Holiday Releases from Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy,The Gothard Sisters and SeaStar!

Holiday Releases from Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy,The Gothard Sisters and SeaStar!

Plus Kyle Carey’s Kickstarter update, The Celtic Social Club and Friday Frolics.

Well well well, lads and lassies my mailbox is buzzing! Music keeps coming in from all sides and this is the busiest holiday so far. There is just so much music to taste (with my ears of course). So first up…

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.

It’s been a while since I heard major releases from these two Canadian artists. I never thought it would be a holiday album with their combined musical talents. I am yet to listen to A Celtic Family Christmas so I can post a reactionary entry.

Here’s an in-depth info from their website for those who are curious. Again my big thanks to Anita Daly for always pointing me to the great artists! The album is available from

 iTunes, Amazon and the  Linus label store. The latter also sells other Canadian Celtic music artists of you are curious. Really worth checking out!

“For the album A Celtic Family Christmas, we’ve taken some classic Christmas songs and flavored them with our own brand of Celtic tradition,” says Natalie MacMaster. “We have celebrated Christmas in a big way our entire lives and finally have recorded the music. What ease and joy with which it came pouring out!”  She continues. “Many Christmas songs have gorgeous melodies that stand strong as instrumental pieces and I want it to stay with our fans throughout the holidays and beyond.”

The album creates a counterbalance between both the traditional and modern. Donnell says, “I feel there is a lot of depth behind the melodies and meanings. What I love about this record are the layers of ancient instruments, weaving through and around one another to create a Celtic Christmas tapestry.”

Please visit http://www.acelticfamilychristmas.com or for additional information on Natalie MacMaster visit www.NatalieMacMaster.com and for information on Donnell Leahy visit www.DonnellLeahy.com

Sound great right? I’ve always considered these two as the ‘stalwarts’ of Celtic music. They are the force of nature in the industry, bringing old and new fans together with every release. I am so excited to listen to the album to let you know what I think.

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New Christmas Album: Falling Snow by The Gothard Sisters

Have you seen any of their YouTube videos? If you haven’t yet, you should. They are amazing stage performers and they combine their mastery of the visual as well as musical side of their careers. They have a new album out, just perfect for the holidays.

Falling Snow will be released in the middle of December (16th to be exact) and I am sure this will enchant listeners.

“It was high time for a new Christmas album featuring the songs we’ve been playing at the Christmas shows over the last few years – there were many great songs and arrangements just begging to be recorded,” says Greta Gothard.

“The music of Christmas is so beautiful, it has been a delight to work on these arrangements of eight classics – Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Still Still Still, Winter Wonderland, Skater’s Waltz, Good King Wenceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, French Carol (Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant) and Joy to the World, as well as including two new tunes that the band wrote – Christmas Flower and The Happy Elf.”

The press release adds that  although the sisters are known for their Celtic music styles, their western American heritage can be heard in their music. This has always been part of their specialty as a trio and the fusion works positively. Expect magical sounds wrapped in sweet melodies floating, bright as tinsel in the cold magical air! Christmas is coming!

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SeaStar is a blend of both the old and the new, the tranquil and passionate, the dramatic and playful.-Official band website.

Here’s another American band bringing to us cool music. They are called SeaStar. I love that name! They describe themselves as an original Celtic Folk band from Seattle.Seattle is also the original home of Grange music in the 90s, if you remember. The same place in the western United States with many Loreena McKennitt devotees.

There are four members  who are also friends ” who love to play music and share stories with others.” Another interesting background is that they already toured around Ireland, Scotland and other places in Europe.They even shared the stage with notable performers  like Dougie MacLean.

The new album is called Never Go Back. The band described the music as “Dusty dreams, salty seas, and a few silver linings tangle with powerful vocals, contagious melodies, and singable choruses.” They also promised to ” bring together a unique fusion of Celtic, Americana, Folk, and Bluegrass.”

Sounds like an interesting combination! I will post my reaction after I’ve listened to the whole album so watch out for that.

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Kyle Carey has reached her Kickstarter goal with 102% this week. This is really good news because it means her fans are passionate about what she does. I am so excited that the new album will happen and we are all part of it! Congratulations Kyle!

I received this link from the Facebook Celtic Music Fan page and it is an interesting concert held in Brittany. They are called The Celtic Social Club. And judging from the Reggae infused music, they are very inclusive  and they keep the listeners groovin.’ Just look at those people! Visit their website to know more.

 

Have you also heard of the Friday Frolics? They are a Celtic/Folk band from Barcelona Spain. I remember featuring a band from Spain before called Aulaga Folk so I feel a bit nostalgic.
Their  second album is called  Factor 3,has just been released. I haven’t heard the new album yet but I will post the entry here when I am done listening. Their Facebook page is right down below. Check out the amazing video. The music will blow you away. Sooo good!

facebook.com/FridayFrolics

 

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The Led Farmers: They have a likability that is instant. The music is full of vigour and wonderful melodies.

The Led Farmers’ website says they are touring around Europe but they will start their North American tour in the last part of August. There is no doubt they will fill venues with their energetic sound and a style that is homegrown as it is punk with its rebelliousness.

Katie is the latest album that landed on my speakers from Ireland. Caution: Their music encourages you to get up and move. . So who are they? The band is comprise of the following:Brendan ‘Dog’ Walsh: Banjos. Ross O’Farrell: Bass. Glenn Malone: Drums. Shay Long: Guitar.

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Share the Wealth is the latest single off the album. The music video shows the band playing in what appears to be a living room. There is an alternate scene(acted by the band members) of what looks like a money-lender making deals over the phone. First client comes in and signs a contract. He hands it back to the man who tears it up and laughs at his face while smoking a cigar.Then another appears, same thing happens but this time he puts an X on the paper to the dismay of the other guy. Third guy gets his paper crumpled. In the end he receives a termination letter. He packs his stuff and walks out of his office. Outside, he meets the men he conned. Their expressions say:” See what happens to greedy people?”
What I like about them as a band? The reviewers are right. They have this likeability factor. They’ve got  what you need in a superstar Irish band: Sound, looks, and stage presence. Any banjo fan will rejoice as this recording highlights the instrument very well. Guitars and bass have their moments. The drums are also mixed in a way that it doesn’t sound too aggressive especially in the faster tracks.
 Row by Row is my favorite as of the moment. It has all the elements of a timeless tune. The voices of the quartet blend well and I love the counter points in the chorus section. But this is not to say that is the only stand out track. There are many more. From Share the Wealth which introduces the mood of the album, to their beautiful remake of Star of the County Down, the funky Space to their rendition of traditional Irish music- everything you look for in an excellent Irish pop rock album is here.
Yes Katie is an album of fast tunes, but Foggy Dew and Ragland Road prove that they can be masters of  haunting ballads.
Read the press release that follows:

 Biography: 

The Led Farmers are an Indie Irish Folk Rock band from Ireland. The group boasts a two-time All Ireland Music champion and many of it’s members have studied music at University level. They have toured the U.S. and Europe and are becoming one of Ireland’s best-loved live acts. 2015 saw them play over 80 concerts and 2016 looks to be something similar. While they love to play the Irish folk classics it is their own songs and fresh new arrangements of folk music that has seen them get attention of late. Their spontaneous nature and friendliness on the stage makes them a very entertaining live band.

What the media says:

‘The Led Farmers are the kind of act that you just want to see go far, they have a likeability factor and stage presence that just completely enhances their performance and makes them so distinctive in comparison to so many trad/folk groups out there at the moment’ – Dublin Concerts reviews

‘According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word ‘fresh’ has the following meaning: having its original qualities unimpaired, full of or renewed in vigor and not worn or rumpled… and here comes a band that seems to fit the bill… they are infectious likeably and distinctive, these are lads you might indeed want to join for a pint or two’ – Irish American News

The Led Farmers preserve the tradition of their own native songs while adding a decidedly unique perspective to it. I can see that if The Led Farmers can persist like the Clancy Brothers did. Maybe in 20 or 30 years it may be said that they helped set the new standard for traditional Irish Music’ – Paddy Rock

‘I like the vibe of The Led Farmers. They have an acoustic sound that reminds me of Dexys Midnight Runners. These lads have an energy and style that takes up where the Pogues left off’ – Christy McNamara

 

A New album and Single by James Vincent McMorrow is Out!

A New album and Single by James Vincent McMorrow is Out!

Today, we have a crossover post from my other blog. This singer-songwriter has appeared in The Celtic Connection and he is also very active in the Irish folk/indie scene.

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The Irishman with an exquisite and smooth silky voice is back! The new single is Rising Water released in early July this year. James Vincent McMorrow broke into the indie pop/folk scene with Post Tropical and Early in the Morning. His live performances duplicate the meticulous perfection of his studio recordings. And yes that remarkable voice has attracted 100 million Spotify streams!  Rising Water is taken from the new album We Move. Expect the album to sell like hotcakes. Check out the lyric video of Rising Water above.

Read further about the new release:

NEW SINGLE “RISING WATER” AVAILABLE NOW

James Vincent McMorrow, an Irish singer/songwriter from Dublin, has just released his new single Rising WaterThe single is the opening track of his upcoming album We Move, which is set to be released on September 2ndvia Caroline Records. On July 4th, Rising Water was premiered by Annie Mac on her program ‘Mac’s Hottest Record in the World’ on BBC Radio, listen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p040fl09.   After its UK debut, the single was released here in the U.S., which McMorrow called home for a few months while he recorded his new album.

In early 2015 McMorrow decamped to Los Angeles for four surreal months, wanting to experience something totally alien to any way he’d ever worked before. McMorrow explains “Making this album was about changing so many things. Physically changing where I was, mentally changing how I think about life, about myself, how I think about making music. Every time I’ve made a record in the past, I’ve walked to the edge of where I’ve wanted to be, I’ve gotten scared, and I’ve walked back to a safe distance.”

Rising Water is the perfect example of what the rest of the album holds. The single, along with the rest of the record, features production from Nineteen85 (Drake, dvsn), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Years & Years), and Frank Dukes (Kanye West, Rihanna), as well as mixing from the legendary Jimmy Douglass (Donny Hathaway, Timbaland).

McMorrow’s 2010 debut ‘Early in the Morning’ achieved platinum-status and reached #1 in his home country of Ireland. His “Breath-taking” (VICE) second album ‘Post Tropical’ was nominated for the Choice Music Prize, and led to sell outs at the biggest venues of McMorrow’s career including two nights at Sydney Opera House, and London’s Barbican & Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Earlier this year, McMorrow surpassed 100 million Spotify streams, recorded a cover of “Wicked Games” for a trailer of season six of Game of Thrones, and was featured on “I’m In Love” off Kygo’s debut LP ‘Cloud Nine.’ 

Purchase ‘Rising Water’:

iTunes: https://smarturl.it/RisingWater

Amazon MP3: https://amzn.com/RisingWater

CULTURAL ROADMAPP: IRELAND’S WILD ATLANTIC WAY —A GROUNDBREAKING GPS-ENABLED AUDIO TOUR APP FOR MOTORISTS— TO LAUNCH CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN ON INDIEGOGO

CULTURAL ROADMAPP: IRELAND’S WILD ATLANTIC WAY —A GROUNDBREAKING GPS-ENABLED AUDIO TOUR APP FOR MOTORISTS— TO LAUNCH CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN ON INDIEGOGO

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Sorry for no update for a while!!! It’s been a crazy month. But do check this project out. I think this is really exciting as it involves music, motorcycles and technology:
The transatlantic startup Cultural Roadmapp is launched its first crowdfunding campaign on June 7, 2016, in Indiegogo’s Transmedia category. The campaign for $35,000 will enable the startup to create a pilot audio tour for a GPS-enabled app illuminating the prodigious culture and heritage of Ireland’s west coast. Designed specifically for motorists on Ireland’s 1500- mile (2500 km) Wild Atlantic Way driving route, the hands-free app will comprise four audio tours. The pilot audio tour app spotlights Counties Clare and Limerick.
In both format and content, Cultural Roadmapp offers the immersive cultural experience more and more tourists today are searching for. Unlike the few audio tour apps for motorists available on the market, Cultural Roadmapp weaves unvarnished expert interviews, storytelling, and humor with world-class musical, literary, and dramatic performances–all 100% hands free. The app’s hands-free capability is made possible by the latest GPS technology, called “geo-fencing.” After downloading the app to a smart device, the user plugs the device into the vehicle’s USB port.
Sensing pre-identified landmarks on the tour route ahead, the app triggers the vehicle’s speakers to automatically play audio providing a delightful cultural-historical context to the landmark and local area. Without the need to keep hands and eyes glued to multimedia apps and traditional guide books, motorists can enjoy the scenery as they listen. Based in New York City and Ennis, Ireland, and founded in 2014, Cultural Roadmapp is in its early stages. Founder and president Deborah Schull is a senior writer-producer whose credits include an audio tour for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, which earned the museum world’s prestigious MUSE Award in 2011.
The startup team includes Leah O’Brien Bernini, an ethnographer and ethnomusicologist who directs content collection and curation, and Oisín Mac Diarmada, a world-renowned Irish fiddler and the startup’s music director. For more information about Cultural Roadmapp and its upcoming Indiegogo campaign, please go to http://www.culturalroadmapp.com/press. Also see Cultural Roadmapp’s Indiegogo Campaign Page at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cultural-roadmapp
Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

mairead-susan-lynn-mairead

 

I’ve been playing Destiny by Celtic Woman many times. New voices and new songs. And lots of magical listening experience. Check out my entry regarding the album in my previous post.

It is a great honour to finally get to talk to one of the artists, notably my favourite violinist Máiréad Nesbitt who took the time to write the answers to my questions. You are probably wondering what it’s like to be part a powerful musical ensemble that continue to make music after a decade right? Well here’s your chance to know.

 

1. The new lineup brings something exciting to the music. What happened to the previous members?

As with most women we have desires to go off and start families and get married! Most of the beautiful women that have passed through Celtic Woman decided to leave to come off the road and settle down. Some have also gone on to have solo music careers too.

2. I love many tracks in Destiny. My personal fave is How Can I Keep From Singing? What made you decide to record this song?

I love that song too but as a listener from the wings! We love Clannad and Eabha was taught by the lead singer Moya Brennan so it seemed ideal for her to sing it. 

3. I See Fire (for me) threatens to be better than the original. What’s the story behind the inclusion of this song?

We wanted to move towards the future whilst not forgetting what made people love the group in the first place. Ed Sherran has deep Irish heritage so his music is heavily influenced by that- especially this song. It’s very Irish folk in style and is also a modern one so it seemed like the perfect fit. I also love story telling and this song has such drama in it. 

4. You are back with your US Tour. Wow 85 Cities! How are you preparing mentally and physically for this marathon tour?

Well, personally I follow a plant based (vegan) lifestyle to keep myself healthy of mind, body and spirit and I also work out every day to keep my immune system strong. Lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, water and sleep when we can! 

5. Can you give young women tips on how to sing beautifully like Celtic Woman?

Just be yourself. Don’t try and mould yourself into who you think you should be. Accept yourself from within and sing from your heart. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is happy in herself. 

6. What’s next after the US Tour?

We have lots planned including a hopeful trip to Asia-then onto Australia and back to the states for our Christmas symphony tour where we get to perform gorgeous Christmas songs with a different orchestra every night. I am also recording a solo album with Celtic Woman in the summer when we get off the road which I’m super excited about! 

There you go 🙂
-Máiréad Nesbitt
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Robert Doyle Has  A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle Has A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle album cover

When: Friday 22nd April

Where:The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

As a long time admirer of his music, I am happy to announce that Mr Doyle has finished a follow-up to his compelling album A Life in Shadows. It was well received among Celtic and Irish Music sites. If you love laid back songs written and performed around the voice and acoustic guitar then you better hear Lig Amach. I will be posting my own thoughts about the album soon!

Read more about the album through the press release:

ROBERT DOYLE ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM LIG AMACH

Featuring Sliabh Russell/Out on the Ocean https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

Private Album stream (do not share) https://soundcloud.com/robertdoyle/sets/robert-doyle-lig-amach/s-XZsH4

ALBUM LAUNCH: Thursday April 28th The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

“Fingerstyle guitar expert…. with a unique vocal edge” Irish Music Magazine    “… a new acoustic guitar maestro” R2 Magazine

Dublin fingerstyle guitarist and singer ROBERT DOYLE releases his second album Lig Amach on April 22nd followed by an album launch concert on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone.  Admission to the concert will be free – as Robert explains as “a special thank you to my fans and supporters for their enthusiasm and support along the way”.

LIG AMACH (Let Out) is the follow up to his well received 2011 debut album Life in Shadows.  Mostly recorded in Dublin over the last year the album showcases his distinctive approach to writing & arranging for the guitar.  A collection of instrumentals, interpretations and self penned originals, Lig Amach vividly displays Robert’s dynamic playing & singing  – stretching from the roots of American folk singing and blues, Irish traditional through to classical & flamenco guitar techniques.  Watch the video for SLIABH RUSSELL/OUT ON THE OCEAN https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

While the album features a number of thrilling collaborations, Robert sets down a challenge for himself when he performs live as he will perform entirely solo at the album launch on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone “It really tests your abilities and you learn a great deal about the music when performing in front of an audience.  I choose to play solo so that there’s nowhere to hide on stage.  You learn a lot about yourself as a musician when it’s just you in the spotlight”.

Creativity runs in the Doyle family – the album cover photo was taken by Robert’s brother Eamonn Doyle who is an internationally recognised photographer.  Previously the brothers worked together – Robert as a studio engineer – on Irish label D1 Recordings run by Eamonn, who also founded the DEAF electronic festival.

Robert began playing guitar aged 8 and is a past student of renowned French-Algerian master musician Pierre Bensusan“Pierre is one of the top fingerstyle guitarists in the world but more so he’s also a fantastic musician.  By studying with him, I wanted to gain an insight into how he was able to master the instrument and develop his own individual style. After studying with Pierre, my focus changed from being a guitar player to becoming a better musician and to continue developing my own style”.   In previous years Robert has performed at Celtic Connections and the Moniaive Folk Festival.

Recording the album was a longer process than initially planned as Robert explains “I recorded the guitar and vocals in my home studio with additional instruments recorded in Dublin, London and Italy. Originally I had planned to record this album, like the first, in a studio with an engineer but I later made the decision to record it myself to have more flexibility. The first sessions for the album took place 3 years ago and didn’t go well so I had to go back to the drawing board.  I was only working on the album at weekends so the process was quite drawn out.  The guitar parts are all live recordings, something I’ve always tried to do.”

Like the last album 8 of the 10 tracks were mixed by Marc Carolan who works with Muse. Ross Dowling, who produced the last James Vincent McMorrow album also did a mix as well as Graham Watson from Floodplain Studios in Dublin.

Lig Amach is a departure for Robert in many ways from the first album with a keen focus this time on writing and performing in English.  “The songs on the previous EP and album were based around songs sung in Irish but for this release I wanted to explore singing in English more.”  ACROSS THE LINE was written in 2014 at the time Islamic State attacked and laid siege to Kobani in northern Syria, causing a massive number of people to flee across the border into Turkey.  FLAGS OF BELFAST, which has a traditional air, was written around the time of the Belfast City Hall flag protests while ROUND TWO is a song about a woman who won’t wait too long for a man to make up his mind!

Robert interprets and reimagines a number of covers on Lig Amach including the opening track AN SEANDUINE, a song he learnt from singing in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí  Éireann with this version taking inspiration from recordings by Seamus Begley and Danú.  COUNTRY BLUES is a song Robert learnt from Dock Boggs, an old-time banjo player from Virginia, first recorded in 1929.

Another progression on Lig Amach is Robert’s collaboration with a wide number of renowned musicians “After recording the demos I wanted to add some other instrumentation to the songs. The first collaboration was with Chris Haigh, a fiddle player I first heard on an Oumou Sangaré album.”  Francessco Ganassin (saxophone) and Magnus Mehta (percussion) also feature along with Aoife Dermody & uilleann piper Eoin Dillon on a collaboration, Flags of Belfast, which came out of a recording session in Floodplain Studios.

Lig Amach will be available from all digital outlets from April 22nd, from Claddagh Records and robertdoyle.net

facebook.com/robert.doyle

robertdoyle.net

For more information, images & interviews please contact:

ANN MARIE WALSH NOVATONE MUSIC MEDIA

Tel: 01 2018946 / 087 2460957 musicireland@hotmail.com @novatonemm

The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

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This is going to be a short post as I am going to bed since I will have work later tonight but if you missed this, please pay attention sweeties:

From the band’s Facebook: So very happy to share that The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

Pick it up at your favorite local shoppe or via iTuneshttp://smarturl.it/the-gloaming2-itunes & Amazon.com:  http://smarturl.it/the-gloaming-amazon— with Iarla O’lionairdMartin HayesCaoimhin O RaghallaighCaoimhín Ó RaghallaighMáirtín Ó hAodhaDennis CahillIarla O’LionairdMartin Hayes & Dennis CahillDennis Cahill and Thomas Bartlett.

Larry Kirwan and Friends- A St Patrick’s Day Celebration

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This is the title Larry Kirwan’s upcoming show:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 

 Sounds like you are going to expect something wicked, festive and poignant is happening this March 17. The spirit of Rock and Roll is strong as ever and when it is mixed with Irish Celtic music; the brew becomes intoxicating. All Black 47 fans will love this!

March marks the exciting month in Irish music as we celebrate St Patrick’s Day with gusto. There will be lots music, of course. And there is always a cross-generational/genre appeal when Larry Kirwan stages a concert. And you will know why as you read the rest of the interview.

CMF1. Great to hear you are returning on St Patrick’s Day! You must be excited with the new lineup.

Larry Kirwan: Well, in a way I’m surprised I’m even doing a show with a band.  I had intended doing a solo show for St. Patrick’s Night in some smaller room.

Then BB King’s asked me to put together an evening and headline it with a band.  At first, I turned it down but then I began to feel that there should be a major gig in Times Square on the biggest Irish night.  In many ways,  it was a bit early for me after Black 47 disbanding.  But in the end I followed the old Black 47 advice, “nothing ventured – nothing gained.”

So, I put out the word to a number of musicians I’d been working with in other spheres and they all were keen to play, so onwards and upwards, as the bishop said to the actress!

2. You’ve got eclectic musicians in the team. When/how did you decide to jam together at BB King’s?

Black 47 will never be surpassed for its singular style, originality and energy and being a founder-member I’m very respectful of that. Yet as a writer it’s interesting to speculate how some of the songs would sound with different instruments and a different approach.  Songs to me are living and breathing entities and, in my head, they’re constantly changing and evolving.  I’d always wanted to play with a double bassist, and recently I’d jammed with Rene Hart at a David Amram gig.

  He comes much more from a Jazz and Improv world, so I asked him first.  I’d been very impressed with the piano playing and arranging of Coty Cockrell when he worked on my Hard Times musical, so I approached him.  I’d always admired Deni Bonet on violin.  She’s played with so many artists and we got talking at the Kansas City Irish Festival when she was playing with Mundy (the Irish superstar).  And I wouldn’t have felt right without inviting my long-tme  drummer, Thomas Hamlin.  We’ve played together in so many bands previous to Black 47.  So, it should be an exciting gig and it is St. Patrick’s Night which always promises surprises.

3. I heard there will be lots of laughs and improvisation during the show. 

Every show I’m involved with has lots of merriment.  I always keep things loose onstage.  That’s what Rock & Roll is about.

Throw together some good songs and let the musicians knock sparks off each other.  Music is there for the making, you just have to let the spirit loose.

4. Apart from the usual St Patrick’s excitement, this is going to be interesting as it marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 uprising in Dublin. Sounds like it’s going to be a poignant event.

WB Yeats said that “poetry should be as cold and passionate as the dawn.”  I always try to follow that rule.  So, if there is poignancy, it has to be balanced with power and purpose.  Along with songs about James Connolly and Michael Collins (both leading figures in the 1916 Uprising) – I’ll also be introducing a new song, Sean MacDiarmada, about Sean McDermott the real initiator of the rebellion.  But then Black 47 always kept the Spirit of 1916 going – we didn’t have to wait for any convenient centenary commemoration.  That spirit is strong and as long as I perform it will always be celebrated.

5. Your artistry extends to writing and you have your own show on Sirius XM. How do you keep it all together, to give generously to your listeners and still maintain your multi-media expertise?

Well, I rarely watch television or spend much time on the internet, and I’m not a big sleeper.  But I also find that if you work on interesting projects you gain energy by moving from one to the other.  With Celtic Crush on SiriusXM I basically improv, play my favorite artists, and talk about whatever comes to mind for three hours.  That’s exhilarating and is like doing a long gig.  I get amazing feedback from the many listeners around the US and Canada, so that really helps.  I’ve always worked as a playwright and novelist while playing with Black 47, so I’ve always had a couple of projects going while on the road.  I’m currently working on a score for a documentary, though, that is really kicking my butt as I have to learn a new recording system at the same time.  My big regret is that I’ve had to put aside a new musical I’m writing about Iraq until after March 17th.  But maybe the break will help.

6. Your son Rory K is also joining you on stage. He is doing an interesting solo career as an emerging hip-hop artist! I know his music and I am one of his avid followers.You must be a proud dad.

Frankly, I’m amazed at his facility with words.  He has a great feel for the sound, rhythm, and meaning.  That goes for a lot of hip-hop artists.  Yeah, sure I’m proud of him, particularly since he did it himself without any help from me.  I didn’t even know about that side of him for a long time.  He turns me on to really interesting artists like Fetty Wap. I also like the fact that he has a steady job and is doing well at that too.  My major advice to anyone going into the music world is get a skill that will net you a couple of hundred bucks a day.  I didn’t take that route and it was a hard road that brought you face to face with real financial stress.  I give him what advice I can but in the end each artist has to find their own way.

7. There will be stand up comedy during the show right?

Yes, my old friend and comrade, John McDonagh of WBAI will be presenting a small piece of his highly acclaimed show, Cabtivist, as well as acting as MC for the night.  So, in many ways it’s a gathering of the clans.  It will be a fun show.

8. Will this St Patrick’s eve going to be the brand New Larry Kirwan with new music along the way?

I’ve actually written a dozen new songs for the IRAQ musical – so most of my songwriting energy has gone into that.  I will be doing a couple of new songs especially for the show though.  I’m also reworking David Bowie’s Heroes to transpose it from Berlin to Belfast – from one wall to another.  David was a big influence on so many of us.  I was lucky enough to have a long conversation with him one night about music, Berlin, Belfast, and life in general.  He was a very inspiring person.  He loved innovation and I think he would have liked this new take on Heroes.  I guess that’s one of the themes of this coming show – what happens to songs when you look at them in a different perspective?

9. What else can people expect coming to the show?

Well, Chris Byrne, the co-founder of Black 47 will be joining me on stage.  That’s always special for me.  Something happens when we perform together.

 It was like that right from the start back in 1989.  Sparks fly and there’s a joy and purpose in the air.  He’ll also do an opening set with his Urban/Traditional band, Lost Tribe of Donegal.  And another old collaborator, David Amram, will be joining me.  David is an amazing musician and perhaps the last living member of the Beats – he and his friend Jack Kerouac began the whole Poetry/Jazz thing.  He’ll be bringing down his French Horn, whistles and hand drum.  My brothers and sisters from the Lia Fail Pipes and Drums from Mercer County, NJ will perform.  It’s always a thrill to have them present.  They’re excellent and always get the crowd going.  And there’ll be surprise guests.  It will be a night to remember.

For everyone’s benefit please read this press release:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 
Larry Kirwan, leader of Irish American rock band, Black 47 for 25 years, will return to BB King’s on St. Patrick’s Day.  He will front a new band formed specially for the evening comprising of Coty Cockrell (Hard Times/Dance Theatre of Harlem) on piano, Rene Hart (Branford Marsalis/Mark Ronson) on double bass and Thomas Hamlin (Black 47) on drums.  They will perform new songs and reinterpret Kirwan’s Black 47 uproarious classics, numbers from his critically acclaimed musical, Hard Times, and as befits a Kirwan show, lots of improvisation, social agitation, and hilarity.
 
Along with the festivities the event will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Uprising in Dublin with such favorites as James Connolly and The Big Fellah, and a new song about the driving force behind the rebellion, the enigmatic, Sean MacDiarmada!
 
Kirwan is host of Celtic Crush on SiriusXM, writes a bi-weekly column for The Irish Echo and is President of Irish American Writers & Artists association.  A renowned playwright, novelist and political activist, surprise guests from all these worlds will make appearances.  He will be joined onstage by co-founder of Black 47, Chris Byrne, whose band, The Lost Tribe of Donegal, will also perform a set of their Urban/Traditional Irish songs.
 
Kirwan’s son, Rory K, an emerging Hip-Hop Artist, will hit the stage with Kirwan, after performing a set of his high-energy, youthful anthems.  He will be releasing his second CD, ‘Young Professionals’, at the show.
 
Long time NYC yellow cab driver, activist and standup comedian, John McDonagh will perform a short excerpt from his sold-out show, Cabtivist.  Host of Radio Free Eireann and Talk Back on WBAI-FM, McDonagh will MC the festivities.  Lia Fáil Pipes and Drums, from Mercer County, NJ, will begin the evening with their traditional march through the audience.  Get there early.  There will be Kilts and pipes a swirling!
 
This is an All Ages Show designed to keep the party going after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.   Doors at 6pm, Show at 7pm sharp!
Tickets:

Big thanks to my friend Anita Daly for arranging this interview!

Nóirín Ní Riain is One of Ireland’s Finest!

Nóirín Ní Riain is One of Ireland’s Finest!

While it is a joy to ponder on how Celtic music continues to be a force of nature due to the internet, it is also worth pausing and looking back at the artists who paved the way for the new generation of Irish singers, composers and performers. Big thanks to Caitlin Grey for tweeting about musical artist Noirin Ni Riain. I heard her Celtic Soul  album from 1996 outside newyears ago and it is a special album as it introduced me to her body of work. Her style is unique as it preserves the essence of Irish spirituality that continues to fascinate listeners. It is the kind of sound that placed Ireland in the musical map. Mainly because it is a sound that can only come from that place  in the Atlantic.It is a joy to know she continues to record music!

Hearth Sounds is her new album released around 2014. More about the album:

Ancient Songs from Ireland and the World

This is my second album with her sons Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin. We have been singing and performing with her for almost a decade now. This album, recorded in Glenstal Abbey, Morroe, County Limerick is a great album mixing Irish language chant, with medieval Gregorian chant and some english language hymns. There is a sound we make as a mother and two sons; something happens organically for people when they listen to us. We’re aware of it ourselves too. Somehow, they’re in the same moment as I am when we sing these songs. I taught them to them, sang to them an awful lot when they were in the womb.

Listen to the samples here: http://www.theosony.com/music/hearth-sounds/

In the meantime, enjoy the links to her youtube music:

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

If traditional-based Irish music needs a wake up alarm then leave it to the members of Na Fianna. Their energy is punk-like but they owe most of their aesthetics Irish music like the ballads of Christy Moore and the melodic wonder of The Clancy Bothers and Dropkick Murphys. They play lively tunes that are so catchy Thin Lizzy will be proud of them. 11223581_10155793250160504_1664260918107804656_n

I became familiar with the band’s name after browsing Reddit and see them trending under ‘Celtic’ category. But even though the musical identity of Na Fianna is distinct, their sentiments are inclusive and that makes their music universal.

Still not convinced? Go ahead and listen to their new single via YouTube and you will know what I mean:

 

There are four people in the band comprising of:

Hugh Finn: Banjo & Vocals

Ciaran Finn: Guitar & Vocals

Peter McMahon: Percussion & Vocals

James O’Connor: Accordian & Vocals

Unearth is the new album and it has twelve songs. There are traditional songs that are familiar like Step it Out Mary, Star Of County Down, The Lakes Of Pontchartrain and more. Fans of Christy Moore and Luka Bloom will love both this album and these four lads. Check out the EPK below:

Titanicdance will have you on the edge of your seat: My Interview with Raymond Sweeney

Titanicdance will have you on the edge of your seat: My Interview with Raymond Sweeney

  I wrote an entry about this Irish song and dance phenomena Titanicdance a few days ago. Now, Producer, Creative Director and Lead Dancer Raymond Sweeney, took time to answer this interview. I am currentlyqvzrbp44upehnzbms7a4

listening to the soundtrack while transcribing our online conversation. You have to see this show. This is the best thing that happened to the stage since Riverdance and Celtic Tiger. Please don’t forget to visit their Indiegogo campaign and hopefull take part as one of the show’s backers. This is music and dance arrange in a way that will captivate both young and old fans of Celtic music.

1. Hi Raymond, you are from Donegal which is known as a place that gave birth to global artists.What’s the story behind Titanicdance?
It was in 2012 on the 100th year anniversary of the tragic events of the Titanic that I came up with the idea to do the show. Creating my own production was something I always dreamed of doing so I got a team together and started choreographing the show with Louise Hayden & James Keegan in a little prefab in my dad’s work yard. It took many long hours of hard work, determination and a lot of patience but it was all worth it as the end result exceeded our expectations.
2. You joined Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance at 16. What were the challenges of being in a big and famous troupe at a young age?
Being from a small village in Donegal and heading into the unknown was exciting but scary at such a young age. It was a huge challenge trying to meet the standard required for such a large production and as well as the dancing there was a lot to learn about performing on stage. The other thing I found challenging was being away from home at such a young age and getting used to my new independence. It was a great experience. 
3. I think Titanicdance will strike a universal chord as the story (Titanic) itself is still a phenomenal success brought about by books and of course Hollywood.
This is so true and is the reason why we think we have something special.
4. What’s the training ritual of your dancers before a big event?
Well it takes many weeks/months preparing for a big show as first and foremost fitness is very important as well as learning routines etc.. The choreography of Titanicdance is of a very high standard and therefore plenty of training is required to get it perfect for show time.  
5. How do you handle the responsibilities of leading 30 top Irish dancers?
I’m fortunate enough to have the experience of being a cast member and touring in a big dance production for over 15 years and therefore I know how to find the right balance to treat cast members in a firm but fair way in order to get the best results. I have a lot of friends that I have work along side and toured with previously and that are now in my cast, now being Creative Director and having to direct them and call the shots isn’t always easy but I do it in a manor that they still so me respect. 
6. How is it like working with producer David McLaughlin? You must be great pals right now.ykusbiflr8xnphaiihly
David and the whole team have been great. Everyone really believes in this production and works endlessly to make sure it will become a huge success. I have a great relationship with David and it is growing stronger and stronger..!!
7. What do you hope to achieve this Titanicdance?
I hope to achieve everything possible with Titanicdance. It’s always been my dream to have a touring show and I am so honored to be in the position I’m in at the moment and I will continue to strive to meet my goals because I believe this show can be a huge success. 
8. Your message to the readers?
 
Titanicdance has it all. Live Irish Music, Song and Dance and a story line that will have you on the edge of your seat and possibly in tears. Audiences across the globe deserve to see this production and I will do my best to make that happen. You will not be disappointed. 

Kind Regards,

Raymond Sweeney
Watch out for my review of the Titanicdance music soon! Big thanks to my friend Anita Daly of Daly Communications for arranging this interview.
Feel the warmth of AN IRISH CHRISTMAS BLESSING by Fr Ray Kelly

Feel the warmth of AN IRISH CHRISTMAS BLESSING by Fr Ray Kelly

Father Ray Kelly Chrstimas cd cover

If An Irish Christmas Blessing is a solar system, then Make Me a Channel of Your Peace has to be sun, drawing all planets to its gravity. It is a track that’s timely as the world needs something to hold on to especially in these troubled times. An Irish Christmas Blessing recalls the auspicious debut of Father Ray Kelly almost a year ago. This happened when he sang at the wedding of Chris and Leah O’Kane on April 5th 2014 which blew the internet after it was captured and posted on You Tube.

I am listening to the title track while writing this. It brings back a lot of good feelings. Like when I was in high school and I was a teenager again haunting for good holiday albums in record stores. The classic style represents the ‘feel’ of the whole album. There is nostalgia and a sense of adventure.

His style of singing is unique. Not Gregorian or operatic. He sounds close to Elvis Costello but with a rich upper register and nuance where it is needed. In O Holy Night, he gives his all hitting those rich notes at the end of the song. The album’s orchestration is superb. I love orchestras and An Irish Christmas Blessing is a treat for those who love grand arrangements but with a modern twist.

Father Kelly  will be donating a percentage of the profits of the sales of this album and his live concerts to the Kiltegan Fathers St Patrick’s Missionary Society. It’s where he started his journey as a Catholic priest.Below is a brief interview made possible by my good friend Anita Daly of Daly Communications:

 

Hi Father Kelly, you must be ecstatic that your Christmas album is finally out! Why did you choose An Irish Christmas Blessing as the album’s title?

Yes I am very excited about the Christmas album and indeed the final production of it. When I heard the song An Irish Christmas Blessing, I fell in love with the melody and the words immediately. And in deciding a title for the album I thought there it is, the title, the first song on the Album. I guess being an Irish Man and firmly planted in my roots it was the ideal title.

What are your favorite songs in this album?

I love all Christmas music so I really love all the songs. However, when I heard my completed version of Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace, I just thought it was so prayerful and haunting, so I guess it is one of my top 3. But I love O Holy Night as I feel hearing that song at Christmas is so special and necessary. As for the song The Little Drummer Boy, I do think the arrangement of that is super. All my grand nieces and nephews are constantly listening to that one and tell me it is their favourite.

You employed an orchestra to record the thirteen songs (by the way it’s my lucky number). How did you decide to record with an orchestra plus choir instead of just the usual piano, drums, bass and synths?

I was very fortunate that Nigel Wright in the UK agreed to produce my Christmas Album, as he is up there among the top record producers in the world, so I was totally guided by him as to what was needed to create a great album.

Some of the songs are vocally challenging! But you glide through them gracefully. Do you record in one take or did you experience having to decide between two versions of then same song?

Nigel made me work very hard, he knew I could create the sound he wanted. So it took a lot more than one take in most of the songs. But that is not unusual, and having heard the final production I can understand why it took some time.

You will be donating a percentage of the profits of the sales of this album and his live concerts to the Kiltegan Fathers St Patrick’s Missionary Society right?

Yes, Kiltegan Fathers, or St Patrick’s Missionary Society will benefit from the sale of my CD and concerts. When I decided to become a priest, I joined The Kiltegan Fr’s in Co Wicklow. So they educated me for 7 years and had a huge say in my formation as a Catholic Priest. I spent a couple of years on the Mission Field in S.Africa, however I decided I wanted to work at home eventually. I always said if I could every give something back to them for all they did for me even in a small way I would, little did I realise that an opportunity like this would come my way.

What’s your biggest wish this Christmas?

My biggest wish this Christmas is that my younger sister who is quite ill will make a complete recovery. Now that would be Christmas for me.

There you go 🙂 Bax

Slan, best wishes, Merry Christmas

Fr Ray

 

And I wish your younger sister a complete recovery as well Father Kelly.

How about an afternoon of Buille by Buille Beo?

How about an afternoon of Buille by Buille Beo?

Niall Vallely – concertina

Caoimhin Vallely -piano

Ed Boyd – guitar

Brian Morrissey – bodhrán/percussion

Kenneth Edge – soprano saxophone

Recorded live at Ionad Cultúrtha an Dochtúir Ó Loingsigh, Baile Mhúirne,

Co. Chorcaí – Eanáir 2015

Engineered by Dan Fitzgerald

Assisted by Chris Moore

Mixed and Mastered by Dan Fitzgerald @ SoundSound Studios, Cork

Design by Brian Hanlon @ Og Media Group

Photography by Eddie Hennessy

Buille:A beautiful musical treat for a lazy afternoon by robust Irish musical group.

Live recordings are challenging. Unlike studio sessions where you can just edit things you want to change, playing like is one directional. The ambience also adds to the ‘flavour’ of the sound as you hear clapping from the audience, perhaps the sound of birds, the breeze and the little noise that make the recording ‘human.’

Buille Beo presents a robust body of different sounds recorded live-which I learned- in the beautiful surroundings of the Ionad Cultúrtha in Baile Bhúirne, West Cork. There are twelve beautiful tracks. I love classical and jazz music and Buille Beo covers those territories, though it is primarily a traditional album.

It’s a lazy afternoon today so I explored their latest release which is already reviewed by TradConnect. So how does a casual listener respond to their music if I cite myself as an example? It is an album for those who like chilled but mainly acoustic music. I found myself staring at the ceiling and savouring the piano melodies that fall like gentle rain. I feel this in Belharbour. It is true that if you love classical music, jazz and blues then you will easily appreciate traditional Irish music.

I also love In A Silent Way because of its intimate nature. It is a slow tune that is good for meditation and staring out the window-especially if the scenery is the magnificent West Cork! Whatso grabs me because of the chords and the feeling of suspense associated with jazz music. It starts slow then builds up into a frenzy release of sounds  like fireworks.albumcover

Buille Beo is a beautiful and strangely delicate album that has a universal appeal. Its beauty lies in the arrangements and the technique of these wonderful musicians. As you listen repeatedly, the album creates that mesmerizing hypnotic feeling. It transports you into an urban countryside as the album evokes the feeling of both places.

Purchase the album via iTunes and visit their official website: www.buille.com

Lorcán Mac Mathúna / The Arrows that Murder Sleep

Musicians :

Lorcán Mac Mathuna

Eoghan Neff

Seán MacErlaine

Daire Bracken

Recorded mixed and mastered by Liam Grant.

Recorded in Griffith College, Dublin.

Images by Rónán O Reilly

Texts and Graphic design by Lorcán Mac Mathúna

12115513_987638737925236_4386619475819783155_n

A Beautiful Album, The Arrows that Murder Sleep: Just in time for Samhain!

Nothing is better than waking up at three in the morning (after sleeping more than 8 hours) to the music of this fantastic Sean-Nós singer. His name is Lorcán Mac Mathúna and he is from Dublin. His newest album is The Arrows That Murder Sleep.The music glides in and out reflecting the ancient Irish atmosphere. It is an album for those who appreciate Irish music in its purest sense. This is the style/type that has drawn me to the genre. The vocal music. His voice represents the ancient and the modern Ireland. Backed by notable names in the industry, The Arrows that Murder Sleep is highly recommended for those who are passionate about the works of Iarla Ó Lionáird, Niamh Parsons, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Aoife Ní Fhearraigh and many more.

The album has twelve songs and features contributions from Eoghan Neff, Seán MacErlaine, Daire Bracken and the compositional beauty of Martin Tourish. This album also represents the best of Mac Mathuna’s compositions over a six-year period.

So what is the idea behind this album? I got this from the TradConnect Review:

The Arrows that Murder Sleep is a collection of sensual moments of ancient Irish literature, brought fully to life by a group of virtuoso musicians with powerful melodies and dynamic, cinematic, arrangements. It features songs taken from three major commissioned cycles (including the millennial celebration of the Battle of Clontarf, and the Life of Colmcille commissioned by the 2013 All-Ireland Fleadh cheoil, Derry). It includes two songs in English and nine in Irish. And it includes one solo Sean-Nós song (Contae Mhuigheo) and an instrumental response to that; (Paddy Lynch’s ship).

I love all of the songs in the album but River Roe is perhaps my personal favorite. I have to remind you that though this album might not appeal to all types of music listeners, this will definitely appeal to SERIOUS lovers of Irish music.

From the first track to the last, The Arrows That Murder Sleep unfolds like a beautiful but not hurried movie. Everything almost feels abstract as melodies and vocals flow in and out seamlessly. The talents and love that the musicians put in this project are commendable and I hope to see more releases like this in the future; and yes more albums from Lorcán Mac Mathúna. A big thank you to TradConnect for the sounds!

Here’s the wonderful text from the artist:

Buíochas

Putting these songs together wouldn’t be possible without the support and generosity of many people. From the people who contributed their skills and talents in making this album to the closer family relations who have given support and time to make it possible. Thanks to my musical companions: Martin, Eoghan, Seán, an Daire for starters. And Liam for taking on the task of capturing the music. Special thanks to friends and family. Especially to my constant companions ar an domhain mór seo: Emma, Aoibha, Meadbh “Tiny the Bearie,” and Fiach MacHugh.

Thanks also to those who commissioned works from me and the musicians on this album over the years. To Martin Harte in the Temple Bar Company; to Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh of Culturlann Uí Channáin and the Derry all Ireland Fleadh; to Armagh Pipers Club’s Brian Vallely; and Liam Carson of Imram. To an Comhairle Ealaíonn, CC Átha Cliath, and the NI Arts Council.

Thanks also to Brian Fay and the DIT fine arts students; To Rónán whose beautiful paintings adorn this digibook;  Úna for the technical know how ; Manus Ó Dhomhnaill and Mícheáil Ó Bhruadair for putting it on record at Port na dTrí Namhaid and death row respectively; to Dad and Mam for the love and perseverance and for getting the kids to love sean-nós. An tOll. Damian Mac Manus ó TCD agus Ann Marie Dowling as ucht cabhair len Seana-Ghaeilge. And to an tArd Rígh, Cormac Mac Cearbhaill, for his far seeing Copyright precedent in C.558 AD. We artists really needed that.

This album was produced with the support of An Comhairle Ealaíonn.

Buy the album here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lorcanmacmathuna1

Visit his official website: http://www.lorcanmacmathuna.com

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

I am enjoying the new album of Caitlin Grey called The Promise. One thing I noticed upon playing this album for the first time is her beautiful and supple voice. It has the ease of a folk singer and the refined muscle of a classically trained vocalist. She uses these influences seamlessly in this new album, consisting of twelve songs.There are original songs as well as interpretation of traditional materials. I love her rendition of She Moved Through The Fair because of its melodic simplicity and emotional power. a1763992850_16

The title track is something that will please fans of Clannad, Loreena McKennitt and Anuna or even Secret Garden. Her arrangements are also spot on. I love the drumming on this one because it sounds almost like a pop ballad. But then again we know that with Ms Grey, every song can be a magical journey between classical and folk.

Her approach to singing tells you  this is how to sing these songs. Yes, especially these kinds of songs because it takes a special artist to pull this off. Because in the hands(or throat) of an ordinary singer, they will sound weird. These songs choose a singer and that singer is Caitlin Grey. I love it when she harmonises in some songs.They sound whispery, airy and crystal clear. I love the style of Innisfrie because I love movie soundtracks. Ailein Duinn is haunting  especially with the harp. An original from Scottish group Capercaillie for the movie Rob Roy. I love her singing in Scottish Gaelic. She maintained the beauty of the original but added her own unique style.

I love ballads that build up gradually. And this is the style that is present in most of the songs in The Promise. Black is the Color is another personal favourite. She sings that sense of loss where words fail.

In My Awakening, I like that part of the chorus where she sings the line “..When all my life fades away in tomorrow..” deeply moving! In Anam Cara, her voice is a powerful instrument that can transport us to anywhere in the world where she wants to take us. Call of the Clans closes this wonderful album with an arrangement that can rival any operatic aria. Listen to the latin chants at the end of the song. If that does not conjure something in you, then you are not human.

The Promise is a work of magnificent sound craftsmanship and artistic maturity. Looking forward to her third album!

Live shows for this month and beyond

Live shows for this month and beyond

because I am not posting any album reviews at this time, I’d rather post something about live music. I am hoping that you’ll be able to watch your favorite artists performing in your area. Due to my right hand injury, I am using voice dictation to write text messages. And so far, it has been working quite OK.

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Dubbed internationally as the singing priest, father Ray Kelly is in New York City promoting his new album “Where I belong.” He is also releasing a Christmas album this November. So watch out for that one I am sure it will be amazing.

Visit his Facebook page to see more.
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Following the release of his celebrated book A history of Irish music, Larry Kirwan is performing live in New York City catch him and also buy the new book.

Visit his band page to see more.
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If you are in the Czech Republic, you better check out Sliotar as they are currently touring and performing. These guys never grow tired performing. They have inexhaustible energy to sing and play those wonderful tunes. I think it takes passion and also good health to be able to really play in many venues.

Visit their website for events and releases.
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Even though I am not currently writing album reviews, I’ve been listening to these wonderful albums. I highly recommend them.

  

Back

About this item

Track Listings

Disc: 1

The Duke Of Leinster/Gardiner’s/John Stenson’s #2

A Sailor s Life

Tommy Potts’ Slip Jig

The Bay Of Biscay

The King Of The Pipers/Behind The Haystack/The Maid On The Green

Paddy Cronin’s/If I Had A Wife

The Close Shave/East At Glendart

Moving Cloud

The Heart Of The World

Neckbelly

Kiss The Maid Behind The Byre/Tá Do Mhargadh Déanta

Dónal Na Gréine

Sore Point

The Hut On Staten Island/The De il Among The Tailors

Belfast: Back To Belfast/Anne Lacey/Eroticon VI

The Pipers Of Roguery

Wedding Dress

Disc: 2

Hardiman The Fiddler

Brelydian

A Mháire Bruineall

Portaferry Swing

Róise Na BhFonn Tuneful Rose

Pota Mór Fataí

The Slide From Grace (Dusty Miller s/Dan O Keefe s/The Slide From Grace)

Bean An Fhir Ruaidh The Red Haired Man s Wife

Beer Belly Dancing

The Beauty Spot

Cailleach A Shúsa The Hag In The Blanket

Product Details

Original Release Date: 2012

Label: World Music Network

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Patrick Ball has been keeping me awake at night with his wonderful Music. It is great to hear the Celtic harp  without other instruments. So pure, so magical, it is something that you can listen to again and again.

Are you ready for a giant low-low D concertina?

Are you ready for a giant low-low D concertina?

  

Musician Cormac Begley, redefines the Traditional Irish musical instrument with the giant concertina.

This has been circulating round social media that it’s hard to ignore. Concertinas are awesome and I am glad there are artists who are pushing the limits in redesigning the instrument. I think traditional Irish music needs something like this because it adds variety to the mix. Just imagine new traditinal tunes that could be written just for it! Here’s the link to the original article: http://www.thedronenews.org/#!CORMAC-BEGLEY-UNVEILS-NEW-LOWLOW-D-CONCERTINA/c1kod/551c18fc0cf215f35a319658

Father Ray Kelly Has A Moving Singing Style.

Father Ray Kelly Has A Moving Singing Style.

The first time I heared father Ray Kelly, I thought he’s the preaching Elvis Costello. But this Irish priest is more comfortable with the like saving the flock than with fame. I think his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah fresh and spot -on.

He has the pipes of a folk and rock singer. It is worth noting that his debut album is eclectic. You get a Celtic touch with old folk and rock plus something in-betwween for everyone. People call his voice ‘soulful’ but his spiritual influence prevents him from going ‘mainstream’ pop. I think it is a solid combination that will please a lot of listeners. And it is seldom you get something like this in saturated mainstream. He is not like any of the people you hear out there. And I think it is time..

Father Kelly

Father Kelly

Check out the press release below:

FATHER RAY KELLY brings pure, soulful voice to US just in time for Easter 

Father Ray Kelly, the Irish priest who shot to fame on YouTube for his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, makes his major label US debut with the album ‘Where I Belong’, out on Manhattan Records March 17, 2015.

Over 39 million people around the world have fallen in love with Father Ray Kelly since the video of his performance of “Hallelujah” at a wedding first appeared on YouTube in April 2014. After the bride and groom were moved to tears by Father Ray’s adaptation of the song, a wedding guest uploaded the video, which drew more than a million views within a few days. The viral video attracted worldwide attention and led to late night performances on Ireland’s The Late Late Show, as well as radio, documentary and wedding requests from as far as Australia, Brazil, Japan, Chile, Lithuania and Croatia.

Each of the 10 songs on ‘Where I Belong’ showcase Father Ray’s powerful range and clear, “soulful” (Huffington Post) voice. Blurring the line between secular and spiritual, Father Ray’s lofty, ethereal timbre soars over Celtic-infused arrangements featuring acoustic guitar, piano, fiddle and Irish flute on classic ballads (REM’s “Everybody Hurts”, Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”), Irish folk songs (“O Danny Boy”, “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears”) and hymns (“Amazing Grace”, “How Marvelous”), as well as two original songs, “Together Forever” and the dramatic title track “Where I Belong”.

Recorded at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church and parochial house, where Father Ray presides in the small manufacturing town of Oldcastle, the album features a 200-voice choir comprised of local residents, reflecting the tight-knit community Father Ray has brought together through his music since his appointment as parish priest in 2006. “We have our own Diocesan choir in our church, of 100 people,” says Father Ray, “and we brought in some other choirs as well. [When recording “Amazing Grace” for the album,] I was absolutely mesmerized by the quality of the sound when all 200 voices come together to join the chorus.”

www.facebook.com/fatherraykelly
www.twitter.com/fatherraykelly
www.instagram.com/frraykelly

John Breen taps into The Source with Origins

John Breen taps into The Source with Origins

John Breen- Origins CD

John Breen- Origins CD

John Breen is a traditional Irish folk artist from Arklow. Origins is his third studio album under Emphasis records. 

Excitement was in the air when I heard that Irish crooner John Breen was putting up a new album called Origins, last year. I know his music. There is consistency that marks his previous albums. There is certainty in his vision resulting in an album that’s solid and artfully crafted. There is no fumbling around with other styles. Instead, he goes for the things he know by heart, and good at. If you pick up any John Breen album, you always feel that sense of coming home, not just in a geographical but in a spiritual sense as well.

Maturity marks his new album. I admire his humility, in a sense that he is aware of being a vessel to something bigger himself. I Still Believe is his current single. It is a stirring ballad with a beautiful mandolin solo in a mesh of other instruments. “There will be moments of fall from grace…” His ability to capture the essence of life in a line or two, is powerful. Great musicians backed this recording. It’s a cornucopia of instrumental richness supporting his beautiful voice.

I think what makes him stand out from other singer/songwriters of his time is the truth in his songs. He really lives what he sings about. He now works with people who are undergoing challenging behaviors and I think that has deepened his sense of humility and sympathy to the human condition. And we all need that in this time of apathy. When people spend more time with their mobile phones, computers or tweets, it’s refreshing to just curl up in your bed and listen to songs that remind you of what it’s like when you’re a child and everything’s safe and beautiful.

Origins is a good vocal album. The jolly Amber Tresses opens then album in which he shines in his mastery of traditional styles. Meant to Be slows us down a bit with its introspective mood and beautiful tin whistle solo. Cup of Sorrow is another lively track which gives way to the gentle and flowing I Still Believe which I mentioned earlier. I’ll Be No Stranger is another salvo of Bluegrass fireworks with amazing duet between Breen and Stevie Hawkins. Instrumentalist Tim Crouch showcases his virtuosity in most of the tracks in Origins. I admire the angelic voice of Kyla Cassidy as she provides backing vocals in various tracks,while the rest of musicians are all remarkable in their artistry in the finest degree.

Angel In The Air is a lullaby that reminds me of what mothers sang to their children in the old days to send them to sleep. I Loved You Better Than You Know is a love song with another sweep of instrumental beauty. A lament I’LL Remember You Love In My Prayers mirrors the gentleness of Meant To Be and I Still Believe. Briscoe’s Darlin’ in an instrumental that bumps the pace a bit in a traditional style. The thread extends to What I Said Ain’t What You Thought I Mean which is humorous! Been proves  that he can be funny. I Only Wish You Well closes the album. A very fitting track which summarizes the overall atmosphere of Origins. There is wisdom that comes in every journey. I think after creating three albums, the artist has an overall idea what his purpose is..

I think  we are fortunate to have an artist like John Breen in this lifetime. The honesty of his songs cuts to the core of our souls. I feel purified after the last track. Origins is a must-have album for humanity. Get it upon its official release on February 23.

Official video for “I Still Believe”, the 1st single from the forthcoming album by John Breen titled “Origins”. Download the single now direct from Emphasis Records: http://www.emphasisrecords.com/johnbr…

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-s…

Amazon MP3: http://amzn.to/1w0DWVG

“I Still Believe” is a contemporary Folk/Celtic ballad that lyrically hints at life’s struggles, yet the mood is uplifting in recognition of the power in believing. Excellent production, melodically brilliant, smooth vocals.

Song and Video Credits:
Artist: John Breen
Title: I Still Believe
Writers: C. Hannon – T.S. Hawkins – T. Crouch
Record Producer: Stevie Hawkins
Recording Engineers: Stevie Hawkins and Tim Crouch
Label: Emphasis Records
Publisher: Hannon Hawkins Music, BMI
Photography: Aoife Kavanagh
Video Editor/Director: Stevie Hawkins – ShhhMedia http://www.shhhmedia.net
Artist Website: http://www.johnbreenmusic.com

Lyrics:

I STILL BELIEVE

There will be storms, wind and rain
Life will falter, love will fail
There’ll be times the crashing wake
Washes away
Everything in its way
I Still Believe

There will be moments of fall from grace
A passing glance, a saving face
Sometimes a feeling undefined
That catches flight
And the heart will know it’s time
I Still Believe

There will be spring, summer and fall
Arctic winds will come to call
Grades of trial, a bridge of strife
For this is life
But throughout it all
I Still Believe

© 2014 Emphasis Records

Musician Credits:
John Breen: Vocal
Tim Crouch: Fiddle, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Banjo, Djembe
Sara Burke: Celtic Harp
Eamonn Byrne: Irish Tin Whistle
Kyla Cassidy: Background Vocals
Stevie Hawkins: Percussion, Background Vocals

http://www.johnbreenmusic.com/

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

February 2015 Celtic music updates.

February 2015 Celtic music updates.

..And so we have amazing tunes to start the big bang of Celtic music for 2015!

Welcome to my ‘conversational post’ where I talk like a normal person especially when I am not doing album reviews or interviews. 2015 brings us fantastic tunes in the trad and fusion department. Celtic music is colorful as it embraces many. I will

The winning image from the Bodojo Header competition by Matthew Olwell.

The winning image from the Bodojo Header competition by Matthew Olwell.

bring you fresh uploads from musicians you have not or probably heard already. But guess what they have in common? Yes it’s fantastic music. These are artists who dedicated their lives in perfecting their craft. They have released albums independently and I think their persistence is admirable. Especially in a world where ‘common’ or ‘ordinary’ music is praised. But think about it. What’s so great about common right? Why not spice up your life with something you seldom read up the Billboard or Rolling Stone reviews. Why be part of the herd when you can be different. Think different. Act different and dare to be you.

This is a fresh upload from Irish musician Enda Seery(with James Hughes). I think a new album is on the way. What do you think? I love this tune.

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I will be posting an album review of this amazing artist. He is John Breen. 

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Have a taste of Buan, the new album by Danu. Yes they have a new album out if you haven’t heard yet. It’s been creating quite a stir in the trad community these days. Worth a check! Thanks to Trad Connect for this link.

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Fans of Scottish artist Julie Fowlis will be pleased. She has released a new album called  GACH SGEUL – EVERY STORY. As always, her vocals are in between the haunting realm of Celtic music and the simplicity of indie pop. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/juliefowlis

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Bodhran Drum Solo – Abe Doron

Fans of bodhran music will love this! I love the bodhran and I am trying to be an expert but I guess I need more time. If you want to check out anything related to this instrument then be part of Bodojo https://www.facebook.com/groups/bodojo/?fref=ts

Have a great weekend everyone and more to follow!