The Gothard Sisters New Magical Album

The Gothard Sisters New Magical Album

 

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

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

fallingsnow

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

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

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Christmas Carols from Cork

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

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

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

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Albums to buy this season:

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

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

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

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

HIBERNIA by Máiréad Nesbitt Celtic Violinist & former member of Celtic Woman – US debut album features original tunes, the album’s concept is the crossover of Celtic&Classical violin with symphony orchestra. Another great one for any Celtic music fan! www.maireadnesbittcelticviolinist.com
Again thanks to my friend Anita Daly for this list.
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Big thank you to my friend Paula. She sent me these wonderful gifts!!!!
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Time to Play The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’ Leary

Time to Play The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’ Leary

the-wexford-carols-covers-billboard

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

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

Check out the press release:

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

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

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

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

It also has an interesting background:

The Wexford Carols brings the 17th and 18th century Irish Christmas songs to your Living Room

The Wexford Carols brings the 17th and 18th century Irish Christmas songs to your Living Room

WexfordCarols.

Like the warm hearth of the past, The Wexford Carols is a joy to listen to!

For the rest of us who respond to our shared musical genre (especially in terms of holiday tunes), The Wexford Carols is a perfect release. This album is the focus of interest not just among ‘academic’ listeners but also among those who are looking for a solemn musical mood. The are twelve tracks off this album and my personal favorite is the a cappella song The Darkest Midnight In December. This song has a special meaning to me. It is from an unknown author. The original text has around 11 stanzas. Now, those who are unaware since the album’s release last January of this year, The Wexford Carols, is a collection of 17th and 18th century Irish Christmas songs. So that should be interesting!

The rest of the tracks have this common simplicity even when there are instrumentations in the arrangements. Catriona O’Leary has a voice of an earthly angel. She is also backed by talented musicians, singers and technical people including:

Rhiannon Giddens – Voice, Fiddle, Minstrel Banjo

Rosanne Cash – Voice

Tom Jones – Voice

and also:

Adrian Hart – Fiddle

Eamonn de Barra – Flute, Whistle

John Smith – Guitar, Mandola

Dónal Lunny – Bouzuki

Kate Ellis – Cello

Greg Cohen – Double Bass

Mel Mercier – Bodhrán, Bones

Graham Hopkins – Drums

Joe Henry, Producer

Ryan Freeland, Recording Engineer, Mix and Master.

The Wexford Carols is a perfect gift to listeners of all genres of music. It is not often when we come across a collection of work that’s well researched and rendered in a passionate manner. This album by the way was mixed in the studio to sound like a live recording. So when you listen to it, it seems like you are listening to an actual live performance in an intimate setting like a cafe or pub.

TRACK LISTING – 61 Minutes

  1. Tell Shepherds – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  2. An Angel This Night – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  3. Jerusalem Our Happy Home – Tom Jones, Singer, Caitríona O’Leary & Rhiannon Giddens Backing Vocals
  4. This Is Our Christmass Day – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  5. Now To Conclude Our Christmas Mirth – Rhiannon Giddens, Singer, Tom Jones & Caitríona O’Leary Backing Vocals
  6. The Darkest Midnight In December – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  7. An Angel This Bright Midnight – Rosanne Cash, Caitríona O’Leary, John Smith, Graham Hopkins Vocals
  8. Behould Three Kings – Rosanne Cash, Singer, Caitríona O’Leary, John Smith, Graham Hopkins Vocals
  9. The Angell Said To Joseph Mild – Tom Jones, Singer, Caitríona O’Leary & Rhiannon Giddens, Backing Vocals
  10. A Virgin Queen In Bethlehem – Caitríona O’Leary, Singer
  11. Christmas Day Is Come – Rhiannon Giddens & Caitríona O’Leary, Vocals
  12. The Enniscorthy Christmas Carol – Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Caitríona O’Leary, Tom Jones, Vocals

 

Visit: http://www.caitrionaoleary.com

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wexford-Carols-Catriona-OLeary/dp/B00N35JA2I

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wexford-Carols-Catriona-OLeary/dp/B00N35JA2I

http://www.amazon.com/The-Wexford-Carols-Catriona-OLeary/dp/B00N35JA2I

 

Download The Heavenly Echoes of Winter by Sleepthief for Free Now!

Download The Heavenly Echoes of Winter by Sleepthief for Free Now!

The holiday season always brings the best in every artist. Justin Elswick, a.k.a. Sleepthief has just dropped a collection of holiday tunes via Soundcloud. And they are amazing! Echoes of Winter has six tunes recorded in the Sleepthief manner:intricate, dreamy and artfully layered. Dues Meus is the opening track performed by his sister Amanda Elswick. The succeeding songs in this collection have vocal contributions by artists who collaborated with him in his previous recordings like Labyrinthine Heart. These are familiar names like Kirsty Hawkshaw, Coury Palermo and Zoe Johnston who blend their voices like celestial siblings for O Come O Come Emmanuel.

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Justin Elswick (Sleepthief)

I love the new version of Snow(originally recorded by Loreena McKennitt). The vocal style by Johnston is soft and she adds her own magic to the song. Tollite Hostias is a classical aria by Saint-Saēns performed by Lauralyn Curtis. If there is something consistent about Sleepthief, it’s his love for beautiful melodies and also angelic voices. Veni Redemptor, Solamen Gentrum continues that style with vocals by Jana Thomson Ellsworth. What Childis This by the amazing Judy Quine closes this beautiful  holiday EP.

Like any listener familiar with the works of Sleepthief, I can say that he never disappoints. His every release is anticipated with fervent passion. So what are you waiting for? Download this album and come near the fire.Let the magic of the season wrap around you like stardust.

Direct link: https://soundcloud.com/sleepthief/sets/sleepthief-echoes-of-winter-1

 

 

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

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

Father Ray Kelly Chrstimas cd cover

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

What are your favorite songs in this album?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your biggest wish this Christmas?

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

There you go 🙂 Bax

Slan, best wishes, Merry Christmas

Fr Ray

 

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

Two New Albums by Allison Crowe

Two New Albums by Allison Crowe

Souling

Album description/liner notes:

Allison Crowe’s gorgeous voice brings tidings of comfort and joy with “Souling” – her 11th full album release.

The artist, one of our greatest living musicians, singer-songwriters and performers, has always created authentic music.

With this newest song set her voice is heard wholly a cappella.

The songs themselves have a purity of expression – a 21st century take on music of faith and spirit – sounds and themes aired by carollers and soulers of old.

I am listening to Souling by Allison Crowe. It is a holiday album from the pretty Canadian singer/songwriter. What makes it different from her other albums(or any holiday albums from any artist ) is that it’s recorded entirely in a cappella.

It reminds me of many genres including old African-American spirituals. Her singing style is unique as at times there something pop about it , in other times , it is predominantly a soulful voice. But mostly her leanings are in Folk music.
Souling  as I mentioned is a holiday album and everyone who drops by at home will hear this  being played every now and then. It doesn’t sound intrusive. But it is also not something you can ignore because her interpretations of traditional materials are  like no other.That is why it is hard to compare her to other artists. Sure, guitar and piano are her prime instruments but her singing has an earthly and sensual quality. More bluesy than folk but more folk than rock.
There are 11 tracks in Souling. When you listen to each song, you will notice the scales she is using in her arrangements. This is the style I am talking about, which makes her renditions interesting. The fact that she has a strong soulful voice, makes Souling a perfect vehicle for her unique artistry.
I have my personal favorites including The Holly and the Ivy. Her background vocal harmonies remind me of water currents running underneath the sparkling surface. Her arrangements are undeniably exquisite. With the abundance of airy fairy artists out there, Allison Crowe has a style that sets her apart from the rest of her Canadian peers. Coupled with her appearance that reminds me of Pre-Raphaelite women, she creates a compelling combination of the earthly and the spiritual.
Wassail Song is another favorite as her background vocals capture the atmosphere of a chapel. Souling is an album that redefines the usual traditional holiday tunes and also about how they are being rendered. It is in this rendition that an artist tells the listeners her true identity. It’s beautiful and fresh, something that can start the test of time and seasons.
***

Newfoundland Vinyl II

Album description/liner notes:

As with following William Blake’s roadmap to eternity’s sunrise, fans of musician Allison Crowe know to kiss “the joy as it flies.”

Right now, Crowe is soaring – bringing her “Tidings” tour from Canada’s Pacific coast to its Atlantic shores. And she’s on the wing with two new albums: ‘Souling”, an a breath-taking cappella collection of traditional Christmas carols, and “Newfoundland Vinyl II”, a many-splendoured music mix – songs of, and from, her island home.

  After listening to the atmospheric and sparely populated world of Souling, Newfoundland Vinyl II is like stepping into the familiar terrain that Allison Crowe is known for. As always, her guitar sparkles with energy and joy.
I am amazed that she is able to court listeners from all genres. Her forte has always been acoustic playing. There is something rugged and simple about Newfoundland Vinyl II. No wonder she made a cameo appearance in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel last year. Yes she is in the movie(as a brunette singer with a guitar) performing in this little bar before Clark Kent gets harassed by guy who gets his truck smashed up like a pancake.
The penchant for a cappella and vocal harmonies are still there. And  she is a great story-teller. Listen to the poignant ballad The Water Witch and tell me if you are not moved by the emotions underneath the seemingly simply arrangement. She incorporates a range of materials and subjects in her songwriting. Perhaps this has something to do with her independent way of making music. I learned interesting bits in my research

“After learning how the mainstream recording industry operates, inspired by the examples of Ani DiFranco and Loreena McKennitt, and Creative Commons licensing opening new avenues for musicians, Allison Crowe launched her own record label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. The label was incorporated in 2001 and began operations with the release of an EP in 2003. She has created and released the following albums independently.”

Simplicity, leisure and sensuality are all found in Newfoundland Vinyl II.There are also different instruments- both traditional and modern , appearing in each song. One  example is the song Out from St. Leonard’s. The instruments play with each other in a call and response fashion.

I think every album  of an artist is a ‘love letter’ to the world. It is a message in a bottle. And there is power in something when you express it and that expression took time and effort. Because you can fake things through flourishes and production. But you could never fake the truth behind the songs. And I guess this is what The Newfoundland Vinyl II is about. It is about singing from the heart. It is about singing the songs of people that have been passed from every generation. The enduring sentiments in all these songs make them powerful and no matter how you sing them – you sing the toils, pains,heartbreak and joy of souls across time.

Christmas Cheers! We are Warming Up.

Christmas Cheers! We are Warming Up.

So many tunes, to little time. It’s always like that year after year. But I got a few of these goodies from the artists I’ve interacted in the last few weeks so I am bringing you their Christmas musical efforts. They are all great to hear and the tunes will add warmth to this month of reflection and joy.

Listen to this beautiful instrumental track from Dee McIlroy. By the way if you haven’t known yet, he runs a venture called McIlroy Guitars. Beautiful acoustic guitars for musicians of fine taste.

Happy Christmas from McIlroy Guitars with this piece of acoustic guitar music, written by Dee McIlroy.

***

Corpus Christi Carol

One of the track I play ever year from my dear friend Paula. She is primarily an electronic singer/composer but once in a while she dabbles with other types of music and is also a huge supporter of Celtic music. She made the Cara Dillon interview possible early this year. You can hear her voice and instruments in this tune called Corpus Christi Carol. She is also a history teacher.

Background(written by Paula):

This is referred to as a carol although it contains no reference to the Nativity….the predominant interpretation of the lyrics (below), which were found in a manuscript c.1504, is that they refer to Arthurian legend / holy grail quest.
The track was recorded with this historical interpretation in mind and the theme is reflected in the slideshow paintings. The melody is a traditional melody,not the Benjamin Britten arrangement.

Please see the link for further info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_C…

Lulley, lully, lulley, lully,
The faucon hath born my mak away.

He bare hym up, he bare hym down,
He bare hym into an orchard brown.

In that orchard ther was an hall,
That was hanged with purpill and pall.

And in that hall ther was a bede,
Hit was hangid with gold so rede.

And yn that bed ther lythe a knyght,
His wowndes bledyng day and nyght.

By that bedes side ther kneleth a may,
And she wepeth both nyght and day.

And by that bedes side ther stondith a ston,
“Corpus Christi” wretyn theron.

Glossary:
faucon: falcon
mak: mate, love
bare: bore, carried
purpill: purple (the royal color)
pall: a funeral pall, a cloth spread over a coffin
bede: bed
rede: red
lythe: lieth, lies
wowndes: wounds
bledyng: bleeding
kneleth: kneeleth, kneels
may: maid, maiden
wepeth: weepeth, weeps
stondith: standeth, stands
ston: stone
Corpus Christi: body of Christ (Latin)
wretyn: written

***

In the trail of her shows all over the United States, it is always important to remember that Moya Brennan will always be the first lady of Celtic music. 

I will be bringing you more tunes in days to come.

***

Upcoming: 2 albums from Allison Crowe!

I will be reviewing her two albums. I enjoyed her Newfoundland Vinyl(vol.1) and now she has released two goodies. Watch out for these peeps.

Serundal:Channeling Celtic Myths on the Coil of New Age

Serundal:Channeling Celtic Myths on the Coil of New Age

Hypnotic, soothing and beautiful. It is always a blessing when musicians reach out to CMF to let me hear what they are doing. Wales is the homeland of Serundal, a duo composed of David king and Maxie. Maxie reminds me a bit of the lead vocalist of another Welsh duo Ceredwen. But Serundal’s songs are less wispy and more organic.

Like their New Age peers, Serundal relies heavily on atmospheric tunes and steady beats. These aspects give each songs room to breath on the part of the listeners. Whither you want something soft to play on the background while doing something else or you really want to dissect the mythical inspirations behind the tracks, Serundal has them.

Stone of Destiny, The Hag of Winter, White Stag and The Water Dance are among the best examples of their captivating sound. Their music can be described as electronic/New Age with songwriting structure heavily influenced by folk music. You can sample more of their tracks if you go to their CD baby page http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Serundal.

Band bio(from their facebook page)

Biography
UK Songwriting Contest 2010 four tracks submitted- Three from ‘Land of the     Sixth  Moon’  one from ‘Yule’ all voted semi-finalists 2010. 2009 Semi-finalists in the UK songwriters Contest for ‘Lady of the isles’
Members … David: producer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist/lyrics / vocals Maxie: research/ lyrics/lead vocal
Hailed by one reviewer as ‘the new Clannad’ since 2006  Serundal has produced eight full albums and two E.Ps have been released.       Maxie has been a published poet since the age of  fifteen, and Serundal was first born through a    combination of her ideas set in poetry and David’s musical  creativity.      Together, born of Scottish, English and Welsh ancestry they have managed to weave together what has been described as ‘a truly magical mix of  Celtic and Anglo-Saxon storytelling traditions with the energy of 21st century arrangements.’      Their music has been described as ‘timeless’ ‘cinematic’ and ‘visual’ and since 2007, they have been a featured artist on www.ubl.com      Their track  ‘Lady of the Isles’ (Waiting Rooms) has reached number 20 in the world chart of 521 artistes in  www.iacmusic.com      Through listeners votes their songs have scored highly in charts like www.songvault.fm where Serundal was the first artiste in the folk genre to have  fifteen tracks on the songvault directory and to receive permanent airplay
‘The Elven Robe’  featured on Gene Godfrey’s Classic f.m  www.angelfire.com      ‘The Storm’ featured on Andrew John’s station on www.celticaradio.com       ‘The Elven Robe’ played on Bill Everatt’s Underground www.celticaradio.com       ‘Lady of the Isles’ played on Highlander radio (Live 365) www.celticradio.net       ‘Snowy Owl’ on Deep Cuts radio    http://www.live365.com/stations/4music2       ‘Incantation’ reached number 2 in the folk charts on www.somojo.net
Both Ab Initi (2006) and ‘Leylines’ (2007) have received excellent reviews.
Christmas 2008 saw the release of ‘Dark Days White Knights’ an album based on medieval Celtic and Arthurian legend, which has taken their musical journey into the world of progressive folk.
In the summer of 2009  ‘Lady of the Isles’  (Waiting Rooms 2006) was voted one of the songs to make it to the semi-finals of the prestigious UK Songwriter’s Contest, a remarkable achievement since this was Serundal’s first submission and there were over 6,500 entries of a very high standard.
Christmas 2009 sees the release of ‘Yule’ a special edition Christmas E.P  a magical mystical blend of the Winter Solstice and the Christmas story.
Follow Serundal on twitter www.last.fm/serundal www.myspace.com/serundalmusic www.serundal.com www.cdbaby.com
members of:  http://www.songwriters-guild.co.uk/

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To those who are trying to get in touched with me, I took a one month off from facebook. Please use my email joseromel.labatos@gmail.com. To current contacts all my fb messages go directly to my windows mobile but I would not be able to see your posts.

The Baxteria Podcast #17

The Baxteria Podcast #17

Hello friends. New tunes are up plus more emphasis on Christmas music in my Celtic music show. As for the indie variety, I am featuring tunes from Radio Happy Music Compilation for the Haiyan​/​Yolanda Victims.
Visit www.celticmusicfan.com

www.spheremusic.me

and www.radiohappy.eu

Celtic Music

Loreena McKennitt-The Seven Rejoices of Mary
Tara O’Grady-Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Enya-Amid the Falling Snow
Cherish the Ladies-Deck the Halls
Larry Kirwan feat. Ashley Davis-Happy Christmas
The Celtic Tenors-Silent Night
Damien Dempsey-Oh Holy Night

***

Indie variety
Ade Hodges-Short Drone for Tacloban
Among the Echoes-Feels like Heaven
Xan Alexander-Klausified
Flight-Strange Little Girl
Heliophile-Nebula
Samuel Smith-The Way of the World

The Baxteria Podcast #16

The Baxteria Podcast #16


The Elders-Christmas Day
Michael Londra-Beyond the Star
Celtic Twist-Looking for Moss
Lisa Lynne-Fields of Gold
Celtus-Strange Day in the Country
Cherish the Ladies-Thady Casey’s Fancy/The Ladies Pantalettes/The Monaghan Twig/The Linen
Samuel Smith-Next to You
Storm Queen-Look Right Through (MK Vocal Edit)
Peter Gabriel-Red Rain
Hozier-Take me to Church
Rachael McCormack-I am Still Breathing
Joe Zymes and the Loving Kind-Where Do I belong
FPS (For Pete’s Sake)-Friends

 

Here’s another podcast for you as heard via www.radiohappy.eu yesterday. To those who are very dependent in their mobiles to listen to music, Mixcloud isn’t available on Windows phone yet. But if you are using an iphone ar an android device then this one works. All you need to do is download the mixcloud app from Google play and you are set to go. I am not sure if it works using a mobile browser but you can try.

I have not posted on Soundcloud because my paid account has run out so I need to give them another $25 so I can increase my usage. Not bad as long as they don’t block some of the songs I post there-which they do unfortunately. The same thing goes for Youtube. So these days I am only uploading my interviews with musicians that way I won’t receive comments about the songs I am including in the show. I have no issues with Mixcloud so I am using this as my primary medium of uploading my radio show.

The DJ mix is interesting as you will get to hear new bands and new music. An hour of great music! The show lasts an hour. It is divided into two sets. The first is about Celtic music and the next is indie variety. I know musicians from different genres so I need to have two sets to make sure I represent other genres other than Celtic music(which is the primary reason why I got into blogging and doing DJ work).

Feeling It’s Really A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns

Feeling It’s Really A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns

A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns ~ now available at www.shaunaburns.com  ~
Winter Star
Carol of the Bells
White Christmas
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Luma
The First Noel
Silent Night
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
The Gathering
What a Wonderful World
Carol of the Bells (Instrumental)
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Instrumental)
I’ve always been picky when it comes to holiday albums. The holiday or Christmas albums I like should contain the following:
1. It has to possess a haunting element that makes your hair stand.
2. It if isn’t haunting , at least it has to sound jazzy,  traditional or classical to show that the musician is really into deep stuff.
3. It must contain at least one track that has a long history that goes back to the Medieval times(Gabriel’s Message for example) so I can say that the artist has done his or her research and is not making a Christmas album just to hand out something to the consumerist culture that makes Christmas music dull. It has to have SOUL.

Priestess of the Piano: Shauna Burns

Priestess of the Piano: Shauna Burns

A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns made it to my list must listen to albums because of the three things I noted above. If she’s not singing in any track I really admire her talent with the piano. I know comparison to artists like Tori Amos might be common. But what makes her stand out as an artist in her own right is where she bends musically in terms of style and origin. I hear uilleann pipes and Celtic harps in some of her tracks. I think she is schooled well in the tradition of mystical sounds as she incorporates this imagery in her music. She even goes further as ‘wearing’ this style in her album artwork.
Ms Burns is also keen on layering her voice and doing experiments with her vocals so fans of ambient music can relate to this. I will take Luma as an example. She only sang few words and left  the rest to the piano to communicate the emotions. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is another stirring track. I love this tune. I  heard this version in And Winter Came by Enya. Loreena McKennitt also covered this in her A Midwinter’s Night Dream album. I am pleased that the version of Burns version is unique as it incorporates the use of uilleann pipes and the piano takes center stage again.
There are two instrumental tracks like Carol of the Bells and God rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. They make me travel through the mind when I listen to them.

Looking for something really seasonal-sounding and unique this Christmas? Try A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns and it will be a good introduction to her other recordings.

An Irish Christmas to Keep Us Floating

An Irish Christmas to Keep Us Floating

Moya Brennan – Vocals, Harp, Keyboards
Paul Byrne – Drums, Bodhran, Timpani, Tubular Bells, PercussionMoya Brennan an Irish Christmas
Fionan De Barra – Guitars, Bouzouki, Keyboards, Vocals
Cormac De Barra – Harp, Vocals
Éamonn Galldubh – Uilleann Pipes, Whistles, Flute
Yoshinobi Izumi – Electric Bass
Sam Jackson – Piano, Keyboards
Sinéad Madden – Fiddle, Vocals
Frances Mitchell – Keyboards

Additional musicians

Máire Breatnach – Viola, Fiddle
Anthony Drennan – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Dobro
Úna Ní Chanainn – Cello
Tim Jarvis – Keyboards
Aisling and Paul Jarvis – Vocals on Oíche Chiúin

I can understand why some people get allergic to Christmas songs. It’s because these artists come up with the same old thing. And people get tired of it. I mean, I imagine those vocal acrobats that can make any reindeer suffer vertigo. Give me a break! This season is all about Christmas songs-of a different kind. And I think no better December it is than to celebrate  it with An Irish Christmas by Moya Brennan.

I love the way the Carol of the Bells was arrange to give that ‘suspense’ and haunting feel. Then the song explodes into choir and percussion-plus of course, Moya Brennan’s amazing harp. Some tracks are in Gaelic so it works for me. My favorite is Gabriel’s Message. It’s a track covered by such diverse artists as Sting but none had the impact as this arrangement of Moya Brennan has. This tune has a long history that goes all the way back to the Basque. Read the full history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel’s_Message

The reason something like this works again and again is due to the style. Celtic music styles will never go old. Because it is already old. Go figure 😉

This Christmas doesn’t promise us happiness.  Personally, I am dealing with few tragedies myself and I know some of you are too.But music is there to keep me afloat. I love this and will play this every year!

Together for Christmas- FUNDRAISER FOR THE PHILIPPINES

Together for Christmas- FUNDRAISER FOR THE PHILIPPINES

 

Last year I posted something about Together for Christmas(read my full review here: http://celticmusicfan.com/2012/12/14/a-holiday-album-for-all/). This year, the album is back but with a greater goal. There is a fund raising concert this December 16. It’s called  HOST ‘TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS, A CELTIC COLLECTION’  A FUNDRAISER FOR THE PHILIPPINES – ARLENE’S GROCERY, DEC 16TH 6PM NYC.tfc-cd-cover

The album was produced by Anita Daly and on Cosmic Trigger Records, the CD was launched in December 2012 at a
Fundraiser in NYC to raise funds for those in the local NY area affected by Super-storm Sandy. Now the event will help the victims of the hurricane Haiyan/Yolanda in the Visayas region of the Philippines. Artists involved in this recording are The High Kings, Damien Dempsey, Larry Kirwan, Kyf Brewer, The Elders, The Celtic Tenors and more. If you attend this event, not only will you hear amazing tunes but you will also be helping the victims of the super storm in the Philippines.

Here’s the rest of the important things about this event c/o Anita Daly:

December 2012 at a Fundraiser in NYC to raise funds for those in the local NY area affected by Super-storm Sandy.  This year a few of the artists featured on the album approached us to do a Fundraiser for the people of The Philippines devastated by the Typhoon that destroyed so much of that country.    So, this year we are partnering with Concern Worldwide to raise funds for that organization that has people working on the ground in The Philippines with a show on December 16th at Arlene’s Grocery, NYC.

Joe Cahalan CEO of Concern Worldwide US says, “The immensity of Typhoon Haiyan and the tragic loss of life and destruction it caused shocked us all.  Concern’s response in times like these is immediate and decisive, and though we had not been operating in the Philippines, our emergency response team was on the ground quickly, and they’ve launched a response in some of the poorest, most remote fishing communities.  We’re helping more than 10,000 families rebuild their homes, replenishing essential household supplies lost in the storm, and ensuring that boats can be repaired quickly so that livelihoods are not lost.   We could not do this life-saving work without the seemingly bottomless support of the New York Irish community, and the latest manifestation of that support will be set to music at the Together for Christmas concert fundraiser.  Both artists and audience that night will be directly touching lives in the Philippines through Concern.  You won’t give a better gift this holiday season!”

It will be a night of great music. Artists performing include Kyf Brewer (Barleyjuice) , Tara O’Grady, John Munnelly and The Wild Colonial Bhoys.  As Larry Kirwan says about this album come on out and, “Turn up the volume! Kick out those December jams…!”

NOW is the time to come TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS!

FUNDRAISER, MONDAY, Dec. 16th, Arlene’s Grocery 95 Stanton St, New York, NY $20 at the Door only and cds will be for sale with a portion of cd sales going to Concern.
If you can’t make the show you can donate to Concern at: http://www.concernusa.org and/or buy the cd at: www.togetherforchristmas.com , on iTunes or by calling in the US 1-800-714-3272.    Together for Christmas: A Contemporary Celtic Christmas Collection” is on Cosmic Trigger Records .

Something Unorthodox: Finnegan’s Hell – Drunken Christmas (An Irish Christmas Song)

Something Unorthodox: Finnegan’s Hell – Drunken Christmas (An Irish Christmas Song)

It is always a good time to introduce Christmas tune way before the actual holiday! Because during the actual holiday there will be saturation of Christmas songs! Now this tune say an Irish Christmas but before you go ahead and watch the video, Finnegan’s Hell is based in Sweden. So the video will tell you that. The music is definitely Irish-inspired. This is what makes fusion music exciting. Artists always bring many flavors in their music by talking their local style and fusing it with international styles. The combination is always refreshing to hear!

I am just glad they are from Sweden as I love the Swedes..and the Irish. If you are into music videos depicting dysfunctional families enjoying the holidays while drowning their miseries in alcohol and gorging on food, then you will relate to this. And I know you have a sense of humor to get this video. Yes those kids look really sad. The parents are terrible but the show must go on. Just like all of us here.

Additional info from Pablo Rautenberg

“Drunken Christmas” is a single from the band’s forthcoming album, which is yet untitled. The new album will be released in 2014, as soon as Finnegan’s Hell finds a new record label. The band recently decided to leave Hell On Wheels Records.

The Best Christmas Album so Far? Yes!

The Best Christmas Album so Far? Yes!

 

 

A Celt

December hasn’t started yet but it is always a good idea to release a holiday compilation album ahead. With all the competition  around, people are given so many choices that it becomes hard to decide. What album should I buy my friends for Christmas?And this is what makes A Celtic Christmas(various artists) truly stand out. It is getting into the hands of the community at the right time. I even streamed this on my radio show via www.radiohappy.eu the moment I got my hands to it! I am posting the liner notes from the album at the end of this post.

Marc Gunn has the Medas touch as he’s the one who produced this collection. He also introduced them through his podcast. The artists are familiar and some are new to me. But all of them gave their best recording in this album. The first track  “Galician Carol” brings back pleasant memories as I recall hearing the Carlos Nunez version in the 90s. “Bog Down in Christmas” is fun to listen to as the words become faster as the song gets nearer to the end. Iona also made a pleasant surprise by being part of this project.

There are seventeen songs which means there are seventeen bands/artists who performed in A Celtic Christmas. I can say that, everyone who’s been part of A Celtic Christmas made a great contribution. There’s variety and loads of awesome talents. This is one of the best holiday albums to come out recently. And oh, I love the album artwork. Check it out.

You can listen to the samples or buy it here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/acelticchristmas2

 

 

LINER NOTES by Marc Gunn

A warm fire glows in the hearth of Celtic culture with this warm compilation CD of Celtic Christmas music. Celebrate the holidays with “A Celtic Christmas”, featuring a mix of traditional and original songs and tunes about Christmas by indie Celtic bands.

All these artists were hand-selected for outstanding music by the award-winning downloadable radio show, the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. It is the largest Celtic podcast in the world and the #1 promoter of indie Celtic music. Find out more at http://www.celticmusicpodcast.com

TRACKS

1. “Galician Carol”
by Mithril, http://www.mithril.us
from the CD Winter’s Day (Flying Frog Music FF0401)
music traditional

Mithril’s unique progressive style has its roots in traditional Celtic music but moves far beyond that, weaving such diverse influences as American folk, classical, and Middle Eastern melodies in…to their full tapestry of sound.

2. “Hunting the Wren”
by Heather Dale, http://www.heatherdale.com
from The Green Knight
words and music traditional

Heather Dale writes songs for ‘modern dreamers’: witty, fun-loving, imaginative people who aren’t afraid to be different! Heather’s original songs tap into legends, mythology, history and fantasy

3. “Gloucestershire Wassail”
by John McGaha, http://www.facebook.com/jklmstudios
from The Longest Night: A Winter Celebration
music traditional

John McGaha is a multi-genre musician based out of Norman, Oklahoma, with over thirty years of musical experience. The McGaha’s are a musical family, descended from Scottish and Irish immigrants.

4. “(Without You on) Christmas Day”
by George Papavgeris, http://www.folk4all.net
from Ordinary Heroes
words and music by George Papavgeris

The most prolific of creative men; the grandest of hearts and maker of songs that sear into the soul, George is unique, to say the least. His lilting accent lends a fantastic clarity to his delivery that is matched by deceptively simple guitar work. Few have written so many songs that demand your full attention and then insist, in the finest of ways, on staying with you forever. (Graham Searle)

5. “Cold Frosty Morning”
by Tom Morley, http://www.thefiddlecenter.com
from the CD The Raven’s Wing (a curious collection of fiddle tunes) (Flying Frog Music FF2010)
music traditional

As a classical, folk, jazz and swing musician, Tom Morley is one of the most visible violinists on the Gulf Coast. Classically trained with a degree in music education, Tom has earned a living with his violin in almost every conceivable musical direction. He has played professionally on stage or in the recording studio in Celtic, Cajun, country, folk, classical, swing, and jazz styles.

6. “Banjos We Have Heard On High”
by Jed Marum, http://www.jedmarum.com
from Rejoice! A Christmas Album
words and music Jed Marum

Jed Marum albums play regularly on Folk/Bluegrass and Celtic radio programs around the world. His music is also distributed widely on all the major MP3 services. Throughout the US each year Jed plays over 150 shows at festival, club and concert venues.

7. “Christmas Day”
by The Elders, http://www.eldersmusic.com
words and music Ian Byrne, Brent Hoad, Norm Dahlor, Steve Phillips

Their music has been dubbed as “Ameri-Celt,” a cross-pollination of styles that is high octane and progressive, yet rooted in tradition. The Elders are not a “traditional” act, so they are at liberty to pick and choose from among the catchiest bits and pieces of their rather diverse, collective musical past. The result is a skillful mix of amped-up Americana roots rock with a strong Celtic twist – featuring powerful vocals, blazing instrumentals and top-notch song writing.

8. “Christmas in Scotland”
by Marc Gunn, http://www.marcgunn.com
words and music Marc Gunn

Celtic music, the traditional and the twisted. Marc Gunn combines his love of traditional Irish drinking songs with fun, twisted lyrics. It’s like a satirical jam session between The Clancy Brothers and Weird Al Yankovic. Enjoy Celtic-style songs about hobbits, cats, kilts, Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek, plus, Gunn’s rhythmic acoustic renditions of traditional Scottish and Irish songs.

9. “Irish Holiday”
by The Gleasons, http://www.thegleasonsmusic.com
from A Letter to Erin
words and music Dave Stevens

Fiddles, flutes, guitars, percussion and rich harmonies define the sound where Celtic and Pop music meet. That sound is The Gleasons. A mix of Celtic stylings and down home country soul, The Gleasons will take you on a musical journey leaving you smiling and stomping your feet.

10. “Yule Long and Holly Berries”
by Rathkeltair, http://www.rathkeltair.com
from Something Good for Christmas

Rathkeltair (pronounce rath-KELT-ur) is one of North America’s premier Celtic rock bands. Based in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, and touring internationally since 2003, Rathkeltair delivers one of the most energetic, entertaining, audience-friendly shows you will see anywhere. Bringing together world-class musicians from Ireland, England and America, Rathkeltair is a seasoned group of veteran road warriors with incredible stories to tell. Together, they will take you on a rollicking journey through time and space. So hop in, and hitch a ride in the big white van- we don’t know where we’ll end up but you can bet it’ll be great fun. Because as any old road dog will tell you, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. That’s Rathkeltair.

11. “The Holly and the Ivy”
by Pandora Celtica, http://www.pandoraceltica.com
from On Thin Ice
words and music traditional

A 5-piece, dark faerie, acapella band. They sing traditional Celtic tunes, the occasional cover, and lots of original pieces in Celtic style.

12. “I Saw Three Ships Medley”
by Iona, http://www.ionamusic.com
from Mid-Winter Light
words and music traditional

IONA was founded in 1986 by lead singer/bouzouki/bodhran player, Barbara Tresidder Ryan & flute/whistle player/vocalist, Bernard Argent. One of the first & foremost pan-Celtic bands (performing music & dance from all the European suspects as well as their transplants in America), IONA tours internationally with 11 albums to date.

13. “Christmas in Pittsburgh 1943”
by Boston Blackthorne, http://www.bostonblackthorne.com
words and music by Jim O’Connor

Celtic and Irish-influence original music in a driving style with 3 part harmonies and traditional Irish instrumentation. The group’s second album, County Kerry to Kerry Park is inspired by one family’s emmigration from Dingle Ireland to Holyoke MA as featured in their original songs. “Bog Down in Christmas

14. “Bog Down in Christmas”
by Brobdingnagian Bards, http://www.thebards.net
from Christmas in Brobdingnag, Vol. 1
words Andrew McKee, music traditional

Scottish and Irish folk songs combined with the Lord of the Rings music and a wee bit o’Celtic fun. The Brobdingnagian Bards (pronounced brob-din-nahg-EE-en) are The Original Celtic Renaissance music duo. It’s great Celtic music from Austin, Texas. Their unique brand of folk music on the autoharp, recorder, and mandolin made them one of the most-popular Celtic groups online.

15. “We’re All Home for Christmas”
by The Malarkeys, http://www.themalarkeys.com
from Bloody Brilliant
words and music Gail and Karl Hourigan

Contemporary Canadian Celtic rock popsters, noted for their live performance Celtic mash-ups that throw traditional Irish pub songs into unlikely medleys with more modern rock songs.

16. “Christmas Waltz”
by The Brigands’ Folie, http://www.brigandsfolie.com
from Twain
music Jake Weller and Karen Garland

Brigands’ Folie is an exciting acoustic duo playing traditional Irish, Scottish, English, and colonial American music together around the Midwest since 2005. The band’s mission is to educate the public about the lives and stories of 18th & 19th Century settlers, soldiers, and sailors through music of the period.

17. “Silent Night”
by The Gothard Sisters, http://www.gothardsisters.com
from Christmas
words Joseph Mohr, music Franz Xaver Gruber

The Gothard Sisters are three young Celtic and classical musicians who write new arrangements of traditional celtic and christmas favorites. They are emerging young artists and dancers from the pacific northwest and play several instruments each, creating a warm sound of acoustic progressive celtic-classical folk.

Special thanks to Cary Whitney for his generous support of this album.

The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast is an award-winning free Celtic radio show of independent Irish & Celtic music hosted by Marc Gunn. The show won “Best Podsafe Music” in 2009 and 2010 in the People’s Choice Podcast Awards. Each hour-long show features a mix of Celtic music by indie Celtic bands with styles ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. It is syndicated on a number of internet and terrestrial radio stations. Find out more details at http://www.celticmusicpodcast.com

Cover art and graphic design by Amanda Carman http://www.carmandaartsthings.com

Copyright 2013 Mage Records
http://www.celticchristmasmusic.net

 

 

Watch Out For Enda Seery’s Halloween Surprise (October 27th until Sunday, November 4th)

Watch Out For Enda Seery’s Halloween Surprise (October 27th until Sunday, November 4th)

Halloween Music Sale! Halloween Music Sale! Halloween Music Sale!

Here at The Celtic Music Fan, I am always constantly checking for the best deals in Celtic music before the word comes out. I am a snoop. I am curious. It’s a habit I could not break.  So here’s an interesting deal to give someone a Halloween present or a surprise for Christmas.

Enda Seery Halloween Surprise!!!

From Sunday, October 27th until Sunday, November 4th, both of Enda Seery’s album releases:’Síocháin na Tuaithe:Peace of the Countryside’ (2013) and ‘The Winding Clock’ (2010) will be for sale from Enda’s website for the SCARILY and DEVILISHLY low price of €8 including postage and packaging. Don’t miss out on this MONSTROUS offer! http://www.endaseery.com/buy-albums.html

These albums received good reviews not only from your’s truly but from major Celtic music magazines and websites. Síocháin na Tuaithe:Peace of the Countryside’ (2013) can be a perfect companion as you warm through the seasons by the fireside. Same with The Winding Clock! So mark the date again: October 27th until Sunday, November 4th.

So what’s your plan this Halloween? Are you going to wear a garbage bag and a paper bag over your head like I do? It’s not what you think though. I will make sure I don’t come out looking like a fool. But I will hide behind the bushes and say ‘boo!’ to those passing by. I am sure it will scare the wits out of them. Because I will look really icky scary.

The Celtic Music Fan’s Solemn Christmas Wish for 2013

The Celtic Music Fan’s Solemn Christmas Wish for 2013

This one goes to the fallen ones who are not spending what we call an ideal image of Christmas.

I know this is the season to be Merry. Yes I tried as much as I can to stay true to the spirit by having my Christmas Eve spent with family members and the practice of  austerity. This greeting and salutation go to all my friends who are listeners and to the musicians themselves who made this page colorful, and without whom The Celtic Music Fan would not exist.

My heart goes to the FALLEN ones who are not celebrating Christmas like anyone else. These are those who are either spending their days contemplating the loss of loved ones due to tragedies or to circumstances beyond their control. My heart goes to you. Be aware that you are not alone. I too have my share of sad moments. And though I am not articulating them in this page we  are all sharing the same paths in this crazy thing called life.

I think it is time to let go of what binds you. For when you feel anger and pain then change will never happen. It is time to close the door and let another one open. I think 2013 is a good year for us. It is a year of change and opportunities. Yes pain is great but love is also powerful and I think it is the one thing that can save us. For someone who has probably undergone so many let downs, disappointments and insane situations, I have become more patient and self-reliant.  I will hold on the what gives me fulfillment, balance and clarity. Blogging has done this. And it is through the thought that I am speaking to each one of you, getting into your hearts and thoughts whatever part of the world you maybe, this is enough for me.

Honestly I didn’t know how to continue after my first sentence above because it seems fake. It seems pretentious to be pleasant and just talk about music when the world is falling to pieces. Music is what gives us joy and strength to go on. Without music and the humanity inside it then life would be mechanical. I believe musicians don’t just make music for themselves. They make music as a way to reach out to people. To touch strangers all over the world. And this is part of our humanity. Wither we like it or not, we are all connected. I feel your sadness as you feel mine.

With this year coming to a close and a new one beginning, I implore you to be more giving, more open, more sympathetic because we don’t know if the strangers we meet along the way are  walking wounded or  hollowed inside brought about by the chunks of wood in which we crucify people:WORDS. Or they must have experienced tragedy which you are not aware of .

Let us help one another to be more human. Thank you for your continued support and I promise to bring you more music news and love.  Cheers!

A Holiday Album For All

A Holiday Album For All

Also in this edition: Marc Gunn, Celtic Twist/Holland and Palmley Duo and Jamie Smith’s MABON

Album Review: Together for Christmas(Various artists)

A CONTEMPORARY CELTIC CHRISTMAS COLLECTION’ with Larry Kirwan, The High Kings, Damien Dempsey, The Elders, Kyf Brewer, Cherish the Ladies + more!
What’s holiday without Celtic musicians coming together in one albumTogether for Christmas CD cover
Together for Christmas CD cover

right? I am listening to Together for Christmas and I see great reasons to own this album. It contains eclectic sounds from rock, jazz to classical. I also noticed the huge efforts placed by the contributing bands, sound people and solo artists each track.

Songs from Together for Christmas is something you can listen to again and again because it is an amazing gift you want to unwrap and play either through your headphones or huge speakers. It has the great casting and track order. Lots and lots of surprises!

The Elders make  perfect album opening due to the upbeat and catchy melodies of Christmas Day. Solid harmonies, strings and stirring chorus can get you up your feet. Ashley Davis moves me with her terrific voice. Fans of Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt will warm up to her haunting and captivating style in Nolaig Moon. Her voice is so good I sometimes overlook the craft placed in this song which is equaly amazing! I will definitely check more of her own projects.

John Munnelly adds that Beatlesque touch with the jolly Happy Christmas. Cherish the Ladies offers a fine  instrumental track in Deck the Halls. Take it from the pros in the genre. A combination of traditional carol sounds and Irish jigs.

Kyf Brewer’s gruff vocals and upbeat pace of Whiskey for Christmas will keep you humming and tapping up to the end of the end..Emma Kate Tobia soars with her angelic soprano that adds a magical touch to this album. It creates a soothing balance like watching snow crystals fall slowly to the ground. Walking in the Air is true to its title in every way.

Track Dogs is a band with nice surprises. They do a kind of alternative rock with a touch of shoegazer sound. The Celtic Tenors top the bill with Silent Night. Those who got their album Feels Like Home will know what to expect. The Celtic Tenors are like the Three Musketeers. When they blend their talents they make powerful songs.

Happy Xmas is a popular tune originally done by Lennon and Ono. Sarah Mclachlan also covered this track. It is nice to finally hear it in another interpretation through Larry Kerwan and Ashley Davis.The Wild Colonial Bhoys surprise us with their punk inspired sound that has both the hint of The Beach Boys and Traditional Irish sound.

Damien Dempsey’s almost a capella rendition of Oh Holy Night  showcases his robust voice while keeping true to the atmosphere of the song..The High Kings give us the new sheen to Driving Home for Christmas. It’s another classic!  I was crossing my fingers when I saw this in the tracklisting. I didn’t want to be disappointed. And  good enough, The High Kings add freshness to this classic. They make it very Irish yet preserving the spirit of the original composition by Chris Rea.

The Temple Bar Band feat. Dave Brown and Claire Pelo make a beautiful nod to 2000 Miles (originally done by the Pretenders). This time, you hear the choir of children.. And yes! Clair Pelo has a terrific voice. George Murphy Feat Emma Kate Tobia   don’t need further intro with Fairy Tale of New York. This track was released as a single last year. I am glad that it finally  made it to this compilation. Their talents are amazing together.

Tara O’Grady closes this compilation with her jazzy take on Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Everyone’s style stands up. The range of artistry and genre covered by the artists who contributed their talents in this release are wide. You will enjoy it!

Special thanks to Anita Daly

ANITA DALY
DALY COMMUNICATIONS for this wonderful album.

***

Gigs, news etc!

Ok, now get ready for the mentionables!

CELTIC CHRISTMAS SHOW by Marc Gunn

Image from Marc Gunn

Image from Marc Gunn

Mark has been a blogging buddy since I started this site in 2009. This fella is a huge volcano of creativity. He is a great example for those who want to keep the Celtic Music scene alive.

From Marc:

“In addition to fine tuning my Christmas playlist, I finished a Celtic Christmas drinking songs show for the Pub Songs Podcast.   I also started compiling songs two shows exclusively for the Celtic Christmas Podcast.  The first goes online today!

I invite you to listen to the Celtic Christmas Podcast.  It features Celtic Christmas shows from many of the top Celtic podcasts online.  I didn’t update it last year, but I’m bringing it back again in 2012.  Subscribe at http://celticchristmaspodcast.com/

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Christmas Track :Snowfall-Celtic Twist/Holland and Palmley Duo

This track reminds me of a little music box. The high bell sounds are really great to hear. The heavenly voice  of Phil Holland is something you don’t want to miss here. The kind of feeling you want to have when you think of this season. I think more and more, the Holland and Palmley dou are transitioning into what I can only describe as breath taking sound! They have evolved in terms of artistry and so do we!

***

Jamie Smith’s MABON – NEWS – NEW TOUR DATES 2013 ANNOUNCED

LORESPOSTER!cid_2F5941A2-0ED1-4617-9C76-9F7872FDA6B7

Fans of the amazing Welsh Celtic band Jamie Smith’s MABON will have something to rejoice this 2013. Tour dates are announced!

According to John Eeles (Facilitator /  Sound Engineer):

“The band have just wrapped up a great year, with sold out shows during the recently completed tour and widespread critical acclaim for their new album.

2013 is already gearing up to be a busy year, both in the U.K. and abroad, with plans afoot to put a European tour in place, and dates in Canada and Scandinavia in the pipeline.”
For more information on the shows and the band go to the website :
 ***
So there you have it folks. More news to come. Stay tuned to my next edition which is still about Celtic music news for you.

 

The Mentionables: This Week in Music!

It is the first week of December folks and I assure you there are many reasons to update this site. The scene is boiling with great events from your favorite Celtic bands either those I know and don’t know. This is a great year and 2013 will prove to be a good year in music!

New CD from The Picts

Douglas McQueen Hunter

Douglas McQueen Hunter

Scottish band The Picts have just finished recording a new set of tunes and they are working on polishing the craft. According to front man Douglas McQueen Hunter:

“I’ve been up to my eyes in the new cd coming out… I’m tied up tonight and tomorrow. All the recording is done now…. just paperwork and CD artwork”

Douglas is also in the middle of an interview with yours truly so you can see he has his hands full 😉

***

An Tain

I did mention before in the Martin Tourish interview that he’s working on a music based on The Tain. Here is a snippet of the music:

According to Martin: ”

In the final act of An Táin the Brown Bull and White Bull finally meet and gore and slay each other in a furious and frenzied, slaughter which shakes and tramples the entire country. The Brown bull emerges the gore-spattered victor but his great fury proves too much and his heart cracks like a nut in his chest.

Release/catalogue number: lmm011002
Release date: Feb 1, 2012″

Awesome. Wait for that one!

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The Celtic Tenors in NYC

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Zelienople, PA.

The Celtic Tenors are making rounds in NYC. They are getting more and more love from their American fans. A few weeks back they made a successful concert in China. It is just a matter of time before they conquer the world 😉

According to them:

“Tomorrow (3rd December) we will be singing a song as part of a Benefit gig for Huntington’s Disease at Playwright’s Theatre on 42nd Street NYC. Delighted to be appearing with Michael Brunnock — at Bohemian Pizza”
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Have a Cornish Christmas
 Here is a nice track translated to Cornish by Matti Clarke. Yes the season is really looking up 😀
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Celtic Music live The Czech Republic
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” Been meaning to see Pipes and Pipes for ages, and I’ve got no excuses this time. They’re in Plzen and their support includes Cheers!Hurrah!”
There is no excuse to see this even when you are in the Czech Republic. The invitation is in Czech but it means one thing: Great music 😉
Nejnašláplejší tuzemská punkrocková kapela Pipes and Pints přijíždí se svou novou desku „Found and Lost“!
Nové album je stále o dravém punkrocku s charakteristickým zvukem skotských dud, ale mnohem vyzrálejší o zkušenosti které kapela nasbírala během uplynulých tří let, kdy s debutovým albem „Until We Die“ objela prakticky celou Evropu. Za tu dobu se z Pipes and Pints stala kapela minimálně evropského formátu a není jistě náhodou, že si je pod svá křídla vzal respektovaný label “People Like You records” a

produkce na novém albu se ujal zkušený producent Darian Rundall, který úzce spolupracuje například s “Epitaph records” a “Hellcat records”.
Jako speciální host se celého turné zúčastní klubový objev Dirty Blondes a v Plzni je navíc doplní jihočeská legenda melodického punk rocku Suffer, která zde odehraje jeden ze svých posledních koncertů a zároveň představí poslední desku “Bee-Songs From The A-Cide” a plzeňská folk punková naděje Cheers!.http://www.pipesandpints.com/
http://bandzone.cz/dirtyblondes
http://www.suffer.cz/cz
http://bandzone.cz/cheersstart: 20:00
vstup: 170,-/200,-

Vstupenky na tento koncert lze zakoupit také prostřednictvím Plzeňské vstupenky zde: http://www.plzenskavstupenka.cz/index.php/cz/component/ticketseller/title/1004-pipes-and-pints

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Great album reviews from TradConnect
If you haven’t checked yet, this is a great site for anything traditional. Yes, there are many styles of music and sometimes it is hard to look for something you want if you are not sure where to go and also who is in authority for such matters. Well, I tell you now, Tradconnect is the best in the tradmusic online sites. You can sign up and chat with other members and even get to have a good chat with owner Tony Lawless.
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Song for Advent from Phil Holland and Dave Palmley / Celtic Duo
Here’s a message from Phil and Dave:
“Here’s a wee Christmas Carol for you from Celtic Twist…The Coventry carol….our own arrangement and recording…to get you in the Christmas spirit now that advent is upon us…please share with all your friends and family this year at Christmas….
all the best, Phil and Dave”
Seriously this is one awesome track. It has all the ingredients of what makes a perfect yuletide song: atmosphere, beautiful instruments and heavenly singing.
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Babel Pow Wow project‏ by Dom Duff

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“2013 will see the release of my new album Babel Pow Wow. Celebrating all cultures od the world, in my breton folk rock mood and language.
I am looking for people to help make the album possible by purchasing a copy in advance, or if you would like to contribute more to the making of the album by purchasing one of the other rewards on offer.
The money raised will cover the musicians fee, mixing, mastering and duplication.
Thanks for your support
Dom.”
Yes I truly support this project and I think this will be a great one.
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WGBH Music: Carlos Nuñez – Aires de Pontevedra

I am glad my friend Greg Shea always updates me with only the best videos in Celtic music. Today we have Carlos Nunez:

Born in Galicia, Spain, Carlos Nuñez began playing the bagpipes at the age of eight. He met Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains as a teenager and later became known as the “7th member” of the band. In Europe, he plays to sold out stadiums and arenas. He has toured throughout the world and continues to wow audiences with his high-spirited Celtic music.

Nunez kicked off his latest North American tour from the intimate confines of The Burren Irish Pub in Somerville, Massachusetts. This is their closing encore of the night, “Aires de Pontevedra”.

Carlos Nuñez — Galician piper
Xurxo Nuñez — Percussion
Hanneke Cassel — Fiddle
Katie McNally — Fiddle
Pancho Álvarez — Guitar

The Burren Backroom Series is hosted by Brian O’Donovan of A Celtic Sojourn on WGBH Radio.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel WGBH Music:http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=WGBHMusic

WGBH Music Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/WGBHMusic

More from A Celtic Sojourn: http://www.wgbh.org/Celtic/

Audio Engineer: Antonio Oliart
Camera/Editing: Greg Shea
Camera: Annie Shreffler
Producer/Host: Brian O’Donovan

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Barrule booking for more gigs in 2013!

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According to the band:” Barrule  from The Isle of Man are booking for 2013… Got any festivals that you would like to see us play next year? Let us know, and more importantly, let them know too!”

Visit them here: https://www.facebook.com/barruletrio

Review over Cappuccino

 In this edition: Nua,
Jonathan Kershaw and Eclipse

NUA

Making waves: Irish/Scottish Traditional Music, Experimental, Fusion trio from Toronto Canada.

NUA came up with an auspicious debut in a form of an EP. It gives us the taste of what this trio can offer not just today but also in future releases. These are clean, crisp tunes  that sparkle with precision and showmanship. The audio quality is something get excited about. The surface sound of every instrument is captured giving us a degree of nuance and atmosphere.

The EP starts with Fizzbuzz which showcases the thunderous bodhran playing of Jacob McCauley and the invigorating strums of Graeme McGillivray on guitar. These sounds are sliced up with James M Law’s luminous playing on fiddle. That fiddle simply sparkles in all of the tracks.

The Draw is perhaps what one would call a ‘carrier single’ due to its upfront rhythm and fast paced characteristic that draws influences from Jazz, Folk and even World. Here, Jacob McCauley’s bodhran becomes emotive, giving us an impression that this percussion has finally reached its tonal height and is capable of being a lead instrument. We have to remember, Jacob plays different types of bodhrans including those custom made by Christian Hedwitschak. This is a tune that’s guaranteed to get you dancing.

Martin’s Yellow Tea Pot has that folk pop quality that waltzes on you like a sunny  afternoon. We hear exquisite chord structures as well as interesting changes of rhythms. The guitar has a crunchy sound that really keeps everything together.

The Hijack is a perfect track to close the EP. It has all the elements of how ripe talents should sound like. Confidence, experimentation and cohesiveness are traits of what a good album should possess-and they are all here. If they are able to come up with a full  sound  in this 4 track EP, just imagine what a complete album would be like. You would be missing a huge part of your musical life if you don’t get this EP!

About NUA:

NUA is an innovative new trad trio, bringing a fresh and unique sound to traditional music, creating their own distinctive flavour with both original and traditional compositions from Ireland and Scotland. Based in Toronto, Canada, NUA consists of three award-winning members: fiddle player James M Law, guitarist Graeme McGillivray and bodhrán player Jacob McCauley. The interaction between the three
e is what really makes the music shine, whether it be their soaring melodies or tasteful grooves. The trio is also well known for their exciting incorporation of odd time signatures and polyrhythms, which give the music an electrifying lift and spontaneity.

Each member adds their own distinctive sound and influence to the music. Although they are a trio with a sole melody player, the brilliant multi-tasking of each member is demonstrated countless times with perhaps a guitar-driven flat-picked melody, rhythmic fiddle playing, or melodic bodhrán playing to add to the mix. The ability for each member to take on multiple roles is one of the staples of NUA. This adds to a thrilling live experience, and a “you just don’t know what’s coming next” approach!

NUA released their first EP on November 12th 2012 and they are currently beginning work on their full-length debut album to be released in 2013.

Helpful links:

http://trionua.bandcamp.com/album/ep

https://www.facebook.com/TRIONUA?fref=ts

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“Bizarre Tales”

 

Now for something dark and Celticky…

If you are ready for something seductive, atmospheric and emotionally charged Celtic fusion music, then you better give  Jonathan Kershaw a listen. Everything he does points to Renaissance music in the vein of Dead can Dance. There are also Celtic folk  and Viking influences embellished with subtle atmospherics. The guitars are gentle and the female vocals are mysterious. There are other instruments like the cello.This album kept me up all night while I did my usual blogging and it has that quality of being un intrusive but at the same time with the right volume, creates a full-house of soundtracky experience.
Band personals:

Jonathan Kershaw – guitars, percussion
Laura Fauvel – vocals, some flute
Karina McGrath – vocals
Chris Jones – other instrumentation

In the words of Jonathan Kershaw:
The sound of this album was (in it’s inception) clearly supposed to be sat firmly in the traditions of Celtic folk music. Evident in the rich, flowing guitar lines intertwined with flute and violin, ringing pedal sounds and the sometimes rather ominous bodhrans.

However, somewhere along the line, the link was clearly stretched beyond its traditional boundaries. Jonathan’s love of music from outside this area becomes apparent with strange colourings from elements of classical, baroque music and dare I even say it, hard rock!

As a result, the album maintains a curious, ethereal feel of mysticism throughout as it moves through pieces in a variety of emotions:
Album Details
Artist:     Jonathan Kershaw     From the dark, pounding introduction of “The Demeter” and “Crossing the Third Sea” to the sensual stories and thoughts of “Never Love an Angel”, “Sandwalkers” and “Clocks & Mirrors” (with vocals courtesy of guest vocalists Laura Fauvel and Karina McGrath); the light, joyful melodies of “Lotus Corset” and the jig-like “The Green Man” to the comedy of “Rat Run” or “The Alchemist’s Penny” and the ever- increasing power of the centre piece “Andrasta”.

New album “Bizarre Tales” available now!
Celtic folk – Traditional – Acoustic rock

Here is the link to the music store where you can listen to samples: http://www.jonkershawmusic.co.uk/region_select.htm

Web: http://www.jonkershawmusic.co.uk
Email: mailto:jon@jonkershawmusic.co.uk

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Eclipse

It’s Christmas Now!

They  are singer/songwriters originally from Edinburgh, Scotland but currently live in CT, USA .  They call themselves Eclipse:twin sisters Nell and Trish and their brother Matt Wilkie.

The strong vocal harmonies and percussive arrangements make this holiday album a joy to have. It has an almost African, Mid-Eastern and Reggae vibe to it. There are modern and traditional tracks. Oh Christmas Now is traditional but this is the first time I’ve heard of this one.It seems the artists behind Eclipse have this thing for the obscure. They also have this characteristic of delivering strong and crisp vocal mixes.

There are four official members but a total of eleven people contributed their talents in creating this album. The mixing is amazing because you can even hear the surface sound of every instrument. That is how crystal clear It’s Christmas Now ! is. I am really choosy when it comes to holiday albums because I like my music loud. And I like to bring it anywhere too. And I am a total show off!

I like a holiday album that doesn’t sound ‘like Christmas’. You know what I mean? It has to be something that you can play for all seasons and doesn’t sound out of place. It’s Christmas Now! is one example of an album that can be at home in any part of the year. And yes, listening to this one makes you feel warm and cozy.

Trivia: According to the band, they were particularly proud of Christmas in our Hearts “, (track 6), which they wrote for their family back in Edinburgh and their arrangement of “Auld Land Syne” (track 12)

Here is the link to the store where you can buy the CD: http://www.celticmusicradio.net/eclipse-its-christmas-now/

You can also listen to the samples here: http://www.eclipse-bandllc.com/

Helpful links:

The CD is available at: