New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by Poitín

New Album Out:Simple Pleasures by Poitín

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Poitín are:

Jaroslav Macháček – fiddle and founder member

Jeremy King – bodhrán, vocals, Brighton-born

Jakub Siegl – guitar, vocals

Jan Brabec – bouzouki, banjo, whistles

Sasha Marešová – whistles, flutes

Tomáš Pergler – concertina, whistles

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

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

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

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

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

Band bio:

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

 

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Cheers! Wrong & Right

Cheers! Wrong & Right

Cheers!

Band: Cheers!

Album: Wrong & Right

Genre: Folk-Rock/Punk

Location: Czech Republic

01 – Frying Pan 3:01
02 – Cliffs of Galway 3:24
03 – Molly’s Eyes 3:36
04 – Mary Hogan’s 4:05
05 – Collier 3:46
06 – Parnik 3:49
07 – Jim 5:03
08 – Poor Man’s Hat 2:24
09 – Tearberries 2:36
10 – I’ll Never Be the Same Man Again 3:47
11 – Rugged Day 4:11
12 – Wrong & Right 2:59
13 – In the Maze 5:07

Release date: 9 May 2013
Running time: 47:46

One of the most energetic releases in the Celtic punk genre is Wrong & Right by Czech band Cheers. I featured an interview with the lead man Pavel(Pafka)Steidl last year and it was fun. You get to feel the punk attitude sandwiched between melodic  tunes. Wrong & Write is fun to listen to.This is an all out party album not for the faint of hearts. But the sweet melodies will keep the balance between spicy strong sounds and crunchy beats. Yes take a bite. Feel it sizzle. Get drunk to the music!

The confidence is present. Take note: this band has performed in many live shows prior to recording this album. All the tracks were recorded live at the Saloon Roudna. The sound quality is also excellent. You really get to savor the crunch of the drums and the sharp edge of the guitars. The Celtic instruments aren’t drowned by the louder sounds as they are given room to breath in Rugged Days, Wrong & Write as well as other tracks. Katka Hofmanova also sang the female parts in the tracks when not playing the flute. This creates a balance with Pafka’s testosterone induced voice.Cheers!

Freddy Kruger who played the accordion maintained that melodic envelope all throughout. The fiddle of Filip Matyas has that Irish feel which I really like.  The punk power of Wrong & Right is brought  to you by the guitar of Mates Sistek who also provided the backing vocals. His rocking contribution is really important. Paja Vesela made the groove and the fullness of the recording with her bass.I just love it!  And last but not the least, Prema Broz kept the tunes in one place with his drums. As you know drummers are awesome.

The lyrics are in English but they are translated to Czech in the liner notes. I think the cover rocks. It shows a tattooed hand holding a lollipop . This clearly showcases the band’s sense of humor. My favorite song is the ballad in track 5. This is one of the tender moments when the band show their intricate and expressive side. I think this is a track that should be a single because it is easy to sing along. The other one is track 13 called In The Maze. But I tell you Wrong & Right is an album intended for energetic gatherings where you invite your friends for a pint of Guinness and great live tunes. All the tracks in Wrong & Right are recommended for big speakers.

Wrong & Right is one of the releases you should not fail to check out as it provides a satisfying listening experience. Especially if you want your tunes to rock big time.

***
Huzzah!
Music keeps me alive. I am sure it is doing the same to you. Whatever problems we may face in life I have learned to rely on the wisdom of the Sound and how it has the power to pull us from the darkness into light. I know that our  brothers and sisters are having problems over there in Europe as flooding continues. My prayers go to the people of the Czech Republic, Germany and the neighboring countries. These are hard times. I had hard times last month but I know that as long as we live our lives in music then nothing will ever destroy us.
Now on the lighter side, check this youtube playlist from another Celtic band from the Czech Republic called Poitin which I am sure you have read about them in my past posts. I love posting their music because I have their albums and yes I am a certified Poitin fan. Do check this out:

Info: It’s taken from a show they had recently in Prague-  with a live webcam and the sound quality is quite good.

Poitín live at the Vagon Club, Prague March 2013
Poitín http://www.reverbnation.com/poitin

De La Basse Bretagne-Poitín

De La BasseBretagneis an album by Poitin, a Celtic band based in the CzechRepublic. Since the release of their first album in 2000, the band have gained a steady cult following around Europe and the UK. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, people don’t have to wait for music to get into their music store. They can just search the web and discover the kind of music they want.

De La Basse Bretagne is a fine example of a musicianship that has grown ripe with challenges, time and passion. The opening track  J’ai Une Bonne Amie a Quimperle defines the kind of consistency you can find in the album. The strong and at times silky delivery of the female vocals and also the tight execution of instruments  make you hope that there is a follow-up to this Breton flavored album.

They have other releases dealing with other styles around the seven Celtic nations. But what makes this one great for me personally is the dedication to the kind of music that are associated around the geographical the area. And not only  do they give justice to tracks like De La Basse  and Marv Pontkalleg with  mouth-watering instrumental execution but also because of the sensitivity that Jeremy King and the rest of the band  put to this recording. I have to say when you reach track 11 of this album called Son Ar Sistr, you would be rolling your eyes  and tapping your feet to the exquisite beat of the bodhran!

I learned that Poitin make their recording in a live way and  have to do it all over again when there is even a slight mistake. Now that is hard to see in current bands with all the comforts of studio layering and sound engineering. And this makes them the best live band ever.

Members:

Jaroslav “Oto” Machácheck – fiddle ; Jakub Siegl – guitars; Jan Brabets – bouzouki, banjo, tin whistle, backing vocals; Jeremy Marc King – lead vocals, bodhran; Sasha Shantorova- flute and whistles; Dick Savage- Didgeridoo, spoons, egg, backing vocals.

Tracks
1. J’ai Une Bonne Amie a Quimperle 4:11
2. Kan Bale an A.R.B. 4:16
3. Gavotte Des Montagnes
4. File La Laine 3:40
5. Ma Jument Hippoline
6. De La Basse Bretagne
7. La Blanche Biche 6:35
8. Le Loup 2:34
9. La Jument De Michao
10. Marv Pontkalleg 5:14
11. Son Ar Sistr 6:18
12. Lída, Lidunka 4:00

Amazon sells their album now: http://www.amazon.com/De-La-Basse-Bretagne/dp/B007Q1IXNC/ref=sr_1_9?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1337494578&sr=1-9

Also, check out http://www.reverbnation.com/poitin

The Man Behind Bran: Vojtěch Jindra

Vojtěch Jindra Playing with Bran

Vojtěch Jindra Playing with Bran

The original music of the ancient Celts, which, paradoxically, with the “Celtic” music related only marginally, however, we know almost nothing … Vojtěch Jindra

The whole of Czech Republic is alive with folk music. Emerging from this place are the three folk bands, Taliesyn(more into folk and not really Celtic), Irish Dew( in which he left in 2006 due to musical differences)and Bran. They all have or had at one time one person in common- Vojtěch Jindra(pronounced as Woy-tesh Yin-dra) His current project Bran (also means raven in Breton) have been earning followers and positive reviews from all over festival as well as websites. My introduction to them was through a youtube post by a friend several months ago. From then on I keep hearing them through posts by Celtic music enthusiasts-mostly my network friends. This network ‘cloud’ of like-minded people also determines the kind of musical current that exists these days. It is good to have them around because they are responsible in tweeting, posting as well as blogging about the trend in the musical culture that I subscribe to. I know I am part of that cloud and it is good to be in this age where sharing is easy. I did a bit of researched and was finally able to find  Vojtěch and made a schedule to include this interview between his tours.

A graduate from the Faculty of Arts at the Charles University (Czech Language), he joined Bran in 2006 and is also the composer of several songs for  all the bands he is working with. He has a website www.keltskahudba.cz, where he links all of his musical connections. He also started his own label to promote independent folk music. He is with us today to talk about his work with the band Bran.

http://www.myspace.com/brancz

http://www.myspace.com/vojtechjindra

Bran brings Breton and Czech musicians together. If Bran means in Breton, the raven, which in Celtic legends is the messenger bird, then he has brought the music of Brittany to Central Europe and a little wind from the East to Brittany The musical instruments used and the diverse influences and origins of each musician create, give, put, bring together the particular colorfulness which makes Bran original. Oriented towards dance and songs of the sea Bran offers a rich and varied repertoire made up both of the compositions its members and traditional Breton tunes.

Current lineup

Robert Fischmann-vocals, flute;

 Vojtěch Jindra-ak. guitar, 

Tomáš Görtler-accordion, vocals;

Michal Wróblewski-saxophones, clarinet;

Petr Tichý-double bass;

Jan Chalupa-drums, percussion 

Your album discography is available through your website and fans can listen to the tracks off the album In Concert(2010). I have to admit I find your band’s version of Tri Martolod quite refreshing. I hear elements of Jazz and also that distinctive Breton sound. I am confused…your band is based in Prague but in your concerts you speak in French. Are you aiming more in the French/Breton crowd rather than your native Czech?

Both I think. Our ex-leader Dewi Pajot came from Brittany, so he spoke in French. But yes – we are Czechs and we are based in Prague, Czech Republic.

You are the band guitarist and percussionist. You also manage the overall direction of the music. Do you find it at times exhausting to do a lot of creative and well as corporate stuff?

It can be a challenging as well as exhausting thing… there are so many things to do in terms of the overall direction of the music, how things are looking up or sounding like  during tours, the business aspect … But I love it, it’s my life.

Five albums in a span of 12 years! What memorable things happened to the members in this span of time and also to you?

Many good and  bad things in our personal as well as working life… One of the highlights of our career I think was when  we played as supporting band for Alan Stivell during his concert. And we had to survive departure of our founder and friend Dewi Pajot. There were so many memorable moments, the jams and the beautiful melodies we created together…



Describe the Bran ‘sound’.

I have a problem describing it even in my native Czech. I don’t know – maybe natural acoustic sound with a kick. Simply – combination of voice, acoustic guitar, accordion, saxophone, flute, double bass and drum set. It’s eclectic but at the same town distinctive since it  reflects the musical background we have.

You wrote an interesting piece about the Celts and Celtic music in your own site. I found that everyone has his or her own opinion as to what the ‘Celtic’ sound is…has it been easier to market your music in your country rather than say in Ireland and the rest of the Celtic nations?

It’s easier I think. A lot of people in the Czech Republic are open to this kind of music. But I am not enthusiastic about  this label – Celtic music. Who knows really what ancient Celts played?

I noticed you have an eclectic taste and that includes listening to Depeche Mode and other music. I noticed that most musicians in this genre are more open minded and well exposed to different types of music compared to mainstream listener..Thoughts on this?

It’s true. For example, our bassist Petr Tichý began playing  as a  fan of metal, but now he’s a leading jazz musician in his generation in Prague. We are open- minded about music. An yes…eclectic.

Your schedule is picking up speed as this month is more about live performance. What are the things that remain constant when you and your band go on tour?

I am not really sure . When we’re on tour, exhaustion can happen but it is the music that drives us. When we play, we are not aware of how tired we are, we just know that we love what we are doing and also love the fact that the listeners respond to what we play. When we are home after touring, we don’t really indulge in vices.

To know about the band’s latest schedule check out http://www.branband.cz/ The website is in Czech but google can translate that for you but if you don’t have google, you can always use http://www.microsofttranslator.com/

Bran: Epic moments on stage

Bran: Epic moments on stage

Poitin’s Evocative Spirit:An Interview

The Celtic band from the Czech republic is keeping the world under a spell…




Jeremy Poitin

Jeremy Poitin

Irresistible spirit, frisky optimism and Gypsy charm-all these elements meshed into patterns that make Poitin really worth you ears.  I’d say, without my curiosity then this band would be something on an album cover or a magazine-interesting to hear or look at but never definable. Talking to the band’s lead man Jeremy, gave me a glimpse not only of the band but the personality of  the one who help shape it, the little things that make up the albums interesting and yes-that dear little goblin!

Personally I subscribe to their newsletter a year ago. So that gives me up to date news as to what they will be doing next. The country Czech Republic has always been a source of curiosity to me–from Franz Kafka, Dvorak and other colorful personalities, I also have a friend who lives there but we lost contact through the years. I wish he comes across someday -like a message in a bottle. Here’s the wonderful Interview I did with  the band’s frontman Jeremy. Enjoy!

Recording....

Recording....

1. I love your approach in traditional music. It is energetic,brave and it has a lot of mix on it. how did you develop this sound?

Glad you like the energy, Baxter. The energy comes from the musicians as much as the music, I suppose. Irish dance music naturally has a lot of energy in it, but it’s important to not let the energy and enthusiasm take over from the rhythm and melody. That energy needs to be focused, and when it is, and everything comes together there’s nothing like it. Each of us brings his or her own influences to what we play-Kuba (guitar) and Honza (bouzouki, banjo, whistles) actually have a background in traditional Czech folk music and dance, and Honza really likes Eastern European melodies and rhythms, so most of our albums have at least something ‘Slavonic’ or ‘Balkan’ tucked away in there. The title track from Bofiguifluki is a good example of that-it’s actually made of two tunes written by Kuba and Honza respectively, finished off with a traditional Eastern European tune. It’s got everything apart from the kitchen sink in there-sax, darbuka, bouzouki plus the more traditional Celtic instruments. We had a great time putting that set together and it always surprises me how all these different instruments complement each other so well.

2.Czech republic  is a country bursting with literary, artistic and musical talents. What is it about your country that brings out the best in her people?

It’s true. And the Czech Republic is also a country bursting with artistic talent, too! It’s a small country with a complex history, so some people aren’t sure exactly where it is or what it’s called (some think it’s still Czechoslovakia). I mean, when I first headed out this way from England, I wasn’t sure exactly where it was either! Maybe because the Czech Republic is in the centre of Europe it is a mixing pot of cultural influences. It has Germany and Austria on one side and Slovakia and Poland on the other and it’s not far north of Italy. All of these countries have rich cultures and I guess it’s inevitable that some of this should be seen in Czech culture too. The Czech Republic also gave birth to the term ‘bohemian’ which has all kinds of connotations, mostly good!

3.You play a number of instruments. What’s your favorite?

I only play the bodhran and sing, but it’s true the band uses and has used loads of different instruments-harp, accordion, banjo, bouzouki, whistles and flutes, sax (alto and soprano), guitar, fiddle, didgeridoo…I’m sure there’s more. I don’t have a particular favourite, although I do have a soft spot for the bouzouki-I love the bell-like tones that Honza gets out of it.

4. Tell us about your current albums and anything we can expect after this year?

The two albums we have out now are Jiggery Pokery and Bofiguifluki. Jiggery Pokery was released last year as an introduction to the band and looks at what Poitin has achieved since it got together back in 1996. It takes tunes from all our previous album releases, ‘Poitin’, ‘De la Basse Bretagne’ and ‘Hot Days’ plus some new experimental remixes by DSPI. I think it shows how the band has changed and developed and evolved really well over the years; the raw energy of the first album with accordion and harp, the melancholic and haunting second album with Neige our French vocalist and her Breton influences and the third album where Helena’s saxophones have a strong role in the whole feel of the album. I think that the new album Bofiguifluki combines all of these feelings and emotions and is a great expression of where we are now as a band. We’re already talking about recording a new album for the end of next year, which is great. We’re always getting new ideas, and as you’ve heard, we’re also experimenting with DSPI and celtic electronica. This week we’re debut-ing a live set incorporating acoustic instruments and DSPI remixing live on stage. I’ll let you know how it goes!

5.I noticed this little dwarf?elf/ in your band pic. What’s the significance?

Oh yes, that little goblin! Our first bodhran player, Tonda Mužík, is a sculptor and painter(yes, the country really is bursting with artistic talent) and we took the photo in the old vicarage where lives. As he wasn’t in the band any more, we wanted to have something that reminded us of him and this little guy happened to be lurking in the corner so we asked him to join us. I also just realised that in Czech, ‘mužík’ means ‘little man’, so it’s quite appropriate,really! He could also be a stand-in for Dick(the didge) Savage who couldn’t make the photo shoot-but Dick is a little more active on stage than the wooden goblin!

6. There are elements of fusion in your music. I hear a little bit of Gypsy,Jazz and other styles. So far this is working because a lot people nowadays are open about music. Do you see your band incorporating this in your future recordings?

I think we’ve always been influenced by other styles of music. Otik previously played jazz guitar before founding Poitin, and now he plays fiddle, so he’s bound to have brought some jazz with him, and there’s bound to be a gypsy/klezmer influence in there somewhere what with our central European location, especially when we’re incorporating instruments such as Helena’s alto and soprano saxes. And our latest experimentations have been with electronic sounds courtesy of DSPI. Thank goodness there are a lot of open-minded listeners out there! However, we had a Bob Dylan ‘Judas!’ moment the other day when we premiered some of our electrocelt material. Remember that famous live recording of Dylan when he played on an electric guitar and someone in the audience cried out ‘Judas’? Well, a similar thing happened to us, and Dick (DSPI) was booed by someone as he started his live mix with us. The majority though were really ecstatic at this development in the music and were really getting into vibe and dancing fit to burst! We’d kind of expected some sort of criticism, but I think music should not be static, otherwise it can stagnate, and if you don’t experiment, then you don’t evolve. Sure, you’re going to maybe make mistakes along the way, and upset a few people, but all of the greatest musicians upset people by taking their genres (and their listeners) to places they’ve never been before. I mean, it’s hard to believe that the Bothy Band, the Chieftains and Planxty were all considered revolutionary in their day, but now look at them, they’re thought of as being the ‘establishment’ nowadays. So, to answer your question, yes, we’ll continue to incorporate elements from other genres into our music and see where it takes us!

7. Do you think social networking sites such as facebook and twitter helped in spreading the music out there-the mediums which weren’t available 10 years ago?

Goodness, yes! When we started, back in 1996, nobody knew what the Internet was. We were still listening to music on vinyl in the Czech Republic! Oh, and cassettes, too. Nowadays it’s much easier to let people know what you’re doing by posting a YouTube video or uploading an MP3 to MySpace or any one of the myriad other music websites. And of course, unlike 10-15 years ago, it’s not just people in your own home town who get to hear the music; it’s people like your good self on the other side of the planet who we can have a dialogue with. I just had a look at recent CD sales on CDBaby-something else which wasn’t around 10 years ago- and people from the Philippines to Italy to LA have all downloaded our music-it’s crazy and wonderful! Having social networking allows us to have a relationship with our fans and vice versa wherever they are in the world. That must be a good thing!

8.It’s winter and I read about upcoming shows. How do you guys prepare yourselves for gigs?
Winter-right! It’s been a snowy and cold one so far in the Czech Republic. We’ve all been pretty healthy (apart from me-I’m suffering from a cold at the moment!), and we have a regular Tuesday night session in a very accommodating pub in Pilsen which serves as a rehearsal and a fun night out for everybody, including guests. No special preparation needed, just a love of the music, a warm coat, and maybe a drop of the rare old mountain dew to warm the cockles 🙂

Thanks for the great answers.

You’re very welcome, Baxter-I hope they make some kind of sense! It was a pleasure. Thanks so much for being interested. All the best to you and thanks for everything you’re doing for Celtic music. Jeremy and Poitin.

Links

http://www.myspace.com/poitinkapela

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Poitin

www.soundclick.com/poitin

www.reverbnation.com/poitin

www.poitin.cz (in Czech)

www.facebook.com/pages/Poitin-Celtic-World-Music

www.facebook.com/jeremy.poitin (Jeremy on FaceBook)

www.twitter.com/poitincz

http://www.youtube.com/PoitinCZ

Jaroslav „Oto“ Macháček - housle Jakub Siegl - kytary Jan Brabec - bouzouki, tin whistle Jeremy Marc King - zpěv, bodhrán Saša Šantorová - příčná flétna Dick Savage j.h. - didgeridoo, spoons

Jaroslav „Oto“ Macháček - housle Jakub Siegl - kytary Jan Brabec - bouzouki, tin whistle Jeremy Marc King - zpěv, bodhrán Saša Šantorová - příčná flétna Dick Savage j.h. - didgeridoo, spoons

Ginevra-Czech band that plays Celtic tunes.

Dginevra1  If you haven’t heard of Ginevra‘s Bida yet, then you might want to check the band out. At first I thought it’s Cornish, then I was wrong. It’s in Czech! Further research lead me to their official You Tube channel. They’re funny, melodic and totally talented.

 

  Members are into theatrics and customs are very important in live performance. The Czech Republic is filled with wonderful musicians and the band Ginevra is one of them.  Unfortunately there aren’t not enough resources for me in the Internet .The only sites that are helpful are their official Ginevra Music and this Catalog site.