Réalta:The Brevity and Grace of the Irish Spirit.

Réalta:The Brevity and Grace of the Irish Spirit.

Realta:Aaron O'Hagan (Uilleann pipes, Flute, Whistles, Bodhran)Conor Lamb (Uilleann pipes, Whistles)Deirdre Galway ( Guitar, Bouzouki, Concertina)


Style: Irish traditional

Members: Aaron O’Hagan (Uilleann pipes, Flute, Whistles, Bodhran)
Conor Lamb (Uilleann pipes, Whistles)
Deirdre Galway ( Guitar, Bouzouki, Concertina)

Golden melodies and shimmering sounds: these are the things that make Réalta a joy to listen to. No frills or effects. Just straight ahead traditional tunes but with undeniable freshness. Picture the sight of  flowers blooming in spring. They play tunes that’s moving yet also capable of being unobtrusive. This is exactly the main ingredient in recordings that stand the test of time. Which calls to mind the term: less is more.

This trio from Belfast are made up of Aaron O’Hagan (Uilleann pipes, Flute, Whistles, Bodhran), Conor Lamb (Uilleann pipes, Whistles) and Deirdre Galway( Guitar, Bouzouki, Concertina). Dierdre sings in that Janis Ian meets Judy Collins style. That’s the closest comparison I can give you because it is hard to categorize her voice. It sounds soft to fit folk but there’s also something kind of hippie to it. You be the judge but that’s my observation.

Fact: Celtic music is mood enhancer.  Something in  Patsy Tohey’s-The Exile’s Jig, reminds me of riding long distance, and that is the soundtrack. I love the bouzouki. It sounds like honey dipped with sunlight. The guitar strums are wispy. It is balanced by the round sound of the wooden flute. The uilleann pipes have this silver metallic crispness. If you are into instrumental music then Réalta should be in your priority list.

I like the way Sliabh Gael gCua (air) creates that floating sensation. We live  in a generation dominated by fast tracks. It gets too much sometimes. Slow tunes are awesome. I like an album that not only shows off acrobatic sounds but also lifts one’s soul with its slow airs.

Réalta creates impeccable arrangements. The Galtee has the kind of  tightness that’s comparable to a thread going through the needle. Réalta celebrates the ecstatic spirit of Irish music in its brevity and grace.


This Belfast based musical trio bring with them the intricate melodies and driving rhythms that make Irish music so loved throughout the world. While Conor and Aaron pursue the melody on dual uilleann pipes, whistles and flute, Deirdre explores the harmony and rhythms within the tunes through a dynamic accompaniment on guitar.

These three young musicians take a lively yet respectful approach to traditional music and have already established themselves on the Irish music scene. Between them, they have performed with a variety of established bands including Craobh Rua and Killultagh. Their experience includes venues and festivals such as The Smithsonian Folklife Festival (Washington), Festival Interceltico Accidente (Asturias), Alkmaar Irish Music Festival and Mulligan’s (The Netherlands), Randers Ugen (Denmark), Le Bono Folk Festival (Brittany), Tok Trad Festival (France), Girvan Folk Festival and Moniaive Folk Festival (Scotland), The Open House Festival (Belfast) and The William Kennedy Piping Festival (Armagh).





How are you? I am just enjoying the peaceful Easter Saturday tuning in to CRC FM  based in Castlebar, Ireland. My big thank you to Denis Charlton for playing my request. The song is called In a Lifetime by Bono and Clannad. Life is beautiful when there are sweet tunes around. Music makes the world go round. And where there is music, magic happens. My big thanks to my friend Damien McCarron for recommending the station to me. You know he has recommended a LOT to me and they contribute to my ideas.



I wrote an essay about Lunasa in Expats Post earlier today. It’s one of the online magazine where I act as a music contributor. Here’s a little excerpt: My first introduction to the fabulous music of Lúnasa was through their second album Otherworld. The marriage of deep, tempestuous colors to the  serene patterns of water in the album artwork conveys the deep connection of Irish music to the spiritual world. In the tradition that spans thousands of years, the passion and love for immortality is embodied in the melodies that explains the visual symmetry of the Celtic artwork. READ MORE.

Kevin O'Donnell

Kevin O’Donnell

Here’s the fourth teaser for the Kevin O’ Donnell album:

Making of

Kevin returned to the studio in 2012 when Maurice Lennon, of Stockton’s Wing, agreed to produce an album of Kevin’s material. Kevin and Maurice eventually settled on ten original songs for the project. Some were pulled from the drawer; while others – previously recorded by Kevin in the ‘80s and ‘90s – were retooled, rearranged, and in some cases, completely rewritten. The project inspired Maurice to write an original tune (A Letter Home) that serves as a prelude to the album.

More at: www.deepisthewell.com.

John Breen

John Breen

Easter Lily -by John Breen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjwR88_So7I is a perfect track today. The song has that warmness and down to Earth appeal that becomes a great tune to sing along with. Here’s the background:

Easter Lily recorded by John Breen and written by Brendan Phelan whose credits also include the hit Ballad’ Dublin in my Tears. This song is written about James Connolly’s wife Lillie Connolly who was originally from County Wicklow Ireland the same county as John Breen himself. James Connolly was a leader during the 1916 rising, having joined his workers army (the Citizen army) with the IRA to strike a blow for Irish independence and Socialism. James was murdered by the Brittish army for his part in the Easter Rising. He is an Iconic figure in Irish republicanism and indeed socialism globally. Lillie was from the Beautiful village in the east of County called Rathnew. James Connolly and Lillie nee Reynolds had seven children together, one of whom died tragically in a House fire. John Breen performs this with Steven Collins backing him on mandolin, banjo, vocals and bass guitar in what is their first recording together. The beginning of many more recordings to come…watch this space.



Been a while since I last heard about Cornish band Dalla. A new video has been uploaded. This is part of the Scilly Folk Festival and I thought you might want to get a listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvXvpw_MrVg&feature=youtu.be

And some interesting pages….


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. www.myspace.com/carlosnunezoficial 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 www.carlos-nunez.com (the bottoms is the latest up to August at the top):


Metz – France

Parc de Seille 21:30



Neuchâtel -La Tène Festival – Switzerland

La Tène Festival
Grande scène 21:30
Neuchâtel – Suisse
+ info: www.latenefestival.ch



Gijón – Spain

Semana Grande de Gijón
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: www.festival-cornouaille.com



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: www.festivalpollenca.com



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 atlánticas ao novo mundo
Festival Via Stellae www.viastellae.es

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

invitado especial :

CARLOS NÚÑEZ gaita e frautas

ENTRADA LIBRE previa recollida de invitación dous días antes do concerto no Punto de venda de entradas do Festival Via Stellae (Teatro Principal, rúa Nova, nº 21, Santiago de Compostela). 981565027.
Os posuidores do abono completo do Via Stellae terán prioridade para retirar a súa invitación 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 www.myspace.com/aulagafolk.

From Casas del Monte – Extremadura, Cáceres 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 http://www.aulagafolk.com) :

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

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

Lourdes:Voz, percusión tradicional

Juan Carlos:Voz, flautas, percusión tradicional.

Enrique:Laud, bandurria.


Liber:Bateria, Kongas, djembe, percusión tradicional.

Tómas:Bajo electrico.

Jose:Violin, acordeón.

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 http://www.brengaastur.com/ for details and updates. Information and pics courtesy of http://www.ndoylefineart.com/index.html

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 exilées 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 http://www.llandecubel.com/ and for updates about the band http://www.llandecubel.com/concieng.html . 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 Gijón (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 Yá! (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  www.myspace.com/mabonband.  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

web: http://www.myspace.com/middlewichfolkandboat

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.

web: http://www.priddyfolk.org