Craving for new sound? Get Windmills in the Sky by Coast.

Craving for new sound? Get Windmills in the Sky by Coast.

River is one of the catchiest Celtic rock songs I have heard in ages. There is no comparison because the style is original. Perhaps I would  mention a little bit of Dougie MacLean, Luka Bloom and Simple Minds for reference but I mean when I say that they’re quite unique and captivating. The song (River) starts with a banging of (alsmost gated) drums. The chorus “Take me down to the river..’ is so well-written and recorded that it makes me sing along! It is taken from their new album Windmills in the Sky, consisting of ten songs reflecting their Scottish roots but with modern appeal.

COAST Windmills in the Sky cd cover HIGH RES

New album: Windmills in the Sky

There are five people in the band with Paul Eastham ( Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano)
Chris Barnes( Percussion and Vocals), Finlay Wells (Electric & Acoustic Guitars and Vocals)
‘Mop’ Youngson ( Drums) and Dave Williamson (Bass and additional Vocals). Here’s a brief background from their website:

COAST is a world class, UK based professional rockband started by brothers Paul Eastham and Chris Barnes in 2009.

Paul is an outstanding songwriter, vocalist, performer, producer and virtuoso pianist with an extensive industry CV which includes credits and collaborations with some of the most highly regarded international artists, songwriters and producers.
Having spent many of their childhood years on the Island of Benbecula in Scotlands’ Western Isles, the musical work of COAST has a character and style which is shaped and coloured by the dramatic landscapes and cultural aspects of the region.
With two albums, three EPs and many UK, European and Scandanavian festival appearances behind them, COAST continue with what has been a rapid rise to international acclaim with a new album launching in early 2017 followed by extensive touring of their new high energy show.

Their songs touch various topics and one has such historical content like the ballad “1884.” At times, their music approaches a cinematic scope like the soaring and frisky “Old Atlantic Sky.”  Like their Irish cousins Clannad (who ventured into soundtracking), they’re able to come up with a haunting instrumental piece called “You’re So Beautiful To Me.” I think this track will get Celtic music aficionados (like me) to put them in the elite category of the musical culture. They know how to make a grand close with the title track which showcases their propensity for a grand sound.

Windmills in the Sky is now available for purchase through their website. You can also pre-order CD and vinyl versions.

More Updates Plus Upcoming Album By Moya Brennan.

More Updates Plus Upcoming Album By Moya Brennan.

14918928_612900682245435_2850437572710762165_o

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

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

Shamrocks.

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

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

***

Scéal.

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

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

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

*New Solo Studio Album – Due February 2017*

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

1554345_1068378383184983_3433477208401600154_n

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.

Larry Kirwan and Friends- A St Patrick’s Day Celebration

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 7.16.26 PM

This is the title Larry Kirwan’s upcoming show:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 

 Sounds like you are going to expect something wicked, festive and poignant is happening this March 17. The spirit of Rock and Roll is strong as ever and when it is mixed with Irish Celtic music; the brew becomes intoxicating. All Black 47 fans will love this!

March marks the exciting month in Irish music as we celebrate St Patrick’s Day with gusto. There will be lots music, of course. And there is always a cross-generational/genre appeal when Larry Kirwan stages a concert. And you will know why as you read the rest of the interview.

CMF1. Great to hear you are returning on St Patrick’s Day! You must be excited with the new lineup.

Larry Kirwan: Well, in a way I’m surprised I’m even doing a show with a band.  I had intended doing a solo show for St. Patrick’s Night in some smaller room.

Then BB King’s asked me to put together an evening and headline it with a band.  At first, I turned it down but then I began to feel that there should be a major gig in Times Square on the biggest Irish night.  In many ways,  it was a bit early for me after Black 47 disbanding.  But in the end I followed the old Black 47 advice, “nothing ventured – nothing gained.”

So, I put out the word to a number of musicians I’d been working with in other spheres and they all were keen to play, so onwards and upwards, as the bishop said to the actress!

2. You’ve got eclectic musicians in the team. When/how did you decide to jam together at BB King’s?

Black 47 will never be surpassed for its singular style, originality and energy and being a founder-member I’m very respectful of that. Yet as a writer it’s interesting to speculate how some of the songs would sound with different instruments and a different approach.  Songs to me are living and breathing entities and, in my head, they’re constantly changing and evolving.  I’d always wanted to play with a double bassist, and recently I’d jammed with Rene Hart at a David Amram gig.

  He comes much more from a Jazz and Improv world, so I asked him first.  I’d been very impressed with the piano playing and arranging of Coty Cockrell when he worked on my Hard Times musical, so I approached him.  I’d always admired Deni Bonet on violin.  She’s played with so many artists and we got talking at the Kansas City Irish Festival when she was playing with Mundy (the Irish superstar).  And I wouldn’t have felt right without inviting my long-tme  drummer, Thomas Hamlin.  We’ve played together in so many bands previous to Black 47.  So, it should be an exciting gig and it is St. Patrick’s Night which always promises surprises.

3. I heard there will be lots of laughs and improvisation during the show. 

Every show I’m involved with has lots of merriment.  I always keep things loose onstage.  That’s what Rock & Roll is about.

Throw together some good songs and let the musicians knock sparks off each other.  Music is there for the making, you just have to let the spirit loose.

4. Apart from the usual St Patrick’s excitement, this is going to be interesting as it marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 uprising in Dublin. Sounds like it’s going to be a poignant event.

WB Yeats said that “poetry should be as cold and passionate as the dawn.”  I always try to follow that rule.  So, if there is poignancy, it has to be balanced with power and purpose.  Along with songs about James Connolly and Michael Collins (both leading figures in the 1916 Uprising) – I’ll also be introducing a new song, Sean MacDiarmada, about Sean McDermott the real initiator of the rebellion.  But then Black 47 always kept the Spirit of 1916 going – we didn’t have to wait for any convenient centenary commemoration.  That spirit is strong and as long as I perform it will always be celebrated.

5. Your artistry extends to writing and you have your own show on Sirius XM. How do you keep it all together, to give generously to your listeners and still maintain your multi-media expertise?

Well, I rarely watch television or spend much time on the internet, and I’m not a big sleeper.  But I also find that if you work on interesting projects you gain energy by moving from one to the other.  With Celtic Crush on SiriusXM I basically improv, play my favorite artists, and talk about whatever comes to mind for three hours.  That’s exhilarating and is like doing a long gig.  I get amazing feedback from the many listeners around the US and Canada, so that really helps.  I’ve always worked as a playwright and novelist while playing with Black 47, so I’ve always had a couple of projects going while on the road.  I’m currently working on a score for a documentary, though, that is really kicking my butt as I have to learn a new recording system at the same time.  My big regret is that I’ve had to put aside a new musical I’m writing about Iraq until after March 17th.  But maybe the break will help.

6. Your son Rory K is also joining you on stage. He is doing an interesting solo career as an emerging hip-hop artist! I know his music and I am one of his avid followers.You must be a proud dad.

Frankly, I’m amazed at his facility with words.  He has a great feel for the sound, rhythm, and meaning.  That goes for a lot of hip-hop artists.  Yeah, sure I’m proud of him, particularly since he did it himself without any help from me.  I didn’t even know about that side of him for a long time.  He turns me on to really interesting artists like Fetty Wap. I also like the fact that he has a steady job and is doing well at that too.  My major advice to anyone going into the music world is get a skill that will net you a couple of hundred bucks a day.  I didn’t take that route and it was a hard road that brought you face to face with real financial stress.  I give him what advice I can but in the end each artist has to find their own way.

7. There will be stand up comedy during the show right?

Yes, my old friend and comrade, John McDonagh of WBAI will be presenting a small piece of his highly acclaimed show, Cabtivist, as well as acting as MC for the night.  So, in many ways it’s a gathering of the clans.  It will be a fun show.

8. Will this St Patrick’s eve going to be the brand New Larry Kirwan with new music along the way?

I’ve actually written a dozen new songs for the IRAQ musical – so most of my songwriting energy has gone into that.  I will be doing a couple of new songs especially for the show though.  I’m also reworking David Bowie’s Heroes to transpose it from Berlin to Belfast – from one wall to another.  David was a big influence on so many of us.  I was lucky enough to have a long conversation with him one night about music, Berlin, Belfast, and life in general.  He was a very inspiring person.  He loved innovation and I think he would have liked this new take on Heroes.  I guess that’s one of the themes of this coming show – what happens to songs when you look at them in a different perspective?

9. What else can people expect coming to the show?

Well, Chris Byrne, the co-founder of Black 47 will be joining me on stage.  That’s always special for me.  Something happens when we perform together.

 It was like that right from the start back in 1989.  Sparks fly and there’s a joy and purpose in the air.  He’ll also do an opening set with his Urban/Traditional band, Lost Tribe of Donegal.  And another old collaborator, David Amram, will be joining me.  David is an amazing musician and perhaps the last living member of the Beats – he and his friend Jack Kerouac began the whole Poetry/Jazz thing.  He’ll be bringing down his French Horn, whistles and hand drum.  My brothers and sisters from the Lia Fail Pipes and Drums from Mercer County, NJ will perform.  It’s always a thrill to have them present.  They’re excellent and always get the crowd going.  And there’ll be surprise guests.  It will be a night to remember.

For everyone’s benefit please read this press release:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 
Larry Kirwan, leader of Irish American rock band, Black 47 for 25 years, will return to BB King’s on St. Patrick’s Day.  He will front a new band formed specially for the evening comprising of Coty Cockrell (Hard Times/Dance Theatre of Harlem) on piano, Rene Hart (Branford Marsalis/Mark Ronson) on double bass and Thomas Hamlin (Black 47) on drums.  They will perform new songs and reinterpret Kirwan’s Black 47 uproarious classics, numbers from his critically acclaimed musical, Hard Times, and as befits a Kirwan show, lots of improvisation, social agitation, and hilarity.
 
Along with the festivities the event will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Uprising in Dublin with such favorites as James Connolly and The Big Fellah, and a new song about the driving force behind the rebellion, the enigmatic, Sean MacDiarmada!
 
Kirwan is host of Celtic Crush on SiriusXM, writes a bi-weekly column for The Irish Echo and is President of Irish American Writers & Artists association.  A renowned playwright, novelist and political activist, surprise guests from all these worlds will make appearances.  He will be joined onstage by co-founder of Black 47, Chris Byrne, whose band, The Lost Tribe of Donegal, will also perform a set of their Urban/Traditional Irish songs.
 
Kirwan’s son, Rory K, an emerging Hip-Hop Artist, will hit the stage with Kirwan, after performing a set of his high-energy, youthful anthems.  He will be releasing his second CD, ‘Young Professionals’, at the show.
 
Long time NYC yellow cab driver, activist and standup comedian, John McDonagh will perform a short excerpt from his sold-out show, Cabtivist.  Host of Radio Free Eireann and Talk Back on WBAI-FM, McDonagh will MC the festivities.  Lia Fáil Pipes and Drums, from Mercer County, NJ, will begin the evening with their traditional march through the audience.  Get there early.  There will be Kilts and pipes a swirling!
 
This is an All Ages Show designed to keep the party going after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.   Doors at 6pm, Show at 7pm sharp!
Tickets:

Big thanks to my friend Anita Daly for arranging this interview!

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

nar·row·back /ˈnæroʊˌbæk/ [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:  http://www.narrowbacks.com/

MEDIA CONTACT: Anita Daly / Daly Communications / 212 772 0852 / anitadaly@yahoo.com

 

Na Fianna: Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

Na Fianna: Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

Na Fianna: Celtic Rock, powerful  and contemporary take on songs old and new!

It is great to have an insider’s view of this interesting band that everyone is talking about. The band is Na Fianna from Ireland-which is also my spiritual home. They have several songs out via YouTube, various sites and social media. Better check them out because you don’t know what you are missing. And yes, they have great advice for their fellow musicians as on how to be in top shape, musically!Xd6cd1Ay.jpg

1. Congratulations for releasing the new exciting album called Unearthed. What’s the story behind the album’s title?

Thanks very much, it was hard work but thoroughly enjoyable to record. The title “Unearthed’ was chosen because it was perfect for where we were and what we were doing at the time. We were hidden away with all these musical ideas for a long time and it was time to unearth them to the world.

2. There are four of you : Ciaran, Hugh, James and Peter. Did you invite other artists to the recording sessions?

We had invited a drummer, ‘Binzer’, to collaborate with Peter in the percussion department to elaborate our ideas more in the songs. There also was our producer and musician Bill Shanley who we worked with to bring this sound out even more. He played some bass and guitar in the backline to collaborate with Ciarán in the strings department.

3. This album has a strong impact to many listeners. I noticed you have passionate and supportive fans especially in the social media! Do you have plans of putting up an ‘acoustic’ session and invite fans over, and have it filmed and released in video format?

That’s a good idea, we would love to do that. You know, we already have done an impromptu gig with such a setting in Boston and it was received very well. Nothing is impossible in the future. It reminds me of when Incubus did the Morning View Sessions. A great recording. We’re up for it.

4. The current single off the album is Toora Loora Lay . I noticed the strong rhythm right away, on top of the strong melody. Can you tell us a it about the recording of this song?

We wrote it in Pink Floyd’s Britannia Row Studios in London with friend and super talented songwriter Don Mescall. We sat down with ideas and put our heads together and wrote Toora Loora Lay. So we had a demo done from there, then we brought it to Bill Shanley’s Cauldron Studios. The song flowed so nicely it was quite fun to record but it was also intense as we knew the song had a shot at becoming iconic in the folk world.

5. Any plans to tour? Where’s your first stop?

We’ve had many mini tours and once off gigs in Europe and America so far. We have a great desire to tour a lot, but we want to record a little more material and spread our name throughout the world through social media etc. then we can tour in peace of mind that people will come see us. Saying that, we like to work fast and anything can happen so quickly. This year however, first stop is The Dubliner in Oslo, Norway. Follow our events on for more gigs and tours.

6. Bill Shanley produced this album. Can you tell us how it’s like working with him and his amazing talent?

Bill Shanley is an outrageous talent. We heard he is the best at guitar accompanying….and producing, we can swear wholeheartedly he is up there with the best in the world. Working with him in the studio at close quarters is an amazing experience. He’s always very calm and he has the best ideas to promote our own for the good of the song. His musical ear is phenomenal. If you’re out of tune by a minuscule, he will hear it. The whole process of working with such experience will stand to us forever more. We can’t wait to record with him again this year in Cauldron Studios.

7. Drunken Sailor is my personal favourite. It’s really fast. How do you guys manage to keep in top shape musically?

We keep in top shape musically because we are always playing music. We play small gigs in duets and solos every night and day in Dublin on top of Na Fianna rehearsals. Also we like to challenge ourselves as much as possible in each song. Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

8. Your message to fans?

Our fans are the greatest in the world, no joke. We have loads more songs to give them this year and many years to come. We love this journey we’re on and they are with us every step of the way. Thank you kindly.

Flag this message Delete this message
Moxie: Taking the Heat for Being an Innovative Trad Band?

Moxie: Taking the Heat for Being an Innovative Trad Band?

As a blogger, I learned to be careful what I write online. Well, it doesn’t matter what I write about myself especially if I do it in a self-deprecating manner. It is part of my humor. But writing about bands is different. Your criticisms appear in search engines. You could be tagged with it forever. And it is quite unfair to do that to a band that is still trying to build their roots or fanbase. Of you do that to stalwarts, most likely they have fans who can defend them. Or they don’t care because nothing you will say will affect their careers. But if you do that to new bands who barely released five albums then there are things that you need to consider.

Are you writing that to help them improve? Most likely they don’t need your suggestion. Because they are professional musicians and they have a clear vision of what they want to happen with their music. They are just starting to tap into that musical segment that appreciate the kind of music they do-and not what you would like them to do.

It’s a big musical world. There are styles that you like and there are those that you don’t. If you don’t like the music then you move along. There is no need to write scathing reviews. There is no need to kill another creative spirit just because you you think you know what is right for everyone. I read a post from Irish band Moxie a couple of days ago. And this is what it says:

We would like to say something about this talk of the tradition being broken as we have been a heavily mentioned part of the topic. We are playing music that we create ourselves. The root of our music came from playing both ‘Traditional’ and ‘Modern’ Irish Music while bringing in influences of Jazz, Hip Hop, funk, bluegrass, Classical and other world music. There are a lot of people saying we are bastardising ‘Traditional Music’ but that is not true. The pure traditional music is safe in the hands of many bands, solo performers and hard working people behind the scenes who dedicate their careers to the Tradition and play the music they WANT. What we are doing is creating a new wave of fusion music which we have labeled MOXAGE. We are proud to say that we are all rooted deep in traditional Irish music and that we will love it forever. With Moxie we play something that is NOT ‘Traditional’, however it is ‘Irish’. Regardless of the fact that we are pushing boundaries, working hard to enhance our career and playing the music we WANT to play, we are also providing audiences all over the world a taste of something new and fresh. Regardless of the people who dislike our music we are proud to represent a new form of ‘Irish Music’. We live in a multi-cultural society. With the growth of technology and the melting pots of mixed cultures in cities all over the world, music is bound to evolve and we believe in evolution!
If everything stays the same then we will live everyday just like the last. We are changing the way that WE play Irish Music, not the way traditional music is played. At the end of the day Music is Music and people enjoy what we are doing, young and old. That is why we will continue to do so. 

Thank you everyone for the support,

MOXIE

I think what Moxie is doing is great. It is refreshing. It is adventurous. I love how they introduce something new to traditional-inspired music. They are not a traditional band. They are musicians making beautiful music. There is always a place for any type of music. I love traditional music as it is played which is in a traditional way. But if artists start exploring other avenues then let them be. It is time to move on. But love music. And never create discord because of it. We should support one another because hey, independent music is a small community.

I love what Fiach Moriarty posted in defense of them:

Fair play lads. You can’t be a heavyweight without taking a few slugs to the chin. Seolaigí ar aghaidh!!


If everything stays the same then we will live everyday just like the last. We are changing the way that WE play Irish Music, not the way traditional music is played. At the end of the day Music is Music and people enjoy what we are doing, young and old. That is why we will continue to do so.

Thank you everyone for the support,

MOXIE

I love Skipinnish!

I love Skipinnish!

image

Randomness is beautiful. I stumbled upon this group while looking for a Science documentary on YouTube mobile. They appeared on my feed. The name itself is interesting. Skipinnish. I was sure it’s Scottish. I watched Walking in Waves featuring a woman with red hair throwing bottles in the ocean. These bottles contain messages. With a great surprise at the end of the video. Ok, I was impressed

Then I watched December which is their latest single. And that’s it. I became a fan. The music is haunting, beautiful and unforgettable.

Current line-up consists of:
Angus MacPhail: Accordion, Vocals
Andrew Stevenson: Highland Bagpipes, Small Pipes, Whistles, Fiddle.
Robert Robertson: Lead Singer, Guitar
Ross Wilson: Piano, Bass
Alasdair Murray: Drums, Highland Bagpipes

Regular Guest Musicians Also Include:
Archie McAllister: Fiddle
Duncan Nicholson: Small Pipes, Bagpipes, Whistles

Trine: They are now playing

Trine: They are now playing

You think Celtic music is rare in Asia? That may change soon as Filipino group Trine play music that could only come from Ireland, Scotland and Bretagne. They are playing music all over the Philippines and of you are a tourist in need of some Jazz spliced with Traditional music then look for them.

Now, all they need are regular YouTube video posts, a blog page and music site where fans can hear and share music!

The Gloaming: Vinyl has arrived ….. sounds beautiful !!

The Gloaming: Vinyl has arrived ….. sounds beautiful !!

Yeah for people out there who think that analog is the only type of sound that matters then you are in luck. One of the most influential Irish groups, The Gloaming, have the vinyl version of their album. This is depressing because it makes me want to save money so I can get my own vinyl player again(the last one was busted). The Gloaming are: Iarla Ó Lionaird, Thomas Bartlett, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill. The picture below is from the group’s Facebook page. Check out the link to purchase the vinyl.

The Gloaming Vinyl has arrived

The Gloaming Vinyl has arrived

Visit the store and purchase the album: https://realworldrecords.com/store/product/10312/the-gloaming-vinyl/

Get your copies of The Widening Gyre by Altan now!

Get your copies of The Widening Gyre by Altan now!

The title The Widening Gyre appeals to us and depicts the spiral of life, widening and embracing the new. It has an innate energy. We think that idea is reflected in the album’s music,” says Mairéad.

Every Altan release is defined by craft and experience. The Widening Gyre is no exception. It just goes to prove that Altan continues to feel the excitement and growth of their music after being together for so many years. Batch mates include Clannad and the Domhnaill siblings (and you see them together in concerts and tours occasionally). Maggie’s Pancakes is the first single off The Widening Gyre which was presented on the RTE One sessions. The music is irresistible which is something that Altan have given us through the years. I have read so many positive reviews and my newsfeed is flowering with links posted by fans of the band.altan-widening-gyre-600

At the centre of this artistic band is the fiddler extraordinaire Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. I follow her on social media not solely for her talent but also for her advocacy. She is a staunch supporter of causes that matter in Ireland and the world. She is really outspoken with her beliefs. Traditional Irish musicians have been pigeonholed as people who are just mainly concerned with the stye of music that they’re playing – which is reasonable given the kind of discipline that goes to the mastery of the instruments. But this revelation proves that the traditional music community is constantly evolving comprising of people who are forward thinkers and visionaries. It is a great genre with great people around it.

So if you have not yet gotten your copy of The Widening Gyre by Altan, you better get one! The music will embrace you and keep you happy through troubled times.

Thank You Fionnghuala

Thank You Fionnghuala

I’ve been starving for inspiration. I got nothing to write about. One needs to be passionate about something in order to create. I just had this conversation with a Scottish novelist via Facebook. And he remarked that the cure for depression is being able to do something. While we were chatting, I was listening to the second album of The Bothy Band. It’s called Old Hag You Have Killed Me. Remember that one around 1976? It is the album’s second track. I think something happened to my mind when it started to play. It is such a beautiful tune. The accuracy and speed of the rendition is otherworldly. They made their voices into instruments. And they are signing in Gaelic in this recording. I think this is my personal favorite from now on. bothyband371529

The beauty of traditional Irish music is that it is timeless. You could never tell that this album came out in the 70s. It sounds like it’s only recorded this year. You can feel the passion of the band members and how much they have mastered their musicality. It is true though that members Paddy Glackin, Tony MacMahon, Matt Molloy,Paddy Keenan, Dónal Lunny, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Mícheál Ó Domhnaill, Tommy Peoples and Kevin Burke have already established themselves in the trad scene before joining this band.

I thank The Bothy Band for sparkling my fingers to write again. It is true you can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t write when you don’t hear or see anything that inspires you. I suggest, when you find yourself in the midst of a rut, go listen to anything or go out and see the view outside. There might be something there waiting for you.

You can buy Old Hag You Have Killed Me through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Hag-You-Have-Killed/dp/B0014GFHQQ/ref=pd_bxgy_m_img_y

Album Review: Across the bridge by Red Sonnet

Album Review: Across the bridge by Red Sonnet

It is great to be visited by the muse of the cold months. With that comes the kind of music suited for reflection. It is the time of year when people like to stay indoors watching the leaves fall. It is a moment of contemplation and artistic stimulation. It is an honour to introduce this new recording by England-based ambient/folk group Red Sonnet. Their music has been likened to Enya and Clannad due to the haunting female vocals and fascinating melodies. a0134699439_10

The piano is the dominant instrument in this album but there are other gossamer instruments that weave their smoky embellishments around classical and soft rock influenced tunes. I love how the tympani in Across the Bridge creates that epic moment as if I am in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. And yes that is the title of the album too.

The overall experience is pleasant. I recommend this for people who love Loreena McKennitt, Sarah McLachlan and those I have mentioned earlier.  There are moments when the vocals can sound a bit shy so I would encourage more confidence in future Red Sonnet recordings. But this is a great atmospheric treat and you know me, I LOVE atmosphere.

***

For a taste of trad and fusion here’s  King & Cillian Doheny with MUSICOPHILIA. I let the purity of the music embraced me again. I remember the first time I started this blog and how this type of music inspired me and the creativity I found within. Perhaps traditional music is mostly technical but if you go further and see it in a different perspective, you will realise the spiritual aspect that has always been elusive but prominent. And I am reconnecting to that source again and hopefully bring you more review.

This is performed by Cillian King and Cillian Doheny. I just found out the name is pronounced as ‘Kill-yan” and not with the Sil-yan as I used to do. Beautiful performance. You can see the listeners love them!

***

Been listening to this today. This is a perfect tune to welcome Autumn. I am a fan of Robert Doyle so whatever he puts up in his youtube gets me excited. This man is an amazing artist with his strong grasp of contemporary and traditional Irish music. He also expands his interests to include other styles and cultures.

About :Sliabh Russell/Out on the Ocean 

These are two jigs I first heard on Matt Molloy’s classic ‘Heathery Breeze’ album from 1985. The arrangements are by Scottish guitarist Mark Thomson. 

The tuning is DADGAD with capo on 1 and the guitar was built by Frank Tate. 

For more info please visit: 
www.robertdoyle.net

***

Let me express my huge apologies to this band for not posting this video sooner. I got this on August but was not able to post due to my hectic work schedules. They are based in France specialising in folk and world music. Very good! You should check them out. This is Nabila Dali & band performing the traditional “Bedlam Boys” in Paris on December 6th 2013.
Official Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabila…

Wish by Poitin Introduces Fresh Sound and New Artistic Approach.

Wish by Poitin Introduces Fresh Sound and New Artistic Approach.

Poitin-Wish

“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:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/poitin8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wish/id850213695

 

 

Clannad’s Daughter Aisling Jarvis in the United States

Clannad’s Daughter Aisling Jarvis in the United States

 

Feisty Irish singer/songwriter Aisling Jarvis is conquering the United States with her scheduled tours. She is performing either as a solo act or supporting her mom Moya Brennan. It’s only last year when she released her solo EP called Romeo and Juliet and now she is displaying that unbridled confidence playing live, and showcasing her strong voice.
Her music is very contemporary combining elements of pop, new folk and traditional Irish. You would think that this young artist would veer too far away from her Irish roots based on her punk influenced get-up and stage attitude. But she has proven that she can deliver her own fresh sound while still representing her Donegal roots.
As a sound Engineer, Aisling Jarvis introduced her own mixes adding a strong and upfront sound to Clannad’s new album Nadura. I think with her talents and amazing persona, she is going to travel far and wide, and set hearts on fire.

https://www.facebook.com/AislingJarvismusic

Recording Updates from Moxie and Robert Doyle

Recording Updates from Moxie and Robert Doyle

Wow it’s just the middle of the week and more phantasmagorically smashing updates are coming up from the world of music. OUR world of music 😉

Moxie announced their plans of recording a new album late last year. Now, they are in the middle of it and the effort looks and sounds really promising. Check this amazing link. It gives the new meaning to the word busy :

MOXIE http://www.moxiemuso.com https://www.facebook.com/Moxiemuso
https://www.framelight.ie
http://beechpark.com (Studio)

Robert Doyle is releasing his new album next year. Here’s a sneak peak at the tunes he’s making. Arrangement by  Mark Thomson and video by  Alan Lambert .

Sliabh Russell/Out on the Ocean

http://www.robertdoyle.net

 

 

Repost your Soundcloud!

Repost your Soundcloud!

 

A blog featuring John Breen, Fraser Fifield and TradConnect

It is great to realize that soundcloud has grown into a site where musicians and listeners can interact and repost music. Have you been reposting the music you heard too? I have been doing this today. I have not uploaded my podcast in soundcloud as I use mixcloud for that. But soundcloud is still the biggest site where you can reach many people.
From a mere(passive)listener of tracks you can actually make a difference by reposting. So you don’t have to be a blogger to influence people if you have a soundcloud account. Just share what you are listening to and the Internet will take care of the rest.

When bloggers like us experience a downtime in traffic and comments, we launch into conclusion that perhaps we have done something wrong to put our readers off. Maybe we are not doing good enough and that is why readers are going somewhere. Well, the truth is, you are wrong. For niche bloggers like me, it is expected that I will get specialized subscribers who are really passionate about Celtic music. I don’t expect pop listeners to check out what I post. This goes with other niche blogs out there.

Too many choices.

As new bloggers crop up everywhere, competition becomes deadly. The market is no longer dominated by those who are ‘stalwarts’ in this industry. Prepare for that. When you are doing video blogs or simply writing blogs, don’t be discouraged when you have lost view counts. This is normal. It happens to everyone. It’s even happening to Tech vlogger Chris Pirillo.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Are you afraid that if you do something different you will turn certain subscribers off? Don’t be. In fact it might be a good thing. Blogging is like marriage. There are times when a relationship hits plateau and you need to do something different to spice the relationship up.

Going back to soundcloud, I have discovered new posts today and I am sharing them with you. Yes this post is after all about soundclous. But if you get something helpful from by detour then good!

 

John Breen’s Compilation

 

 

I enjoyed many songs from John Breen. There is this simplicity in his way of delivering songs. Expect a range of songs going from simple to grand treatments. This time he compiled his own soundcloud playlist of what he thinks are his top artists.

 

Fraser Fifield Playlist

Here’s the Scottish master of eclecticism. This is a good introduction to what his music is all about. There are other amazing talents that share the spotlight with him, in these recordings.

 

TradConnect playlist:

If you are looking for something purely trad then this is the best site for that.

 

 

Debut Album of CrossHarbour Coming Soon!

Debut Album of CrossHarbour Coming Soon!

 

1978631_660697727329486_890377076_n

CrossHarbour takes the vibrant spirit of Traditional Irish music to new listeners.

CrossHarbour, is the name of the band after a London tube station. But it could also imply “crossing into another country’ through the sea. I love the idea that traditional Irish music blends well with any genre. It is so pure it sounds good with Jazz, Rock, Folk and even Classical music. Rosie Hodgson completes the circle, although she is not present in this video. They recorded their soon-to-be-released debut album at Livingstone Studios, London.

CrossHarbour are: Orlaith McAuliffe (flute), Sam Proctor (fiddle), Philippe Barnes (guitar), Tad Sargent (bodhran) and Rosie Hodgson on vocals. Hodgson has perfect folk vocals that sound warm and smooth. I am sure it’s going to be a fantastic debut album. To quote from Tradconnect: “I saw the future of trad music and its name is CrossHarbour.”

I keep on watching the bodhran technique of Tad Sargent as I am a bodhran student myself. His thundering chops are showcased in these live videos. You can tell they love being onstage. The listeners love them too.

Preorder the album here: http://crossharbourmusic.com/?album=crossharbour-2

 

visited us At Livingston Studios during the recording of their debut album (photos by George Staines)

 

 

Saoirse’s Heart by Celtic Cross.

Saoirse’s Heart by Celtic Cross.

The sounds of urban New York and the lush rural landscapes of Ireland are the main ingredients of Saoirse’s Heart by Celtic Cross.

It is an energizing experience to listen to the new album of Celtic Cross called Saoirse’s Heart. It seems that the Irish 1939701_10202492302182764_790937896_nspirit has jumped out of my speakers into my living room. It’s been ages since I heard a Celtic inspired pop rock band that can go out into the open with such confidence and maturity. Celtic Cross have all the elements found in groups like The Corrs and Bellefire. But these bands are more pop than Celtic, though there are traditional elements in the former. Celtic Cross made an easy transition between two worlds in Saoirse’s Heart. The interplay of rock and ballads are seamless.

I have many favorites and among them is Jameson Johnny in which lead vocalist Kathleen Fee pinned in what I can describe as a soaring hills-to-heaven singing. She is joined by band mates band mates Kenny and John who are her brothers and co-founders of the group. There also other members who showcased their beautiful playing. Saoirse’s Heart combines New York urban energy and the lush atmospherics of rural Ireland. When you fuse the two, you get something that works for everyone.

After hearing all the fourteen tracks, I don’t remember anything I am not enthusiastic about. Every track sounds different. But the unifying factor is the radio-friendly melodies and catchy hooks that are present in every song. The vocals are not too pop and not too folk/traditional to be too exclusive. Rather, they(the style of singing and instrumental arrangements) set a balance between modern and traditional styles. There are bluesy elements like in Best of Days. I listen to this in the morning when I exercise or water the plants. It is an energetic album that has a smooth appeal. I’d say Saoirse’s Heart is a great album and has a potential to sell like hotcakes!

Sample their tracks here:

http://www.celticcross.com/tunz1979541_10202613832540947_824479361_n

You can contact the band through:

email mail@celticcross.com

Email The Band….

Kathleen Fee – Lead Vocal
kathleen@celticcross.com

Kenny Vesey – Fiddle
ken@celticcross.com

John Vesey – Accordion
john@celticcross.com

Walter Ensor – Guitar & Vocals
walter@celticcross.com

Patrick Dineen – Bass, Keys & Vocals
patrick@celticcross.com

 

” Esyllt ” by Children in Paradise

” Esyllt ” by Children in Paradise

Band members:

" Esyllt " CD Record 10 songs

” Esyllt ” CD Record 10 songs

Gwalchmei, Guitare

Dam kat, Vocals

Patrick Boileau, Drums

Stéphane Rama, Bass

Loic Blejean, Uilleann Pipes & Low Whistles

Jean Marc Illien, Piano & Keyboards

Now for something so totally different is an atmospheric band from Brittany called Children in Paradise. Singer Dam Kat already drew me into their musical style after hearing the first track Little Butterfly. The new album is called “Esyllt.” How do I describe their sound? I will quote their bio which, I think, really sums up what the band is all about and the influences behind the music:

Children in Paradise invites you to travel to the Sidh, the other celtic world, somewhere beyond the horizon of the sea, in these beautiful islands, deep of peace, harmony and purity. The music of Children in Paradise is a mix of many influences, sounds inspirated by Pink Floyd or Anathema, a research of ” atmospheric environments ” and ” power ” of the sacred music, like Dead Can Dance… sometimes between darkness and melancholy … the band’s musical originality is also the inspiration : the Celtic Legends (Irish and Welsh Legends). With a rare finesse in the arrangements, the voice of Dam Kat, so fresh and full of emotions occasionally remind Kate Bush or Tori Amos …

Birds, waterfall and other natural sounds are seamlessly woven into this beautiful album. Hearing all the tracks  is a transporting experience. I noticed the diverse artistic influences. I love the album cover which features a Celtic warrior looking at a ship. A Viking ship perhaps? Or maybe loved ones sent away to escape the ravages of the Viking invasion.

I’d suggest you listen to this when you are taking a break from work. The album relaxes the mind.It also posses a distinct musical energy that gives you vitality. Gwalchme keeps the tracks interesting with his own style of guitar playing.

My Son turns my attention to the instruments that embellish this track. Low whistle and uilleann pipes take the stage along with the lush vocals. Everything works together, from the drums, bass and keyboards.

I think the apt comparison to Kate Bush is derived from the eclectic arrangements, the use of World influences and also the vocal style. But I have to note that Children of Paradise has an original sound. It is a confident Breton sound. I also think that this  album’s efforts are close those  made by Nolwenn Leroy, in a sense that in the midst of its eclecticism, the musical vision is there. Ysyllt is not really an album made for dancing. It is more of a chill out experience. Except for The Battle where the song builds into a heavy metal frenzy . Its use of heavy atmosphere makes it accessible even to fans of Gothic rock.

In Silent Agony, Dam Kat explores the vocal style which is close to Tori Amos. Plus, the harp is amazing to hear in this track. So far, everything in Ysyllt sounds good. And the pure bonus is that they are streaming the album via soundcloud for free! However, if you believe in the mission and vision of Children in Paradise then you better visit their shop and buy merchandise there : http://www.childreninparadise.com/#/shop-of-children-in-paradise/4418856

Help independent artists and help maintain our musical culture.