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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Even in the Shadows by Enya Premiered Today, Friday the 13th.

Even in the Shadows by Enya Premiered Today, Friday the 13th.

Screenshot of her recent Amazon interview with questions asked by fans

A screenshot of Enya: A recent Amazon interview with questions asked by fans

With Dark Sky Island, Irish singer-composer Enya has brought a lot of fullness not just vocally but also emotionally. The latest single Even in the Shadows deals with the end of a relationship but arranged in an upbeat way that sets the balance to the rather sad subject.

She started working on the album around 2012. It was a time of great turmoil for me personally. Another devastating personal loss followed a year later and you have to understand why I am looking forward to this new release. It’s like whatever happened to me in the past few years eventually led to this moment of clarity and yes why not a good soundtrack for that!

Perhaps a lot of bloggers out there would marvel at the technical details of the song(so many) but I am writing in a personal point of view like how her music means to me. We all experience loss in big or small ways. But it teaches us humility and kindness. That even experience or caution could not save us from things that are beyond our control. And in this trial by fire we get to know who we are and what we are capable of achieving.

Even in the silence
I hear my heart
It’s still a part of you
And even in the morning
when light has come
I don’t know what to do.

This is a very ‘human’ song that Enya has ever composed in her career. Not that she hasn’t sung anything like that. A Moment Lost and Last Time By Moonlight are examples of how she appeals to our sensitive side. In So I Could Find My Way, I think I wept the day I heard it.So yes Even in the Shadows is a perfect pop song. Think Brian Wilson and Phil Spector. The drum and bass parts are insistent that make you feel like you need to move. In the chorus part with the lines:

I could fall and keep on falling
I could call and keep on calling

You can notice her voice breaking and plunging into a dark contralto. It’s like she is singing this tune in an old crumbling castle overlooking a grey morning outside, with leaves falling all over the place. You can feel the desolation but also an inner strength as propelled by the rhythm and the higher choral parts. Roma Ryan is a lyrical genius. Her words resonate to all regardless of experiences. We all feel them. And Nicky Ryan made the music so huge and so powerful.

Even in the Shadows is perhaps the new direction for Enya. And when you lived life within the shadows and light, you sometimes loose that anchor. And you have nowhere to go but the future. And you perhaps end up like this beautiful tune. Full of excitement and healing.

Dark Sky Island her latest album will be available worldwide on November 20, 2015. Visit www.enya.com for more details.

Enya – Dark Sky Island (Album Sampler) is now available!

The Irish goddess of music is releasing her new album Dark Sky Island this November 20. I know you are all scrambling to get your copies. There are people who already pre ordered the album. The excitement and madness surrounding the pre-release of the album is overwhelming. Enya season is always a season of magic and joy. I don’t know about you but I’ve been a fan since the very early 90s and will continue to be so.

Dark Sky Island sees our melodic diva evolving musically. She has also stretched her voice like never before.Now, it is hard to really know what each song will be like from beginning to finish but we all get the impression that they will be fantastic. I got goosebumps listening to The Loxian Gates. Who won’t be? The marching tempo sounds glorious. The language sounds Gaelic. But I am not surprise. Didn’t Enya mentioned that Loxians are actually the future Celts? There is an element of Sci Fi in her recent albums. Roma Ryan(her lyricist) has always been a great fan of Hard Science, Poetry and the visual arts. These women combined forces to create timeless albums. Nicky Ryan has added his production genius and as a fan of Brian Wilson he made the Enya sound accessible to the mainstream.

By the way didn’t the record the album inside Abbey Road Studios?

I can’t wait for November 20. This year is a good year. It’s Enya seaso all over again. Hooray to her and to all her fans all over the world.

Enya is back with Dark Sky Island and what have I learned so far?

New Enya album Dark Sky Island will be out this year, November 20.

Seven years folks. Yes it took Enya seven years to come up with a follow-up to her holiday album And Winter Came. And for the first time in many months I am doing a bit of redesigning. This site looked old. I feel old when I post here. So many things happened. I have moved on. I discovered new passion. The seasons have changed me. But one thing remains. Every time she releases a new album I feel the seasons of my life shifting. It’s like whatever happened to me, no matter what happens…that familiar sound will always remind me what kind of person I am(or used to be). Do you also feel this? Do you feel the bite of revisiting old events? Ir is there something in your past that is not that bad? I think for me if ever there is that ‘equalizer’ then it has to be music. With the release of Dark Sky Island, what have I learned from Enya?

  1. Stay true to your style no matter what people say. Yes we always add layers. We don’t change but we are capable of morphing into another person when situation calls for it.I don’t ever forget a mistake and I always remember. But then again we customise our lives to carry on because that’s what we have to do. If we don’t then we die. And when we die then all the struggles that we did and those who loved us will be for nothing. So yes we aim for the best. In all of us and everyone. But we will always stay true to who and what we are in the seasons of our lives.
  2. Don’t do anything unless you mean it and you do it passionately. This is what has always defined Enya’s career through the years. She doesn’t care if another album comes out in 2025 or 2030. The important thing is that the process was done as she (Nicky and Roma) intended the album to be.
  3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Have you ever lost someone so important in your life that every year you miss that person? This is the same with music. She doesn’t put out albums year after year. Because face it, no matter how innovative you are as an artist, you need to take a break from your fans and your art. Or else you will have nothing left to give in say, five years from now.

I probably sound tired or morose writing this. But life has been like that for the past two years. I am glad I have decided to hit the gym after all these years. It helped me in controlling my life, my moods and my time. And yes what life will be without Enya music?

So what’s the theme behind Dark Sky Island? According to Enya:

“This album has a theme of journeys,” Enya said. “Journeys to the island; through the length of a lifetime; through history, through emotions; and journeys across great oceans. So although it’s not a ‘themed’ album, as such, we nevertheless have an underlying connection between songs.” 

Sounds like my life.

Hear the new single Echoes in Rain below:

And…Winter Came!

And…Winter Came!

awc-large

I have been checking out the instagram pics of my online pals. I see snow everywhere. Sad to say, there’s no such thing where I am. The tropics can be cold but not THAT cold. I take comfort in the way music takes us to places we’ve never been. Like books, they let you live life vicariously. And such is found in the album And Winter Came by Enya. Yes I have mentioned that this month is mostly about holiday albums, and I am taking my time to listen to albums I bought through the years.

I think I raved about AWC when it first came out yes, I am writing about it again yay! It is such a joy to talk about music with someone who shares the same interest. I like the white theme of the album. Enya has  themes running through all her albums.  The Celts- black ,Watermark – orange, Shepherd Moons – blue, The Memory of Trees – gold,Paint the Sky with Stars – sepia,A Day Without Rain- emerald, Amarantine – Red and finally, And Winter Came -white.

The white horse in the cover art. Take a look at that. Is it about The Order of the White Horse? I suggest you Google that and you might find interesting bits in the internet 😉  Her voice has evolved. I sometimes hear a likeness to Karen Carpenter as her voice started to acquire that deeper and warmer shade. Those who listened to her when she was still with Clannad would notice that incredible softness. It is not a girlish kind of softness. It is more like, diaphanous and otherworldly kind of softness. Yet she can hit very low notes that at times made her sound androgynous. But after later albums that signature voice has evolved and became more expressive.

She and producer Nicky Ryan always like trying something new in the studio. I remember after recording A Day Without Rain , they gutted their Aigle studio and replaced everything with hi-tech recording equipment. I keep tabs of anything Enya through the Unity forum. Although, I’ve not been very much active there these days. Her fans are always patient and passionate with whatever she puts out. It is true that any artist can build a career out of looks or spectacle. But when the music is bigger than the artist, fans will stick around.

I like O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I think it’s the Latin verses that really define the power of the melody. Her lyricist Roma Ryan(from Northern Ireland) has a huge background in different languages, mythology and history-Irish or whatever. I think the reason why the songs will remain fascinating through the years is because listeners can uncover different layers and references all the time. For instance, the song Aldebaran (from The Celts) is a tribute to director Ridley Scott ( who also gave us Blade Runner ). There are more things you will discover when you listen to her albums.

My next favorite track is Last Time by Moonlight. (I know Trains and Winter Rains, a single from the album is everyone’s favorite. But I always choose something that doesn’t usually make it to the singles).I used to play this track to my late mom. She would say that Enya has a beautiful voice. My mom passed away this year. But when I play Enya albums, the music brings me closer to my mom because we used to listen to her together. Oiche Chiuin (Silent Night) has a fantastic re recording. This is the second version of the same song she recorded in the late 80s.

I hope there will be another holiday album from her in 10 years. For now, this is my comfort music.

For info visit http://enya.com/

The Baxteria Podcast #14

The Baxteria Podcast #14

The episode 14 of my show is up. Yes despite the terrible week I am experiencing the show must go on.
Tracklisting:
Luke Kelly-The Auld Triangle
Finnegan’s Hell-Drunken Christmas
Caliorne-Scottish Purple
Samuel Smith-The Agony
Samuel Smith-The Ballad of Oisin
Poitin-The Congress Reel
Ashley MacIsaac-Lay Me Down
Declan Sinnott-Orbit
Mickey Harte-Unstappable Train
Mark Handley and the Bone Idols-Peace and Joy
Garrett Wall Band-Terra Firma
Enya-Last Time by Moonlight

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!

Flutist Brendan Mulholland Creates a (Sound) Wave

Plus: Celtic inspired Goth band BKR, Soundtrack for the ships, Sliotar pictures, Flutatious 2nd album, free mp3 download, artist sampler Philip Knight and the joy of music!

It it fascinating how much we can learn from our history. It is also surprising to learn how much we have departed from our old selves given a year or two. Sometimes, we lost the original cadence of our words that made people listen to us. Like natural elements, people around us,the things we read and the things we do-or LIFE itself- can have huge impact on how we present ourselves to the world. I was reading my old articles and marveled at the things I stop doing. There are no longer those highlighted words or links attached to words that make reading colorful. No wonder I bore myself easily haha. So on with the news:

Brendan Mulholland  Creates a Super Impression

The name  Brendan Mulholland has cropped everywhere especially in traditional sessions. It is no wonder why he gets a lot of gigs. His energetic flute playing is one of the finest. His style appeals to both young and old. I think his simple/minimalist approach in  recording makes him stand out from the rest. An electrician by day and a full-time musician by night, it amazes me to think that he is also a dad! 

Fox in the Town Set with its pattering notes creates an impression of drizzle. The Dregs of Birch has that head swaying melody that is filled with summer sweetness. His works are all great tracks that make his playing unforgettable. My druid is getting impatient to hear his new album Jean’s Hill (2012). I will do a track by track review when I have it and I promise you readers, he will be our featured artist!

http://www.myspace.com/brendanmulholland

http://www.brendanmulholland.com

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BKR – Gothic Music Celtic Folklore

They have been getting attention in the web lately as: A fusion of Gothic music with Celtic folklore. Hmmm.. so far I have no direct reference for the band except the name BKR. I don’t even know what that stands for. Do you know? Would you care to share with us what you know?

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Today in pictures..

Sliotar:Keltska noc 2012

More here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150978891303977.414037.43074838976&type=3

Photos by Lucie Vysloužilová

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Three ships  are arriving in Nova Scotia and how Layne got entangled with the Ceilidh

Noon in the Philippines means might time in Nova Scotia. I popped Layne a conversation. He was busy the whole week because there will be three ships arriving tomorrow. The town has a huge ship that stays docked the whole year round. He is excited about this event. I thought I’d go ahead and recommend a soundtrack for the event. So I gave a link to that Enya video up there. I said it is a good

A replica of the ship Hector which arrived in Pictou in 1773 carrying settlers from Scotland – the Mayflower of Pictou County. It sits next to the Hector Heritage Quay Museum. From http://www.novascotiaphotoalbum.com

soundtrack for the event. He said he will sneak to the sound booth and blast it through the PA. He said  that’d be awesome. Lately he has made himself into the circle in the DeCoste Centre where he worked as part of his summer job. I said he is da mafia man of music now. As for the sound guy he is friends with:

“Super nice/smart guy, really knows his stuff. I’m learning a lot about live mixing from him. since I’m interested, he’s letting me work the board more than he usually lets the summer students.”

“I got to mix a ceilidh last night with a piano, 2 guitars and 2 fiddles. plus 3 vocals, it was really fun.”

“Really? How did you end up with a ceilidh”? I asked.

” We do a ceilidh every week for 3 nights, its really fun”.

“Wow well if you get mixed up with the ceilidh again tell me about it so I can write something about it.”

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Album review

Flutatious 2
Track List
1.Wendel The Witch
2.Consumption
3.Dragonfly
4.W.O.W
5.Springtime on the Hill
6.Somewhere’s near to Nowhere
7.Haste ye Back
8.Morning Star
9.Drunken Drummer
10.The River of Ae

This album took me more than 10 listens before I decided to post a review. There are things we ignore about a song( or an entire album) with just few listens. Flutatious is a band that is both complex and minimalist in its approach sound recording.

Headsets or speakers, the slick production qualities are notable. This is a further step from their debut album. The style becomes well-defined. It seems that the band deepens whatever kind they based their influence in this album, composed of 10 songs.

Tracks like Wendel The Witch  and Consumption  come out with adventurous sonic blows that really defines the band’s eclectic style. There are slow tunes like Haste ye Back and River of Ae that nod on their New Age roots but tracks like Dragonfly and Drunken Drummer clearly define their Celtic heritage.

I recommend that you should NEVER skip a track when you listen to an album because it is like a journey. Every track tells you a story or a piece of a puzzle that completes the whole mystery which is the album. I prefer albums as opposed to singles.

An album is like a cathedral. Every track contributes to its architecture. What I see in Flutatious 2 is a great body of work. I can’t wait for the next album!

http://www.flutatious.co.uk/

Music sampler

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Artist sampler Philip Knight

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 http://www.magakernow.org.uk/idoc.ashx?docid=7dfc15fd-948b-4826-bd3c-32c55c7a…

All songs written and performed by Philip Knight

Produced, arranged, engineered, mixed and mastered by Paul Knight-Malciak http://www.paulknightmusic.co.uk

Recording generously funded by MAGA http://www.magakernow.org.uk

To purchase the CD album, mp3s, and lyrics booklet go to http://www.kesson.com

Reflections, Meditations and Walking the Mists


Thoughts and a little bit of book review for you.

The United States still posses the biggest chunk of my readership.  The UK ranks the second. I am amused by the fact that my American readers seem to prefer that I write about artists from other countries. To cite an example, the Russian band 208 Talks of Angels got a lot of traffic when the article was published and 96% of the readers were from the US. Yesterday, Marc Gunn, the Celt father topped the number of readership. Yn Chruinnaght CD review ranked the highest, the day before yesterday.

Thunderstorm! This weather is enough to drive someone into spiritual reflection.Which, was the case when I took a week off from the Internet. That included turning the phone off and avoiding people. This doesn’t happen often but it was a great experience. It feels good to realize that there is a big world out there outside cyberspace. I was able to finish reading four books and started mixing tracks for a future project with a friend who asked me to mix his next album. I am not really confident that I will do good but it is nice to be asked. He actually recorded 7 instrumental bits for me to assemble using effects. It was quite an experience.

There is a great book I finished reading. It is called Walking the Mist by Donald McKinney. The author put a lot of himself in the book. It also glimpse into the history of the Druids. Like me, Donald McKinney was also influenced by the music of Enya and that got him started into the whole thing. Just like myself. I never knew about Celtic music until I heard the uilleann pipes and whistle in Watermark. It was also my first taste of Irish Gaelic after hearing her song “Na Laetha Geal M’óige”. I think I have to credit her influence on my desire to be a music journalist. It is that feeling you get when you hear something so beautiful. You are at loss for words, but you want to describe that experience because it is that moment in your life when you reached an epiphany and you realize: this is something I want to do!

Here’s what he wrote(page 6)

Another indication was the music of Enya. Like many people, I had thrilled to the sound of “Orinoco Flow” and it even inspired me to have a Celtic Christmas that year-my partner bought me lots of Celtic items. It is almost embarrassing now to recall how powerful Enya was for me.

The author further expounds on the power of music in general(page 149):

To the Celt, music was a powerful tool. Perhaps accompanied by poetry, it was the key to the heart of man. The harpists that wandered the roads of Ireland were treated like lords and it was a great honor, well into the late Middle Ages, to have a bard attend your house.

Donald McKinney has other interesting topics covered in this book especially about meditation and maintaining the balance of mind, body and spirit. My big thanks to Paula who mailed this book to me all the way from England.

The author recommends the following albums:

Karen Casey-The Winds Begin to Sing

Anuna-Invocation

The Chieftains-Tears of Stone

Enya-Paint the Sky with Stars

Loreena McKennitt-Elemental

Loreena McKennitt-The Visit

Mary McLaughlin and William Coulter-Celtic Requiem

Aine Minogue-The Mists of Time

Paul Mounsey-Naboo3:Notes from the Republic

Gary Stadler-Fairy Nightsong

Various-Celtic Voices

You can purchase the book using this link: http://www.donaldmckinney.com/walkingmist.html

I remember the day The Celts came out on cassette tape. It was evening. I didn’t wait the next day to buy the album.

Celtic Twist-Twist in the Tale (album review)

 

 

I was so excited when the mailman gave this to me, that I stopped all chores and put this in my CD player. Celtic Twist is a duo that will win more followers with their brand of Celtic music.

There’s a lot of artistic polishing done to the recording of  Twist in the Tale by  the duo Celtic Twist (Phil Holland and Dave Palmley). Only an arrogant listener with the heart of ice will fail to appreciate these enchanting pieces. The first track, Maids of Mourne (based on Sally Gardens) opens with the sound of seagulls by the shore. Then, we have the guitar and harp by Phil and Dave. The song soon builds up into an Enyaesque piece complete with vocal layering that sounds like church choir.

There are lively tracks like The Raggle Taggle Gypsies/The King of The Faeries, Ye Jacobites, Gerdundula, Toss the Feathers/Scotch Sally and Whiskey You’re the Devil that will sweet you up your feet with their refreshing and energetic styles. These are all wrapped in jigs and reels.

The remaining half of the album are tracks that convey relaxation and reflection. These are elegantly crafted compositions. One song called Looking For Moss(third track), is already familiar because Phil already uploaded this track on youtube for friends to hear. Hearing it compiled here is a treat! I also need to commend her rendition of She Moved Through the Fair. In this traditional song, Phil puts aside  her classical singing style, to make way for the lighter, airy spirit of Irish music-more like Kate Bush meets Moya Brennan.

Takes Forever expresses that hopeful longing for someone. The melody just breaks your heart. The Far Away Child is a vocal track with harp and guitar. Once again, I noticed the lighter and sweeter voice of Phil. Heart of Ice sounds like a song about heartbreak or loss.   Cold wind, Cold heart, Still life, Torn apart, Walls of ice, Carpets of snow, Cannot stay, And cannot go….

The album ends with Climbing Pendle. Have you heard how a harp sounds like through an effects pedal? This will tell you how. I thought it was a didgeridoo or something. It used used during the intro and the last part of the track. Climbing Pendle is one of the most memorable instrumentals I have heard in quite a while. If you like the music of Loreena McKennitt, Enya, Clannad, Chieftains and even Kate Bush then you will appreciate Twist in the Tale.

Order of tracks: 1: The Maids of Mourne Shore 2: The Raggle Taggle ypsies/The King of The Faeries 3: Looking For Moss 4: She Moved Through the Fair 5: Ye Jacobites 6: Takes Forever 7: Gerdundula 8: The far Away Child 9: Toss the Feathers/Scotch Sally 10: The Wild Geese 11: Heart of Ice 12: Whiskey You’re the Devil 13: Climbing Pendle

http://hollandandpalmley.blogspot.com/

To purchase the album, contact: lmcrecords2011@gmail.com

About Dave and Phil

The exciting and dynamic fusion of two such versatile musicians creates a sound that is as varied as it is unique. Rooted in Celtic music but drawing from their diversified musical backgrounds, Dave Palmley and Phil Holland bring to this musical communion all their decades of experience and insatiable passion for making music. Their contrasting yet harmonious vocal styles give added depth and texture to an already fascinating weave of instrumental sounds. Their repertoire consists of many traditional Irish and Scottish classics and lesser-known songs, jigs and reels, but Dave and Phil have also combined their song writing and compositional skills to create their own inimitable sound. Dave Palmley: Guitars(acoustic and electric),mandolin, bass, bodhran and vocals. Phil Holland: Celtic Harp and Electric Harp, violin, keys, bass and vocals.

January 20 Marks the Birthday of Roma Ryan

Happy Birthday Roma!

I want to pay tribute to one of the amazing people in the history of music who shaped my life. Roma Ryan. She is the poet lyricist for Enya which is a Trio of Enya herself, producer Nicky Ryan and of course Roma.

Roma and Nicky Ryan met Enya in 1978; Nicky was managing Enya’s family’s band Clannad. Enya had just finished secondary school when Nicky Ryan rang her, asking if she would become a member of the group. The Ryans and Enya left Clannad several years later to focus on their own musical careers. Enya originally wrote instrumental melodies. Roma found these melodies “very visual” and suited to film work; she began to write lyrics to them.

Roma is originally from Belfast Northern Ireland. She is a visual artist as well as a poet and writer; her artwork, as well as selected poems, may be viewed at her official website, www.romaryan.com

 

One day, one night, one moment,
with a dream to believe in.
One step, one fall, one falter,
find a new earth across a wide ocean.
This way became my journey,
this day ends together, Far and Away.
This day ends together, Far and Away.
Far and Away.

That video above is taken from the movie Far and Away. Have you seen that movie? I admit it is a long one. But it is a beautiful story about Irish immigrants and a race for lands in the United States. “find a new earth across a wide ocean”..I love this line. For those who hope for a better place, a new beginning, this song echoes it all. Sometimes our journey to freedom from oppression doesn’t really mean going into another country…sometimes it is  a feeling we just have to overcome. And for those who f0und themselves out of bondage and pain, this song goes to you.

Blast From The Past: Banba by Clannad

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Banba introduced me to the music of Clannad. From there I started digging their old albums and I am still anticipating any release from them. From the somber and haunting opening track Na Laetha Bhi, the movie theme I Will Find You(Last of the Mohicans) up to the rousing The Other Sside, Clannad made an album for all generations.

I  admit I thought they have two lead vocalists. Moya Brennan has a way of making her voice sound different depending on the arrangement of the tracks. In There For You, she sounds breathy and low that her voice sounds like Marianne Faithful. In I will Find You, she sings in higher pitch that she and her sister Enya  are almost identical.

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Speaking of Enya, fans would probably have mixed feelings upon knowing that her hit Orinoco Flow appears in The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo…um you may ask which part? Well, the ironic thing is that it is featured in one of the most violent scenes in the movie-at least that’s what people in Unity(Official Enya Forum) are talking about. Look at this trailer:

That Good Old Christmas Feeling

Hello friends, readers and musicians. I have not forgotten you. It seems that the Christmas rush has gotten into yours truly.  I want to thank you for your continued support and readership, the CMF has become one of the influential force in the Celtic music scene.

After days of exhausting ways to get schedules right, Christmas cards and gifts have finally been mailed out. I think the greatest gift that we have this Christmas is having a slack in life after months of difficulties. I can say that no one can stay in one state for a long time. Things have to move and like the planetary motion we are all coming and going in circles.

The future can be scary because of its unpredictability. But always remember, what we are doing now determines the future. We are creating our own history, and that history will someday save us and heal us…and bring us all back together because of the meaning that binds us together. So my dear readers don’t ever loose hope. The future might be scary and unpredictable but it is also exciting. Let’s join hands to welcome it.

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On the news,

Musica Pacifica, a California chamber ensemble is gearing towards their upcoming performance. I got a copy of their CD on the mail and I love not only the wonderful music but also the packaging. For those who don’t have a copy of  “Dancing in the Isles” yet you better get one because it is a pleasure to listen to. Here’s something about the press release.

San Francisco, CA: Bay Area based early music ensemble Musica Pacifica (www.musicapacifica.org), now celebrating their 20th season, is pleased to present a varied and extensive “home season” of performances in San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Petaluma, Davis, and Sacramento.

Described by the press as “some of the finest baroque musicians in America” (American Record Guide) and “among the best in the world” (Alte Musik Aktuell), Musica Pacifica performs 17th- and 18th-century music on varying combinations of recorder, violin, cello/gamba, harpsichord, and percussion. Their very recent Dancing in the Isles CD has continued to get rave reviews from music journals all over the world, including American Record Guide; the German magazine Concerto; Early Music Today from the UK, and the prestigious Gramophone from the UK, who called it “one of the zestiest recordings of recent vintage to present works that once had them dancing and listening with joy.” And the online journal, Musica dei Donum said: The playing is first-rate: full of bounce, stylish, and technically immaculate.”

Tickets for all events below (unless otherwise noted) are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors, members of SF Early Music Society, Early Music America, and ARS; and $10 for students. Tickets are available through www.brownpapertickets.com or at the door.

PROGRAM ONE, entitled “La Bizzarria: Music of 17th century Italy,” features music by Turini, Frescobaldi, Falconieri, Cazzati, Marini, Castello, Vitali, and others. Performances will be held:

Friday, January 13th , 7:30pm at the Petaluma Historical Museum
20 4th Street  Petaluma, CA; www.petalumamuseum.com

Saturday, January 14th, 8pm at Trinity Chapel in Berkeley
2320 Dana St. (at Durant), Berkeley

Sunday January 15th , 3 pm at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
(in conjunction with the exhibit “Florence and the Baroque”)
216 O Street, Sacramento
Tickets are $6 for CAM Members, $12 for Nonmembers, $8 for Students
For tickets and more information, call 916.808.7000 or visit www.crockerartmuseum.org

Sunday, January 15th , 7:30 pm at the Davis Community Church, Davis
412 C St, Davis
No advance ticket sales. $10 suggested donation at the door.

PROGRAM TWO, entitled “Dancing in the Isles, The Sequel!” is a further selection of Baroque and traditional music from England, Scotland, and Ireland to complement the music from their original “Isles” CD. Performances will be held:

Thursday, February 16th , 7:30 pm at Ashkenaz, Berkeley
1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley
For tickets ($10 general admission) visit www.ashkenaz.com after January 15, 2012

Saturday, February 18th , 8pm at First Lutheran Church, Palo Alto
600 Homer Ave., Palo Alto

Sunday, February 19th , 4 pm at Noe Valley Chamber Music, San Francisco
Most Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, 455 Fair Oaks Street
(between 25th and 26th Streets), San Francisco
Tickets are $20 General Admission, $15 for seniors and students
For tickets and more information, visit www.nvcm.org

Members of Musica Pacifica (Judith Linsenberg, recorder; Elizabeth Blumenstock, baroque violin; Charles Sherman, harpsichord; and Shirley Hunt, baroque ‘cello, viola da gamba) perform with Philharmonia Baroque and American Bach Soloists, and also appear with prominent early music ensembles nationally and abroad. They have performed on such prestigious concert series as The Frick Collection and Music Before 1800 (NY), the Getty Museum (LA), Tage Alter Musik (Regensburg), Cleveland Art Museum, and the Berkeley Early Music Festival (3 times), among others. They have performed at festivals in Germany and Austria and have been featured on German National radio as well as on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and “Harmonia.” Musica Pacifica’s eight CD releases on the Virgin Classics, Dorian, and Solimar labels have won national and international awards, including Chamber Music America/WQXR’s 2003 Record Award, being featured on Minnesota Public Radio, and being chosen as “CD of the Month” by the early music journal Alte Musik Aktuell (Regensburg). Full bios of all musicians are at www.musicapacifica.org.

PLEASE NOTE: Harpischordist Katherine Heater will perform in place of Charles Sherman at January’s concerts.

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Peter McDowell
Performing Arts Management Consulting
New York City | Chicago | San Francisco
+1 773 484 8811
twitter: pmcdowellarts
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Here are my top picks for the season:
Enya: And Winter Came
Like last year this album always finds its way into my player. O come O come Emmanuel still brings shiver to my spine. Nicky Ryan’s production adds the superb edge to Enya’s quirky chord arrangements, laid back  instrumentation and lush vocal layers. Roma Ryan has made a lyrical gem to Last Time by Moonlight. This album is timeless and must have for any seasons, winter or summer.
Loreena McKennitt: A Midwinter Night’s Dream
Loreena McKennitt’s voice continues to enchant and inspire. Here is the gift that should be given to those who love the beauty of old time carols.
Nightnoise: A Different Shore
Nightnoise might not really doing music for carols but the atmosphere gives off that feeling. Otherworldly with hints of jazz and folk.
Maureen McGovern: Christmas With…
Jazz meets traditional. I got this way back 1990. This is one of those albums that don’t show off but just grows on you upon several listens. Still has that shine after decades!
More to come soon.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Been working like a rocket for the past few weeks now. But I will never ever miss this day which is like Christmas. This is the part of the year where everyone becomes Irish and everyone just love being green! I’ve seen films dedicated to this man and they all have different versions to tell. I discovered him after getting a copy of The Celts by Enya. In the liner notes it says:

The son of a Roman official, Patrick was captured by a raiding party of Celts when a boy, and spent six years in captivity.  He escaped, became a priest and returned to Ireland. According to legend it is St. Patrick who is responsible for Ireland’s conversion to Christianity and the final loss of the old Celtic beliefs.

Traditional, Irish Gaelic

Tabhair dom ghrása,
Fíormhac Dé.
Tabhair dom do neartsa,
An ghrian gheal ghlé.
Repeat
Give me your love,
true Son of God.
Give me your strength,
the clear bright sun.
Repeat

 

 


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For a totally related event.

The Whole Of The Moon(two versions with lyrics)

Today I have been listening to The Whole Of The Moon– two versions repeatedly. Someone posted this in Twitter and before I knew it I was hooked going back and forth like what you do in a seesaw. It s a boring Monday and I have been doing paper works with that song in the background. Oh and I have to tell you I am doing this on a break-not during work.

There’s something about the lyrics that captivated my imagination. It’s originally done by The Waterboys in 1985 from the album This Is The Sea. In the early 90’s, Irish singer Terry Reid covered this.  Enya collaborated with him on this track providing backing vocals and keyboards.

The Whole Of The Moon lyrics
Songwriters: Scott, Michael;

I pictured a rainbow, you held it in your hands
I had flashes but you saw then plan
I wandered out in the world for years while you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

You were there in the turnstiles with the wind at your heels
You stretched for the starts and you know how it feels
To reach too high, too far, too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded while you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth, you cut through lies
I saw the rain dirty valley, you saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings you just flew
I wondered I guessed and I tried, you just knew
I sighed and you swooned
[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/w/waterboys-lyrics/the-whole-of-the-moon-lyrics.html ]
I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

With a torch in your pocket and the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder and you know how it feels
To get too high, too far, too soon
You saw the whole of the moon, the whole of the moon, hey yeah

Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers and tenements, wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferryboats, scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision underneath the stars

Yes, you climbed on the ladder with the wind in your sails
You came like a comet, blazing your trail
Too high, too far, too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

Oh, how [Incomprehensible] did you see the whole of the moon

© DIZZY HEIGHTS MUSIC PUBLISHING LT;

According to GrecoCelt: On a less speculative note, Mike Scott (The Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist/Pianist of the Waterboys) has said that the song’s subject is “a composite of many people”, including C.S. Lewis.

from Song Meanings website.

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If you are in Cornwall and looking for a place to hang out for some Celtic music, then try Rule 7 Bar try this link for a complete info: http://www.folkmusicfestivalsandsessions.com/2011/02/friendly-traditional-english-irish.html

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Now for some Scottish Puirt a Beul is Sileas.

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Fisherman’s Friends from Port Isaac Cornwall will receive BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Good Tradition .

From  http://www.independent.co.uk:

Once known as a safe haven for fishermen and sailors on the merciless north Cornish coast, Port Isaac, with its typical whitewashed cottages and cobbled lanes, is now a place more recognisable as the setting for television dramas such as Doc Martin and films such as Nigel Cole’s Saving Grace.

However, the Fisherman’s Friends have proved that home-grown talent can grab the headlines, too. The choir, who have sung together for 16 years, first came to critical attention when they released their first album, Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends, on Universal Records at the end of April 2010. Since then, they have performed at Glastonbury, the Cambridge Folk Festival, the Royal Festival Hall, Union Chapel and, slightly closer to home, the Boardmasters Festival in Newquay and the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/ship-comes-in-at-last-for-cornish-folk-singers-2206359.html

Happy Birthday Roma Ryan

Roma describing the recording of A Day Without Rain in 2000

January 20th marks the birthday of Roma Ryan the Grammy award lyricist for Enya. I would describe Roma’s work as delicate, beautiful and timeless. Her works are something that one would describe as calm, thoughtful but with an underlying depth and current. Her poetry just grabs you gently and before you know it, you are drawn to her magical world. It is a world where Tolkien’s Elves would be seen. But it can also reflect the human condition yet never losing its elegance in a world of buildings and mechanical noise. Enya,  stated that the importance of Roma’s and Nicky Ryan’s contributions are such that without them, “Enya” would not exist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roma_Ryan So happy birthday Roma.

Roma Ryan, Enya and Nicky Ryan.

More on Roma: http://www.romaryan.com/

Enya singing May it Be live at the Academy Awards. Lyrics by Roma Ryan.

Speaking as a Capricorn who also shares the same birth sign, I got this quick facts off the net.

Traditional
Capricorn Traits


Practical and prudent
Ambitious and disciplined
Patient and careful
Humorous and reserved


On the dark side….

Pessimistic and fatalistic
Miserly and grudging

    LIKES 

  • Reliability
  • Professionalism
  • Knowing what you discuss
  • Firm Foundations
  • Purpose
    DISLIKES

  • Wild Schemes

  • Fantasies
  • Go-nowhere jobs
  • Ignominy
  • Ridicule

What do you think?


Enya, in Her Own Words

Enya Writes For Irish Roots Magazine


Thanks to Nigel and the rest of the gang at Unity for this information:

‘Enya recalls a special day that would change her life forever’

It was a hot and sultry summers day when I stepped down from the bus which had taken me from Milford Loretto College to my home in Ghaodobhair, County Donegal. I had just turned seventeen and It was the last time I would make this journey. My Suitcase in hand and a bag over my shoulder, my College days were over. There was no big fuss for this homecoming girl but after all there were nine of us with all of the trappings that such a big family commands. I was just happy to be home. It was the time of day that my Dad was in Meenaleck tending to the Pub (Leo’s Tavern) and Mum was tutoring her Church choir.

My grandfather Aodh O Dugain, was the headmaster of the local Primary School in Dore where my Grandmother also taught. ‘’Gog’’, as we called him, was also a founder of Aisteoiri Ghaodobhair, the ‘Gweedore Theatre company’. Every time I returned home I always made a point of reporting to ‘Gog’ not only out of respect , but because he always took a very serious interest in how I had progressed and, after all, he had paid my way in College. ‘’I’ll see him tomorrow ‘’I thought, ‘’ but first I’ll catch up with the girls’’.

Not much had changed. My grandmother was gently scolding my siblings for making too much noise and at the same time she waved a big warm welcome at me. The family dog ran to greet me and made a nice mess of my skirt with his big friendly paws, but it was lovely to see him and to be welcomed home, besides, my school uniform would no longer be needed now. I found myself caught up in the general excitement but very soon I felt the need for some quiet. I had gotten used to the peace and quiet of College so I sneaked off to see how the new litter of kittens were doing. ‘Peewee’ and her kittens had made their home in our disused ‘bunkhouse’. I sat among them and watched them play. The sun beat down, the odd car would whoosh by and eventually the noise just faded away and I was left to relax with the mewing of the kittens and the buzzing of bees as my thoughts drifted to what the future might hold for me. As far as I was concerned Music would be my future, absolutely nothing else would do, but how that would come about I just had no idea. Even in the disused bunkhouse I was surrounded by real and vivid reminders of the musical heritage of my family.

There was a full kit of Premier drums showing the wear and tear of many years on the road. My grandmother, ‘Minna’ on my father’s side, had played those drums, and my grandfather Harry, played piano. He had a heart attack while performing one night and was taken to hospital. He insisted that the Band continued with the gig. Sadly he died that very night. Sometime later my mother joined the band and she too played piano and sang. A ‘Kay’ semi solid electric guitar lay against the wall, sadly waiting for someone to pick it up again. I reached out ,and in sympathy strummed it where it stood. Then there was the Selmer Saxophone, my father’s main instrument in the Band , the Accordion played by my aunt, Rosemary. My dad’s brother, affectionately known as ‘La La’, played trumpet and his other brother Tony , also on accordion. All these instruments came from my dad’s Dance Band ‘The Slieve Foy’, here in their final resting place after thousands of miles on the road and hundreds of Ballrooms all over Ireland and Scotland.

Taking up the baton from my father and mother, my two brothers and eldest sister formed the group Clannad along with my two uncles Padraig and Noel.

It was unthinkable to me that anything other than music would be part of my life , I was only three when I sang at my first Feis Ceol competition. Music was never far from my mind but contrary to popular belief my ambitions were in no way connected to those of my family, as I knew I wanted to have my own career and make my own mark, but I just had no idea how to make that happen. While I pondered on the future I could not even imagine any other choice. I had taken up Classical music in Milford and joined the ‘School’ choir on the first day I arrived, even this was not my first choir. I felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to learn more about my favourite subject.

My thoughts drifted to Sister Evelyn, my Music tutor, a meticulous and dedicated lady, and so generous in the way she imparted her great knowledge of music to me, but now the future lay before me, my thoughts were in full flight when suddenly, my cosy daydreaming was rudely interrupted as one of my sisters called my name ‘’Enya, it’s Nicky Ryan on the phone, he wants to speak to you’’… and so the future began.

http://www.irishrootsmedia.com/

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I think this is a wonderful piece of information about the celebrated Irish musician Enya. I’ve always admired her story. There’s this fairy tale quality to it. And most of her music says that feeling. I have known all along that she is intelligent and warm-hearted as her music. I am glad this coincidence happened to her. What if Nicky didn’t call that day?

With her style of writing, I’d say she has the gift of gab. I like her prose. It is rich and atmospheric. There is such emphasis on detail. And it’s nice to hear that she has a loving family . This is something al Enya fans would love to read about. Please share the news. Also visit and become a member of unity.enya.com the official Enya forum.

Back to the 90s

Tubular Bells II Live from Edinburg Castle.


Mike Oldfield is probably the world’s best instrumentalist-move over Yngwie Malmsteem, and the rest of the so-called guitar legends. Not only that his repertoire is wide, he is also ambitious in his stage performances incorporating not only countless instrumentalists to back him up, but a fireworks display at the end of this 1992 performance.

The DVD sound quality is so shockingly clear that you can hear every instrument from the tubular bells to the glockenspiel. He combines theater, movie, highland music as well as Americana to create a seamless concert that progresses from one track to another without interruption. Here he displays his virtuosity in all types of guitars, keyboards, vocal and percussion. Most world renounce guitars are only good in..well, playing guitars. But Mike can play everything.

Mike’s music is a combination of folk, rock and classical elements. Those who saw him live can attest to the fact that it’s always a transporting experience. He has the power to draw you to another realm. Elements introduced me to Mike Oldfiled’s music. From then on I started discovering his albums and realize that he is a class by himself. Critics would argue saying legends like Zappa rules. Well, that’s for rockers to decide-and rock is just one branch of a big tree known as music. And Mike is the trunk.

The Celts by Enya


Originally release in 1987 in the heyday of New Wave, bad hair and padded shirts, The Celts was a rare bird in the jungle of music. Originally made for a BBC documentary of the same title, The Celts was the start of the true Enya sound. What’s so good about this is her use of vocals, Piano, Juno 60, DX7, Emulator II and Kurzweil which were the most reliable at that time. Guest musicians like Arty McGlynn (electric guitar) , Liam O’Flynn(Uillean Pipes)…..added their talents making this effort a one of a kind album. The sound engineering was still at its first stage and you can tell the difference in the sound if you play it side by side with her other albums. In 1990 it was reissued probably due to the popularity of Watermark and Shepherd Moons. This album version has also undergone re-mastering.

The album opens with The Celts which became the theme of the series. There is a war like cadence in the music punctuated by Gaelic words with a corresponding choral aahhs in the background.

Aldebaran the second track is inspired by Ridley Scott, this has a Blade Runner, floating feel to it. I tell you when I heard this the first time, the hair at the back of my neck stood.  This is a gorgeous piece with the arpeggios and Enya hitting the high notes close to the end of the track.

I Want Tomorrow is the only song that has verse chorus verse structure. There is this wonderful music video accompanying it with Enya setting a car on fire with her finger tips. Her voice at this time was young but there is that unmistakable ethereal quality to it.  The electric guitar added a rock feel to this ballad. It has a slow marching rhythm to it.

March of the Celts was actually the song that made BBC decide to sign her up for a full 72- minute soundtrack. There is a long story which you could find in her A Life in Music Documentary. The piano melody is layered by a synthesizer organ sound along with her choral  aahhs and in the end a marching  synth drum beat and a dissonant aahs before the amazing coda.

Deireadh On Tuath would sound creepy to some due to the scale she uses. There is the one article I’ve read about the time when she had to spend countless hours practicing the book of scales in high school while her siblings played out in the sun. Her voice also gets really low which is a  kind of a wonder given her usually light soprano at the time. This is when the argument comes in about her as a soprano with an alto range.

The Sun in the Stream is one song whose melody is done entirely in Uillean pipes. The mix of the melody track was also very sharp to a point that the pipes were really highlighted making it totally sharper. Again more minor chords and vocal harmonies.

To Go Beyond is an intro to the complete To Go Beyond II which is the last track.

Fairytale is akin to a fugue with it’s keyboard melodies layered over one another until it builds up. This anthem about the fairy princess Etain had been feature in TV shows . In her harmony vocals, Enya sounds as if she is blowing raspberry seeds into the mic. This is really an inventive harmonizing I never heard any singer did.

Epona is a playful keyboard piece with has a swaying and hop step feel to it.

Triad is a song cycle in three parts. Again Enya sings in low vocals that could probably be painful if done by ordinary singers. The Gregorian chant like piece is followed by an instrumental that sounds modern but the melody sounds almost medieval. It is closed by what appears to be a choral piece in an odd time signature. Down beat is the perfect description to this type of pattern or rhythm.

Portrait(Out of the Blue) is something that lovers of Rachmaninov and any romantic composers would love. This piano piece is timeless and the emotion it evokes is that of longing, wonder and melancholy.

Boadicea. Now this song has become so popular in recent times that even rappers sampled it. But when it was heard the first time, I am sure this one evoked fear, wonder and a sense of victory upon listeners-especially those who are familiar with the lore of this Iceni queen.

Bard Dance is another piece with a medieval melody. The drum part was mixed by Nicky Ryan so low it threatens even state o f the art speakers.

Dan Y Dwr is a song done in Welsh. Like Deireadh On Tuath, there is that odd scale and bell sound. And yes Enya once again singing in a vocals so low it sounds eerie and lovely at the same time.

To Go Beyond II closes this album with its crystalline light vocal mix. The violin of Patrick Halling was mixed in a lush way that like the Uillean Pipes previously, it sounds so sharp.

Over all, The Celts provides a rewarding experience that makes you dig up your music knowledge in polyphony, contrapuntal, scales, baroque and sacred hymns. I never dare mention ambient here because this is never meant to be just a background music . I don’t know, I never treat mellow music as such. For me pure musical geometry can only be studied when the music is unhurried or sounding as if they are horses charging and chasing after one another. Fast and loud are not synonymous with clever and inventive. They’re just…fast and loud.

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enya_(album)

Gael Force


I bought this DVD for the sole reason of watching Clannad. Then I realized that acts like The Afro Celt Sound System, Ashley MacIsaac, DeDannan ,The Chieftains ,Christy Moore. Brian Kennedy among the rest are never to be missed. This is Celtic music education all in one DVD from 1997.

Ronan Hardiman: Solas


Aside from being the composer for dancer extraordinaire Michael Flatley, Ronan Hardiman is also a best selling album artist. Solas from 1998 proves to the world that electronic music, Irish melodies and a sense of the mystical can make listeners jump into the bandwagon and cry out for more. Elegant, pop and yet traditional, Solas shines as work of art in a time dominated by trying hard composers and performers selling out to the likes of David Foster.

Secret Garden: Songs from a Secret garden


Emotional, cinematic and dense and Neo Classical. The duo of Norwegian Rolf Lovland and Irish Fionuala Sherry created this one of a kind album that not only heals but is also very visual. In this 1995 recording, they incorporated stringed orchestra as well as folk musicians to create a music that spans two nations and also time. From the opening Nocturne up to Ode to Simplicity, the album feels like a trek into the magical woods. If you are a Tolkien fanatic then this is something you will never pass up. Fionuala’s violin playing is elegant as you would expect from someone who used to play with the RTE. When you mix bright Norwegian melodies and melancholic Irish atmosphere, what you get is a walk into Hansel and Gretel’s forest.

From the Vault:Enya’s The Frog Prince

In early 80’s, Enya was approached by Time Warner’s David Puttnam to write a soundtrack fo a teen romance set in France. The Frog Prince was the result of the effort which paved the way for her successful career. Now we have to remember that this is the Enya before she’s able to really solidified her style. There are still traces of 60’s pop, jazz and folk in her tunes. This is a good collection in a sense that it will make you think what if….what if… indeed Enya moved to another direction of music. The video above is called ‘Dreams” taken from the same album.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Frog_Prince_(album)

P.S. This is a big OMG! There was a power outage in the middle of this and I was shocked to find my whole writing so horrible posted. I am so sorry. Anyway I added another song by the same artist and the same movie.

Oh Look! An Enya Baseball Cap.

The Brennan siblings introduced me to Irish and the rest of the Celtic music in the world when I was still walking around in music. So it is no surprise that I will go back from time to time.  I went to Northern Skyline which is the Clannad News site and found that Moya Brennan and Cormac de Barra will be releasing an album called My Match Is A Makin.

http://www.clannad.org.uk/2010/04/my-match-is-a-makin/

and yes I’d like to get my hands on this even though I am terrible in sports like Robbi :

I think this is cute. You can get the merchandise here: http://www.enyastore.co.uk/

You can also get this cool Clannad shirt at the official Clannad store:

http://www.backstreet-merch.com/bands/clann/