Andrea Balocco


Meet Italian musician Andrea Balocco. He plays one of the most visually appealing instruments-the hurdy-gurdy. Musical influences include: Sergio Berardo, Nigel Eaton, Patrick Bouffard, Anne-Lise Foy, Grégory Jolivet and Kevin Dalot. He records solo or sometimes with an ensemble. His music is a combination of French folk with leanings on Scottish Celtic music. Personally, I haven’t heard someone this good since Nigel Eaton.

More of his  and other HG music in youtube:



The Shimmer of Sounds

Jazzy and electric

Jazzy and electric

The first few chords of Coburg St Nights from their second album  reveal the adventurous spirit of Buille. Formed in 2004 by Armagh born brothers Niall and Caoimhín Vallely along with Paul Meehan and Brian Morrissey, Buille became a fresh force in the Irish trad scene. Their music has a universal appeal. The production almost makes you think  of reflections on a clear pond. The instruments shimmer with transparency and gossamer smoothness. Everyone in this band is in top form. Guitars, fiddles, and percussion parts sound fresh as if every bit of them have been polished to make sure only the smooth silky finished bodies of sounds get to the listeners.

The debut album was released in 2005 while the second was in 2009. I don’t have news for the new album yet. It would be great to hear about new music from these wonderful musicians!


Spotlight Instrument: Hurdy-Gurdy.

The hurdy-gurdy made waves in the mainstream top 40 in 1997. Musician Nigel Eaton performed this instrument in the video of The Mummer’s Dance by Canadian superstar Loreena McKennitt. MTV made it one of their most played music videos at that time. I  think a lot of people started noticing this instrument after. Resources were not available until recently. It sounds like a bagpipe, but has the mellifluous quality of the violin. These days you get to hear this  in the Celtic metal band like Eluveitie . In this video, Alison Gowan of Canadian band The Swamp Ward Orchestra talks about her own hurdy-gurdy and folk festivals. I have to say this. They sound amazing!

Ark by Brendan Perry and Mary Fahl’s Gravity(Tentative Album Title)

I spent my late teens listening to World/Medieval/Celtic/Fusion duo Dead Can Dance . I admit it’s the voice of Irishman Brendan Perry that really got to me. It’s a haunting baritone that reminds you of  quiet walks on a cemetery during a faintly windy night. I  almost own all of Dead Can Dance album (on audio cassettes) and most of them now on mp3s so I can bring them along when I travel.

You have to understand what it did to me when I heard that he just released a new album called Ark. This is closer to the sound ‘feel’ he did for Dead Can Dance. Recorded in his home studio Quivvy Church ( it’s really an old church in Ireland he bought and converted into a recording studio) this 8-track album will be something to treasure for years to come. A totally rewarding listening experience! Check out the latest news about Brendan Perry here.


Mary Fahl is getting busy this year as two of her albums are about to be released : Mary Fahl: From the Dark Side of the Moon (to be released in 2010) and  Gravity (Tentative Title) – 10-song album to be released in 2010…I love this update! Recently I chatted with Mary about the three tracks that was floating around : Ghost of Me, Red Sunset and White Bird. These are demos she made with Bob Riley of Grace Pool. Bob passed away sadly and they were left forgotten .  Let’s hope Mary will consider re-recording them because they will blow your mind away with their beauty. Full discography here.


Nigel Eaton

If you love excellent Hurdy-Gurdy music, then you should never miss Nigel Eaton’s  myspace page. He played with Loreena McKennitt (1996-2006) I love the sound of this instrument and I think it deserves more exposure.

About the Hurdy-Gurdy


On Jenne Lennon

…She became a friend in facebook and wrote me a sweet message. As always Jenne will remain a favorite here @ Celtic Music Fan because of her wonderful talent and fresh approach in Celtic Music. How she sounds like? Here’s how she describes her music: A combination of Clannad, Lisa Gerard, Enya, Loreena McKennitt…plus let me add a passionate intensity close of Janis Joplin.

Listen to: and read her blog. There’s also this interview I posted.   Check out her rendition of Marble Halls  from The Bohemian Girl, an Irish Opera by Michael William Balfe.

thanks to knoeful for posting this video and providing additional info…

(Jenne Lennon performs with Indiana University’s International Vocal Ensemble at the Mary Goetze farewell concert in April, 2007. Goetze founded both the IU Childrens Choir and the International Vocal Ensemble, giving performance opportunities and musical learning to youngsters as well as university students who are not music majors. Lennon is a Chicago based Celtic singer dubbed the Janis Joplin of Celtic Music! “I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls” is also called “The Gipsy Girl’s Dream” It comes from the opera “The Bohemian Girl.”)

The Hurdy-Gurdy



You might have noticed this peculiar instrument feature on a Denez Prigent performance which I linked on my last blog .It was about about Breton music. This instrument is no other than the hurdy-gurdy. A lot will be said about this instrument if you click on the name link. It dates back to the 12th century and has been associated with medieval music. It has however become ‘fashionable ‘among musicians who make World Music. A Loreena McKennit video called The Mummer’s Dance also features the hurdy-gurdy.Now just in case you want to know how it really sounds like as a solo instrument, then check this out.