The Gothard Sisters New Magical Album

The Gothard Sisters New Magical Album

 

The Gothard Sisters define the spirit of the season with their new album Falling Snow. What brought the album close to my heart is its vivacious atmosphere. There is no shortage of upbeat tracks in this 10-track album. Apart from the vocal acrobats, you are in for an instrumental treat like the elaborated God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen , a track that will make members of The Fairport Convention smile!

There are traditional holiday songs like Hark! The Herald Angels Sing which we all love to sing along to. There’s also the ever joyful Winter Wonderland with its notable pizzicato accompaniment. Then there are never before heard tracks like Christmas Flower which will rouse even the Grinch in us, and so much more.

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Happy Elf brings that ancient spirit with its traditional fiddling. Then there’s the folky Still Still Still where the voices blend in perfection. There’s Skater’s Waltz that will delight the Irish music lovers in all of us. And Joy To The World closes this gem, and this will leave you smiling long after the album has stopped playing.

The Gothard Sisters are superb performers and their confidence in live settings shines throughout every recording. Falling Snow is a testament to their matured musicality that only gets better every year. So, if you are looking for a holiday album that reflects that sense of childhood wonderment, then Falling Snow deserves a space in your growing collection!

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Christmas Carols from Cork

Mary Kennedy presents the concert beside the River Lee in the grounds of University College Cork. With stunning performances by Celine Byrne, Brian Kennedy and special guest Enya.

If you haven’t seen this holiday gem yet, then it is time to feast your eyes and ears to the sublime presentation from Ireland. You can really feel the spiritual power of the place. The songs are fitting. And yes there’s Enya!

http://www.rte.ie/player/ph/show/christmas-carols-from-cork-30004440/10666460/

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Albums to buy this season:

THE WEXFORD CAROLS with Caitríona O’Leary Rosanne Cash Rhiannon Giddens and Tom Jones featuring Ireland’s oldest known Christmas music http://heresyrecords.com/

A CELTIC FAMILY CHRISTMAS with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy and their family a beautiful cd every Celtic Traditional Music lover will want in their collection http://www.truenorthrecords.com/album/907

VOICES OF ANGELS by Celtic Woman A brand new line up with beautifully recorded classics, including some Christmas tunes recorded with the Orchestra of Ireland www.celticwoman.com

TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS: A CONTEMPORARY CELTIC CHRISTMAS COLLECTION A re-release of a collection of some of the best Irish and Irish American performers including The High Kings, Damien Dempsey, LARRY KIRWAN, The Celtic Tenors and more great Christmas cd for all of our holiday activities! www.togetherforchristmas.com   oh – it’s produced by yours truly!

HIBERNIA by Máiréad Nesbitt Celtic Violinist & former member of Celtic Woman – US debut album features original tunes, the album’s concept is the crossover of Celtic&Classical violin with symphony orchestra. Another great one for any Celtic music fan! www.maireadnesbittcelticviolinist.com
Again thanks to my friend Anita Daly for this list.
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Big thank you to my friend Paula. She sent me these wonderful gifts!!!!
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A Celtic Family Christmas-Canadian Soul with Universal Appeal

A Celtic Family Christmas-Canadian Soul with Universal Appeal

So this is holiday music Cape Breton style. Natalie MacMaster has always satisfied fans of lively instrumental Celtic music and A Celtic Family Christmas is a joy to listen to. She recorded this with Donell Leahy (from the famous group Leahy). They married in 2002 and have six children together. I think this album speaks about that joy of being a musical family during holidays. You can hear some of their kids performing some of the tracks in the album. I did some Google search while writing this entry and I was reading this article from Windsor Sun.

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It is fascinating for both musical parents to manage six children. But this is no surprising. Celtic music has always been a family affair. Take Clannad, The Corrs, The Rankins etc. Like the connecting lines in a Celtic tapestry, a true Celt would understand how all things are related. Music is no longer an art to be incased in museum displays. It is a breathing , living thing that is part of us, as trees to soil and rivers to ocean.

The Album

A Celtic Family Christmas has eleven tunes. Most of them are familiar tunes you grew up with. But they are given a jazzy, folky and Celticky treatment. The arrangements are interesting (given their joint temperaments and did you know MacMaster is related to Jack White?) and lively.screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-11-54-23-am

The general feel of the album makes you want to get up and dance. There are slow tunes but energy dominates this as a whole. I love the sense of humor that the team have placed in the majority of the songs. The inventiveness is really captivating. I played this with relatives and they just love it! I do have my personal favorites. I love the opening song Angels We Have Heard on High. It’s a rousing tune with that signature fiddling of MacMaster and Leahy. Jazz takes the center stage with White Christmas. This is in keeping with Irving Berlin’s style which is fabulous.  Twelve Days of Christmas never sounded so fresh!

Something for everyone.

This album will touch any generation. It has a timeless appeal. The styles resonate those of eras gone by and contemporary ones making you feel like you have travelled in any times. This will also be a good introduction to those who are not really familiar with Cape Breton fiddle style. But there will be those who will be drawn to the delicate arrangements found in the likes of What Child Is This with its light-as-spring piano intro. A Celtic Family Christmas also features their kids! Yes I think you will also enjoy this album for that matter.

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In other news…

Canadian vocal powerhouse Allison Crowe showcases her amazing pipes with River. It is part of her Advent calendar as she celebrates Christmas with her fans. Check it out. Very powerful.

Flashback!

It is expected that those who fervently love the music of Clannad are also familiar with this little animation. This was release around 1989(where were you?). The story goes like this:

A little girl is given the following for her birthday: a pink piggy bank, a shiny new coin, a picture book about pirates and two tiny dolls-an Angel and a Soldier Boy.  the The pirates jump out of the picture book while she sleeps, and  then steal the shiny coin out of her piggy bank. Their noise wakes the Soldier Boy who chases after them, but he is overpowered and taken prisoner. The Angel sets off bravely to his rescue, out to sea and back again, as they retrieve the coin and bring it safely home to the little girl.

 

 

Time to Play The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’ Leary

Time to Play The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’ Leary

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Looking for a winter album to jam to? I am going to talk about The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’Leary. I wrote about it last Christmas and even did an interview with the artist.

I just feel it is timely to discuss about holiday albums at this point because when you go out there to look for your kind of music(Traditional Scottish,Irish etc), it is really hard these days with so many choices around, and so many mainstream artists releasing their own holiday albums.

Check out the press release:

THE WEXFORD CAROLS featuring Tom Jones, Rosanne Cash & Rhiannon Giddens

Starring the celebrated Irish singer Caitríona O’Leary and featuring Grammy winners Sir Tom JonesRosanne Cash and Rhiannon GiddensThe Wexford Carols presents Ireland’s greatest Christmas music (much of it for the first time) in a recording that magically blends a diversity of folk styles including traditional Irish, Americana, Blues and Gospel.

With lyrics by Luke Waddinge and William Devereux and set to popular tunes of the day, these musically sublime, spiritually rich, and emotionally powerful carols from the 17th and 18th centuries will give listeners an entirely new and compelling way to experience the story of Christmas.

The Wexford Carols was produced by four-time Grammy winner Joe Henry.

It also has an interesting background:

Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

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Clanú are back with a new album Long Way Round. This is a strong follow-up to their 2012 album Ancient Walls. The reason why I got so excited in reviewing this is because of the evolution of their sound. The tracks are more diverse and they have lots of influences in this new album, from  bluegrass, Irish folk, Irish traditional, Americana and country.

Long Way Round has twelve tracks including covers of Black is the Color and Siúil A Rún. They incorporate traditional and folk instruments. I am a big fan of  piano music and I think Diamond’s Relief is spectacular. It has that contemporary, New Agey feel reminiscent of Night Noise and Phil Coulter. High five  to them for adding this gem.

Like Clannad and The Corrs, Clanu are composed  mostly of family members: Dee McIlroy, Niall McIlroy, Damian McIlroy, Paul Conlon and Fiona McIlroy. The latter  possess and angelic voice. I would not be surprised if one day she will be embarking on a solo career as a singer/instrumentalist.

I think Dee and Fiona  did an amazing work with their vocal styles that are supple and expressive. They sing within their ranges and that’s what I want my music to be after a long day-relaxing but also diverse. The rest of the players did their part in holding the architectural soundscape of this album, not just in every track but also on how every track sticks to each other  in a cohesive way.

You Know My Love Is True has a distinct style. It calls to mind American music in the swinging era with traces of Bluegrass. I feel like I would jitterbug every time I hear this song.

Long Way Round is an album that will appeal to many listeners. Clanú are from Belfast but with a sound like that, it is likely they will conquer continental Europe.

Listen To If Wishes Were Horses by Kris Drever

Listen To If Wishes Were Horses by Kris Drever

If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride, sings Kris Drever in the title track of his new album If Wishes Were Horses. Part personal memoir and part disquisition into Philosophical matters and the human condition, this album sounds whimsical as it is serious.

The eleven songs combine elements of pop, British folk and soft rock. His musical style is 10900044_991812364203990_2050555669683239488_oreminiscent of Donovan and John Martyn. Vocal layers embellish some songs with complex treatment. The production highlights the sound of the acoustic guitar, making the instrument brighter and warmer above the soft swirls of  vocals and percussion. The bass sets the balance between the light percussion and the whispy strums.

Further exploration into his website sheds light to the album:

If Wishes Were Horses is a collection of semi-biographical songs covering the universal, and not so universal, themes of education, politics, sex, love, ennui, self-employment, social migration and Shetland. Drever’s recent outpouring of songs stems from a move back to the Northern Isles, Shetland this time rather than his native Orkney and the discovery of new lyrical voices to describe his life, times and wild new surroundings.

I haven’t heard of his work with Lau. But I will definitely go look because his style and craftsmanship are captivating. The 2016 Celtic Connections performance made an impression, further cementing his status as a singer-songwriter of heartfelt songs.

If Wishes Were Horses is an album with mid-tempo songs. With the exception of the last track Going to the North with its fast percussion rendering but even then, the relaxed  mood remains. The same tempo is found in the fourth track Shipwrecked with its hypnotic vocals and dreamy arrangement. There are many beautiful songs in this album and I think it really deserves to have a part in your ‘top artists’ collection.

I can listen to If Wishes were Horses again and again and be wrapped in that blanket of wonder, amusement and longing -hese emotions that get regal treatment in the artistry of Kris Drever.

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The Best of Eddi Reader

The Best of Eddi Reader

The Best of Eddi Reader: Her life,  art and her persistence that is truly Scottish

30 Song career spanning remastered Double CD.
Compiled by Tom Rose. Mastered by Mark Freegard

My introduction to the beautiful voice of Eddi Reader was through the TV program of Jools Holland. I think she was promoting her album  Angels and Electricity. What a gorgeous voice! I started paying attention to her releases.That is why I am gushing all over when I got the chance to review her 2-disk Best of Album. The Best of Eddi Reader takes us to several decades of music- when she shot into international recognition with Fairground Attraction up until her more recent Celtic influenced music. $_35

The album has 30 songs and it is eclectic. You can hear original pinned tunes as well as covers-I love her version of Declan O’Rourke’s Galileo-a song that has been covered by many artists. She closes the collection with Henry Mancini’s Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her voice is bright and clear as sunrise.It is a fine instrument of nuance (delicate as rose petals) and with  heartbreaking intensity that is very Scottish. Her music combines influences from American Rockabilly, fifties standards, traditional Scottish and pop. There is always something for everyone, in this album.

Her gifts extend to acting as well. She played Jolene Jowett, a singer and accordionist, in John Byrne’s Your Cheatin’ Heart,a comedy-drama series for BBC Television, set in the country music scene in Scotland. In 2009, she performed in period-drama Me and Orson Welles, and starring Zac Efron,  and Claire Danes, performing a song in a style of 50s standard.

She is also a prominent advocate of the Yes Scotland movement. In fact, Reader is writing a book f(or publication in 2016) about her great-uncle Seamus Reader, who was head of the Scottish Brigade of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, when the Irish War of Independence broke out in 1919, later becoming a founder of the abortive Scottish Republican Army, which attempted to replicate the Irish struggle in Scotland between the wars.

The Best of Eddi Reader is a closer look at her interesting musical career and which makes her a fascinating Scottish treasure. Call her feisty or amazing-she’s got it all covered, being able to maintain a multi-faceted career which continues to enchant listeners and will continue to do so.

Tracklisting:

CD 1

  1. Find My Love
  2. Perfect
  3. Whispers
  4. Patience of Angels
  5. Dear John
  6. What You Do With What You’ve Got
  7. Kiteflyers Hill
  8. Wings On My Heels
  9. Muddy Water
  10. Leezie Lindsay
  11. My Love Is LIke A Red Red Rose
  12. Wild Mountainside
  13. Love Is The Way
  14. Roses
  15. Baby’s Boat
  16. Vagabond

 

CD 2

  1. My Old Friend The Blues
  2. Dolphins
  3. Hummingbird
  4. Semi Precious
  5. The Girl Who Fell In Love With The Moon
  6. Galileo
  7. Willie Stewart
  8. Ae Fond Kiss
  9. New York City
  10. Dragonflies
  11. Follow My Tears
  12. Snowflakes In The Sun
  13. Love Is A Losing Game
  14. Moon River

You can buy the album here: http://www.eddireader.co.uk/music/the-best-of

Thanks to Daly Communications.

 

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

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I’ve been playing Destiny by Celtic Woman many times. New voices and new songs. And lots of magical listening experience. Check out my entry regarding the album in my previous post.

It is a great honour to finally get to talk to one of the artists, notably my favourite violinist Máiréad Nesbitt who took the time to write the answers to my questions. You are probably wondering what it’s like to be part a powerful musical ensemble that continue to make music after a decade right? Well here’s your chance to know.

 

1. The new lineup brings something exciting to the music. What happened to the previous members?

As with most women we have desires to go off and start families and get married! Most of the beautiful women that have passed through Celtic Woman decided to leave to come off the road and settle down. Some have also gone on to have solo music careers too.

2. I love many tracks in Destiny. My personal fave is How Can I Keep From Singing? What made you decide to record this song?

I love that song too but as a listener from the wings! We love Clannad and Eabha was taught by the lead singer Moya Brennan so it seemed ideal for her to sing it. 

3. I See Fire (for me) threatens to be better than the original. What’s the story behind the inclusion of this song?

We wanted to move towards the future whilst not forgetting what made people love the group in the first place. Ed Sherran has deep Irish heritage so his music is heavily influenced by that- especially this song. It’s very Irish folk in style and is also a modern one so it seemed like the perfect fit. I also love story telling and this song has such drama in it. 

4. You are back with your US Tour. Wow 85 Cities! How are you preparing mentally and physically for this marathon tour?

Well, personally I follow a plant based (vegan) lifestyle to keep myself healthy of mind, body and spirit and I also work out every day to keep my immune system strong. Lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, water and sleep when we can! 

5. Can you give young women tips on how to sing beautifully like Celtic Woman?

Just be yourself. Don’t try and mould yourself into who you think you should be. Accept yourself from within and sing from your heart. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is happy in herself. 

6. What’s next after the US Tour?

We have lots planned including a hopeful trip to Asia-then onto Australia and back to the states for our Christmas symphony tour where we get to perform gorgeous Christmas songs with a different orchestra every night. I am also recording a solo album with Celtic Woman in the summer when we get off the road which I’m super excited about! 

There you go 🙂
-Máiréad Nesbitt
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Robert Doyle Has  A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle Has A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle album cover

When: Friday 22nd April

Where:The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

As a long time admirer of his music, I am happy to announce that Mr Doyle has finished a follow-up to his compelling album A Life in Shadows. It was well received among Celtic and Irish Music sites. If you love laid back songs written and performed around the voice and acoustic guitar then you better hear Lig Amach. I will be posting my own thoughts about the album soon!

Read more about the album through the press release:

ROBERT DOYLE ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM LIG AMACH

Featuring Sliabh Russell/Out on the Ocean https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

Private Album stream (do not share) https://soundcloud.com/robertdoyle/sets/robert-doyle-lig-amach/s-XZsH4

ALBUM LAUNCH: Thursday April 28th The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

“Fingerstyle guitar expert…. with a unique vocal edge” Irish Music Magazine    “… a new acoustic guitar maestro” R2 Magazine

Dublin fingerstyle guitarist and singer ROBERT DOYLE releases his second album Lig Amach on April 22nd followed by an album launch concert on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone.  Admission to the concert will be free – as Robert explains as “a special thank you to my fans and supporters for their enthusiasm and support along the way”.

LIG AMACH (Let Out) is the follow up to his well received 2011 debut album Life in Shadows.  Mostly recorded in Dublin over the last year the album showcases his distinctive approach to writing & arranging for the guitar.  A collection of instrumentals, interpretations and self penned originals, Lig Amach vividly displays Robert’s dynamic playing & singing  – stretching from the roots of American folk singing and blues, Irish traditional through to classical & flamenco guitar techniques.  Watch the video for SLIABH RUSSELL/OUT ON THE OCEAN https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

While the album features a number of thrilling collaborations, Robert sets down a challenge for himself when he performs live as he will perform entirely solo at the album launch on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone “It really tests your abilities and you learn a great deal about the music when performing in front of an audience.  I choose to play solo so that there’s nowhere to hide on stage.  You learn a lot about yourself as a musician when it’s just you in the spotlight”.

Creativity runs in the Doyle family – the album cover photo was taken by Robert’s brother Eamonn Doyle who is an internationally recognised photographer.  Previously the brothers worked together – Robert as a studio engineer – on Irish label D1 Recordings run by Eamonn, who also founded the DEAF electronic festival.

Robert began playing guitar aged 8 and is a past student of renowned French-Algerian master musician Pierre Bensusan“Pierre is one of the top fingerstyle guitarists in the world but more so he’s also a fantastic musician.  By studying with him, I wanted to gain an insight into how he was able to master the instrument and develop his own individual style. After studying with Pierre, my focus changed from being a guitar player to becoming a better musician and to continue developing my own style”.   In previous years Robert has performed at Celtic Connections and the Moniaive Folk Festival.

Recording the album was a longer process than initially planned as Robert explains “I recorded the guitar and vocals in my home studio with additional instruments recorded in Dublin, London and Italy. Originally I had planned to record this album, like the first, in a studio with an engineer but I later made the decision to record it myself to have more flexibility. The first sessions for the album took place 3 years ago and didn’t go well so I had to go back to the drawing board.  I was only working on the album at weekends so the process was quite drawn out.  The guitar parts are all live recordings, something I’ve always tried to do.”

Like the last album 8 of the 10 tracks were mixed by Marc Carolan who works with Muse. Ross Dowling, who produced the last James Vincent McMorrow album also did a mix as well as Graham Watson from Floodplain Studios in Dublin.

Lig Amach is a departure for Robert in many ways from the first album with a keen focus this time on writing and performing in English.  “The songs on the previous EP and album were based around songs sung in Irish but for this release I wanted to explore singing in English more.”  ACROSS THE LINE was written in 2014 at the time Islamic State attacked and laid siege to Kobani in northern Syria, causing a massive number of people to flee across the border into Turkey.  FLAGS OF BELFAST, which has a traditional air, was written around the time of the Belfast City Hall flag protests while ROUND TWO is a song about a woman who won’t wait too long for a man to make up his mind!

Robert interprets and reimagines a number of covers on Lig Amach including the opening track AN SEANDUINE, a song he learnt from singing in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí  Éireann with this version taking inspiration from recordings by Seamus Begley and Danú.  COUNTRY BLUES is a song Robert learnt from Dock Boggs, an old-time banjo player from Virginia, first recorded in 1929.

Another progression on Lig Amach is Robert’s collaboration with a wide number of renowned musicians “After recording the demos I wanted to add some other instrumentation to the songs. The first collaboration was with Chris Haigh, a fiddle player I first heard on an Oumou Sangaré album.”  Francessco Ganassin (saxophone) and Magnus Mehta (percussion) also feature along with Aoife Dermody & uilleann piper Eoin Dillon on a collaboration, Flags of Belfast, which came out of a recording session in Floodplain Studios.

Lig Amach will be available from all digital outlets from April 22nd, from Claddagh Records and robertdoyle.net

facebook.com/robert.doyle

robertdoyle.net

For more information, images & interviews please contact:

ANN MARIE WALSH NOVATONE MUSIC MEDIA

Tel: 01 2018946 / 087 2460957 musicireland@hotmail.com @novatonemm

The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

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This is going to be a short post as I am going to bed since I will have work later tonight but if you missed this, please pay attention sweeties:

From the band’s Facebook: So very happy to share that The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

Pick it up at your favorite local shoppe or via iTuneshttp://smarturl.it/the-gloaming2-itunes & Amazon.com:  http://smarturl.it/the-gloaming-amazon— with Iarla O’lionairdMartin HayesCaoimhin O RaghallaighCaoimhín Ó RaghallaighMáirtín Ó hAodhaDennis CahillIarla O’LionairdMartin Hayes & Dennis CahillDennis Cahill and Thomas Bartlett.

Feel the warmth of AN IRISH CHRISTMAS BLESSING by Fr Ray Kelly

Feel the warmth of AN IRISH CHRISTMAS BLESSING by Fr Ray Kelly

Father Ray Kelly Chrstimas cd cover

If An Irish Christmas Blessing is a solar system, then Make Me a Channel of Your Peace has to be sun, drawing all planets to its gravity. It is a track that’s timely as the world needs something to hold on to especially in these troubled times. An Irish Christmas Blessing recalls the auspicious debut of Father Ray Kelly almost a year ago. This happened when he sang at the wedding of Chris and Leah O’Kane on April 5th 2014 which blew the internet after it was captured and posted on You Tube.

I am listening to the title track while writing this. It brings back a lot of good feelings. Like when I was in high school and I was a teenager again haunting for good holiday albums in record stores. The classic style represents the ‘feel’ of the whole album. There is nostalgia and a sense of adventure.

His style of singing is unique. Not Gregorian or operatic. He sounds close to Elvis Costello but with a rich upper register and nuance where it is needed. In O Holy Night, he gives his all hitting those rich notes at the end of the song. The album’s orchestration is superb. I love orchestras and An Irish Christmas Blessing is a treat for those who love grand arrangements but with a modern twist.

Father Kelly  will be donating a percentage of the profits of the sales of this album and his live concerts to the Kiltegan Fathers St Patrick’s Missionary Society. It’s where he started his journey as a Catholic priest.Below is a brief interview made possible by my good friend Anita Daly of Daly Communications:

 

Hi Father Kelly, you must be ecstatic that your Christmas album is finally out! Why did you choose An Irish Christmas Blessing as the album’s title?

Yes I am very excited about the Christmas album and indeed the final production of it. When I heard the song An Irish Christmas Blessing, I fell in love with the melody and the words immediately. And in deciding a title for the album I thought there it is, the title, the first song on the Album. I guess being an Irish Man and firmly planted in my roots it was the ideal title.

What are your favorite songs in this album?

I love all Christmas music so I really love all the songs. However, when I heard my completed version of Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace, I just thought it was so prayerful and haunting, so I guess it is one of my top 3. But I love O Holy Night as I feel hearing that song at Christmas is so special and necessary. As for the song The Little Drummer Boy, I do think the arrangement of that is super. All my grand nieces and nephews are constantly listening to that one and tell me it is their favourite.

You employed an orchestra to record the thirteen songs (by the way it’s my lucky number). How did you decide to record with an orchestra plus choir instead of just the usual piano, drums, bass and synths?

I was very fortunate that Nigel Wright in the UK agreed to produce my Christmas Album, as he is up there among the top record producers in the world, so I was totally guided by him as to what was needed to create a great album.

Some of the songs are vocally challenging! But you glide through them gracefully. Do you record in one take or did you experience having to decide between two versions of then same song?

Nigel made me work very hard, he knew I could create the sound he wanted. So it took a lot more than one take in most of the songs. But that is not unusual, and having heard the final production I can understand why it took some time.

You will be donating a percentage of the profits of the sales of this album and his live concerts to the Kiltegan Fathers St Patrick’s Missionary Society right?

Yes, Kiltegan Fathers, or St Patrick’s Missionary Society will benefit from the sale of my CD and concerts. When I decided to become a priest, I joined The Kiltegan Fr’s in Co Wicklow. So they educated me for 7 years and had a huge say in my formation as a Catholic Priest. I spent a couple of years on the Mission Field in S.Africa, however I decided I wanted to work at home eventually. I always said if I could every give something back to them for all they did for me even in a small way I would, little did I realise that an opportunity like this would come my way.

What’s your biggest wish this Christmas?

My biggest wish this Christmas is that my younger sister who is quite ill will make a complete recovery. Now that would be Christmas for me.

There you go 🙂 Bax

Slan, best wishes, Merry Christmas

Fr Ray

 

And I wish your younger sister a complete recovery as well Father Kelly.

Enya – Dark Sky Island (Album Sampler) is now available!

The Irish goddess of music is releasing her new album Dark Sky Island this November 20. I know you are all scrambling to get your copies. There are people who already pre ordered the album. The excitement and madness surrounding the pre-release of the album is overwhelming. Enya season is always a season of magic and joy. I don’t know about you but I’ve been a fan since the very early 90s and will continue to be so.

Dark Sky Island sees our melodic diva evolving musically. She has also stretched her voice like never before.Now, it is hard to really know what each song will be like from beginning to finish but we all get the impression that they will be fantastic. I got goosebumps listening to The Loxian Gates. Who won’t be? The marching tempo sounds glorious. The language sounds Gaelic. But I am not surprise. Didn’t Enya mentioned that Loxians are actually the future Celts? There is an element of Sci Fi in her recent albums. Roma Ryan(her lyricist) has always been a great fan of Hard Science, Poetry and the visual arts. These women combined forces to create timeless albums. Nicky Ryan has added his production genius and as a fan of Brian Wilson he made the Enya sound accessible to the mainstream.

By the way didn’t the record the album inside Abbey Road Studios?

I can’t wait for November 20. This year is a good year. It’s Enya seaso all over again. Hooray to her and to all her fans all over the world.

“Newfoundland Vinyl 3  by Allison Crowe brings the beautiful winter breeze early

“Newfoundland Vinyl 3 by Allison Crowe brings the beautiful winter breeze early

Newfoundland Vinyl 3 is a Holiday treat that should not be missed by beautiful music lovers! 

Now that we can move on to Yule, you might want to shop around for a good holiday album. No need to look further. Newfoundland Vinyl 3 by Canadian singer/songwriter Allison Crowe offers a perfect soundtrack for your winter needs. Her singing is strong and with the times. There is an interesting history how this album was conceived(please check the additional info at end of this post).

There are thirteen songs (my lucky number) in the album and they offer unique listening experience as I don’t think I have met a kind of style or recording like her’s.  The styles vary from traditional to modern. The perky Up She Goes is already a favorite. Fiddlers Green, The Irish Rover will appeal to lovers of Irish music. While the rest are infused in folk, pop and blues style. She brings the spirit

Allison Crowe’s arrangements are simple and they exude an intimate air which is rare these days, in a world where music is overblown or over produced. You get the sense of organic simplicity in each track. it’s the feeling of coming home after a long hard day from work.

This recommended especially if you are looking for something that is not too classical, too folky or ethereal. The earthly arrangements and warm performance are gifts from this wonderful album that should last through all seasons.

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More about Newfoundland Vinyl 3:

“Newfoundland Vinyl” is a perennial favourite attraction of the cultural treasure that is the Gros Morne Theatre Festival.

Conceived by Jeff Pitcher, Artistic Director of Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador, (TNL – the Atlantic Canadian professional theatre company founded in 1979), the hit stage show’s under the Musical Direction of Allison Crowe who’s been with the production from its launch in 2012.

Each Summer Allison Crowe delights in residing in the beauty of Gros Morne National Park – an UNESCO world heritage site located on the west coast of Newfoundland. In working with her wonderfully-talented cast and crew, Allison records a selection of songs to be included in the show repertoire. Once the play’s run its season, she selects some of her favourite tunes to share from this collection.

TNL describes the latest edition: “Hits of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s by Newfoundland’s biggest recording stars come to life! For your toe-tapping, tear-jerking enjoyment the music and songs of Ryan’s Fancy, Harry Hibbs, Gary O’Driscoll, Dick Nolan, Joan Morrissey, Bob Porter and more…”

“I have had such a wonderful time learning this year’s crop of songs for Newfoundland Vinyl – from waltzes and parlour songs, to torch songs, to songs with the same spirit as 1960s protest anthems and beyond – simply great music from throughout the decades,” notes Allison. “The silly, the sentimental, the sad, and serene all converge in this GMTF show… So, please, enjoy and do sing along!”

credits

released October 20, 2015

Music arranged, performed and recorded by Allison Crowe – Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada.

See individual track listings for songwriting credits.

Album cover photos by Allison Crowe

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Going Home by David O’Leary (named as Ireland’s most exciting young tenor).

Going Home by David O’Leary (named as Ireland’s most exciting young tenor).

David O’ Leary is an Irish tenor with a bright voice. Going Home was released in 2011 and I feel a bit sad that I missed the whole official release event. His repertoire does not end in Classical and traditional Irish tunes. He also sings standards.

One of the heartwarming tracks in the album is his rendition of  Smile. I love the crystalline way  of how the instruments were recorded, couple that with his pristine voice and you get an album that will appeal to many people including those who don’t really listen to Celtic music.

Going Home by David O'Leary

Going Home
by David O’Leary

So who is he? The young tenor from County Wexford has studied voice in New York City. His credits include performing for President Bill Clinton and Irish-American philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman at the prestigious Metropolitan Club-Irish Central.

Going Home has eight tunes. The album opens with Black is the Color which is very familiar to all those who love Irish ballads. It is followed by a Catholic hymn called The Lord is My Shepherd. Then there’s  Smile, Carrickfergus and the Elvis Priestly classic Can’t Help Falling in Love. Il MoCuore Va is an Italian rendition of My Heart Will Go On (which was also covered by Sarah Brightman and originally recorded by Celine Dion). Danny Boy is perhaps one of the most dramatic and touching songs in the album. The orchestra is just superb. It ends with the haunting Going Home.

This is a good holiday album! Get it here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davidoleary1

‘The Space Between’ is Jamie Smith’s Mabon’s upcoming album.

‘The Space Between’ is Jamie Smith’s Mabon’s upcoming album.

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The Welsh Celtic supergroup Jaime Smith’s Mabon are releasing a new album called The Space Between through crowdfunder UK. Crowdfunding is the trend these days as more and more artists are finding that their fans can make it possible. And why not? Jamie Smith’s Mabon released a highly acclaimed Windblown 2012 and I LOVE my autographed copy of the CD. Their debut single is ‘Yr Ennyd’ which you can hear today if you go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radiocymru

I think this single will be as fantastic as their fan favorite Caru Pum Merch. They have proven that the Welsh language holds a mystical magnetism that attracts people in all parts of the globe.

They have excellent musical style! You’ll know right away it’s them.

You can learn more about their album by visiting this link: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/TheSpaceBetween

This is their latest video recorded during the latest Lowender Peran 2015. 

Mountain Rose by The Gothard Sisters: Girl Power in Celtic Music!

Mountain Rose by The Gothard Sisters: Girl Power in Celtic Music!

Just say you are a casual listener and you happen you see one of the performances of The Gothard Sisters. I am pretty sure you would be amazed how these three sisters carry themselves. They are musically and visually captivating. You don’t even have to be a fan of Celtic music to really take note of their musical skills. This is girl power to the max. I mean, they have always carried their musical careers independently since the release of their debut album in 2006. And they stayed true to their style no matter how fickle-minded the music industry is.61eNCSEy9CL._SS280

I love the cover artwork of Mountain Rose. It really says a lot about their playfulness. And the materials are sonically delicious. I am talking about the cover of Andy M Stewart’s “Queen of Argyll.” Mr Stewart introduced me to traditional Irish music during the explosion of Green Linnet records in the 90s. The sisters gave this tune an interesting twist. The trio wrote some songs too. And whole album is like a good book you need to read up to the end. I say that because I am more of an album guy. I’d rather buy full-length albums as opposed to compilations or ‘best of.’ I am sure some of you can relate to this as every song tells a story. And every story is a branch that makes up the bigger tree which is the album. Greta, Willow and Solana are really good in making this album consistent while making each track unique to each other.

I love the clarity of The Bandit. They combine the elegance of their classical training to folk tracks. I Courted a Sailor sounds fitting in these times of gender equality. But while making interesting materials worth the discussion over coffee, they also make sure that the craft doesn’t suffer. Cat In A Bush is another playful track to listen to if you are a fan of traditional instrumental music. The Boatman’s Call reminds me a bit of Connie Dover in terms of the clear and magical vocals, while St. Annie’s Reel is a force of nature. As a fan of Grace O’Malley’s story, I am so glad the sisters have this track about her. Yes another tribute to a strong woman in history.

There are plenty of tracks you should not miss in this album. It is really a satisfying experience and I hope you get Mountain Rose and that this album will introduce you to the rest of their discography. Out of five starts I give this a five!

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

I am enjoying the new album of Caitlin Grey called The Promise. One thing I noticed upon playing this album for the first time is her beautiful and supple voice. It has the ease of a folk singer and the refined muscle of a classically trained vocalist. She uses these influences seamlessly in this new album, consisting of twelve songs.There are original songs as well as interpretation of traditional materials. I love her rendition of She Moved Through The Fair because of its melodic simplicity and emotional power. a1763992850_16

The title track is something that will please fans of Clannad, Loreena McKennitt and Anuna or even Secret Garden. Her arrangements are also spot on. I love the drumming on this one because it sounds almost like a pop ballad. But then again we know that with Ms Grey, every song can be a magical journey between classical and folk.

Her approach to singing tells you  this is how to sing these songs. Yes, especially these kinds of songs because it takes a special artist to pull this off. Because in the hands(or throat) of an ordinary singer, they will sound weird. These songs choose a singer and that singer is Caitlin Grey. I love it when she harmonises in some songs.They sound whispery, airy and crystal clear. I love the style of Innisfrie because I love movie soundtracks. Ailein Duinn is haunting  especially with the harp. An original from Scottish group Capercaillie for the movie Rob Roy. I love her singing in Scottish Gaelic. She maintained the beauty of the original but added her own unique style.

I love ballads that build up gradually. And this is the style that is present in most of the songs in The Promise. Black is the Color is another personal favourite. She sings that sense of loss where words fail.

In My Awakening, I like that part of the chorus where she sings the line “..When all my life fades away in tomorrow..” deeply moving! In Anam Cara, her voice is a powerful instrument that can transport us to anywhere in the world where she wants to take us. Call of the Clans closes this wonderful album with an arrangement that can rival any operatic aria. Listen to the latin chants at the end of the song. If that does not conjure something in you, then you are not human.

The Promise is a work of magnificent sound craftsmanship and artistic maturity. Looking forward to her third album!

 Learn a tune from “The Waylaid Man” and get a FREE CD.

 Learn a tune from “The Waylaid Man” and get a FREE CD.

Do you want to get a free copy of an Irish traditional record? Well you better hurry before offer runs out. According to Irish recording artist Michael McCague:
  
So grab your camera phones and make a video of yourselves playing one of his tunes. Hey it wouldn’t be hard even if you don’t have his album yet as you can always looked it up via YouTube.

Karl Nesbitt is working on a new album The Constant!

Karl Nesbitt is working on a new album The Constant!


Karl Nesbitt, The multi instrumentalist Irish musician is working on a new album. The album is titled The Constant . Details are coming soon. He has been busy with many musical projects. These are recitals and Master classes.

He has already released two recordings Vista Point and the Good News EP. You can get updates about his latest releases and projects by visiting his official website

www.karlnesbitt.com

 

Videos:

Live shows for this month and beyond

Live shows for this month and beyond

because I am not posting any album reviews at this time, I’d rather post something about live music. I am hoping that you’ll be able to watch your favorite artists performing in your area. Due to my right hand injury, I am using voice dictation to write text messages. And so far, it has been working quite OK.

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Dubbed internationally as the singing priest, father Ray Kelly is in New York City promoting his new album “Where I belong.” He is also releasing a Christmas album this November. So watch out for that one I am sure it will be amazing.

Visit his Facebook page to see more.
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Following the release of his celebrated book A history of Irish music, Larry Kirwan is performing live in New York City catch him and also buy the new book.

Visit his band page to see more.
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If you are in the Czech Republic, you better check out Sliotar as they are currently touring and performing. These guys never grow tired performing. They have inexhaustible energy to sing and play those wonderful tunes. I think it takes passion and also good health to be able to really play in many venues.

Visit their website for events and releases.
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Even though I am not currently writing album reviews, I’ve been listening to these wonderful albums. I highly recommend them.

  

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About this item

Track Listings

Disc: 1

The Duke Of Leinster/Gardiner’s/John Stenson’s #2

A Sailor s Life

Tommy Potts’ Slip Jig

The Bay Of Biscay

The King Of The Pipers/Behind The Haystack/The Maid On The Green

Paddy Cronin’s/If I Had A Wife

The Close Shave/East At Glendart

Moving Cloud

The Heart Of The World

Neckbelly

Kiss The Maid Behind The Byre/Tá Do Mhargadh Déanta

Dónal Na Gréine

Sore Point

The Hut On Staten Island/The De il Among The Tailors

Belfast: Back To Belfast/Anne Lacey/Eroticon VI

The Pipers Of Roguery

Wedding Dress

Disc: 2

Hardiman The Fiddler

Brelydian

A Mháire Bruineall

Portaferry Swing

Róise Na BhFonn Tuneful Rose

Pota Mór Fataí

The Slide From Grace (Dusty Miller s/Dan O Keefe s/The Slide From Grace)

Bean An Fhir Ruaidh The Red Haired Man s Wife

Beer Belly Dancing

The Beauty Spot

Cailleach A Shúsa The Hag In The Blanket

Product Details

Original Release Date: 2012

Label: World Music Network

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Patrick Ball has been keeping me awake at night with his wonderful Music. It is great to hear the Celtic harp  without other instruments. So pure, so magical, it is something that you can listen to again and again.

Quick Questions with Irish Singing Sensation Father Ray Kelly.

Quick Questions with Irish Singing Sensation Father Ray Kelly.

It great to see that the musical mainstream gets a taste of something different. Father Ray Kelly is not your average pop star. he is a priest- and will always be even in the midst of fame. YouTube exposed his talent to the public and that gave way to a beautiful debut album. Various tours in many places followed. But who is Father Kelly?
His music is very much rooted to the Irish Celtic tradition with Folk and Pop styles thrown in between. Where I Belong is the debut album comprising of twelve songs. They are carefully chosen and crafted. If you read the interview below, he explains how these tracks ended up in the album. My favourites are Everybody Hurts(Originally done by REM), Amazing Grace and Oh Danny Boy. The single Hallelujah(originally written and performed by Leonard Cohen) has an emotional intensity that is original. He voice is also beautiful. Find out more about the wonder that is father Kelly. 61zU45EZs0L
On being called YouTube sensation:
 The words YouTube sensation I find difficult to understand. Obviously they come from the fact that I have over 42 million hits of the personalised version of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah sung at Chris & Leah O Kane’s wedding. It is indeed very exciting that people want to watch the YouTube hit and from emails and letters from all over the world it has brought comfort and faith filled moments into people’s lives. So if it brings such positiveness and comfort then I am happy with that.
 On choosing songs for the album:
Yes there were many songs I would have love to record on the album that did not make the final cut, saying that I do hope there may be opportunities to record these in the future. However, in deciding on the present 12 songs on the album, my record producers and I wanted to produce an album that had a certain Celtic sound as well as church based songs being a priest. I was so delighted to have two new songs written especially for me and of course getting permission to record Hallelujah with the new wedding words was we knew what everyone would want to hear on the album. I knew the songs Everybody Hurts and Tears in Heaven and because they have such a strong message I was delighted to be able to record them also.
 On what’s next on his career as a recording artist:
 Well Where I Belong has reached many of the record shops around the world as well as being available on Amazon, somI hope people will hear it and enjoy it. As regards touring, it certainly would be my dream to tour with some concerts.
 On singing during mass:
 Usually when I sing in Church, it is after Holy Communion so Mass is almost over except for the final prayer and blessing and after that I usually finish up with How Marvellous which is an uplifting song of praise to the Lord, so I feel people are happy with that and I never hear more and more echoing from the congregation.
 On his vocal training:
 I think it is fair to say that the initial training of my voice would have come from my parents Mona & Joe Kelly. Then in Dublin while working there I studied voice training in the College of Music for a number of years.
 On how music shaped his life as a teenager:
 Certainly I believe that music and spiritually are inseparable as I see music in liturgy as a way of glorifying God. I have always loved Gospel music and having worked in S. Africa for a few years I marvelled at the sounds many African communities could create vocally, harmony and rhythm just seemed to flow from them. As a teenager growing up I would have loved the sounds of the Big Choirs and the sounds and harmonies they create in Church.
 On his title as a “Singing Priest.”
 Indeed I have been called the singing priest now for many years even long before YouTube/ Hallelujah fame. However, it is used much more now. I suppose if I was a dentist, doctor, plumber or electrician I question would I be called the singing dentist, doctor, etc. I don’t think so.
So why the singing priest? The newest name I have been called is Mr Hallelujah, so I guess it goes with the territory. Anyway, I really don’t mind what I am called.
 On visiting many places because of his music:
Ye the Irish are good when it comes to creating music and spiritually. Indeed, many Irish artists have conquered the world with their music. I hope I can bring my voice, my music and spirituality and simply me to the four corners of the world.
 His message to the listeners:
 To all who will take time to listen to my album, I say thank you for your kindness and generosity and may your listening to it carry the song of God’s heart to all of you.
That’s Father Kelly for you. It is amazing that wonderful talents happen in unexpected places(and careers). I hope we get to hear more of his new recordings in the future!
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