Let me introduce you to this energetic group from Boston. They combine different genres with Celtic music as the central focus , creating a new style that groovy, pop and fresh. It only takes a minute through A’Ghrian, one of their tunes and be hooked. Yes I have kept them in my radar for weeks and now I am raving about them in this blog. I wish to see more news from Soulsha because I think they can open doors to intelligent music as we are really in need of that these days.
As a fusion project, they combine Scottish and West African traditional music. Think of Afro Celt Sound System as their cousin, with a little bit of funk and urban. Expect the cool singing of Elias Alexander(who also plays the border pipes), The awesome keys and mandolin of Neil Pearlman, the groovy bass of Aaron Bellamy, the wall shaking drums of Joe Galeota, the exciting fiddling of Galen Fraser, the afro beats of Dough Berman and the soulful sax of Dylan Sherry.
Their influences are wide and far – reaching as they include Kila, Michael McGodrick, Tower of Power, Lunasa etc. I am sure you get the picture. I don’t know about you but I can’t stop dancing. The music is really infectious and full of good vibes. No depressing moment. Just lovely grooves and awesome melodies. I encourage you to try listening to Soulsha!
Still with Allison Crowe… About the song: Canadian poet, singer-songwriter, sailor and islander Andy Vine (http://www.andyvine.com) composed this song in the late 1970s. While music-making in St. John’s, Newfoundland he discovered “Woman of Labrador”, the remarkable autobiography of Elizabeth Goudie. Of Inuit, Indian, French and English roots, Goudie (née Blake) was born in 1902 in Mud Lake, Labrador. At 18 she’d wed a trapper, raising their eight+ children in the brush – her memoirs recounting life and travails and dwellings from a trapper’s “tilt”, and log cabins to a Summer lake-shore fishing house and beyond – all that comes with and from such a pioneering existence in territory that encompassed family homes in Mud Lake, North West River and Happy Valley-Goose Bay To read the complete description, go the You Tube link: http://youtu.be/uYBp3ooX-2Q About the song: From Corner Brooker Allison Crowe’s album, “Newfoundland Vinyl II”, comes this stirring song of a shipwreck and brave rescue efforts that occurred on November 29, 1875. To read the complete description, go to the You Tube link: http://youtu.be/LEM9DIRAGyk After listening to Souling and The Newfoundland Vinyl !! repeatedly, I notice something I never mentioned in my last article. Allison Crowe has a strong and distinctive voice. Singer/songwriters or musical artists who play their own instruments have always been associated with having soft singing voices. There are those who do have powerful voices but this is rare. Feel free to correct me but this is my observation. I think it comes with the fact that singing while playing an instrument is hard. You got to pick at least one instrument to channel your skills and emotions. Pop divas have their voices as their primary instrument. And for instrumentalists who don’t sing, they channel their power to that instrument they are using. But to master both is a challenge-I think. I have tried performing before and it is really hard to channel intense emotions when you are strumming a guitar. It feels awkward. When you belt out a tune, you do it easily when you are just holding a mic. And this is what I have noticed in Allison Crowe’s singing. She sings like a pop/rock vocalist but she is also that woman with the guitar. But he is certainly not Suzanne Vega or Judy Collins. She’s more like the late Nina Simone with bit of Natalie Merchant.
Holiday albums I listen to year after year.
The list of Holiday albums I listen to change year after year depending if there are artists who are able to squeeze into my top 5. This usually happens upon new releases. But here are the albums that made it to my holiday list which I will be listening to next year.
- Loreena McKennitt- Midwinter’s Night Dream: This Canadian artist never fail to dazzle me with her amazing voice and marketing smarts. What is Christmas without the elfin appeal of McKennitt’s music?
- Enya-And Winter Came: Every year I listen to this because her arrangements bring down the snow. I won’t say more but perhaps you know what I mean.
- Moya Brennan-An Irish Christmas: After her US tour, she will be performing a Christmas special in Ireland. The first lady of Celtic music continues to dazzle.
- Souling-Allison Crowe: Yes she made it to my top 5 and I know I will be playing this album next holiday season.
- Together at Chritmas-Various artist: I want to thank Anita Daly for giving me this sampler as there are many amazing Celtic artists out there worth discovering.
*** Martin Tourish and how Celtic music continues to inspire me. I sometimes get asked, how I am able to keep up my passion for blogging . Especially that it’s been years since I started this baby? The answer is simple. Music. When I hear something that I like , that tune inspired me to write something about it. It is like discovering a beautiful plant that you just want to take care of it because seeing it bloom give you much pleasure. Of course it’s been obvious that I also like other types of music. And this liking for other styles of music made me marvel at the beauty of Celtic music. Because it remains different and ‘not mainstream.’ We all have our degree of elitism and this is my little elitist guilt ….and well, let’s face it, you don’t want to be part of the herd right? You gotta find your niche and hone your creativity around it. For me the sound of uilleann pipes, harp and other Celtic instruments inspire me. I love hearing them and also the comments that I get from people when they say that my music is something they could not find anywhere and that when they hear it they are soothed. So let me give you a taste of this wonderful playlist by the very talented Martin Tourish. This is presented by Trad Connect, the leading site for lovers of traditional Irish music. http://www.martintourishmusic.com
My Christmas thoughts. Warning it’s a little bit personal.
Never be afraid to be vulnerable. I read that via Flipboard this week. I must confess, one of my fears to bare my weakness for anyone to say. And so I hid behind the guise of a blogger who just wants to post updates and ‘new stuff.’ Of course the ‘enterprise’ can be about that and building a brand. But that’s way behind me now. What I just want to do is to share music, and my thoughts about music. And perhaps a bit of my ‘voice.’
I know everyone has his or her own holiday plans. It could probably involve visiting relatives or holding a party. Mine is receiving relatives, playing Yuletide tune, completing a book by Anne Rice about werewolves of mid-winter and watching great movies. My aunt who raised me to become who I am today passed away last May 16, 2013. So it’s the second Christmas without her. I have to tell you, it is not an easy thing to go through year after year. But she also raised me to be strong and despite the pain I might be feeling inside, the ‘show must go on.’ There are moments of crippling pain especially when I am alone. There are moments when I feel I lave lost my relevance. I feel that she took the meaning out of existence with her, when she went away. As if living is a just a task I have to do because there is nothing else to do but to endure and to live for others.
I want to thank everyone who followed this blog through the years since its first launch in 2009. So may things happened. Amazing and tragic things. I met amazing people through this blog. And I know nothing lasts forever. We don’t have inexhaustible source of energy. Who knows one day I might stop writing simply because I could no longer go on. Perhaps because I have moved on to another venture. But I just want to say that this is my baby. I nurtured it, poured my love and sometimes pain to it. And I tell you, there is one thing that makes life beautiful and that is the feeling of being connected. That we are all part of a bigger picture, whatever that is. That we are not alone. No one is insignificant.
For my late aunt:
To my late aunt whom I call mama. You were the meaning of my life. And when all the stars fade and I have given all I have to give to life, your smiling face will be the last thing I will see…your voice , the last thing I will remember. And the universe will go on.
I will be posting a review of North Star by Kyle Carey