The Log Drivers: Folk and Modern Beauty

The Log Drivers: Folk and Modern Beauty

The Log Drivers

The Log Drivers deliver another fresh sound from Canada. They combine that love for traditional style and modern sensibility to create a kind of sound that teeters between the ancient and the urban. Even fiddler and singer Julie Fitzgerald maintains that jazzy vibe with an understated vocal delivery that comes out elegant and timeless. I already know Spencer Murray ( Flute, Pipes) through his other projects. Nate Douglas (Guitar) maintains that wispy and vigorous playing which he does with his other band The High Drive.

The debut self-titled album combines influences from folk, jazz, world and even pop. It sounds rich as they add the other instrument to the mix including bagpipes, drums and various strings. It has to be noted that Canada is blooming with great talents in all genres. The Log Drivers are riding the waves of beautiful independent music that will appeal to all types of listeners.  Their music is energetic without being intrusive. Their talents are sublime. You will love Blue Reel, A Miner’s Life and more. So better get their debut album quick! You can sample their sound here:


A Taste of Cornish Music and Language:She’s to Blame “Dhe Vlamya Yw Hi” by Phil Knight  

Softly caressing her hair,
As the sun was rising, before my love had awakened,
Did I see on looking closely
That she was silently weeping, hiding her misery?
Tear turned to frown,
And when I spoke… in one leap,

Gone was my love, my sweetheart,
No doubt you would recognise her well.
No wonder, although my heart’s completely broken,

She has left me;
I long for her.
She has left me;
She wants to forget.
She has left me
And it seems I don’t matter
But she is to blame.

When I looked up she had gone,
No longer could I see her, only her track in the yellow corn.
The dawn sky was red,
The sun sparkling through leaves and a cow was lowing.
Though she had disappeared from sight,
Her anger and cruel words were still with me.

Gone was my love, my sweetheart.
No doubt you would recognise her well.
No wonder, although my heart’s completely broken,

She has left me;
I long for her.
She has left me;
She wants to forget.
She has left me
And it seems I don’t matter
But she is to blame.
But she is to blame.
But she is to blame.
But she is to blame.

Lyrics printed with permission


Check this out: Top 10 Irish Traditional Album Covers of 2013


Here’s the link to the full article:


Michelle Butler Ceramics

Michelle Butler Ceramics

Michelle Butler Ceramics

These are fantastic ceramics by Michelle Butler!

When listening to Celtic music, why not embellish your coffee table with something lasting and beautiful as well? Michelle Butler Ceramics offers a unique way of looking at crafts. If you want something striking and personal then her designs are definitely something you should consider as gifts to loved ones, souvenirs if you happen to be in Northern Ireland or if you just want to awaken the ‘other you’  buried by years of cultural sleep.

Celtic Stone-Peacock Plaque
Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 5mm

I know how priceless these items are because I happen to own two of her ceramics. One is the Celtic stone peacock plaque and the other one is a brooch with a Celtic knot work design. She made sure the items have natural surfaces. She developed a style which reconciles primitive Celtic influences with contemporary designs and forms. What’s more, they are all handcrafted using textured stoneware clay and are finished with a rich metallic oxide producing a depth of luster-according to her website.

If you look at her catalog you will see that there are so many designs and they are divided into four types: Celtic stone, iron stone, jewelry and the unique. There is also a section for new products in case you are searching for something else. Her designs are so addicting that I am actually thinking of ordering items in the future for my growing collection of Celtic art at home. My big thanks to Northern Irish singer/songwriter Eve Williams who sent me these items. Thank you Eve for giving me something tangible and lasting. And also thanks for doing it at the time when I need something comforting and beautiful.

About Michelle Butler:

Michelle Butler is a Design Graduate from Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall, where she specialised in Ceramics. In December 1998 she started her business in the Omagh Enterprise Centre from where she relocated, in August 2005 to a barn at her home on the Gortin Road, Omagh where Sperrin Ceramics Studio was born.

Her stoneware ceramics have developed a style which reconciles primitive Celtic influences with contemporary designs and forms. The pieces are all handcrafted using textured stoneware clay and are finished with a rich metallic oxide producing a depth of lustre.

One of the brooches

A large variety of glazes are used to apply colour to specific areas of pattern and relief creating a rustic earthy ambience that makes each piece a unique gift from Ireland.

Celtic Stone, Iron Stone, Unique and Jewellery Collections are available in outlets throughout Ireland and abroad. Celtic Stone draws its influence in strong ancient Irish legacy while Iron Stone includes more contemporary designs and forms; Ironstone also features larger pots and lamp bases which are coil built and handcarved and are available as commissioned pieces.

The Michelle Butler Jewellery Collections boasts as amalgamation of these styles in a range of smaller distinctive jewellery items.

You can find more of her works in facebook:

Online store:

Or the store address:

Sperrin Ceramics Studio, 92 Glenpark Road,
BT79 7ST Omagh



And now few ads from friends:
Purchase the CANTUS LUNARIS – Debut-Cd : Fabula antiqua
Thank you for order and we hope you enjoy listening of our vocal-instrumental ensemble for old music and celitc !
Kind regards Cantus Lunaris

Celtic music record in Belgium.

New review of “Affinity”  Moya Brennan and Corma De Barra:

Post Valentines in Celtic Land

Post Valentines in Celtic Land

Featured artists: John Breen, Brian Cunningham and Corncrow

john breen, irish,folk,singer,songwriter,ireland,music

Welcome to our post valentine edition. I made it a rule not to talk at the beginning of a post. I will just reserve the talk for our Huzzah! Section so see you there .

The attention turns to John Breen this week . He hails from County Wicklow which is check this out: the Garden of Ireland. I am sure the flora and fauna of Wicklow have provided an ample amount of inspiration to Sir John Breen to be able to perform those tunes with the grace of a blooming rose in hyper speed.

Fans of Ronnie Drew, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and even Kenny Rogers will find something that will tickle their heart-strings. If you think his recorded songs are awesome, wait until you hear him live. His performance level will blow your socks off.

I think that ease of getting his feeling across is brought about by the fact that John is naturally a friendly fella. And you can’t fake that warm attitude. It will find its way around people who in turn responds to the same aura that you project. I felt that inner goodness and that’s what I feel the moment I heard his version of The Irish Rover and other songs. There is always that extra special you often find around Irish balladeers.

He signed up with Atlantic music group in 2004 and has two CDs to date. An interview is on the way but I wont tell you the exact date yet. I like suspense and I am sure you do too.

For more info visit:



Sean-Nos Dancer Brian Cunningham

Sean Nos dancing is catching fire and it is spear headed by the most prominent name in the scene: Brian Cunningham.  I am in the process of conducting an interview with the famous dancer himself and he is gracious enough to talk in between his schedules. There is really something good to be said about the majority of Celtic artists. They are so passionate about the art that it isn’t really about themselves but more on the exposure of the art. They give so much more and it is really important to keep in mind why their fans who are bloggers like are passionate in pushing their efforts to the front of Goggle search. We are all in the right scene!

He is currently performing in the Horseshoe Casino(Hammond, Indiana) so if you are around, don’t forget to see this one of a kind performer of traditional Irish dance.

Atlantic Steps’ is the inspiring epic story of Ireland’s oldest dance form (sean-nós), portrayed through the music, song, dance and Atlantic-Ocean-inspired energy of the Connemara region. For booking information, contact JRA Fine Arts at or 888.939.ARTS (2787).


Corncrow – Meriasek

Tell me if this song doesn’t evoke something within you! If it doesn’t then you have the heart of a crow(pun intended) I think Corncrow makes a kind of music that brings out ancient mysteries . The music is haunting and transporting bringing you back to ancient lands, where gallantry was abundant and people wore long dresses. A little digging on the background of the song tells me about a 4th century Breton saint who was also a great healer. His feast day is the first Friday in June.No wonder the song has a very spiritual feel. Corncrow are a duo of Kim Guy -acoustic guitar, recorders, vocals and Steve Hunt – acoustic and electric guitars, bouzouki, vocals. Meriasek is taken from their new album Sweet Nightingale.

You can find them in facebook:

and Myspace:

About the video: Official video for Corncrow’s version of Meriasek (S. Lockley, N. Kennedy), which I shot in Polkerris and Charlestown, January 2013.

Canon 650D, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Fader ND.

Celtic Twist Game:

The Celtic Music Fan would  like offer a free copy of Twist in the Tale to the winner of a competition which will start now. This is how it goes. All you need to do is find an answer to a question which in the animated picture blow. all you need to do is go to their official website to look for the answer. A winner will be announced at the end of this month.  Phil and Dave could send it directly to you with a short note of congratulations. How’s that? For those who are new to this album, here is the link to the review I did back in June 27 of 2012.



Now that we are in the month of love, the focus this week is about the best love songs in traditional Celtic music.  My first introduction was by Windham Hill compilation called Heart of the Celts. From there the list of ballads about love simply increased. If you look at our musical culture in a macroscopic level, you will realize that each Celtic nation has its own love ballads and it will take so much if we do some research and post the songs here. However, I would just like to emphasize that the Celts know how to write the best heart break songs, I think much better than love songs. But we also need to give tribute to Robert Burns for giving us one of the best love ballads called ” Ae Fond Kiss ” which is close to my heart.

Clannad is known to produced the best ballads both traditional and modern. There’s also Connie Dover, Loreena McKennitt and Altan. Then there’s so much more that like I said would take so much to fit this edition.

Sorry if this section is short. I  have to be honest with you: I have nothing to write for now. All my thoughts were focused on the meteor explosion in Russia and for hour I kept on posting updates upon updates about the incident via facebook and google plus. So when morning came I felt so exhausted and I kept on thinking about aliens. So there you have it. I promise to write more content on our Huzzah next time. Take care and see you this Tuesday for our featured interview and it is with no other than Scottish singer/songwriter Ewan McLennan!


According to the French Piper: Interview with Francois of Caliorne

According to the French Piper: Interview with Francois of Caliorne



France with its interesting culture and music is definitely a home to bands that are considered avant-garde. Living in France and having a taste for Celtic music would mean that you either go for Breton music or a combination of that and Gaelic sounds. Then there are elements of Jazz and Rock which the French are good at. Such elements can be found in the music of the six piece ensemble Caliorne. With the release of Rock Noz Band, Caliorne continues to define their music and also spread the love of music from France.

Francois (who also goes by the name Fanch Soixantequinze) is the band’s spokes person. He also plays the bagpipes and other wind instruments. So it isn’t a wonder how he landed in my interview section. It is a pleasure to learn what Caliorne is all about through the words of the piper.

How did you learn to play the pipes that way?

I started playing Highland bagpipe in Paris, where you can either play Breton music or Scottish music. I started with Breton music in a Bagad and after, in a Pipe Band (Paris & District Pipe Band). After few years I wanted to play with friends some french folk music (Groupe Sans Gain). To do this I discovered other bagpipes, tuned for that music. And finally, I met people in order to play Rock, what I always aimed to play To play with Caliorne. I tuned bagpipes on A440 with Equal temperament, rather than just temperament. That’s one of the reasons why my bagpipes melt with other instruments…Finaly, my way of playing is surely the result of all this meetings ! But it is the first time someone asked me.

Who is your main influence in your development as a piper?

So many highly skilled pipers ! Douggie Pincok (Battlefield Band), Gordon Duncan, Martynn Bennett, Patrick Molard, Erwan Keravec, Mickaël Cozien… and most of Celtic Rock Bands with a bagpiper (Wolfstone, Slainte mhath, Sonerien DU, Prydein, The claymore…) . And of course many friends and other musicians you probably haven’t heard of yet!

Do you have an exciting thing  going for your band this year? What are they?

Playing at a lot of gigs ! At the moment we lack notoriety, and we have few. That’s why we recorded “Rock Noz Band” last year, and we hope It will be listened to widely !And of course we will compose new tunes.

What are your favorite tracks that you recorded with the band ?

Well, I like most of the album ! Hopefully! But to answer to your question :Déjanté ( totally crazy), La Kro, Star de la Boite (la “Kro” is a common beer in France, and “la boite” means disco. And the sentence is pronounced almost like the traditional dance name…)Trad ha Rock (from tradition to Rock…) and Friponne (rogue).

What are the top 5 Celtic recordings you are listening to this week.

Here they are:

If one goes to France, what are the places in your area where one can listen to Celtic bands performing live?

Well, It is quite easy to listen to Breton music in Paris area, but for non-Breton Celtic music, it is harder. Dropkick Murphy’s played last week in a large hall (Zenith), but it is unusual. At the time of St Patrick day, of course, you can find a lot of gigs…
There is no formal venue dedicated to Celtic music…
The best way is to look at facebook or some website.
Some Pub organize Irish Music Session, every week, like the “Quiet Man”

Or the Carrs


About his instruments:

“Most of my instruments are made by talented craftsman, and some of them are almost unique pieces : 1 chanter in C major, 1 veuze chanter with highland pipe fingering in c major, my diatonic clarinet, etc…

Currently listening to:
Amos Hoffman – Evolution
AC DC – Black Ice
SuperTramp – Crime of the century
And a lot of unknown albums. They are completely unknown outside France.

What he loves the  most about being in the Celtic music scene.

Feeling the music & sound surrounding me and looking at the dancers moving with the rhythm..

A detailed review of Rock Noz Band via 67 Music:


About the video: During our recording in studio of Rock Noz Band, we filmed each musicians when they performed on the same tune. Here is a video of the “Scottish Purple”, with the final soundtrack of the CD.



Celtic Twist Game:

The Celtic Music Fan would  like offer a free copy of Twist in the Tale to the winner of a competition which will start now. This is how it goes. All you need to do is find an answer to a question which in the animated picture blow. all you need to do is go to their official website to look for the answer. A winner will be announced at the end of this month.  Phil and Dave could send it directly to you with a short note of congratulations. How’s that? For those who are new to this album, here is the link to the review I did back in June 27 of 2012.



Cornish Ceilidh band. I found that video above while looking for some Cornish music. Yes the wind blows from Cornwall this week-and Scotland. I’ve never seen any ceilidh band from Cornwall to be honest. So it was quiet a pleasant surprise to find something like that.I am sure if I look further there will be more.

This week, the commotion is all about the Traditional Album of the Year nomination for Trad Connect. So if you haven’t chosen your favorite album yet, then it is time to cast your vote. And please register so you can interact with musicians and bloggers like myself who drop once in a while.

That clip above is from The Big Fat Electric Ceilidh from Scotland manned by Dave Martin. Dave teaches bodhran while maintaining his love for electronic music. The great part about running a site about Celtic music in general is the lack of restriction I have to adhere to. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself listening to something that sounds like Jazz, or electro one of these days. It takes all kinds….

The Peatbog Faeries have a new track and that video has both the great scenes and beautiful music! I look forward to doing an interview with the band soon. Who would you suggest I interview next?

Jamie Smith:”I have been singing for many years.” (Interview)

Jamie Smith:”I have been singing for many years.” (Interview)

Check out our column Huzzah! Featuring: Sue Aston, Leza Mesiah,  Carlos Nuñez and Solas.

Jamie Smith side view

Jamie Smith

The phenomenal Welsh singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Jamie Smith talks to The Celtic Music Fan about recording, performing and singing for the first time in an album.

Jamie Smith remained a mystery for years to the Celtic music circle. His accordion playing is electrifying. He possesses great showmanship when onstage. He is charismatic. With his band, they fill out venues as live performers. Late last year was the release of their much anticipated third album called Windblown. I noticed that they  are exploring new avenues of musicality.They also seem to posses that relaxed attitude in playing live and building their online presence to their listeners.

As a band, Jamie Smith’s Mabon captivated the imagination of everybody. They also brought with them the mystical sound of Wales. At the same time, they worked in fusing that sound with other styles from any Celtic nations.

As an individual performer, Jamie Smith brings something special to the music culture. I think it  is his passion and also the way he abandons himself to the music that he plays. This in turn gets into the audience and the sincerity of it all is the core of his artistry. He has a strong presence in the recording and live performance. It is hard to explain and you have to own one of their albums to understand.

 Before the end of 2012, we talked about creating this interview. At that time, his band was on tour so it was a busy month. But true to his word, he made it here.  So here he is, Jamie Smith!

Hi Jamie, your band formed in 1999 with your father Derek, Iolo Whelan and his brother Gareth. You must have learned a lot after being exposed to many live performance at a young age.What are the things you have observed in the Celtic music scene, in terms of releasing albums and performing the songs live?

One thing I have learned is you can always improve on what you are doing. It’s amazing to look back down the years since the early days of the band and see how we’ve gradually transformed over time. I think it’s important to keep moving or else you can stagnate and lose interest. Another thing I have observed is that the tracks the band likes best and are most proud of often aren’t the ones the audience likes the most! 

 The new album is a pleasant departure from the previous ones. You did vocals for the first time! And you made a great job singing. Your voice is such a fantastic instrument that can move between haunting deliveries to a more pop rock kind of style. Who encouraged you to finally take the mic? 

I’d been thinking about it for a while and my wife, Gráinne, gave me the extra push to actually go for it. It’s good to have new challenges and we’re looking forward to working on more new songs this year. I have been singing for many years, just never in Mabon. I have become more interested in songs within the Celtic/folk genre over the last few years, which is partly what led me to want to try writing songs for the band. 

How’s the whole experience making Windblown? Anything to share about your own experiences and also the quirks that happened during the whole songwriting and recording process?

Making an album is a strange and often obsessive process: you spend a long time working on it and constantly thinking about it, then when it’s done you quickly put it to one side and look forward to the next challenge. I’ve hardly listened to the album since we got the final copies back! We had some great moments in the studio and a lot of fun experimenting with overdub ideas, some of which made the final mix.

What’s your favorite track off this new album and why?

I don’t think I can pick out one track sorry! Something that has pleased me since releasing the album is that everyone seems to have a different favourite track. It’s fair to say Caru Pum Merch has got a lot of fans, because it sounds so different, but quite a few of the others have been singled out as favourites by listeners too.

If a young person asks you for an advice about the best way to maintain a creative working relationship with a band, what would you tell him/her?

Enjoy playing together and try to do it often! If you are all enjoying playing music together then it should be easy to be creative.

What do you like about being a musician and also being in a band?

I like entertaining people by playing music and being in a band is more sociable than touring on your own! Apart from the making and performing of music, the next best thing is getting to travel to so many different places both home and abroad.

 You are also part of Barrule which is an amazing band based in the Isle of Man. How do you maintain a balance between working with the Barrule project and JSM?

Barrule’s in its infancy still so it’s not too bad at the moment, although recording albums with both bands back to back was a mammoth undertaking. If it does become more difficult, at least that means we are all doing well!

What are the other talents you have apart from those we already observed?

I play guitar, but not in Mabon. I’m pretty good at whistling actually. Drives my wife up the wall though!

For more updates visit:


Jamie and the gang will kick off their March tour and here’s the list:





Welcome to the second part of this blog which is the chatty part. Yes it’s called Huzzah! Which is also one of the track titles in Windblown by Jamie Smith’s Mabon whose lead singer is our featured artist this week.  Yes yes I will talk about anything and be natural as much as I can. Now those of you who are following my facebook page have already seen this video by Cornish violinist Sue Aston. For those who are new to her music, she is actually based in Penzance Cornwall. She is both influenced by Classical and the folk music. What’s fascinating about her is that she writes and plays everything. She also runs her own record and media company. To quote American singer/songwriter Jim Wearne regarding this video: “Wonderful tune, and beautiful Cornish scenery, not to mention a Cornish fiddler who’s easy on the eyes. Celtic festivals? Are you listening?” Yes like Jim said are you listening festivals?

About the video: Dedicated to everyone who has lost someone special to them. Taken from my album ‘Inspirational Journey’ written for my Dad and Nan who I miss everyday. Sue


Four days ago I launched a discussion thread via Linkedin. I’ve been with linkedin for heaven knows how long and it became so boring I stopped visiting. Then, while perusing through the links four days ago, I found a group called Irish Music. Bam! Things just started taking off.  I now have a reason to go there everyday. I met wonderful people from that group includingvocalist Leza Mesiah. Here’s a link to her songs: “The back story on my Ren ‘Character’ is your generic African Musician Princess living in Scotland, having fallen in love with a Scot.”She said.


Great news about the amazing Galician piper Carlos Nuñez

I stumbled upon this through his site: My fascination with his music went back to early 90s when Windham Hill started releasing albums worldwide. Celtic albumswere hard to find at that time. But compilations made it possible. So my big thank you to Windham Hill and The Chieftains for introducing this amazing artist to me!


With Celtic band Solas making it on the same page as Beyonce just goes to prove that Celtic music is BIG in the United States


So do you have any Celtic music buzz to share? Feel free to comment on the thread and post your own. Yes this is open for all and ideas are welcomed.  This is what I learned lately: When you are in the world of marketing(that includes independent musicians and writers) playing nice really helps. We don’t live in a vacuum. And we create things not for our self but for the audience. Being ‘accessible’ and ‘community minded’ do help. Good luck everyone 🙂

Cornish Music Loud and Clear!

Cornish Music Loud and Clear!

In this edition: Merv Davey, Julian Goodacre, Alan Rosevear, Sevenoaks, Brenda Wootton and Sue Aston.

Picture – Large round stones on Porth Nanven beach, Cornwall.

Today I am exploring Cornish music. It’s been a while since I did an exclusive in one of the Celtic nations. I love the music of Cornish bagpipes as you can see and hear in the Cornish music session. When I think of Cornish music I remember my introduction to it through the late Brenda Wootton,the band Dalla and Sue Aston. They all come to mind because they’re the artists that got me started. Cornish music continues to grow as you can see here.

If you want the biggest online music store devoted to Cornish music then you just visit and EVERYTHING is there!

Cornish trad session

Cornish music session in the Barley Sheaf, Liskeard, Cornwall. ‘Coer Elath’ (Choir of Angels) is a traditional tune with additional parts composed by Merv Davey, seen here playing bagpipes.


Now for those who are wondering about the Cornish bagpipes, one of the commenter made a clarification:

The Cornish bagpipes are a traditional instrument in both Cornwall and Briezh. The oldest depictions of Cornish Bagpipes being played date from c.1400AD. The pipes have likely been played in Kernow/Cornwall for at least 2000 years. I am sorry to disappoint anyone who believes incorrectly that they are a recent invention or have been ‘made up’.-The Cornubian


The Cornish Pipes:

Now it has a distinctive sound. More mellow and sonorous than the Scottish bagpipes or the uilleann pipes.Check out how it is being played! With two reeds. This tune is however a traditional English tune called Shepherd’s Hey. But you get the idea of what it sounds like. Anyone interested to learn the Cornish bagpipes?

Video info: Shepherds Hey; traditional English tune played by Julian Goodacre, played on Cornish double bagpipes in D


Lamorna – a Cornish folk song

I have always been fascinated by the beauty of   folk singing. Especially when sung without instrumentation. It gives you that soul of the song because it becomes intimate. The simplicity is what gives it a pleasure to sing.  This is one beautiful song I would love to learn. I am posting the lyrics here and the video as performed by Alan Rosevear

So now I’ll sing to you , it’s about a maiden fair,
I met the other evening at the corner of the square;
She had a dark and roving eye, and her hair was covered over,
We rowed all night in the pale moonlight
Way down to Lamorna.
T’was down in Albert Square; I never shall forget,
Her eyes they shone like diamonds
And the evening it was wet, wet, wet;
And her hair hung down in curls
Her face was covered over,
We rowed all night in the pale moonlight
Way down to Lamorna.

As we got in the cab, I asked her for her name,
And when she gave it me, well with mine it was the same;
So I lifted up her veil, for her face was covered over;
To my surprise, it was my wife
I took down to Lamorna.

She said I know you know, I knew you all along,
I knew you in the dark, for I did it for a lark;
And for that lark you’ll pay, for the taking of your donna,
You’ll pay the fare, I do declare
Way down to Lamorna.

about the song:

A folk song popular in Cornwall. There are several candidates for where you could have a night of pleasure in Lamorna – Lamorna Cove near St Just is probably the most likely. Sung by Alan Rosevear in Exeter.


Sweet Nightingale (Cornish folk song)

What an amazing tune. Especially that it is enhanced by natural sounds like the birds and rustling leaves and even an audience coughing. There  lots of amazing Cornish talents. You just have to look.

According to Mark Potts who uploaded the video:

Recorded at the Eden Project in April 2007. I was in a local folk trio called “Sevenoaks”. The guitar arrangement was based on McCartney’s “Blackbird” style and I reference my source at the end of this piece! I’d forgotten what a lovely voice Charlie the singer had


Brenda Wootton – The Trees They Are So High

What is Cornish Music without Brenda Wootton?  This one is  from the 1975 Sentinel album. A duet with Dennis Bartlet.


The Home Coming by Sue Aston Celtic Music with Classical Twist from Cornwall

The Amazing Sue Aston closes our episode with The Home Coming. I made an interview with her when this site was new. That was memorable. makes me smile when I think of it. She has released a couple of album already and is very much active in the Cornish music scene these days. Visit

Bards, Composers, Folk Singers and Concerts

In this edition: Máirtín de Cógáin, Karl Nesbitt, Richard Trethewey, Great Big Sea and Blue Rodeo

So what makes fascination and inspiration happen? I think these two go together. First you get fascinated with someone’s talent. Then you get inspired to do what you do. Musicians are artists who help fuel inspiration. Give me a moment in a day listening to music and I will start typing away. Do you also get inspired by musicians?

I have to admit, the past few months were tough but it was music that pulled me out of the labyrinth. I want to share that enthusiasm and passion to you all. We are all connected in a way that we can’t imagine. I am glad for musicians! You are what makes the world a better place to live. And yes, we the listeners get to do a LOT of things because of you musicians. We paint, design software, build buildings and write novels because of the music. It is a symbiosis of goodness!

The Bardic Hypnosis of Máirtín de Cógáin

Máirtín de Cógáin has a way of getting you engaged when he is onstage. Whither he is playing music or talking, there is something about him that is charismatic. His anecdotes never fail to bring out giggles. He draws the magnetism from the long line of Irish bards since the time of the High Kings. I think Máirtín can talk about anything all day and I will definitely listen sipping my hot tea! Enjoy the videos below folks.

Check out his various projects



Another achievement from Karl Nesbitt:

Karl Nesbitt

“ I’m thrilled to be writing/performing some music for this new film entitled Blind Pass, directed by Steve Tatone. Thanks Fintan Lucy and Edel Sullivan “:)

-Karl Nesbitt
Hmm..looks like our favorite instrumentalist/composer/producer and arranger is out to make waves in the Irish movie scene. I would love to see this movie. I am sure if the music is from Karl then it will be amazing.

And what’s a Karl Nesbitt article without his music?


New Releases from Cornish Music label Kesson feat: Richard Trethewey

I love the music of Cornwall. It has its own identity and beauty. Cornwall has its own folk and  traditional scene and its new representative is Richard Trethewey. He sings, and plays  fiddles, mandola, triangle,and other brass instruments. A man of good vocal range and perfect pitch. You can listen to samples of “ Dig Where You Stand” off Cornish music site Kesson:


Exclusive video: Great Big Sea and Blue Rodeo performed “What Am I Doing Here?” at CBC’s Glenn Could Studio.
Canadian  bands The Great Big Sea and Blue Rodeo perform in this beautiful video. Check this link out:

Philip Knight Uncovers Omdowl Morek, His Cornish Language Album.

Plus: Newgrange by Tina Negus and Corrina Hewat CDs

We have Philip Knight on board this week as he explains his reasons for creating a Cornish language album. I also attached an ‘artwork’ I did to further support the importance of such musical release. We have a great wealth of musical talents from Cornwall.  You will know more about it as you read further. It was fun catching up with Phil. He’s been in Spain lately bringing us the Spanish sunshine and giving us a glimpse of what’s in  his own and Cornish music in general.

•  Omdowl Morek is an album composed of melodic songs all in Cornish. How long did it take you to complete the album?

The album is the culmination of over thirty years of writing and performing songs in Kernewek. It’s a selection of the best of my own compositions, a combination of contemporary music and folk. I aimed to blend lyrics carrying traditional folk themes with those with a personal and modern flavour. Since the album comprises contemporary themes, I wanted to update my treatment to avoid a dated sound and be sure that the songs were suitable for the 21st Century. The whole process of adapting to these constraints and recording them took the equivalent of a month of concentrated recording of my vocal and instrumental work. The arrangements took a further three months of careful editing, special effects and production.

•  I like the crisp production that your son Paul Knight-Malciak has achieved. I understand he also arranged, engineered, mixed and mastered this album. How was the working experience with him?

As Paul is my son, he has a knowledge and insight regarding my love of Kernewek, my style of material and my musical aims. In view of his acumen, I was flattered that he had long pressed me to make a high-quality album. He has had ample experience with a top-flight band of both making music, arranging it and recording it and has worked with several leading technicians and producers. As a result I was more than confident in his abilities to direct, arrange and offer me advice. We trusted each other’s abilities and our working relationship was surprisingly civilized! Paul spent a further three months finalizing the results of my recordings, consulting with me once he had a draft album at the ready. We never once fell out during the process and I hope this shows in the finished product of which I am extremely proud.

•  All of the songs in this album are in Cornish but there is a corresponding translation to English in every song. It must have been a challenge putting everything in detail on the liner notes.

The difficulty in making an album purely in Cornish was that my potential listenership was bound to be limited as it’s a lesser-used Celtic language. With the lyrics playing such an important part in my songs, I wanted them accessible to as many as possible. Thanks to MAGA (the Cornish Language Partnership), I was able to provide an accompanying booklet in parallel translation, Cornish alongside English. Unfortunately, any such lyrics booklet proved too bulky to include in the CD. I was advised that outlets would be likely to place the album with a separate lyrics booklet in literature sections rather than music. MAGA helped me overcome this by creating a webpage where the lyrics could be accessed, whilst they also have available hard copies for distribution. I owe a debt of great thanks to them for that and their part in helping me to make the album.

•  How is Cornish music different from Irish or Scottish music in terms of melody and delivery?

Well, every language has its own lilt, cadence and rhythm and such is the case with Kernewek. It all comes down to the position of the stress, the type of the consonants and the length of vowels. In general, Cornish words are stressed on the penultimate syllable (e.g. Kernewek ). Often the most important part of a Cornish sentence tends to be placed first but there it also has great variety and subtlety of meaning according to the word order. These facts tend to dictate the way Cornish music sounds, particularly if we are talking about traditional, folk music. I suggest that Irish and Scottish music have their own distinct qualities for this reason but, in view of the many grammatical structures inherent in all Celtic languages, there are also many similarities. All the same, my own music is an attempt to bring a contemporary sound to Kernewek as a modern yet authentic, revived language. I have paid close attention to its non-English pronunciation but I hope the melodies will appeal also to English-speaking ears. The melodies of my self-penned English songs definitely have a totally different quality from my Cornish ones and only one of the songs on this album could also be sung in English (Track 5 – Karoryon Porthgwarra). In spite of that, Paul feels this is his favourite track, maybe because it is the least English-sounding, and a quirky, though folksy, tune.

• is selling your recording. I understand it also represents the best in Cornish music.

I have nothing but praise for Kesson (Harmony) as an excellent portal for all Cornish music, whether in English or Cornish. Its creator, Kit Davey, himself one of an accomplished Cornish family of active musicians and Cornish speakers, offers a professional outlet but does not seek to run the site purely on a commercial basis but rather to promote all Cornish musicians and music. He makes Cornish artists’ material available on a non-profit-making basis and, according to their requirements, offers albums as CDs or as downloads or both. Perhaps, readers might find the answer to the last question re Cornish music by trying a few samples on the Kesson website.

. Are you planning to tour your music?

I have no plans as such. The whole purpose in making this album ‘Omdowl

Philip: This was a beat group I sang and played the single-manual organ with (I’d have looked silly sitting on a tree, holding my organ!) back in about 1969-72. They were called the Velvet Touch and were Devon Pop Poll Champions.

Morek’ was to record to the best of all my creative powers with the help of my son Paul ‘s technical know-how a handful of my Cornish language songs. I have been a very active musician pretty well all my life since my teens in a wide variety of music, whether as a drummer, organist, guitarist vocalist. I have been folk singer, played in rock bands and beat groups, sung in a male voice choir, taught music to primary school kids, played in Country Dance bands. In a Cornish language capacity, I have been performing since the early eighties. With this album, I didn’t want my music in this vein to die and felt that, in some humble way, that it would be of benefit to the Cornish language world if it were to be there for all to be able to hear and access, and make their own. It is important for a revived language to be “sexy” so that young people want to take it up so it was important that the sound should appeal across age groups and, I hope, have a timeless quality. Otherwise there is always the risk that the language will become moribund and confined to traditional folk modes. It would not be to my liking to do a karaoke job of singing my songs to backing tracks though I obviously have these. I would need a band to reproduce the songs on stage as I might like. In the studio, I could form instrumentation as full as a whole band and, where vocals are concerned, multi-track my voice or even be a male voice choir as I was on the last track ‘Spyrys Agan Tir’.

. What are your major musical plans for this year?

Given funding, ideally I’d like to record a further ten or twelve songs that I’ve written in Cornish but, more than anything, I’d love to record a polished, updated, digital version of a song that I wrote for the Pan Celtic Festival in Galway, 1991, and which won Kernow first prize in the Pan Celtic Song Contest of that year. It was called ‘Deus Y’n Rag, Dolli’ (Come on, Dolly!) and was an attempt to create a Cornish language equivalent of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, whereby I hoped to resurrect the language with a rocking appeal to Dolly Pentreath to come alive again. She was the then-supposed, last-recorded native speaker of Kernewek in about 1770, and she berated an English philologist, called Daines Barrington, who was searching Cornwall for surviving Cornish speakers, in true fishwife style by calling him ‘Ty gronek hager du!’ or ‘You ugly, black toad!’.

If I can once more enlist the recording and producing expertise of my son, Paul Knight-Malciak, this will be my project, together with an upbeat ‘b-side’ ofanother of my songs, ‘Hunlev an Omsettyans’ (Nightmare of the Invasion), which recalls the reprisal raid on Dolly Pentreath’s village of Mousehole by a section of the failed Spanish Armada.

Bolonjedhow a’n gwella/Very best wishes,
Phil Knight

Well there you have folks. Another fine addition to our ever growing musical exploration. Be sure to visit kesson and if you like Phil’s new album, have a copy yourself.

1. Men Selevan (St Levan’s Stone) 00:00
2. Tamsin (Tamsin) 03:35
3. Maria Wynn a Gernow (Blessed Mary of Cornwall) 06:46
4. Dhe Vlamya yw Hi (She is to Blame) 10:43
5. Karoryon Porthgwartha (The Lovers of Porthgwarra) 13:49
6. Dehwelyans an Marner (The Sailor’s Return) 18:50
7. Myrgh an Mor (Daughter of the Sea) 22:59
8. Kyns ty dhe vos (Before You Go) 26:56
9. Spyrys agan Tir (The Spirit of our Land) 31:14

For bilingual lyrics and more information about the artist, go to…

All songs written and performed by Philip Knight

Produced, arranged, engineered, mixed and mastered by Paul Knight-Malciak

Recording generously funded by MAGA

To purchase the CD album, mp3s, and lyrics booklet go to


Today in pictures: Newgrange by Tina Negus watercolour/ink/pastel/waxed crayon 2007.

I love mixed media. This is an amazing painter by Tina Negus. My friend Paula brought this to my attention. We both love nice pictures and I found this heart warming. The colors are really vibrant and it is very Celtic. More interpretation can be found here:


What’s Playing: Corrina Hewat

An Derow: Cornish language songs with hints of other Celtic cultures

Genre: Cornish Folk Fusion

An Derow is a band made up of family and friends from Cornwall. The music is rooted in the tradition and atmosphere of the place. The style reflects the fusion of different influences that shaped the musical upbringing of each member. This makes An Derow hard to pigeonhole but has that undeniably Cornish style.

I really enjoyed the tracks because you can really feel the maritime breeze of the Cornish seaside. As a Celtic music lover, understanding the language is secondary to the beauty of the sound  that the language produces.

I think people who only listen to English songs because they can only understand English, fail to appreciate the musical value of the Celtic languages.They are missing out on other songs that they’d still appreciate because they sound beautiful.


Stuart MacQuarrie (bass)
Matthew Clarke (crowder crawn/voice/whistle)
Sue Aston (violin)
Dan Aston (guitar)
Phil Aston (guitar)

Find them in facebook:

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An Derow means “The Oak” or it can mean “The Beginning”. We sing mainly in Cornish and perform a Celtic/fusion style.

Just launched as of February 2012


Cornish language songs, up-tempo Cornish folk on voice and fiddle, with hints of other Celtic cultures, combined with electric bass grooves and electric guitars.

Dick Twinney – Cornwall’s Wildlife At Home Feat. Sue Aston

Cornish artist Dick Twinney is giving love back to nature with his wonderful wildlife artworks. You see his works in this video, featuring ‘The Home Coming’ by Cornish violinist Sue Aston. Enjoy the healing qualities of the music and enrich your soul with the colors of nature through the eyes and hand of Dick Twinney.

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