Bold by NUA

Bold by NUA

Artwork by Eva McCauley

Artwork by Eva McCauley

NUA:

James M Law: Fiddle
Graeme McGillivray: Guitar
Jacob McCauley: Bodhrán

http://trionua.com/

I think Bold is an album that has been conceived meticulously and produced artfully. Every track, every nuance is captured and believe me when I say that there is not a single track in this album that fails to induce a smile. I’ve often wondered what is it about Celtic music that captivates the spirit and creates this palpable sense of joy. I think like food, an album has to be conceived where preparation goes hand in hand with the mood of the performers. All those long hours trying to play, and then more hours in the studio mixing and mastering each track.

The approach of NUA in their music has always been a shared ideas of the three members. This is something I noted in past interview where all members share this cohesive idea about the intent and concept of their releases, starting with their EP. They have incorporated the same tunes on the EP, but some of them (especially Fizzbuzz) has been re-worked and recording at a much higher level. The carrier single is the captivating The Dark Road. There is that color of suspense and mystery at the start of the track, and later on, exploding into a climax of robust play of traditional instruments.

NUA has always conveyed energy in their tunes. But this is balanced by the stately melodies. This quality can be found in Ecklunds and Flying CDs. Perhaps it is how they put emphasis on the nuance of playing, or they are just masters of weaving tunes that evoke gossamer harmonies on top of driving rhythms.

NUA is rooted in Traditional Irish/Scottish music, but it’s the experimentation, originality and the thirst to push the limits of traditional music that defines their sound.There is that unmistakable manner in which they play their instruments that allow them to cross over. Something unspoken but resonant. Something magical and pure which  NUA truly represent.

Bold by NUA: An in depth listening experience.

Bold is like a train journey  that starts with an intro and closes with  outro. The journey as I described above in general was an intoxicating experience. But how does it really sound like if we take it apart track by track? Below are my findings .

Intro: The suspended chord pattern and effects set the mood for what’s to come. The train has opened its doors to me and here I go. There is that friendly and optimistic tone that marks this piece that is a minute and a half long. When I listen to this, I feel like I am waiting for an exciting play to happen. There is that brightness in the music and a sense of anticipation.

In Fizzbuzz , I noticed that steady instrumental  sound. It isn’t the keyboards since they all play acoustic instruments. It sounds like a guitar with this consistent steady sound. I asked Jacob what it is. And he said it is Graeme bowing his guitar with James’s bow. I have heard this method done by rock musicians but to be incorporated by a trad band, the experience is totally unique. It’s the an alien has landed and I am waiting for the space ship to open.  UFO on a train journey. Not bad.

 

The Draw proves to be an exciting fuel. Because of how the track was re recorded and little details were added, The Draw sounds fuller. The Bodhran ‘talks’ to me while the fiddle has this lush sound.  The is exciting because it is upbeat and crystal clear. It mimics how a bird beats it wings as it tries to catch up with the train. I’m on the window looking out. The world opens up to possibilities.

 

In Ecklunds, the rhythm takes control. This track makes me feel like I want to do step dancing. It has that inviting melody. Sort of sensual, playful and warm. I heard this is a tune that was made a long time ago. I will definitely ask them about it in an upcoming interview.

 

One can’t deny the Jazz influence in Happy Cammy Drammy Birthday. The mood this sound creates is unique. It has that interesting sound. I’d describe it as seductive. I think this is how something like honey, whiskey combined with lemon.

 

I sense suspense in The Driving Song . It is like a train has started and an adventure awaits. But yes you have to go through different scenes and this tune is telling me that the journey is more interesting than the destination. There are surprises as the structure of the tune shifts and goes back.

 

The mood becomes intoxicated with The Thistle and the Daffodil. This tune has that nice pounding intro that sounds commanding. Crisp surface of sounds coming from the guitar which in its wispy mixing almost sounds like a substitute for cymbals.  This tune tells me that one has to be bold when taking a journey. Yes it think it’s the fiddle saying that and the guitar trying to confirm that the idea is true. The beat is optimistic as it makes me see flowers and trees in my mind. With the sun beating down on the train.

 

The Dark Road sounds like a train ride  entering a tunnel. The interesting part happens in 1:35 when I feel like I am approaching the darkness of the tunnel. The pounding notes remind me of broken lights that zoom by. And after, the train moves into the light and all is fine again.

 

From exhilarating mood, the album shifts to a more warmer and romantic nature of Rich with Heart.This is a  ‘love’ track. A break from the pounding energy of the previous tracks proves to be a nice one. A love proposal on the journey? Perhaps a marriage inside the train? Who knows. Anything is possible when you let your imagination go. And this is a tune that is beautifully written.

 

The warm mood still lingers with Peter and Michelles. This one is a waltz that reminds me of music played during a buffet. It is welcoming  and warm. Something that is played on open door gatherings and parties involving people who know each other. And once again the speed picks up with Flying CDs.

 

How these three musicians can make a tune sound like an orchestral piece is always what NUA is all about. The layering of the fiddle is fantastic. And the title itself Flying CDs make me think of childish pranks and good times.

 

Martyns Yellow Teapot has a very Scottish melody. I learned it is a tribute to the late Martyn Bennet. The melody reminds me of sun flowers. Sun flowers on the field on this journey as the noon sun continues to shine.

 

The journey is almost done with The Hijack. I always listen to the bohdran in this track. The tatatatata is hypnotic. It’s as if the instrument is talking to you.

 

The adventure ends with the outro. It is already afternoon and it is time to rest. Bold has accomplished what music is supposed to do: to transport listeners to another world or experience. It is a fantastic listening experience that will make lovers of Celtic and instrumental music come back for more.

Track Listing and Composers:
Intro : Law, McGillivray, McCauley
Fizzbuzz : Law & McGillivray
The Draw : Law & McGillivray
Ecklands : Law & McGillivray
Happy Cammy Drammy Birthday: Michael Ferrie, arranged by NUA
Maggie Lake: McGillivray
Driving Song : Oliver Schroer, arranged by NUA
The Thistle and the Daffodil: Law & McGillivray
The Dark Road : McGillivray
Rich with Hart : Law & McGillivray
MacCarthers Road : Traditional
Peter and Michelles : Law & McGillivray
Flying CDs: Law
Martyn’s Yellow Tea Pot : Law & McGillivray
The Hijack : Law & McGillivray
Mallaig Two Step : Law
Outro : Law, McGillivray, McCauley

Graeme McGillivray, James M Law and Jacob McCauley.

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Skipper’s Alley Self-Titled EP

Skipper’s Alley Self-Titled EP

Skipper's Alley

The Band Members are:

John Flynn – Vocals, Guitar, Flute

Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin – Vocals, Flute, Concertina

Cathal Caulfield – Fiddle, Viola

Paddy Cummins – Banjo, Mandola

Fionnán Mac Gabhann – Uilleann Pipes, Tin Whistle

Eilís Lavelle – Harp

Cian Ó Ceallaigh – Bodhrán

Something exciting is happening in the trad/folk scene when these seven members of  Skipper’s Alley released their self-titled EP this year. The EP has four tracks all possessing diverse arrangement yet cohesive in a sense that you know it is their sound.  Ta Me Mo Shuidhe brings back the glory of Skara Brae and The Bothy Band. Rockin’ the Boat jumps at you with its grace as precision. Jim Coleman’s is another charmer  with its awesome break between explosive choruses of trad instrument and the quieter uilleann pipes/fiddle ‘talk’ in between.

Wild Bill Jones is is a poignant ballad with beautiful vocals by John Flynn and Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin singing vocal harmony. I admire the play of shadows between the quiet and the rousing use of instruments. There is a current that runs through all the four tracks representing the band’s youth and excitement for playing music. There is also something magical about Skipper’s Alley as a band. You can sense it in the first track with that sparkling harp intro. You can feel the affection of their music wrapping around you in the sound of the uilleann pipes. The banjo gives their sound a kind of organic feel. The fiddle adds that skipping energy especially during jigs and reels. I like the otherworldly rhythm of the bodhrán, an instrument that is both modern and ancient. All instruments are recorded with that lush approach in this EP

These amazing young musicians made a great start with this this music. It is something that traditional or non traditional fans will really enjoy. There is that rock n roll energy on top of their folk beauty. Have a pint, enjoy the tunes and feel the love of music!

Buy the EP here: http://www.skippersalley.ie/store.htm

Celtic Music Fan Podcast #2

Celtic Music Fan Podcast #2

1.Caru Pum Merch by Jamie Smith’s Mabon from Windblown album:www.jamiesmithsmabon.com/windblown/

2.Méav: The Calling ‘The Calling’ out on August 26th…www.meav.ie/

3.Sadhbh Ni Bhruinneallaigh – Liam O Maonlai from the Highland Sessions:www.musicscotland.com/cd/The-Highlan…-Sessions.html

4. The Dublin Minstrel by John Breen from his first album (JOHN BREEN)www.facebook.com/JohnBreen2u and www.atlantamusicgroup.com

5. Hornpipes for Uncle Joe by Maxim Cormier from the debut self-titled instrumental album.maximcormier.com/

6, The Congress Reel by Poitín, also a name for a traditional Irish distilled, highly alcoholic beverage. www.amazon.co.uk/Poitan/dp/B007N8…-3902860-7902456

7. The Draw by Nua taken from their four-track EP. trionua.bandcamp.com/

8.Whiskey Tonight by the Indulgers taken from the album of the same title.www.reverbnation.com/theindulgersirishband

9: Derriere Chez Moi(Y A Un Etang) by Chai ha Dichal from” The Gathering”www.ynchruinnaght.com/cd/

10. Cliffs of Baccalieu By Allison Crowe from The Newfoundland Vinyl:www.allisoncrowe.com/music.html

11. The Home Coming by Cornish violinist Sue Aston from the ‘Inspirational Journey’ .www.sueaston.com/

Visit www.celticmusicfan.com

The Rattling Kind: Rise Up EP

The Rattling Kind: Rise Up EP

The Rattling Kind

Catchy, energetic and profound. These are the things that come to mind when listening to The Rattling Kind.

Album: Rise Up EP

Band members:

Eddie Sherlock: Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Tom Forde: Bass and Vocals
Ben McGinn: Lead Guitar and Vocals
Anthony White: Drums and Percussion

Genre: Indie/Folk/Rock

Sounds like: REM with a banjo.

The Rattling Kind are an exciting band with a fresh approach to Irish music that’s emerging from the  Northside of Dublin. If you play the title track Rise Up the first time this is what you will notice: A gradual build up of instruments, from the gentle percussion, a single guitar note that seems to wink at you, and then the swaggering banjo plucking that introduces the voice of Eddie Sherlock: Michael Stipe with a “Dublin howl.” Mainstream listeners would probably mistake The Rattling Kind as REM with a banjo, mandolin and other assorted mix of Irish instruments but the five tracks off the EP Rise Up will confirm that they have an original sound and musicianship that should be taken seriously.

I think The Rattling Kind have this exciting and melodic sound embedded all throughout their songs: A really fresh approach to Irish music! Another thing I noticed is that they can rock the house down without being noisy. There is that strong affinity to folk that is intimate and warm. Tracks like The Mero has this Simon and Garfunkel feel in the midst of the Dubliners’ marching energy.

The lyrics tackle topics ranging from economic, political to other aspects pertaining to the human condition. Rise Up actually touches the current situation happening not just in Ireland but the rest of the world; especially the economic instability that triggers the rise of immigration.

Rise Up is also a catchy EP. For instance Follow the Moon has this signature ‘woooh!’ stamped at the end of each verse that makes me do the same thing. But in spite of the positive and playful vibe, there is one poignant track that closes Rise Up and it’s called No Time To Say Goodbye and this is embellished by the beautiful sound of the tin whistle.

With Rise Up, I think The Rattling Kind will attract fans of diverse music, especially those who are into the combination of alternative rock, pop and Irish folk.

Trivia: According to Eddie Sherlock, the Mero is their take on an old Dubliners classic, written by Pete St John (the man who wrote the Fields of Athenry).

Links –
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rattling-Kind
https://soundcloud.com/#the-rattling-kind
http://breakingtunes.com/therattlingkind
http://www.reverbnation.com/therattlingkind
http://youtu.be/_PanCzrCRJc
http://chewyourownfat.com/near-fm-label-sampler/
http://reviews.ticketmaster.ie/7171-en_ie/1722346/the-rattling-kind-reviews/reviews.htm

NUA, Working On Their Full-Length Album

NUA, Working On Their Full-Length Album

NUA

NUA warming up the cold

Celtic Music Update: NUA

Something is cooking in the studio of this wonderful Canadian trio NUA. Yes you must have read my interview and review and you can tell by my enthusiasm that they won me over. Crisp and lush production combine with the best cuts from the recording-yes they have what it takes to turn heads/ears. A full-length album? Sounds wonderful. I know what to expect and it’s always a collection of amazing tracks. Have you heard their EP? If not, try to listen to the bandcamp playlist above and you will know what I mean. Since when have I featured less interesting music? You bet. So what’s up with this article?

I got a word out from award-winning bodhrán player Jacob McCauley regarding this new album. So how hectic were the past two months for the trio?

Last month was very hectic to say the least. We basically had set aside a week (the last week of June) for recording and spent the weeks leading up to it rehearsing and putting together new material. It was a little more rushed then we would have liked, as James and Graeme had just recently graduated from college and university and we had played very little in the last few months. But nonetheless we started putting in the time and things began to come together. As we entered the studio to record things weren’t 100%, but it’s quite common to often make changes or add things when you are in the recording zone. That was the case with some of our new material. We got the bulk of material recorded and we will be finishing off the rest in a couple weeks. James and Graeme are both involved in a music camp run by James’s family in B.C, so they are now in B.C for the camp and to spend time with their families. When they return we will be putting the finishing touches on the tracks so they can be ready for mixing, mastering and production.

I know this is too soon to ask but I was curious about the promo plans for the new album when it gets released. According to Jacob:

At the moment most of our focus has been on preparing the material and recording, so the promo plans have not been set in stone at this point. But there will of course be some of the usual online promotion. We will be releasing a single from the album a few weeks before the album officially releases, as well as some live concert footage of new material. We will also be doing a small pre-release run of copies, but those will only be for sale at the local festivals/concerts that we are doing this summer. Lastly, there will be a CD release party locally here in Toronto, but the date is TBA.

So there is going to be a CD release party. That sounds amazing!  I asked him what to expect in the new NUA album in terms of sound and concept:

Well, if you listened to the EP we released last November, then you will certainly have an idea of how we sound, but you can expect this full-length album to go much deeper. The EP was essentially just our 4 favourite original tunes at the time, recorded and presented in a simple format. It’s really a challenge to explain the concept without giving too much away, but to put it in plainest terms; the album will not be your standard album that simply goes from tune to tune. The layout of the album, what happens between track to track and the overall flow is all a reflection of our creativity and how we feel the album should be presented. From start to finish we want the album to reflect our moods and our feelings through each tune and leave the listener feeling as if they experienced a journey; however that journey makes them feel. It is most definitely the type of album to listen to from start to finish. I’m afraid that’s all I can say for now!

I really love the EP. So this is going to be a progression from the initial 4 tracks. When a band is releasing an album I am always curious about the distribution upon release. You see, there are other Celtic bands out there who are trying to brainstorm their way into this generation of releasing albums and I am always happy to help get the word out through my interviews with musicians. So I asked Jacob about  how’s the distribution for the release going to be:

The distribution will be fairly standard. It will be available on all major music sites such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play etc as well as our own websites. Physical and digital copies will be available. The release date is TBA, but when the released date is announced we will be taking pre-orders.

And as for  what made the three  of them decide that it’s time to release a full-length album? His answer:

Well, we actually did have enough material at the time of the EP last year to work on a full-length. But we felt that it was a better idea to record and release more of a teaser at that point in time to help get our name out there and give people a preview of our music. I think it’s safe to say that it always was evident that we also wanted to work on new material to add to the repertoire already composed as well as continuing to grow as a group. Now that James and Graeme have finished their musical studies and have more time to devote to the group, it made perfect sense to begin work on a full-length album. Once the album is out it will give us an opportunity to devote to many more concerts, festivals and tours.

Sounds like an ingenious plan to me. Testing the waters before diving!

And  the band’s message to NUA listeners?

On behalf of myself, James and Graeme we would like to thank all of our devoted listeners for their support and we are really looking forward to rewarding you with our full-length album. You can keep track of our progress via our official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TRIONUA as well as our Reverbation page which has access to all of our music, videos and all other info: http://www.reverbnation.com/trionua

That’s it folks. Take note of the name : NUA. They are from Canada and they play wonderful instrumental Celtic music!

A Place To Be EP by Linda Scanlon

A Place To Be EP by Linda Scanlon

Linda Scanlon

Artist: Linda Scanlon

EP: A Place To Be

Musicians:

Jorge Carrilho – Drums (Portuguese)

Rui Marques – Keyboards (Portuguese)

Anja Brands – Violin (Dutch)

Syd Harris – Bass (half American, half English)

Joe de Bie – Guitar (half Dutch, half English)

Linda Scanlon – Guitar, Tin Whistle (Irish)

Irish singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist Linda Scanlon has grouped together amazing musicians to highlight her beautiful voice. The first time I heard tracks off her EP “A Place To Be” , it was a jaw dropping experience. Think of the late Sandy Denny and Mary Hopkins all rolled into one. The musicians who backed her up in this 5-track recording are ‘international.’

The mood of A Place To Be is a combination of uplifting, sweet and light. The EP starts with Sailing By, a track that celebrates the optimistic view of life’s challenges. The song highlights the violin playing of Anja Brands from Holland. “Because dreams are a kite on a windy day, free as a boat by the pier.” She sings with such abandon the listener becomes the song! You really forget you are a listener because the track wraps itself into your heart and soul.

The guitar in the Scholar reminds me of 70s folk music when simplicity was the key to making beautiful songs. This is courtesy of Joe de Bie. I love how everything builds up into a strong track backed by superb arrangement. Her voice takes an airy nature as she sings the chorus. I love how she enunciates the word ‘school books’ in this track.

Clothes of Sand is probably my favorite track. Her voice shines like golden silver. Please check out the keyboard part. Whatever sound engineering magic was used here, it definitely works. The song simply takes me to places that can only exist in books, movies and the mind. This track also establishes Linda Scanlon as an excellent tin whistle player.

A Place To Be which is the EPs title track is a work of elegant approach in songwriting. It is hard not to notice the fantastic drumming of Jorge Carrilho who channels his subtlety and energy to the drums like no other. The EP closes with the joyful Summerfly. I love how the bass creates the bouncy feel of the track. I think I already memorized the melody of Summerfly after one listen.

I believe that Linda Scanlon will enchant listeners of all genres. A Place To Be fits in any mood, any time of the day and any place you want to take this recording to. Its universal appeal is something that will keep listeners want for more.

Biography – Linda Scanlon

Born in County Wicklow, Linda began her singing career at the age of 11, achieving early success in a number of traditional Irish singing contests during the 1980s, After relocating to England in 1997, Linda briefly headed up traditional Irish band The Rogues, before seizing an opportunity to perform in the USA, playing venues in New York and Minneapolis.

In 2000, Linda teamed up with a guitarist to form the traditional Irish duo Klonakilty. This led to seven years of successful touring in Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland, culminating in a 4-week sell-out tour of Germany during December 2008, along with two London gigs, which marked the duo’s farewell.

Now branched out on her own to pursue a solo career, in July 2009 Linda completed a UK tour. The highlight of which was appearing at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen Wales.

Currently based in Portugal, Linda is hailed as the most “in demand” Irish singer on the Algarve. Her unforgettable performances include a tantalising mix of haunting vocals and virtuoso bodhran solos. Now with the backing of a full band Linda has been rehearsing new songs to reflect the change in direction for Linda’s musical career.

Linda’s new EP “A Place To Be” is the first step of many on the road to taking her music to an international audience.

The EP was recorded in Linda’s own studio with the help of studio engineer, guitarist and husband Joe. Together they have selected the songs, worked on the arrangements and rehearsed the other musicians.

This is very much a ‘hands-on’ release with Linda having input at every stage of the process from the mixing, to the EP artwork and photo’s. Linda enjoys the working process in the studio and knows her way around Cubase 7, she admits that editing a mix is a ‘joy’ and opens up endless possibilities, but is happy to leave the dark art of using outboard equipment to Joe.

Released on: Foxscan Records

Initial Release Format: Digital

Available from: iTunes, Amazon and others.

CDs from: www.lindascanlon.com

Initial Release Territories: UK/ROI/EU

Pricing For Full EP:

Digital Download: €4.95 CD: €5.95

Genre: Folk (ishh) / Irish Influence

For Fans Of:

Mary Black, Maura O’Connel, Nick Drake, Sinead

Lohan, Cara Dillon,

For Lovers Of:

Folk Music, Celtic Music, Irish Singing Voice

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

Introducing Athrú

Introducing Athrú

Athrú

Members:

Michael Og McCloskey – Bodhran
Roisin McCloskey – Whistles/Flutes
Cormac Crummey – Fiddle/Banjo/Bouzouki
Niall McIlroy – Whistles/Flutes
Damian McIlroy – Guitar/Fiddle

Athrú:Another traditional Irish band from Antrim Northern Ireland. The exuberant tunes and brilliant musicianship are not to be missed by lovers of Celtic music.

The Last Pint which is the first track off their online debut  EP already tells you what this contemporary Irish trad group can create: beautiful melodies, exciting tunes and great instrumental renditions. I could not stop moving my head to the energetic rhythms. Bodhran,whistles,flutes, fiddle, banjo,bouzouki and guitar are all showcased each having its own spotlight in this wondrous carousel of instrumental fun.

The Inver Bank Set lights up the playlist with its own brand of rhythm and  partying of instruments. By the time you hear Marga’s you will be smiling because the tin whistle sounds joyful. All the instruments sound like they like to be with each others company. Athrú is another example of such wonderful outcropping of traditional Irish bands in Northern Ireland. It’s the same place that gave us talents like Cara Dillon, Déanta, Realta and of course our artist of the week Eve Williams. You’ve got to watch out for this band because they have more amazing stuff waiting to be unleashed.

They are influenced by such diverse music of Beoga, Flook, Patrick Davey, Lunasa,  John McSherry, Emma Sweeney, LA and Moxie among others.

Current update:

We’re playing at the “Trad for Rescue” concert tonight night in The Wild Duck Portglenone. Admission £6 and concert starts at 8.30pm. Niamh McGlinchey, Kask and Ioscaid will all be performing! If your free head on down :)-Athrú

Links: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Athr%C3%BA/473703262700632

https://soundcloud.com/athru-music

***

Huzzah!

There are amazing stuff going on in my news feed again so I want to share some of them with you:

This was originally shared and posted by 67 Music:

Pacific NW singer/songwriter, Colleen Raney is underway with preparations for a new album. It wasn’t to long ago that we caught up with her on the release of “Lark”.
http://youtu.be/aNY32KeLtf8

You can get involved with this worthy project!
Go to http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/new-album-from-colleen-raney and contribute. We wish Colleen the best of luck and look forward to the new release!

Irish singer Colleen Raney has a wonderful new album entitled “Lark”, and held several CD Release Parties to celebrate. 67 Music caught up with her at The Secret Society Ballroom in Portland on Jan. 22nd, 2011, two days after the official release.
SkOt talks with Colleen prior to her show about her new record and other topics.
Learn more about Colleen, her music, tour dates and news at:
http://www.colleenraney.com
http://thesecretsocietylounge.com
http://sixtysevenmusic.com

Elva MacGowan: Cry Me A River (a single from forthcoming EP ‘Secret Love’)

Elva MacGowan: Cry Me A River (a single from forthcoming EP ‘Secret Love’)

Elva MacGowan Secret Love

Elva MacGowan

Yes folks Elva MacGowan is returning, this time with an EP called Secret Love. As the title suggests, expect standards, silky vocal delivery and exquisite musicianship. According to her:

“I have just recorded a single (Cry Me A River) taken from my forthcoming EP Secret Love.”

What can we expect from Secret Love?

“I am  blending my knowledge of vocal performance with my love of old time jazz standards and traditional Irish accompaniments.

Who are the talents involved? You will be pleased: traditional musicians Donncha Moynihan on Guitar and Karl Nesbitt on Low Whistle and Bodhran.

Arthur Hamilton’s ‘Cry Me A River’ is a unique cover because it features traditional Irish instruments by traditional musicians. Elva MacGowan’s Celtic music projects are widely acclaimed and supported by peers in the industry. And this single is a testament to that fine artistry and control. I love other types of music and Jazz influenced my growing up. To have it in the same room as Traditional Irish music is such a wild thing!

“And now you say you love me…

and just to prove you do,

you can cry me a river..

The way she sings it: total catharsis!

More here: http://www.elvamacgowan.com/

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Huzzah!

The Spirit of Ireland

How’s your Sunday folks? I want to give a big shout out to my friend The Wild Irish Poet Alan Cooke. It’s his birthday today. I also read in advance the copy of his new book The Spirit of Ireland(An Odyssey Home) . The cover above is just a possible cover as nothing is decided yet. I will be publishing my review soon and I got important quotes from this book. Anyway here’s the trailer:

 The Scottish New Music Awards

The Scottish New Music Awards: If you have any UK artist whom you think deserves and award, then go ahead and submit your nomination to http://www.scotmusicawards.co.uk/index.html

It is great to open up emails over coffee and so I had this conversation with artist Eve Williams who lives in Northern Ireland. She’s the one who actually talked about the link. According to her:

I really like the idea… coz nowadays music is not just about what’s in the charts. There are some great independent artists and they contribute to their local communities by playing and getting people out to hear them! The music industry in Northern Ireland is woeful. Hardly any venues, no publishers… the republic is better.

Review over Cappuccino

 In this edition: Nua,
Jonathan Kershaw and Eclipse

NUA

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

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

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

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

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

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

About NUA:

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

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

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

Helpful links:

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

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

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“Bizarre Tales”

 

Now for something dark and Celticky…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eclipse

It’s Christmas Now!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helpful links:

The CD is available at: