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.

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

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

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Christmas Carols from Cork

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

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

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

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Albums to buy this season:

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Play The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’ Leary

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

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

Check out the press release:

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

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

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

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

It also has an interesting background:

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

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

WexfordCarols.

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

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

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

Rhiannon Giddens – Voice, Fiddle, Minstrel Banjo

Rosanne Cash – Voice

Tom Jones – Voice

and also:

Adrian Hart – Fiddle

Eamonn de Barra – Flute, Whistle

John Smith – Guitar, Mandola

Dónal Lunny – Bouzuki

Kate Ellis – Cello

Greg Cohen – Double Bass

Mel Mercier – Bodhrán, Bones

Graham Hopkins – Drums

Joe Henry, Producer

Ryan Freeland, Recording Engineer, Mix and Master.

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

TRACK LISTING – 61 Minutes

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

 

Visit: http://www.caitrionaoleary.com

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Justin Elswick (Sleepthief)

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

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

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

 

 

Two New Albums by Allison Crowe

Two New Albums by Allison Crowe

Souling

Album description/liner notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album description/liner notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celtic Music Fan Podcast #3

Celtic Music Fan Podcast #3

 

.My radio show from Saturday is now a podcast available in youtube and mixcloud. This is my first show in http://www.radio-happy.com which starts at 4pm German time. I linked the sites of the artists with the tracks of the show. There will be skype interviews soon so keep on listening. I haven’t given up on writing blogs because it’s my first love but radio is a great way to expand my creativity. I hope you enjoy the amazing tunes from these wonderful musicians! I feel so blessed knowing them. I couldn’t ask for more 🙂

1.Iona-Les Mardi Gras-Reuben’s Train-Le Reel Beatrice
2.Aulaga Folk-Los Motiladores
3.Realta– Open the Door for Three(slip jig)
4.Brendan Mulholland-The House of Hamill/Sean’s Reel
5.Kinfolk-This Land
6.Celtic Twist-Looking for Moss
7. Kaliorne– Scottish Purple
8. The Gothard Sisters-The Landing
9. Jamie Smith’s Mabon– Summer’s Lament
10. Fiona J Mackenzie-Tha thu Beo nam Anamsa
11. Maxim Cormier-Big Sampie’s Reel
12. Cara-Rain
13.Kevin O’Donnell-Factory Girl
14. Qristina and Quinn Bachand-D Set.