Some Music and Dancing this Month

Some Music and Dancing this Month

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

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

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Celtic Music, Dance Calendar for April

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

Moving Up with Latitude-Rant Maggie Rant.

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Lindsay Schindler (fiddle, vocals)

Glen Dias (lead vocals, recorder and incidental percussion)

Barry James Payne (acoustic guitar, bouzouki, harmonica, vocals)

Rob Larose (drums & percussion)

Steve Clarke (electric and upright bass)

Daev Clysdale (Irish Flute, whistles, accordion).

Additional musicians have also included Alberto Suarez (drums & percussion), Graham Hargrove (drums & percussion), Jay Rheil (drums & percussion), Loretto Reid (Irish Flute, whistles, concertina & button accordion), Dave Nuttall (Irish whistles and wind instruments) and Pat O’Gorman (pipes, Irish flute and whistles).

So happy to finally get my hands on the newest CD of Rant Maggie Rant called Latitude. They made a good buzz prior to the album’s release. Such things are always helpful. The packaging is amazing. The liner notes and artwork give the album a premium feel. You can really tell a lot of thinking went into the conception of Latitude.

I am a big fan of the recorder. In fact the first wind instrument that I picked up was a soprano recorder. The tenor recorder on the other hand has a mellow and mellifluous sound. In the hands of an expert like Glen Diaz, the instrument becomes a powerful tool of universal expression. The best moments are when it goes into duet with Lindsay Schindler’s fiddle. Perhaps other bands have already tried this combination but this is the first time for me. And if you think their recorded music is amazing, you should also see their live shows. They are highly entertaining.

Huge appreciation goes Barry James Payne for providing the golden sound of the acoustic guitar and other instruments. Rob Larose kept everything lively and bombastic. And drums need the groovy bass of Steve Clark-and together they are incredible. Daev Clysdale on the other hand keeps that distinctive Irish feel. Check out the liner notes for details on additional musicians who appeared in this recording.

Their musical efforts did not go unnoticed. As a band, they already picked up the Australian Celtic Award  for International Artist of the Year in 2015. They also got the Jack Richardson Music Award for Traditional Folk/Roots and got nominated 9 times for Traditional Folk/Roots, World Music and Celtic Awards. Their eclectic music is the result of their individual artistic influences. Their website notes that their  sound is a fusion of Latin and Mediterranean rhythms, African hand drumming and percussion, blues/rock guitar backdrops, revved up tempos, unexpected time changes, and a unique rhythmic attack take their listeners on a journey to several cultural musical landmarks. 

The twelve tracks will satisfy your eclectic spirit. It’s like my experience drinking tea infused with different flavors. It always leaves you smiling. Latitude also arrived just  when I am rediscovering my love for World Music. Which reminds me that fans of Jazz and Latin music should get this album!

ClanĂș Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

ClanĂș Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

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ClanĂș 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 SiĂșil A RĂșn. 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. ClanĂș are from Belfast but with a sound like that, it is likely they will conquer continental Europe.

New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by PoitĂ­n

New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by PoitĂ­n

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PoitĂ­n are:

Jaroslav Macháček – fiddle and founder member

Jeremy King – bodhrán, vocals, Brighton-born

Jakub Siegl – guitar, vocals

Jan Brabec – bouzouki, banjo, whistles

Sasha Mareơová – whistles, flutes

Tomáơ Pergler – concertina, whistles

It is the start of Autumn and we got an auspicious release from Czech-based Celtic band Poitín. Simple Pleasure is the new album and it marks the continuation of their exploration into Celtic styles while retaining their distinctive sound.This is also their sixth studio album, spanning sixteen years of recording history.

Simple Pleasures has thirteen tracks (my lucky number) and you can hear instrumental as well as vocal tracks driven by their punchy and elegant delivery. The Jolly Beggarman, the opening track tells us what to expect in the album in terms of the overall atmosphere. Introduced by Jakub Siegl’s acoustic guitar strumming, the song was recorded by Planxty in 1973(other bands also recorded the song). And although I forgot the Planxty style, I love this version and arrangement. There’s the banjo extravaganza (featuring Jan Brabec) of Brendan’s Reels, the John Martyn pinned Spencer the Rover and many more.

Every band member has a moment. Last Beautiful Loneliness highlights the playing of Sasha Mareơová and Jaroslav Macháček. O’puss No. 7 ( is one of my favorite tracks) features amazing variations and Tomáơ Pergler’s concertina. Pleasant Month of May is perhaps Jeremy King’s most beautiful vocal performance. I wish it were longer though. Twenty Candles on Poitín’s Cake  is the right tune to wrap up the album because it goes out with a bang.

Everything you can expect with the group is in this album: attention to detail, excellent playing and great post-production technique. Sonically it is their slickest album to date. I also love the album liner notes featuring the photography of Vladislav Ć kach.

It is always an occasion for The Celtic Music Fan when a new PoitĂ­n album is out. It is a pleasure to watch their every release and that they continue to be a musical force as a band.

Band bio:

Poitín formed twenty years ago in Pilsen in the Czech Republic and have toured in Poland, France, Italy and Germany. All the members are Czech apart from the singer and bodhrán player who is originally from Brighton in the south of England. Their latest album Simple Pleasures (out September 2016) is Poitín’s sixth studio album. The 13 tracks are a mix of traditional Irish, English and Scottish songs, jigs and reels, but many of the sets also feature original tunes by the band. Poitín play concertina, bouzouki, banjo, guitar, fiddle, whistles, flutes and bodhrán, and former band member and sax player Helena Marková returns as a special guest to add another interesting twist to this new album.

 

What a Treat! Spencer Murray & Pipeslinger

What a Treat! Spencer Murray & Pipeslinger

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

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

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

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

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

Released August 24, 2016

Spencer Murray – borderpipes, uilleann pipes, flute, whistles

Jake Charron – guitar, piano

Elliot Thomas – vocals, banjo

Keith Rempel – bass

Daniel Stadnicki – drums

Shane Cook – fiddle

Daniel Gervais – fiddle

Loretto Reid – concertina

Dana Wylie – vocals

Eric Wright – electronic production

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

Mastered by Phil Demetro

Art by Kat Gomboc  www.katgomboc.com

 

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 MĂĄirĂ©ad

Celtic Woman Q & A with MĂĄirĂ©ad

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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 MĂĄirĂ©ad 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 🙂
-Måiréad 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 CeoltĂłirí  Éireann with this version taking inspiration from recordings by Seamus Begley and DanĂș.  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 iTunes: http://smarturl.it/the-gloaming2-itunes & Amazon.com:  http://smarturl.it/the-gloaming-amazon— with Iarla O’lionaird, Martin Hayes, Caoimhin O Raghallaigh, CaoimhĂ­n Ó Raghallaigh, MĂĄirtĂ­n Ó hAodha, Dennis Cahill, Iarla O’Lionaird, Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill, Dennis Cahill and Thomas Bartlett.

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information and full tour dates go to:  http://www.narrowbacks.com/

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

 

NĂłirĂ­n NĂ­ Riain is One of Ireland’s Finest!

NĂłirĂ­n NĂ­ Riain is One of Ireland’s Finest!

While it is a joy to ponder on how Celtic music continues to be a force of nature due to the internet, it is also worth pausing and looking back at the artists who paved the way for the new generation of Irish singers, composers and performers. Big thanks to Caitlin Grey for tweeting about musical artist Noirin Ni Riain. I heard her Celtic Soul  album from 1996 outside newyears ago and it is a special album as it introduced me to her body of work. Her style is unique as it preserves the essence of Irish spirituality that continues to fascinate listeners. It is the kind of sound that placed Ireland in the musical map. Mainly because it is a sound that can only come from that place  in the Atlantic.It is a joy to know she continues to record music!

Hearth Sounds is her new album released around 2014. More about the album:

Ancient Songs from Ireland and the World

This is my second album with her sons Owen and Moley Ó SĂșilleabhĂĄin. We have been singing and performing with her for almost a decade now. This album, recorded in Glenstal Abbey, Morroe, County Limerick is a great album mixing Irish language chant, with medieval Gregorian chant and some english language hymns. There is a sound we make as a mother and two sons; something happens organically for people when they listen to us. We’re aware of it ourselves too. Somehow, they’re in the same moment as I am when we sing these songs. I taught them to them, sang to them an awful lot when they were in the womb.

Listen to the samples here: http://www.theosony.com/music/hearth-sounds/

In the meantime, enjoy the links to her youtube music:

The marriage between trad and electro:Jiggy the Band

Jiggy is the name of the group!

I got a surprise via Soundcloud. I heard this cool group from out of the misty universe which is the internet.They call themselves Jiggy. It seems that they are the answer to my longing for the fusion of electronic beats and traditional music. Perhaps there are very very few bands doing that these days, a kind of style started by The AfroCelts in the 90s.

So who are the artists behind this fascinating group? According to their website:

“New Irish band Jiggy put some serious pep in the step of traditional Irish Music.”      Irish Central

 

Jiggy is a very groovy collective!4f3805_e87d8b99cc764d7fa0fbe281a6b65af5

 

Featuring the talents of traditional musicians; 

Daire Bracken (fiddle), Aoife Kelly (fiddle), Éamonn Galldubh (uilleann pipes), Éamonn De Barra (flute & whistle), Robbie Harris (percussion), Niwel Tsumbu (guitar & Vocals) and Yoshi Izumi (bass) who have teamed up with DJ Jack on the decks. 

 

Jiggy has developed a sound unlike anything else, fusing vocal lilting & beatboxing, Irish traditional music, hip hop dance grooves, world music rhythms and harmonies. Expect a thrilling live set of original music and traditional dance tunes. 

 

Jiggy also features special guest beatboxer MIC Bandit.

 

Jiggy have collabrated with producers Steve Lynch (Stellarsound), Mark Murphy (Sound Butlers) and Sam Jackson. Mastering is done by Fergal Davis.

Oh so that’s it! Sounds like they have many exciting things coming this year. Is there a studio album that we can buy? Here’s another info from their website:

Jiggy are in the studio recording and mixing the new album!

 

Jiggy have just released ‘Laethanta Saoire’

Laethanta Saoire is composed by guitar ledgend Steve Cooney and out now on iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. 

Produced by Sam Jackson

Mastered by Fergal Davis.

 

Buy now on  iTunes 

Ok I gotta go back to my dancing. I can’t stop!

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Wow it’s really 2016. More exciting things happening in music. There many bands lining up to be featured, and so many tunes to be savoured. Yes you will hear then soon. I just keep them in my ‘drafts’ section and I am not revealing yet as I want to keep the suspense 😉

So for starters let me wish everyone a great new year and the best in 2016. Here are the picks of the day :

 

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

If traditional-based Irish music needs a wake up alarm then leave it to the members of Na Fianna. Their energy is punk-like but they owe most of their aesthetics Irish music like the ballads of Christy Moore and the melodic wonder of The Clancy Bothers and Dropkick Murphys. They play lively tunes that are so catchy Thin Lizzy will be proud of them. 11223581_10155793250160504_1664260918107804656_n

I became familiar with the band’s name after browsing Reddit and see them trending under ‘Celtic’ category. But even though the musical identity of Na Fianna is distinct, their sentiments are inclusive and that makes their music universal.

Still not convinced? Go ahead and listen to their new single via YouTube and you will know what I mean:

 

There are four people in the band comprising of:

Hugh Finn: Banjo & Vocals

Ciaran Finn: Guitar & Vocals

Peter McMahon: Percussion & Vocals

James O’Connor: Accordian & Vocals

Unearth is the new album and it has twelve songs. There are traditional songs that are familiar like Step it Out Mary, Star Of County Down, The Lakes Of Pontchartrain and more. Fans of Christy Moore and Luka Bloom will love both this album and these four lads. Check out the EPK below:

“It was recorded in real time with minimal overdubs” Caitriona O’ Leary Talks about The Wexford Carols

“It was recorded in real time with minimal overdubs” Caitriona O’ Leary Talks about The Wexford Carols

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Happy Holidays! I wrote an entry about The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’Leary a few days ago. And it is a delight to receive a response from the interview questions I sent her with the help of my friend Anita Daly. So here they are and I was not really surprised that she mentioned Bjork as one of her influences. These two have amazing voices.I am sure Bjork would love O’Leary’s rendering of the traditional carols. The album’s production is superb, the artwork is exceptional-plus you gotta get your hands on the liner notes as a lot of inspiration was poured in making this project. Read further and more surprises await you!

  1. The Wexford Carols was released very early of this year. What’s the story behind the re-release?

Actually the album was released for Christmas last year! But I feel that The Wexford Carols has the potential to be a long-lived perennial offering and that we hadn’t reached every music lover just yet!

  1. You are backed by fantastic studio musicians, singers and sound  tech people. It must be an exciting recording session.
 

It was indeed a very exciting session. It was recorded in real time with minimal overdubs. Basically, we were all in the room (a beautiful, converted 17th-century stable house with huge windows overlooking woodland), making the music at the same time – watching each other, responding to each other’s musical impulses.

  1. How extensive was the background research for this album?
 

I spent many years researching the carols. I started dabbling about 20 years ago, but it has really been the past couple of years that I completely submersed myself in the material. I have visited the church in Kilmore (where the carols are still sung), spoken with local Wexford historians, and spent many happy hours in Dublin libraries and music archives unearthing clues to the melodies that had been lost.

  1. Are you working on a new album and if you are what can we expect?
  1. What’s the inspiration behind this album, and the musical direction you took in recording this(see answers to question 6).
 

I am indeed working on a new album – The Wexford Carols, volume 2! There are still a dozen carols hiding in Wexford history and we want to bring them into the light too. We will be recording in the spring with the renowned producer Ethan Johns and taking a different musical approach to the first volume. It’s a very exciting prospect!

  1. Who are your major musical influences?
 

I have many, many musical influences! Nina Simone, Skip James, Sara Ghriallais, Chabuca Granda, Jordi Savall, Björk…you can probably hear bits of all of them in my work (Björk not so obviously…yet…)

  1. what your biggest Christmas wish?
 

Peace on Earth and goodwill towards all creatures and the planet.

Enjoy your copy of The Wexford Carols. It is an album that’s meant to enchant you not just this holiday season but for all seasons!
Listen to the Delightful Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s song) by Caitlin Grey

Listen to the Delightful Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s song) by Caitlin Grey

I got goosebumps listening to this beautiful song by Caitlyn Grey. You just know based on the first few notes that the song works. And this one touches on many things. I think it has a personal meaning to me because of things that I experienced. And we all have struggles great and small. We always need help to be strong. This is the central theme of the song. According to Ms Grey:

 I’ve recorded my version of Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant & Chris Eaton. It’s been released in association with the UK charity Music in Hospitals  http://www.musicinhospitals.org.uk/ and it’s available on their website and also on mine at the moment. It’s essentially about Mary’s struggle with the enormity of the task ahead. 
Caitlin Grey recently released a beautiful and haunting album titled The Promise. If you haven’t gotten your own copy yet, please have a listen because I am sure this album will delight you:

Download link: https://caitlingrey.bandcamp.com

And we will continue to think of Mary and the many more undergoing the same situation in this holiday season.

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Interview with Irish Tenor David O’Leary : On emulating John McCormack, golf and touring

Interview with Irish Tenor David O’Leary : On emulating John McCormack, golf and touring

Highlights of some of Irish tenor David O’Leary’s major performances.

For more information, visit http://www.davidolearytenor.com.

I wrote my impressions on Going Home by David O’ Leary a few days ago. I am so glad he’s available for an interview! Without hesitation, I grabbed my Mac and typed the questions away. He’ll go places because of his fantastic singing and it is an honor to have him in this music blog.

David O’Leary during the 63rd Annual Artists vs Writers Charity. Picture courtesy of http://www.panachemag.com

1. You did your voice training in New York. I am curious as how this came to be?

I’m a huge golf fan and after finishing a year of teaching kindergarten in Quebec I came to NYC and worked at the US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club. I got a job there as a caddie for the summer and came back for the next few summers while in law school. The golf helped pay for school and for singing lessons with some great coaches here in the city.
2. How was Going Home conceived?

I’ve always wanted to do an album and try to reach as many people as I can so the album was an obvious thing for me to do. The song selection was tough as I tried to get something that would appeal to as broad an audience as possible. I think it’s very much an easy listening experience and I hope people agree.

3. Who are your vocal influences and how did they shape your style?

I’m a huge fan of music and grew up listening to lots of it thanks to my parents. For me, vocalists in particular are tremendously inspiring. Great voices come in many shapes and sizes and I’m a huge fan of the great singers like John McCormack, Placido Domingo and Andrea Bocelli. In terms of style influence, I’ve wanted to emulate John McCormack in particular so I tend to sing a lot of the pieces he made famous.

4. What are the things that you avoid when are on tour to maintain your voice?

Talking! The day of a performance I speak very little and try to spend as much time as possible in my hotel room. I also try to get plenty of sleep the night before and generally just take it easy. About four hours before a gig I’ll go to the gym or go for a run and that usually relaxes me.

5. You have a diverse musical repertoire. What will we expect on your next album?

I’m going to do a Christmas album so for Christmas 2016 I’ll have a new release of holiday favorites. I’m very excited about it actually.

6. Can you tell us more about the recording of Going Home and the memorable time you had with the contributing artists?

Going Home was recorded here in New York with some friends and it was a scary, exhausting and exhilarating process. It was my first album so I didn’t really know what to expect but I’m had some great people working on it and feel very lucky to have had that guidance. I can’t wait to do it again.

7. Your message to the readers?
I’m looking forward to getting out there and touring with the album and hopefully meeting a lot of people in 2016. We’re finalizing dates at the moment so keep an eye out!

My huge thanks to Daly Communications for the opportunity to meet this wonderful artist!

‘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!