The Cultural Book of Celtic Music: Wide Waters by Hibernia

The Cultural Book of Celtic Music: Wide Waters by Hibernia

If you are an avid fan of Celtic music then songs in Wide Waters by Hibernia will sound familiar to you. Susan Toman (Celtic Harp) and Ellen MacIsaac (Voice) have captured the ‘great Celtic songbook’ in this album. Comprising of 14 tracks from Ireland and Scotland,  they are sung in Gaelic and in English.

Beautiful in its clarity and simplicity, Wide Waters captures the essence of how these songs were supposedly performed hundreds of years ago. Aroundhibernia every art, I think it’s the sentiment that’s the very foundation of every creation. The aesthetics may change with time, but the raw emotions around these songs remain untamed across centuries.

Songs like Bothan Àirigh Am Bràigh Raithneach, The Water is Wide, An Coisir and the captivating ‘s Toigh Leam Fhìn Buntàta ‘s Ìm / Tha Fionnlagh Ag Innearadh / Hùg Oiridh Hiridh will always remain as my favorites in this album.

Here’s a brief bio of the artists from their CD Baby profile:

Susan Toman – Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Susan Toman enjoys a diverse freelance career as a harpsichordist, Celtic harpist, and music instructor. She holds a Doctorate in Music from McGill University and is an Associate Faculty member at Carleton University. Susan came to the Celtic harp (as many do) with a background in keyboard instruments and a love of Irish & Scottish music. Having first studied with Annabelle Renzo, she then continued her studies with Grainne Hambly in Ireland. In addition to giving solo and collaborative concerts, she frequently performs at weddings and other events. Upcoming performances include the NAC’s Fourth Stage, and the Irish Ambassador’s residence.

Ellen MacIsaac – Ellen specializes in the Irish traditional singing style and repertoire in Irish Gaelic and English. Since 2000, she has been involved in traditional singing in Ottawa, giving guest lectures on sean-nós (old style) Irish singing, and performing at local céilís and sessions and further afield. In 2012, she won first place in the sean-nós competition at Canada’s first Irish-language festival and competition, Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada, and represented Canada at the 2012 Oireachtas na Samhna, Ireland’s Gaelic-speaking festival. Ellen lectures at the University of Ottawa in the Modern Languages Department as part of the Minor in Celtic Studies and is an associate vocal instructor in the Celtic Music Performance option at Carleton University’s Music Department. She created the Ottawa Celtic Choir in 2007, and acts as its musical director and musical arranger.

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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!

Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

Clanú Are Back With A Better And Diverse Album!

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by Poitín

New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by Poitín

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Poitín are:

Jaroslav Macháček – fiddle and founder member

Jeremy King – bodhrán, vocals, Brighton-born

Jakub Siegl – guitar, vocals

Jan Brabec – bouzouki, banjo, whistles

Sasha Marešová – whistles, flutes

Tomáš 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 Marešová and Jaroslav Macháček. O’puss No. 7 ( is one of my favorite tracks) features amazing variations and Tomáš 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 Škach.

It is always an occasion for The Celtic Music Fan when a new Poitín 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 Máiréad

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. What’s next after the US Tour?

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

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

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

Robert Doyle album cover

When: Friday 22nd April

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

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

Read more about the album through the press release:

ROBERT DOYLE ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM LIG AMACH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

facebook.com/robert.doyle

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For more information, images & interviews please contact:

ANN MARIE WALSH NOVATONE MUSIC MEDIA

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

The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

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

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

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