the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops. He learned to play the fiddle with the help from some of the finest folk musicians in the world.

By age 16, he already accomplished the following:

-As a two-time finalist at the All-Ireland Championships.

-He has toured France with the popular Celtic music & dance revue, Celtic Dances( under the musical direction of Liz Knowles & Kieran O’Hare).

-Produced a Fulbright-MtvU- funded concept album, Mau a Malawi( about those affected by AIDS with Malawian Afro-vibes artist Peter Mawanga).

I am currently enjoying his first in the series of concept albums. This one is called Roots. Why the title Roots? Well, I noticed that it is perhaps the most Traditional Irish I got my hands on this year. The tracks are familiar and they are rendered in a way they are supposed to-with emphasis on the style of music itself.

I once had this conversation with a friend while listening to traditional tunes. I just got my hands on a bodhran courtesy of my friend in England. So I was trying to learn my ear and these are songs from Lunasa, Chieftains and other bands who are into hardcore trad music. This is also the time when exploring the technical aspect of the music can be an enjoyable experience. And this love for traditional music gave way to many blog posts in this site.

?So what’s the story behind Roots? According to his press release:

Roots is the first disc in a concept album series which charts Magill’s musical progression in Irish music, featuring the tunes and players that defined his earliest years playing the fiddle: John Doyle, Cillian Vallely (Lúnasa), Sean Earnest (The Yanks), Duncan Wickel and Vincent Fogarty (The Red Wellies). Recorded in three studios on two continents, the music is ‘pure drop’ Irish with sparse instrumentation and innovative arrangements.
From the lively set of reels that opens the album, the listener is treated to brilliant and respectful renditions of much-loved jigs, hornpipes & reels, as well as some rarely-heard gems such as a beautiful setting of the set dance, “The Blackbird” the slow air, “Roisin Dubh,” and Carolan’s “Maurice O’Connor’s Third Air.” The album ends with a rolling, powerhouse set of reels sure to get any Irish music fan’s blood pumping.
In fall 2016, Magill will release Branches, the sequel to Roots, which integrates Finn’s traditional Irish musical foundations with his many other influences in ten original compositions.

Looking forward to the release Branches and that will showcase how flexible and colorful Traditional Irish music has grown through the years.

Roots the album has ten tunes featuring  jigs, reels and hornpipes. I love his precision and perfect pitch. The album features John Doyle, Cillian Vallely & Colin Farrell of LĂșnasa, among others. There’s also Duncan Wickel whose work I am familiar with. It also features the 10-string bouzouki of Vincent Forgarty. Now DAGAD fanatics will hear the strumming of Sean Ernest.

So what track is closest to my heart? It’s got to be The Green Fields of Glentown as part of the medley in the 10th track. If you meet someone asking about Traditional tunes then let him or her listen to this CD as it will ‘teach’ everything there is to know about the music. And hopefully it will influence younger audience to learn the style for future musical generations to come.

I really enjoy Roots. I take it with me when I ride the bike. I listen to it when I am stressed and I want to keep focused. But most of all I just listen to it for its musical richness. And it should be part of your growing collection.


The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The Led Farmers: They have a likability that is instant. The music is full of vigour and wonderful melodies.

The Led Farmers’ website says they are touring around Europe but they will start their North American tour in the last part of August. There is no doubt they will fill venues with their energetic sound and a style that is homegrown as it is punk with its rebelliousness.

Katie is the latest album that landed on my speakers from Ireland. Caution: Their music encourages you to get up and move. . So who are they? The band is comprise of the following:Brendan ‘Dog’ Walsh: Banjos. Ross O’Farrell: Bass. Glenn Malone: Drums. Shay Long: Guitar.

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Share the Wealth is the latest single off the album. The music video shows the band playing in what appears to be a living room. There is an alternate scene(acted by the band members) of what looks like a money-lender making deals over the phone. First client comes in and signs a contract. He hands it back to the man who tears it up and laughs at his face while smoking a cigar.Then another appears, same thing happens but this time he puts an X on the paper to the dismay of the other guy. Third guy gets his paper crumpled. In the end he receives a termination letter. He packs his stuff and walks out of his office. Outside, he meets the men he conned. Their expressions say:” See what happens to greedy people?”
What I like about them as a band? The reviewers are right. They have this likeability factor. They’ve got  what you need in a superstar Irish band: Sound, looks, and stage presence. Any banjo fan will rejoice as this recording highlights the instrument very well. Guitars and bass have their moments. The drums are also mixed in a way that it doesn’t sound too aggressive especially in the faster tracks.
 Row by Row is my favorite as of the moment. It has all the elements of a timeless tune. The voices of the quartet blend well and I love the counter points in the chorus section. But this is not to say that is the only stand out track. There are many more. From Share the Wealth which introduces the mood of the album, to their beautiful remake of Star of the County Down, the funky Space to their rendition of traditional Irish music- everything you look for in an excellent Irish pop rock album is here.
Yes Katie is an album of fast tunes, but Foggy Dew and Ragland Road prove that they can be masters of  haunting ballads.
Read the press release that follows:


The Led Farmers are an Indie Irish Folk Rock band from Ireland. The group boasts a two-time All Ireland Music champion and many of it’s members have studied music at University level. They have toured the U.S. and Europe and are becoming one of Ireland’s best-loved live acts. 2015 saw them play over 80 concerts and 2016 looks to be something similar. While they love to play the Irish folk classics it is their own songs and fresh new arrangements of folk music that has seen them get attention of late. Their spontaneous nature and friendliness on the stage makes them a very entertaining live band.

What the media says:

‘The Led Farmers are the kind of act that you just want to see go far, they have a likeability factor and stage presence that just completely enhances their performance and makes them so distinctive in comparison to so many trad/folk groups out there at the moment’ – Dublin Concerts reviews

‘According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word ‘fresh’ has the following meaning: having its original qualities unimpaired, full of or renewed in vigor and not worn or rumpled
 and here comes a band that seems to fit the bill
 they are infectious likeably and distinctive, these are lads you might indeed want to join for a pint or two’ – Irish American News

‘The Led Farmers preserve the tradition of their own native songs while adding a decidedly unique perspective to it. I can see that if The Led Farmers can persist like the Clancy Brothers did. Maybe in 20 or 30 years it may be said that they helped set the new standard for traditional Irish Music’ – Paddy Rock

‘I like the vibe of The Led Farmers. They have an acoustic sound that reminds me of Dexys Midnight Runners. These lads have an energy and style that takes up where the Pogues left off’ – Christy McNamara


The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

nar·row·back /ˈnĂŠroʊˌbĂŠk/ [nar-oh-bak]
–noun Slang.
1. Disparaging. an Irish-American.
2. a person of slight build who is unfit for hard labor.

The brain child of a future banker and a drop out bartender, The Narrowbacks are a fresh voice for songs and stories old and new. After some late night sing songs, a couple whiskeys and a few lost jobs we came up with a young punk attitude that found itself running through the veins of an old time folk band.

If Joe Strummer, Shane MacGowan and Bruce Springsteen survived a drinking session through the 5 boroughs, the hangover would be called The Narrowbacks.

If you have devoted your life supporting Celtic music then you’ll know that the world never runs out of great talents. There will always be amazing bands from any time, any place. They just need a good channel to get exposed to enthusiasts.

Such is the case of The Narrowbacks from New York. For those who are not aware New York has offered us great bands since the 90s like the October Project and Black 47. There are more though they escape my fingertips as of the moment but yes, New York is an amazing place when it comes to unique bands. And the musical energy of the place is a big influenced to these musicians behind the band. They have their own eclectic styles and influences and they all bring it to the band. So what you get is music that seems to come from many sources yet so distinct and so exclusive to the Irish musical culture.

They are adept in performing old a new tunes but they have a knack for great arrangements that the old and new songs can sound as if they all came from the same era. When it comes to energy well, they have it all as all bands celebrating the spirit of Irish rock. Fans of Barleyjuice and Dropkick Murphy’s will love their style of music.

I really enjoyed listening to their songs especially the crowd rouser Paddy’s Field.

Check out the press release:

Releasing new single ‘Shannon’ Friday February 19th prior to album release in April!

If Joe Strummer, Shane MacGowan and Bruce Springsteen survived a drinking session through the five boroughs of New York City, the hangover would be called The Narrowbacks. The brainchild of a future banker and a bartender, The Narrowbacks are a fresh voice for songs and stories old and new.  The band is currently winning over audiences with their high energy set of tunes and over the top performances.  They have played gigs at notable venues such as The Stone Pony, Webster Hall and the Bowery Bal1room.  They have shared the stage with Flogging Molly, Black 47 and The Dropkick Murphys.  But maybe their most note worthy shows have been in support of The Ice Bucket Challenge, performing at many charity events to raise money for the cure of ALS and their dedication to the cause has helped fuel their notoriety and is taking them nationwide.

The band has been brewing on the East coast and developing their own unique style of ‘Celtic Rock’.  Not to be stuck in that genre the band can rock out with any of the best players out there.  Music writer Colleen Taylor of The Irish Echo says of the group, “Their music is literally and figuratively electric and it sounds best live
 The Narrowbacks fill the need for a young Irish-America that knows how to rock.”   They receive constant rotation on radio stations such as WFUV in NYC and Sirius XM on Larry Kirwan’s ‘Celtic Crush.’

After a few years recording their own versions of traditional Irish and folk songs and anthems, the band will be releasing an album of all original tunes in April. To get a taste of the music they will be premiering a single called ‘Shannon’ on February 19th on iTunes.  Disc Jockey Bruce Swan of WPKN radio says, “The new single ‘Shannon’ from The Narrowbacks is classic storytelling, genre-bending and non-stop great.  If this is the start of what is yet to come, the new cd from The Narrowbacks will kill it.”

The band is gearing up for the St Patrick’s Day season with a March tour and show dates include March 16th at The House of Blues in Boston opening up for The Dropkick Murphys and March 17th at Webster Hall NYC.

The new single, ‘Shannon’, will be out on iTunes on Friday February 19th. We can send on an MP3 if you are interested for review and airplay.

For more information and full tour dates go to:

MEDIA CONTACT: Anita Daly / Daly Communications / 212 772 0852 /


LorcĂĄn Mac MathĂșna / The Arrows that Murder Sleep

Musicians :

LorcĂĄn Mac Mathuna

Eoghan Neff

Seån MacErlaine

Daire Bracken

Recorded mixed and mastered by Liam Grant.

Recorded in Griffith College, Dublin.

Images by RĂłnĂĄn O Reilly

Texts and Graphic design by LorcĂĄn Mac MathĂșna


A Beautiful Album, The Arrows that Murder Sleep: Just in time for Samhain!

Nothing is better than waking up at three in the morning (after sleeping more than 8 hours) to the music of this fantastic Sean-NĂłs singer. His name is LorcĂĄn Mac MathĂșna and he is from Dublin. His newest album is The Arrows That Murder Sleep.The music glides in and out reflecting the ancient Irish atmosphere. It is an album for those who appreciate Irish music in its purest sense. This is the style/type that has drawn me to the genre. The vocal music. His voice represents the ancient and the modern Ireland. Backed by notable names in the industry, The Arrows that Murder Sleep is highly recommended for those who are passionate about the works of Iarla Ó LionĂĄird, Niamh Parsons, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Aoife NĂ­ Fhearraigh and many more.

The album has twelve songs and features contributions from Eoghan Neff, SeĂĄn MacErlaine, Daire Bracken and the compositional beauty of Martin Tourish. This album also represents the best of Mac Mathuna’s compositions over a six-year period.

So what is the idea behind this album? I got this from the TradConnect Review:

The Arrows that Murder Sleep is a collection of sensual moments of ancient Irish literature, brought fully to life by a group of virtuoso musicians with powerful melodies and dynamic, cinematic, arrangements. It features songs taken from three major commissioned cycles (including the millennial celebration of the Battle of Clontarf, and the Life of Colmcille commissioned by the 2013 All-Ireland Fleadh cheoil, Derry). It includes two songs in English and nine in Irish. And it includes one solo Sean-Nós song (Contae Mhuigheo) and an instrumental response to that; (Paddy Lynch’s ship).

I love all of the songs in the album but River Roe is perhaps my personal favorite. I have to remind you that though this album might not appeal to all types of music listeners, this will definitely appeal to SERIOUS lovers of Irish music.

From the first track to the last, The Arrows That Murder Sleep unfolds like a beautiful but not hurried movie. Everything almost feels abstract as melodies and vocals flow in and out seamlessly. The talents and love that the musicians put in this project are commendable and I hope to see more releases like this in the future; and yes more albums from LorcĂĄn Mac MathĂșna. A big thank you to TradConnect for the sounds!

Here’s the wonderful text from the artist:


Putting these songs together wouldn’t be possible without the support and generosity of many people. From the people who contributed their skills and talents in making this album to the closer family relations who have given support and time to make it possible. Thanks to my musical companions: Martin, Eoghan, Seán, an Daire for starters. And Liam for taking on the task of capturing the music. Special thanks to friends and family. Especially to my constant companions ar an domhain mór seo: Emma, Aoibha, Meadbh “Tiny the Bearie,” and Fiach MacHugh.

Thanks also to those who commissioned works from me and the musicians on this album over the years. To Martin Harte in the Temple Bar Company; to Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh of Culturlann Uí Channáin and the Derry all Ireland Fleadh; to Armagh Pipers Club’s Brian Vallely; and Liam Carson of Imram. To an Comhairle Ealaíonn, CC Átha Cliath, and the NI Arts Council.

Thanks also to Brian Fay and the DIT fine arts students; To Rónán whose beautiful paintings adorn this digibook;  Úna for the technical know how ; Manus Ó Dhomhnaill and Mícheáil Ó Bhruadair for putting it on record at Port na dTrí Namhaid and death row respectively; to Dad and Mam for the love and perseverance and for getting the kids to love sean-nós. An tOll. Damian Mac Manus ó TCD agus Ann Marie Dowling as ucht cabhair len Seana-Ghaeilge. And to an tArd Rígh, Cormac Mac Cearbhaill, for his far seeing Copyright precedent in C.558 AD. We artists really needed that.

This album was produced with the support of An Comhairle EalaĂ­onn.

Buy the album here:

Visit his official website:

“Irish heart, American Soul artist Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer

“Irish heart, American Soul artist Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer
“Irish heart, American soul” artist Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer. If you haven’t heard his music yet then visit his official band page and play the Soundcloud widget. His music is a combination of alternative rock, Americana and Irish folk. It is one of the beautiful sounds to happen this year. His last album Off the Grid has already pulled positive reviews from critics and I am sure the upcoming release Highway Artwork will fare better.

Burns has a great vocal rage that is both  soulful and upfront. From Ireland to America, this artist takes us to a musical journey that evokes many layers of emotions. 

So who is Danny Burns? I got this from his press release:

Danny has been touring since the age of 17, learning his craft on the road both performing and living in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Nashville. His influences come from his traditional upbringing and also from legendary singer/songwriters like Van Morrison, Richard Thompson and Christy Moore. He has also drawn influences from the culture of New Orleans where he has recorded with George Porter Jr. and Mean Willie Green. He took part in the historic song writer’s night at The Blue Bird CafĂ© Nashville, home to writers like Townes Van Zant and Steve Earle. Danny was also featured in the critically acclaimed documentary about Irish Rock Legend and Pogues leader, Shane MacGowan, ‘The Fairytale of New York.’ At home in Ireland he has worked with Damien Dempsey, The Hot House Flowers and Solas.

Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer. It was recorded in Nashville at John Prine’s studio The Butcher Shoppe and at 5 time Grammy Award nominated engineer Gary Paczosa’s studio, also at Jeff Hill’s studio in Brooklyn. Danny says, “The new record is almost a complete bridge to the gap between Irish, folk, bluegrass and Americana roots music.” It features some of Nashville’s finest pickers & players who have recorded with KD Lang, John Fogarty and Lee Ann Womack.

Don’t miss this:

 On July 15th at the City Winery Danny Burns will be the opening act for the ‘King of New Grass’ Sam Bush. It will be a great night of homespun music, so come on out! For tickets call (212) 608-0555 or go to 

For more info visit:

Wish by Poitin Introduces Fresh Sound and New Artistic Approach.

Wish by Poitin Introduces Fresh Sound and New Artistic Approach.


“Fresh” pretty much sums up the sound of the new album by Poitin called Wish. I have listened again and again and I am definitely aware of the new recording approach in this album compared to their past efforts. Even their musical style has evolved. This is not to say that this is better than their past albums. All of their albums including my favorite Hot Days are still worth the spin. But this has a more refined sound in terms of capturing the soft edges of the sound( amplifying the nuances) while getting rid of the rough spots.

The music in general has a more ‘soft jazz’ appeal. I think this is due to the fine tuning that they have done with their sound and it is true they are masters of syncopation and polyrhythms.  Poitin has always taken the ‘aggressive trad’ style in their recordings. Their sound has never been modest. It’s a force of nature that renders you enable to prepare yourself for some melodic impact. But listening to the opening track Toffee Jigs surprised me. For this is the new Poitin. This reminds me of recordings by Altan and Lunasa.

You can also note the wispy mix they introduced to their acoustic guitar sounds as in the case of the Broomfield Wager. Vocally, Jeremy King has beautifully covered traditional songs with his fine pipes in this album. And it just gets better and better as you climb your way into the track-listing. Rookery is a devilish charmer of a tune. It is a seductive instrumental with beautiful fiddle, flute and guitar parts.

Farewell Waltzes is elegant in its pace. The instruments weave seamlessly like curtains tangling and untangling in the breeze. I think Autumn Song is the best ballad they have ever recorded as a band. The poignant song about relationships like seasons speak with sheer honesty. If this song doesn’t move you then you are not a human being. There’s no weak track here. Wish is like a novel with chapters working together to form a beautiful story. A musical story. Blue Bear Polkas is just one of the many gems you will find if you listen to Wish.

You can really tell that a lot of love, hard work and passion went to the recording of this album. If this is the new Poitin then all the more reason for me to look forward to their next album!

Buy the album from the following:



Self-Titled Debut by Maxim Cormier

Self-Titled Debut by Maxim Cormier

Maxim Cormier

The debut album by Max Cormier forms a cuspate between traditional and original tunes. He does this with seamless transition and freshness.

Artist: Maxim Cormier

Album: Maxim Cormier

Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Tracks :  1. In Anticipation 2. Fathers Know Best 3. Danielle 4. Tunes With Dad 5. Home 6. Hornpipes for Uncle Joe 7. Mezquida 8. Fork in the Road 9. Big Sampie’s Reel 10. Le Grand Boulanger De L’est 11. Morisson’s


Like  early morning dew that drips from a leaf, the debut album by young Canadian guitarist Maxim Cormier reflects freshness. The self-titled album Max Cormier has eleven tracks. There is a consistent sunny atmosphere that runs through all the tracks in the album. I can sum up the album with the following: impressive, exciting, relaxing and beautiful.

I suggest for those who just got their own copies of this album to listen to it twice before putting it back to the CD case. You will find out why I ask you this. In the meantime Max Cormier ensures to please people of all types whiter you like Jazz, Rock, New Age or Trad tunes. There is nothing to disapprove since he is very respectful of traditional tunes but still adds his own signature no matter how subtle it is.

He guarantees not to be a covers man since this album is composed of six original tracks and two as part of the medley. He is able to mix his original tunes with traditional tracks. Everything blends seamlessly in fluid collection.

Track 7 (Mezquida) is a personal favorite because it is the best guitar soliloquy I’ve heard in ages. This is where notes attain moments of pure bliss. The pattern they make turns into an aural painting of sorts. This track sums up the term simplicity is beauty. This is followed by another original composition  Fork in the Road. Another pleasure to listen to. This is not to say that I only picked two out of the eleven tracks as favorites. In fact, everything in this album is a gem of its own.  I am sure that once you take a listen to this album several times you will have your own favorites.

Max Cormier is now an important name in the world of instrumental tunes. Have a listen, enjoy and take these tunes with you as a source of inspiration to lighten up your mood when you are sad.

Big thanks to Craig Hamm of for recommending this wonderful artist.


Having played guitar since he was 11 years old, Cormier, a student of guitar performance at Dalhousie University, now balances his days as a fulltime student, solo guitarist, composer and freelancing musician. Cormier’s dedication to instrumental guitar, both with the use of a pick or in pure finger style, is beautifully captured in his self-titled 2012 release Maxim Cormier. Get his debut album on iTunes now.


CD Baby:



Don’t forget that artist of the week Kevin O’Donnell has his site officially launched today with updates on gigs etc. I also wrote an article about him in another US magazine but details will follow soon.

Czech Republic based Celtic band PoitĂ­n has a shirt out! Yes it’s looks really cool. According to Celtophilia Tee Company

“This is the first PoitĂ­n shirt to come out of production. I’m completely in love with it. I’ll have one of my own soon, guaranteed.”

first PoitĂ­n shirt to come out of production.

first PoitĂ­n shirt to come out of production.

Dave Hum,Les Ramoneurs de menhirs,Velha Gaiteira, Connie Dover and Celtic Cross Stitch

Dave Hum,Les Ramoneurs de menhirs,Velha Gaiteira, Connie Dover and Celtic Cross Stitch

Featured Video: Les Ramoneurs de menhirs – Bella Ciao

Ah Celtic punk from Brittany. Forget the fact they don’t sing in English..well actually that makes it very ‘rebellious’! Hey the bombarde overpowers even the electric guitar.


Album Review: Traveling Light by Dave Hum

Dave Hum

I have other Dave Hum albums so I say Traveling Light sounds different from his other creations. I will bring each one of them to your attention in days to come. For now we are going to take Traveling Light apart and discover its artistic merits. There’s a lot actually.

Groove: Most of Dave Hum’s albums are about instrumental prowess and great atmosphere. This one is an example of music  that crosses genres. You hear African, Reggae, modern rock and classical influences thrown in for the good measure.

Great Melodies: Every track in this album are very satisfying. Dave Hum has a thing for melody which is always close to Celtic music. Whither he is trying to make something new out of something old, his music has that ’ring’ to it. If you are a fan of certain artists, it’s that quality that makes their music recognizable as theirs. It’s like DNA embedded inside the workings of rhythm, melody, arrangement and song structure.

No loose ends from beginning to end: The opening track Chesters Tune is ear-grabbing. From that track up to the end track which is Grandad in the Lift, Traveling Light  will put you up your toes.

The Future of Banjo Music: Dave Hum has made banjo music in this album  accessible to a lot of listeners.There are great tunes with great beats and variety. Tunes like Lulworth Mermaid with its New Agey female layered voices and the uplifting Riders are testaments of his amazing artistry. This is an album for all!


Submitted: Velha Gaiteira – “Bate lavadeira e Helena” (tradicional do Paul/Beira-Baixa)

A friend of CMF Pedro Fulano Lourenço submitted this video. I am pleased that friends are very passionate about Celtic influenced music.The voice reminds me of Hungarian folk singer Mårta Sebestyén. Very lovely!


Flashback:Connie Dover – Somebody

I first read about her in CD review magazine. That was around 1991. This album was creating a stir in the Celtic music scene. Back then, the scene was different. No mp3s and very few people have access to ‘elite’ music like this one. She is one of the great artists who paved the way for Celtic music to have a broader acceptance.

My heart is sore, I dare not tell, my heart is sore for Somebody
I would walk a winter’s night all for a sight of Somebody

If Somebody were come again then one day he must cross the main
And everyone will get his own and I will see my Somebody

Ochon, for Somebody, Och hey, for Somebody,
I would do, would I do not, All for the sake of Somebody

Why need I comb my tresses bright, oh, why should coal or candlelight
Shine in my bower day or night since gone is my dear Somebody

Oh, I have wept many a day for one that’s banished far away
I cannot sing and must not say how sore I grieve for Somebody

Music: traditional Irish; lyrics: traditional Scottish
Adapted by Connie Dover
From the CD, Somebody (Songs of Scotland, Ireland and Early America) by Connie Dover


Today in Pictures: Celtic Birds Cross Stitch by Paula.

I could not let this article pass without introducing this wonderful musician who explored the world of Celtic designs.

Celtic glasses case sewn for my mother —Paula
From the real of electronic music, Paula moved to cross stitch. She made amazing images with her Celtic designs and CMF is a proud owner of a lot of her works!

Do You Really Listen?

 My essay about why we listen to music and the importance of the people behind the artist.

Gary Paczosa was Altan’s sound engineer for the album The Blue Idol(2002)

Dear readers. I have just finished my second cup of tea for the day. Would you care to join me for a little reflection? I have questions in mind. And I have conclusions of my own. How about yours? What’s your take on this article?

What makes listening to music fulfilling? Is it the speed of how the tune is being played? Is it accuracy? Technique? Style? We can go on and on rambling about what makes music interesting. I am sure we have our own sets of prejudices when it comes to other forms of music. Elitism after all exists in all forms of persuasions be it aesthetic, intellect or economic. We are snobs!

Jeff Wolpert: engineer, mixing, assistant producer for Loreena McKennitt albums and live recordings at work on her Mediterranean tour.

I think there are those who chose a particular form of genre based on the fact that very few listen to it so that makes it cool. Yes, it is the foundation of cool that keeps the business going round and round. Sometimes it is not so much on the beauty of the music than the fact that it is simply COOL to own such albums or listen to bands which your COOL friends approve of. Peer pressure?

I know I am not innocent. I have given up my biases years ago to put balance in this site. It is after all one half me, and the rest belongs to the people who contribute to the traffic of this site. Sometimes I feel my preferences are just one fourth of what this site is all about. Honestly, I also listen to other types of music. That is why I have a secondary blog which caters to indie musicians where genres like Rock, Electro and Jazz apply. But Celtic music was responsible in turning my world around which in turn gave birth to this site. Writing has been a source of joy for me.

Enya and Nicky Ryan inside old Aigle studio(picture from

Sometimes, miss the old days when I used to let people listen to my records to cite an example. I even went as far as making my own mix tapes so I can inject those recordings on buses and bars where people are found. And I can talk for hours how a particular note can gain different colors based on the effects that you put on a sound, making you travel inside the music and marvel at the wonders of the recording technology. I can write an essay how clarinets sound so good when played sonorously, gaining a haunting quality.

There are also times when I just listen to make me feel good at the end of the day. We all listen to music for different reasons. But I think the best music is that one where you always get satisfied in all aspects. Something that makes you think of how the arrangements of the instruments were done, the album artwork, the people who worked in the photography, the liner notes, the sound engineers, mixers and finally those who do the mastering process.

Richard Dodd: engineer and producer of The Magical Ring, the legendary album by the band Clannad

Have you ever wondered how the musicians and people involved in the album making worked hard in the studio to give you the finished product? Somehow these are things that got ignored in the world of fast mp3 downloads and not having too much time to REALLY listen. Do you really listen?

Debut Album by Flutatious Has the Bounce!


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I have my different Celtic “soundtracks” of the day. I listen to New Agey stuff after waking up , usually when the sun hasn’t risen yet. In the middle of the day, there’s the Celtic Rock and other ‘lively’ albums. In the afternoon it is usually traditional stuff. In the evening that’s when the urban chill out albums come. At this time, I give way to the dancy electronic types of Celtic music. One included in my regular playlist is from the UK based group Flutatious which I wrote about before.


Their self-titled debut album is a joy to listen to. I like dancing and this is the type of music that has that bounce. This is best played with big speakers emanating deep bass and lush midrange. What I like about the production is the emphasis on balance between the midrange sounds and the bouncy, floor shaking lows. The wispy highs are also crisp.


Things that I noticed about this album are:

  1. Chanty choruses injected in some tracks are fabulous. But the emphasis is not so much given to them as in the case of bands like  Ceredwen or Clannad. Often times these effects are done when the track really needs it.
  2. The traditional aspect of the album is geared towards the Welsh and Cornish type of flavour. There are Scottish and Irish jig styles that you can hear once in a while.
  3. The jazzy keyboards make this album appealing both to lovers and non lovers of Celtic music. I bet this will also sell well in the London club scene as in the case of loops and electronic effects that are hip.
  4. The band doesn’t repeat their styles in every track. It can be a good or sad thing depending on your point of view. Tracks like Spacechick, Venus, Morag’s Dance and Road to Skye are so addictive you want another version of the same sound.  

With all these in mind, I think the debut album by Flutatious deserve more spin in your player.

Thanks to Bill Forwell for the taste of this great sonic juice!


A Closer Listen:Fine Friends by Sliotar

The orange cover artwork shows the silhouette of a bare tree with birds on its branches. One should be aware that experience and wisdom can bring about something excellent. I had the pleasure listening to Fine Friends by Sliotar. A band interview is coming out soon.

The few chords of  the opening track remind you that Sliotar  can pack a wallop. Stick the Kettle On is an instrumental tune with captivating grooves. The uilleann pipes of Ray MacCormac remind you that pipes replace electric guitars here. A quarter to two minutes of this song will send you pogo dancing with gusto.

All Too Real showcases the band’s songwriting style that has that adult alternative twist. Even JP Kallo’s singing style fits the format. For those who like their Irish music more contemporary and radio friendly this is a fine example.

All Around Lough Gill is another instrumental tune showcasing the tin whistle. The drumming of Des Gorevan maintains its crunch all throughout the album without being too over powering. It took me several listens to this track alone to note that we are dealing with complicated drum styles here. Listening to music is like detective work. You don’t see pieces of evidence unless you look further and really pay attention.

May Morning Dew is sung without accompaniment. The strong sometimes gruff vocals maintain that expressiveness. The lyrics and the reverb created by either the room size or mixing have that compelling combination.

One Chance is a personal favorite. I like the sunny melody here. JP sings ‘Another Monday morning, coffee keeps you going, running late for work’  I think the Sliotar should expand on this direction more. I hear keyboards. I hear that nice editing effect applied to the last part of the chorus. Whoever did the sound engineering here has done an excellent job. I give this a high- five!

Rays Heel catches you by surprise with its unpredictable arrangement. It begins with that stately tempo, which calls to mind an idle walk , then around 2:50, it explodes into that fast jig that again gets you on your feet.

I could not stop smiling to  Rock-A-Bye Baby. It has that ingratiating appeal in its simplicity and intimacy, stripped of the drums. A perfect song to listen to when you are depressed and you want comfort. ‘Rock-a-bye baby..rain falls from the autumn sky..another wind blows hard and cold..let me keep you warm’ …Catchy!

Tinkering on the Bridge begins with the uilleann pipes and builds up into that foot tapping jig. It changes tempo at 2:05. The energy of this track really makes you rock your body.

Take it As it Is follows the vibe of  track 7 but with the drums. This is one hell of a tear jerker.

Whiskey in the Sauna makes me imagine that I am catching butterflies with my fingers or doing a kung fu/ Arabic dance steps on a Saturday night after meeting kindred spirits. Have you tried drinking whiskey in the sauna?

The album closes with the solo vocal track Fine Friends. It reminds you that after the laughter, everyone must part ways.

The album Fine Friends, also tells us that after listening to all the tracks, you will surely come back for more.This album deserves more listens because like good friends, the songs provide company that are enriching in all aspects.

About Sliotar

Sliotar is a three piece band based in Dublin playing modern folk music.
The roots of the tunes they play come from the music of Ireland,
but in the past few years the group is relying more and more on original
compositions. Sliotars fourth album, Cirque de Sliotar, has finally captured
the modern sound that has been in development and has been an obvious
at their live shows. Sliotar has been around now over twelve years,
eight with the current line up, and they have one of the longest running
residencies in Dublin in the Porterhouse. Also in the past few years
Sliotar have changed their way of touring, resulting the band travelling
all around Europe and even further. And still the Sliotars best asset is
the live show. Around 200 concerts every year keeps the band tight and
the energy of their live show is something that can only be experienced
and is not for the faint hearted.

You can buy Fine Friends here:

Oona McOuat: Thoughts from Burgoyne Bay

The Celtic enchantress have things to tell us: A new album in the making, Beltane and other goodies!

CMF:I like the new profile pic in FB. Where was this taken?

The photo was taken just down the road from here at Burgoyne Bay on Salt Spring Island.
So what’s upcoming musically? Updates? Gigs?

Musically….I am beginning to write material for a new album. No immediate plans to record but my goal is to carve out space this fall and winter for the muse to move through me. I am open to being surprised by what appears stylistically and content-wise as I compose, and I hope to create music that has a universal appeal – songs which address the deep inner feelings, needs, desires, joys and sorrow we all share.

On a fun note I am directing a “Glee” choir which incorporates singing, dancing and musical accompaniment all done by 11-18 year olds and I am loving the process of working with these kids! I am also teaching music to a profoundly deaf child which is amazing as we explore the vibration within the sound together.

I made some touring contacts in bellisima, sun-kissed Italy while I was there last month. I would love to return to Europe next summer with a couple of band members.

I have just begun discussion with a small record label that is supporting me in moving to the next level with my career. I need an assistant – badly – to help with getting licensing and radio play in place and I also really really want to produce some beautiful videos of my songs.
How did you spend your Beltane?

Beltane – that was May 1st, right? I went to a gathering at Duck Creek Farm on Salt Spring. They had erected a Maypole and I played my harp and sang as people danced around it. It was fun!
What are you listening to?

I just pulled some old CDs off the shelf – Beth Nielson Chapman – one of my favorite songwriters of all times – Deeper Still. Joanna Newsom, who has awesome harp arrangements but odd to me vocals – Yys – and the late, great Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Facing Future – a gorgeous album from Hawaii.

The Celtic Music of Asturias

Hello Celtic people. After a few days of rest, I am back to spin the latest news of what’s happening around in terms of music , concert as well as social networking sites these artists have. We can’t deny the influence of networking sites like MySpace and facebook in terms of music marketing. Gone are the days when artists had to tour just to get the music out there. Now, through YouTube, music video channels and even twitter , they can reach millions and court listeners. But there is a downside to this.

Though the internet is a good medium in spreading music, there is a huge competition that artists have to go through in order to be heard. Even amateurs with horrible stuff can make it out there. I am not really an expert or authority here but what I do is, I highlight bands and individual artists who are already generating the buzz. When this happens (the buzz), it means that these artists have already built a following and a credible sense of musicianship that set them apart from the rest. And yes we already have established and successful acts like Carlos Nunez, the Chieftains, Clannad, Altan, Ashley McIsaac, Capercaillie and Solas (among others) that make the headlines These headlines are important in keeping our community visible and alive. But it is also through these new acts that make all this writing about music all worthwhile, don’t you think?

Moving to Spain

You can now listen to the official Carlos Nunez MySpace page. You can check out pictures, latest news(however I warn you this is in Spanish) and also listen to the artists he is associated with. is now playing tracks from  his latest album Alborada do Brasil (Sony Music). Fans in Morocco   can catch him this 26th of June at the Festival Tarab de Tanger . Here are the details(in Spanish) of his concerts taken from his official website (the bottoms is the latest up to August at the top):


Metz – France

Parc de Seille 21:30



Neuchñtel -La Tùne Festival – Switzerland

La TĂšne Festival
Grande scĂšne 21:30
NeuchĂątel – Suisse
+ info:



GijĂłn – Spain

Semana Grande de GijĂłn
Playa de Poniente 23:00



Pleuhiden sur Rance – Brittany

La Chapelle de Mordreuc 20:30
Pleuhiden sur Rance (22)



Íllora, Granada – Parapanda Folk – Spain

Parapanda Folk
Íllora – Granada



Festival de Cornouaille – Brittany

Festival de Cornouaille
Espace Gradlon 21:00
+ info:



La Seu d’Urgell – Spain

Claustro de la Catedral de Santa Maria 22:30
La Seu d’Urgell

venta de entradas:
Precio de las entradas: 20 € a taquilla // 17 € en venta anticipada.
Sitios de venta anticipada:
Turisme Seu (Avda. Valls d’Andorra s/n) 973 351 511
Turisme del Consell Comarcal de l’Alt Urgell (Passeig Joan Brudieu, 15) 973 353 112

Y, si no se agotan las entradas, el mismo día en taquilla desde las 21 horas en la entrada del Claustre de la Catedral de Santa Maria d’Urgell (C/ Santa Maria s/n)



Pollença – Spain

Festival de Pollença
Claustre de Sant Domingo 22:00
+ info:



Santiago de Compostela (Special guest with Jordi Savall) – Spain

San Domingos de Bonaval 20:30
Santiago de Compostela

+ info: Lamentos e folías célticas, das fisterras atlånticas ao novo mundo
Festival Via Stellae

JORDI SAVALL viola soprano & lyra-viol
ANDREW LAWRENCE-KING arpa céltica & salterio

invitado especial :

CARLOS NÚÑEZ gaita e frautas

ENTRADA LIBRE previa recollida de invitaciĂłn dous dĂ­as antes do concerto no Punto de venda de entradas do Festival Via Stellae (Teatro Principal, rĂșa Nova, nÂș 21, Santiago de Compostela). 981565027.
Os posuidores do abono completo do Via Stellae terĂĄn prioridade para retirar a sĂșa invitaciĂłn a partir do martes 29 de xuño.



Tanger – Morocco

Festival Tarab de Tanger
Borj l-Hajoui 21:15

For a blend of Spanish folk meets world and Celtic is Aulaga Folk

From Casas del Monte – Extremadura, CĂĄceres Spain, The band combines passionate acoustic guitars mixed with flamenco flavor and irresistible beat that borrows from all sources. Beautiful, melodic and distinctive, the music takes you on different landscapes and cultures yet distinctly Spanish. Band members are(In Spanish because I got this from the band site :

Carlos:PercusiĂłn tradicional, flautas, cajon flamenco, pandero cuadrado

Javier:Guitarra flamenca, española, acustica, electrica, laud

Lourdes:Voz, percusiĂłn tradicional

Juan Carlos:Voz, flautas, percusiĂłn tradicional.

Enrique:Laud, bandurria.


Liber:Bateria, Kongas, djembe, percusiĂłn tradicional.

TĂłmas:Bajo electrico.

Jose:Violin, acordeĂłn.

The music of Asturias

According to this article The music of the region of Asturias in northern Spain has more in common with Brittany, Wales and Ireland than Spanish music from Castille or Andalusia. Traditional Asturian instruments include bagpipes, called the Gaita, the harp loom and Asturian drums.

Brenga Astur is Celtic music fused with Spanish influences.Laced with beautiful melodies , hypnotic rhytms and evocative voice of the female vocalist, here is your chance to experience the landscape, the people, the thoughts and feelings  that shaped the music. Brenga Astur is composed of 10 band members with two Asturian pipers, bouzouki, bodhran, flute, electric and acoustic guitar, accordion, mandolin, drums, keyboard, vocals and more. Cekc out for details and updates. Information and pics courtesy of

Llan de Cubel is a popular name in Asturian Celtic music . The band has released seven albums, the last UN TIEMPU MEYOR was released way back 1999. According to official website: During the last years the band has been making a big database with Asturian traditional tunes. The members of the band have been investigating old songbooks, field recordings by ethnographic groups, old recordings from the begining of 20th century and even recordings by Asturian exilĂ©es after the Spanish Civil War. The band has also been writing new tunes in the traditional style that together with the music compiled in the database will be the alma mater of the new studio work that Llan de Cubel intends to record and release in 2010. Please refer to and for updates about the band . No I can’t find their MySpace page but if you have the address, please give it to me and I will post it here.

CMF pays tribute the spirits of  Carlos Redondo and Igor Medio, members of the Asturian Celtic band Felpeyu, who passed away on 2006 from a car crash.

This is an article from World Music Central released in 2006:

Spain – Carlos Redondo and Igor Medio, members of Asturian Celtic band Felpeyu, died today in Zuya (northern Spain) in a vehicle accident. The group was traveling from a gig in Corvera (Asturias) to another venue in Barcelona. Felpeyu’s van exited the road and overturned. Two members died and four are severely injured. Firemen were called to rescue the injured passengers from the wreckage.

The untimely death of the two well-known musicians from the Asturias region of Spain has shocked the Spanish folk music community, specially the Celtic music scene.
Carlos Redondo joined Felpeyu in 1994. He played guitar, bass and lead vocals. He was the member of the band with more professional musical experience. He worked intensively as a rock musician, teacher, producer and sound engineer. He was mainly known in Asturias as singer and bass player of the legendary Asturian pop-rock band Los Locos. He got into folk music in the early 90’s by producing some Asturian bands; Felpeyu was one of them, and he joined the band right after producing its first recording, Felpeyu, in 1994. Carlos was born in GijĂłn (Asturias, Spain).

Ígor Medio had a heterogeneous background. He grew up into an atmosphere of choral and Asturian singing -which both his parents and family developed- and was also into classical music studies and blues/rock experiences before being introduced to folk music. As a folk musician, he developed a personal and eclectic way of arranging and performing Asturian traditional music. He played guitar and mandolin in the band, choosing the bouzouki as his main instrument afterwards. He played bouzouki, guitar -only on studio-, bass pedals, and sang lead and harmony vocals. Ígor was born in Gijón (Asturias, Spain).

Felpeyu recreates Asturian traditional music by combining both the Asturian orchestration and the more general and current Atlantic European types without losing its distinctiveness.

The band was formed by a group of students with similar musical tastes in 1991. Felpeyu initially performed at folk pubs and small venues. Later, it played at large stages and festivals in Asturias. In recent years, the group has performed at numerous international Celtic and world music festivals in Europe, Australia and North America.

Felpeyu has recorded four CDs: Felpeyu (Fonoastur, 1994), Tierra (Fonoastur, 1997), Live Overseas (Urchin, 2000/Tierra Discos, 2003) and YĂĄ! (Tierra Discos 2003).

[Photos: 1 – Carlos Redondo, 2 – Ígor Medio, courtesy of Felpeyu].

From Asturias we go to Wales

Mabon has started their UK with a blast. They have four appearances this month and 10 for August! Mabon is originally formed by Jamie Smith’s father Derek . The band has released two albums Ridiculous Thinkers (2004) and OK Pewter (2007). The beauty of Mabon is that the band infuses the influences from all the Celtic nations and yet making the sound distinct with Jamie shaping the musical path and doing the research. If you haven’t heard of them yet, well you can isten to the samples at  Here’s the list for their major appearances this month and beyond(See all here):

Sat 19th Jun 2010

Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival

Middlewich town centre


Sun 20th Jun 2010

Village Hall concert

Village Hall
N. Wales

Details tba.

Sat 26th Jun 2010

Private Function

Sat 10th Jul 2010

Priddy Folk Festival


Headlining the Dance Tent.


Uam:New Album by Julie Fowlis

UamCoverforwebGood new Julie Fowlis fans. The Scottish folk diva will be releasing a new album on October 26 this year. “Uam” in Scottish Gaelic means “From Me“. Of course there will be tour dates and TV performances . You can check the full details at her newly refurbished website :

Track listing from the new album is available here , as well as the explanation she has for conceiving the project. I also encourage you to check her bio to know more about this gifted singer/composer and instrumentalist.