Padraig Duggan-The Spirit of His Music Will Always Live in our Hearts.

Padraig Duggan-The Spirit of His Music Will Always Live in our Hearts.

 

August 9. Moya Brennan posted a photo of Padraig Duggan with this caption: My dear uncle and fellow Clannad member, Padraig Duggan, passed away peacefully this morning. Rest in Peace Padraig and thanks for all your music over the years

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Today, we reflect and remember Padraig Duggan of Clannad.He passed away this week due to a recurring illness. It was  a shocked because he was only 67 and this is so unexpected. For lovers of Irish music, The Duggans are a duo that I am sure you are familiar with. I am currently listening to their music via YouTube and these are songs from their 2005 album Rubicon.

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Padraig Duggan.

You can feel the passion of the brothers as they are joined by special guests: Moya Brennan on vocals, Bridin Brennan, Deirdre Brennan, Andrew Roberts, and Ciaran Byrne on backing vocals, Maire Breathnach on viola, David James on cello, Peter Jack on bass, Ingolf Kurkowski on drums, Ian Parker on piano and keyboards, and Ian Melrose in guitars, whistle, dobro and backing vocals.

According to Noel and Padraig Duggan:

The Rubicon is the point of no return. It is the place at which someone must continue on their present course of action. For us, the Rubicon is very significant. Musically, we felt that this album was the only direction that we could take at this time. The night was approaching and we could hear the wind rise. We now feel that we have crossed the Rubicon. Clannad-Banba-Frontal

Duggan played guitar, mandola, mandolin and provided vocals for Clannad. I think his most memorable contribution was with Banba. It’s the album that introduced me to the Clannad discography and I just fell in love with their sound. His mandolin playing was highlighted especially in tracks like The Other Side and Sunset Dreams.

Apart from the Duggans, Padraig was also a member of Norland Wind with his nephew Ciaran Brennan.

His contribution to music will never be forgotten and peers mourn for his passing.

Irish Guitarist Robert Doyle Talks About His New Album Lig Amach (Video)

Irish Guitarist Robert Doyle Talks About His New Album Lig Amach (Video)

I am one of the lucky people who got the chance to preview the new album Lig Amach by Irish guitarist Robert Doyle. So glad he agreed to this interview format. I gave him written questions and he answered them in video form and then I put everything together. Nothing fancy. And I think you would agree that simplicity is indeed a thing of beauty!

Lig Amach is going to be released on Friday 22nd of April. A live performance on the 28th will follow. This is a beautiful album! I highly recommend it as a 5 out of 5 stars!

Robert Doyle album cover

Visit: http://robertdoyle.net

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

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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

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!

Moxie: Taking the Heat for Being an Innovative Trad Band?

Moxie: Taking the Heat for Being an Innovative Trad Band?

As a blogger, I learned to be careful what I write online. Well, it doesn’t matter what I write about myself especially if I do it in a self-deprecating manner. It is part of my humor. But writing about bands is different. Your criticisms appear in search engines. You could be tagged with it forever. And it is quite unfair to do that to a band that is still trying to build their roots or fanbase. Of you do that to stalwarts, most likely they have fans who can defend them. Or they don’t care because nothing you will say will affect their careers. But if you do that to new bands who barely released five albums then there are things that you need to consider.

Are you writing that to help them improve? Most likely they don’t need your suggestion. Because they are professional musicians and they have a clear vision of what they want to happen with their music. They are just starting to tap into that musical segment that appreciate the kind of music they do-and not what you would like them to do.

It’s a big musical world. There are styles that you like and there are those that you don’t. If you don’t like the music then you move along. There is no need to write scathing reviews. There is no need to kill another creative spirit just because you you think you know what is right for everyone. I read a post from Irish band Moxie a couple of days ago. And this is what it says:

We would like to say something about this talk of the tradition being broken as we have been a heavily mentioned part of the topic. We are playing music that we create ourselves. The root of our music came from playing both ‘Traditional’ and ‘Modern’ Irish Music while bringing in influences of Jazz, Hip Hop, funk, bluegrass, Classical and other world music. There are a lot of people saying we are bastardising ‘Traditional Music’ but that is not true. The pure traditional music is safe in the hands of many bands, solo performers and hard working people behind the scenes who dedicate their careers to the Tradition and play the music they WANT. What we are doing is creating a new wave of fusion music which we have labeled MOXAGE. We are proud to say that we are all rooted deep in traditional Irish music and that we will love it forever. With Moxie we play something that is NOT ‘Traditional’, however it is ‘Irish’. Regardless of the fact that we are pushing boundaries, working hard to enhance our career and playing the music we WANT to play, we are also providing audiences all over the world a taste of something new and fresh. Regardless of the people who dislike our music we are proud to represent a new form of ‘Irish Music’. We live in a multi-cultural society. With the growth of technology and the melting pots of mixed cultures in cities all over the world, music is bound to evolve and we believe in evolution!
If everything stays the same then we will live everyday just like the last. We are changing the way that WE play Irish Music, not the way traditional music is played. At the end of the day Music is Music and people enjoy what we are doing, young and old. That is why we will continue to do so. 

Thank you everyone for the support,

MOXIE

I think what Moxie is doing is great. It is refreshing. It is adventurous. I love how they introduce something new to traditional-inspired music. They are not a traditional band. They are musicians making beautiful music. There is always a place for any type of music. I love traditional music as it is played which is in a traditional way. But if artists start exploring other avenues then let them be. It is time to move on. But love music. And never create discord because of it. We should support one another because hey, independent music is a small community.

I love what Fiach Moriarty posted in defense of them:

Fair play lads. You can’t be a heavyweight without taking a few slugs to the chin. Seolaigí ar aghaidh!!


If everything stays the same then we will live everyday just like the last. We are changing the way that WE play Irish Music, not the way traditional music is played. At the end of the day Music is Music and people enjoy what we are doing, young and old. That is why we will continue to do so.

Thank you everyone for the support,

MOXIE

 Learn a tune from “The Waylaid Man” and get a FREE CD.

 Learn a tune from “The Waylaid Man” and get a FREE CD.

Do you want to get a free copy of an Irish traditional record? Well you better hurry before offer runs out. According to Irish recording artist Michael McCague:
  
So grab your camera phones and make a video of yourselves playing one of his tunes. Hey it wouldn’t be hard even if you don’t have his album yet as you can always looked it up via YouTube.

Karl Nesbitt is working on a new album The Constant!

Karl Nesbitt is working on a new album The Constant!


Karl Nesbitt, The multi instrumentalist Irish musician is working on a new album. The album is titled The Constant . Details are coming soon. He has been busy with many musical projects. These are recitals and Master classes.

He has already released two recordings Vista Point and the Good News EP. You can get updates about his latest releases and projects by visiting his official website

www.karlnesbitt.com

 

Videos:

Larry Kirwan of Black 47 has  the history of Irishmusic beautifully written

Larry Kirwan of Black 47 has the history of Irishmusic beautifully written

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I recently got a copy of a new book by Larry Kirwan of the famed Black 47. The book is titled A History of Irish Music. It is one of those books you would grab if you are a music history fanatic. Or if you are just a casual music lover who happens to share a love for Irish music, then this one is for you too! I think I love this book for both its educational merits and its prose. And you will find out more in this interview as you read Larry Kirwan’s witty answers.
1. Why did you write this book?

Black 47 toured constantly from the announcement of disbanding in Sept. 2013 to the actual final date in Nov. 2015. Because we were going back to a lot of places we’d played over the years my memory was stirred, with the result that a lot of thoughts of growing up in Ireland and the various types of music I’d heard back there came to the fore. These memories were all fresh, so I decided to write them down and put them in a narrative form – a history of what I’d seen and experienced. I also wanted to tie in the social and political changes that had occurred in Ireland and the diaspora, and tie them in with the music that had been created in tandem. Since I was both political and a musician, I thought I had a pretty unique perspective on the times and wished to share that with other people.
2. Was it a challenging experience putting everything together: lyrics, references etc?

Not really, since I could choose whatever subjects and songs I liked. The real problem was with photographs. I had intended to illustrate the book with old prints but found that it was hard to get the rights to many of them. Even when I possessed photos I wasn’t always sure who took them; and even when I was, many of the photographers were either dead or retired. I didn’t want to use their work without permission, so in the end chose not to use any images. A shame! But there’s talk of the book being turned into a documentary, and if that happens I’ll update the work and add photos then.
3. You discussed at length the Travellers and I think that part about a tall man singing his heart out gave me goosebumps. It’s beautiful!

Thank you. It’s very kind of you to say so. I was never less than aware that that particular memory was precious, young though I was. Music was interwoven in the lives of the travellers and the Wexford townies of that time. Everyone sang and I was very aware of the specialness of the moment as it was occurring. Of course, I wasn’t thinking in terms of writing about it so many years later. It was more like experiencing the Irish scene in the Bronx in the 70’s and 80’s – I knew no one else was likely to write about it in detail – and eventually I did in the novel, Rockin’ the Bronx. I wrote a play that detailed my early life back in Wexford – The Poetry of Stone – it was only produced once. I’ve been thinking of turning it into a short novel, purely for my own enjoyment. I hope to get to it in the next couple of years. The Wexford of that time is very clear and luminous to me still. My grandfather is the main character in the play – he drank in Kielty’s – the pub outside which I heard the tall man singing. It’s now called Mary’s Bar and I drink in it when I go to Wexford It’s still unique and has much the same aura as back in my grandfather’s time.
4. You wrote in a style that reads like a song. Was this intentional?

No, not at all. But I guess my life has been so tied in with music that such a thing could happen effortlessly. Also remember I wrote the book as Black 47 was coming to an end. That obviously provoked some strong thoughts, so I’m not surprised that they were coated in an elegiac, if redemptive, manner. I’ve always written prose and plays in a musical fashion. For that matter, all of James Joyce’s work moves to a very defined musical beat. Oddly enough, although incredibly beautiful and insightful, I don’t catch that same strong inner musical pulse in the writing of W.B. Yeats – much as he wished to be a songwriter.
5. What’s next for A History of Irish Music?

Jesus, I really don’t know. I didn’t really plan much of a promotion for the book. What with Black 47 disbanding and my time being taken up with musical theatre and solo work, I’ve orphaned the book. But it already seems to be getting a life of its own. The subject isn’t going away and it’s a good read for those new to Irish music or others who need some gaps plugged. People seem to be enjoying it. And I enjoyed writing it and reliving some of the past. I’m not sure I would ever have written it if I wasn’t the host/producer of Celtic Crush on SiriusXM Radio. I do that weekly three hour show without notes and in an improv fashion, so my memory is jogged – sometimes brutally – every Saturday morning.

6. Will there be another book in a not so distant future?

Yes. It’s a novel called A Raving Autumn. It’s a mystery set in the years after 9/11. I’ve purposely not published it as it was all a bit painful. But I think I’m ready for it now. It may be the best thing I’ve written – I certainly hope so. Oddly enough, earlier today I made a mental decision to go with a September 2016 release date. Hopefully, I’ll stick with that.

7. What’s your message to your readers?

I don’t really have one. I basically write for myself. You spend so much time writing a play or a book that you have to be totally invested in it. In the end, though, I’m just telling a story – hopefully one that is both entertaining and uplifting. Which reminds me of the one rule in Malachy McCourt’s legendary saloon, The Bells of Hell in Greenwich Village.

Thou Shalt Not Bore! I guess I still live by that dictum with regard to my writing.

Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much I did putting everything together. It is always a treat having Larry on board. My big thanks to Anita Daly for arranging this interview!

You can buy the book here: http://www.black47.com

Quick Questions with Irish Singing Sensation Father Ray Kelly.

Quick Questions with Irish Singing Sensation Father Ray Kelly.

It great to see that the musical mainstream gets a taste of something different. Father Ray Kelly is not your average pop star. he is a priest- and will always be even in the midst of fame. YouTube exposed his talent to the public and that gave way to a beautiful debut album. Various tours in many places followed. But who is Father Kelly?
His music is very much rooted to the Irish Celtic tradition with Folk and Pop styles thrown in between. Where I Belong is the debut album comprising of twelve songs. They are carefully chosen and crafted. If you read the interview below, he explains how these tracks ended up in the album. My favourites are Everybody Hurts(Originally done by REM), Amazing Grace and Oh Danny Boy. The single Hallelujah(originally written and performed by Leonard Cohen) has an emotional intensity that is original. He voice is also beautiful. Find out more about the wonder that is father Kelly. 61zU45EZs0L
On being called YouTube sensation:
 The words YouTube sensation I find difficult to understand. Obviously they come from the fact that I have over 42 million hits of the personalised version of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah sung at Chris & Leah O Kane’s wedding. It is indeed very exciting that people want to watch the YouTube hit and from emails and letters from all over the world it has brought comfort and faith filled moments into people’s lives. So if it brings such positiveness and comfort then I am happy with that.
 On choosing songs for the album:
Yes there were many songs I would have love to record on the album that did not make the final cut, saying that I do hope there may be opportunities to record these in the future. However, in deciding on the present 12 songs on the album, my record producers and I wanted to produce an album that had a certain Celtic sound as well as church based songs being a priest. I was so delighted to have two new songs written especially for me and of course getting permission to record Hallelujah with the new wedding words was we knew what everyone would want to hear on the album. I knew the songs Everybody Hurts and Tears in Heaven and because they have such a strong message I was delighted to be able to record them also.
 On what’s next on his career as a recording artist:
 Well Where I Belong has reached many of the record shops around the world as well as being available on Amazon, somI hope people will hear it and enjoy it. As regards touring, it certainly would be my dream to tour with some concerts.
 On singing during mass:
 Usually when I sing in Church, it is after Holy Communion so Mass is almost over except for the final prayer and blessing and after that I usually finish up with How Marvellous which is an uplifting song of praise to the Lord, so I feel people are happy with that and I never hear more and more echoing from the congregation.
 On his vocal training:
 I think it is fair to say that the initial training of my voice would have come from my parents Mona & Joe Kelly. Then in Dublin while working there I studied voice training in the College of Music for a number of years.
 On how music shaped his life as a teenager:
 Certainly I believe that music and spiritually are inseparable as I see music in liturgy as a way of glorifying God. I have always loved Gospel music and having worked in S. Africa for a few years I marvelled at the sounds many African communities could create vocally, harmony and rhythm just seemed to flow from them. As a teenager growing up I would have loved the sounds of the Big Choirs and the sounds and harmonies they create in Church.
 On his title as a “Singing Priest.”
 Indeed I have been called the singing priest now for many years even long before YouTube/ Hallelujah fame. However, it is used much more now. I suppose if I was a dentist, doctor, plumber or electrician I question would I be called the singing dentist, doctor, etc. I don’t think so.
So why the singing priest? The newest name I have been called is Mr Hallelujah, so I guess it goes with the territory. Anyway, I really don’t mind what I am called.
 On visiting many places because of his music:
Ye the Irish are good when it comes to creating music and spiritually. Indeed, many Irish artists have conquered the world with their music. I hope I can bring my voice, my music and spirituality and simply me to the four corners of the world.
 His message to the listeners:
 To all who will take time to listen to my album, I say thank you for your kindness and generosity and may your listening to it carry the song of God’s heart to all of you.
That’s Father Kelly for you. It is amazing that wonderful talents happen in unexpected places(and careers). I hope we get to hear more of his new recordings in the future!
Please visit:
The Gloaming: Vinyl has arrived ….. sounds beautiful !!

The Gloaming: Vinyl has arrived ….. sounds beautiful !!

Yeah for people out there who think that analog is the only type of sound that matters then you are in luck. One of the most influential Irish groups, The Gloaming, have the vinyl version of their album. This is depressing because it makes me want to save money so I can get my own vinyl player again(the last one was busted). The Gloaming are: Iarla Ó Lionaird, Thomas Bartlett, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill. The picture below is from the group’s Facebook page. Check out the link to purchase the vinyl.

The Gloaming Vinyl has arrived

The Gloaming Vinyl has arrived

Visit the store and purchase the album: https://realworldrecords.com/store/product/10312/the-gloaming-vinyl/

Get your copies of The Widening Gyre by Altan now!

Get your copies of The Widening Gyre by Altan now!

The title The Widening Gyre appeals to us and depicts the spiral of life, widening and embracing the new. It has an innate energy. We think that idea is reflected in the album’s music,” says Mairéad.

Every Altan release is defined by craft and experience. The Widening Gyre is no exception. It just goes to prove that Altan continues to feel the excitement and growth of their music after being together for so many years. Batch mates include Clannad and the Domhnaill siblings (and you see them together in concerts and tours occasionally). Maggie’s Pancakes is the first single off The Widening Gyre which was presented on the RTE One sessions. The music is irresistible which is something that Altan have given us through the years. I have read so many positive reviews and my newsfeed is flowering with links posted by fans of the band.altan-widening-gyre-600

At the centre of this artistic band is the fiddler extraordinaire Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. I follow her on social media not solely for her talent but also for her advocacy. She is a staunch supporter of causes that matter in Ireland and the world. She is really outspoken with her beliefs. Traditional Irish musicians have been pigeonholed as people who are just mainly concerned with the stye of music that they’re playing – which is reasonable given the kind of discipline that goes to the mastery of the instruments. But this revelation proves that the traditional music community is constantly evolving comprising of people who are forward thinkers and visionaries. It is a great genre with great people around it.

So if you have not yet gotten your copy of The Widening Gyre by Altan, you better get one! The music will embrace you and keep you happy through troubled times.

Shotgun Down The Avalanche by Cara Dillon from the New Album “A Thousand Hearts”

Shotgun Down The Avalanche by Cara Dillon from the New Album “A Thousand Hearts”

This was posted last April 30. This was supposed to be a blog but I noticed it was part of the ‘menu’ section above. I took it down and placed it here for everyone to see:

Folk diva Cara Dillon is making rounds all over the UK to promote her new album A Thousand Hearts. I already sent the interview questions to her publicist Ali and I am just waiting for the results. It is amazing to finally be able to ask her directly everything related to her musical career. Big thanks to my friend Paula for watching her concert and getting me the spot to do an interview. Here is one of the songs from that album and it’s called Shotgun Down the Avalanche.

It is a fantastic folk ballad featuring Sam Lakeman’s acoustic guitar (joined by equally amazing musicians). Her voice always awakens something in me. It is a beautiful voice that sounds like it’s coming from the pipes of a sad angel.

Buy the new album here: http://www.caradillon.co.uk/albums/thousand-hearts-1

Great performance by Maria Doyle Kennedy

Great performance by Maria Doyle Kennedy

 

I’ve heard of her name mentioned many times in the world of TV and music. But it is the first time I saw Maria Doyle Kennedy perform live. You have to pardon me Irish music lovers. I have been covering a lot of music in the Celtic genre that there are artists that are still waiting in my ‘must listen to ‘ list. Anyway her performance of The Most Beautiful People are Broken blew me away. There is something in that voice. There is truth in that song. The backing of Kieran Kennedy and Donal Lunny are exquisite.

this means I need to watch Orphan Black because she plays Ms Sadler. She also appeared in The Commitments. One of my favorite Irish movies of all time. This is my amazing introduction to her wonderful talent. I will follow her career from now on.

Cillian King is going to release some mighty music!

Cillian King is going to release some mighty music!

Thanks to Rolf Wagels for this exciting story!

The buzz is that Cillian King is releasing new music soon. What music could this be? Are you excited? I know I am. I have heard his tunes with other groups and this man is truly amazing. I am sharing his soundcloud page because I am sure he will post all his new tunes on this page so keep a close watch ok?

In the mean time I wish you all a great week ahead. Good coffee and awesome tunes!

Two Available tracks from Wish by Poitin, via Soundcloud.

Two Available tracks from Wish by Poitin, via Soundcloud.

 

Yes you heard it right. The new album Wish by Poitin is finished. The main reason to rejoice.

Just when the thought the seas have calmed, Poitin brings out a new album called Wish. I am not sure about the details of the album yet, but I know the band have worked in recording tracks around Autumn last year. They uploaded two track via soundcloud: The Broomfield Wager and Toffee Jigs. The former is a vocal track showcasing the versatility of Jeremy King’s voice. It is also an acoustic and bodhran driven song. The latter is an instrumental collection of traditional tunes.

Like I said, I have not listened to the whole album yet, but I can tell this is something new. The poitin flavor is still there. But there is that slick and superb texture that I noticed in these two tracks. It is easy to judge that the album will sound this way. And this is an exciting release!

The album will be available everywhere and I will tell you more about it in my future post about the guys of Poitin.

Debut Album of CrossHarbour Coming Soon!

Debut Album of CrossHarbour Coming Soon!

 

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CrossHarbour takes the vibrant spirit of Traditional Irish music to new listeners.

CrossHarbour, is the name of the band after a London tube station. But it could also imply “crossing into another country’ through the sea. I love the idea that traditional Irish music blends well with any genre. It is so pure it sounds good with Jazz, Rock, Folk and even Classical music. Rosie Hodgson completes the circle, although she is not present in this video. They recorded their soon-to-be-released debut album at Livingstone Studios, London.

CrossHarbour are: Orlaith McAuliffe (flute), Sam Proctor (fiddle), Philippe Barnes (guitar), Tad Sargent (bodhran) and Rosie Hodgson on vocals. Hodgson has perfect folk vocals that sound warm and smooth. I am sure it’s going to be a fantastic debut album. To quote from Tradconnect: “I saw the future of trad music and its name is CrossHarbour.”

I keep on watching the bodhran technique of Tad Sargent as I am a bodhran student myself. His thundering chops are showcased in these live videos. You can tell they love being onstage. The listeners love them too.

Preorder the album here: http://crossharbourmusic.com/?album=crossharbour-2

 

visited us At Livingston Studios during the recording of their debut album (photos by George Staines)

 

 

Saoirse’s Heart by Celtic Cross.

Saoirse’s Heart by Celtic Cross.

The sounds of urban New York and the lush rural landscapes of Ireland are the main ingredients of Saoirse’s Heart by Celtic Cross.

It is an energizing experience to listen to the new album of Celtic Cross called Saoirse’s Heart. It seems that the Irish 1939701_10202492302182764_790937896_nspirit has jumped out of my speakers into my living room. It’s been ages since I heard a Celtic inspired pop rock band that can go out into the open with such confidence and maturity. Celtic Cross have all the elements found in groups like The Corrs and Bellefire. But these bands are more pop than Celtic, though there are traditional elements in the former. Celtic Cross made an easy transition between two worlds in Saoirse’s Heart. The interplay of rock and ballads are seamless.

I have many favorites and among them is Jameson Johnny in which lead vocalist Kathleen Fee pinned in what I can describe as a soaring hills-to-heaven singing. She is joined by band mates band mates Kenny and John who are her brothers and co-founders of the group. There also other members who showcased their beautiful playing. Saoirse’s Heart combines New York urban energy and the lush atmospherics of rural Ireland. When you fuse the two, you get something that works for everyone.

After hearing all the fourteen tracks, I don’t remember anything I am not enthusiastic about. Every track sounds different. But the unifying factor is the radio-friendly melodies and catchy hooks that are present in every song. The vocals are not too pop and not too folk/traditional to be too exclusive. Rather, they(the style of singing and instrumental arrangements) set a balance between modern and traditional styles. There are bluesy elements like in Best of Days. I listen to this in the morning when I exercise or water the plants. It is an energetic album that has a smooth appeal. I’d say Saoirse’s Heart is a great album and has a potential to sell like hotcakes!

Sample their tracks here:

http://www.celticcross.com/tunz1979541_10202613832540947_824479361_n

You can contact the band through:

email mail@celticcross.com

Email The Band….

Kathleen Fee – Lead Vocal
kathleen@celticcross.com

Kenny Vesey – Fiddle
ken@celticcross.com

John Vesey – Accordion
john@celticcross.com

Walter Ensor – Guitar & Vocals
walter@celticcross.com

Patrick Dineen – Bass, Keys & Vocals
patrick@celticcross.com

 

St Patrick’s Day Essay and Podcast#28

St Patrick’s Day Essay and Podcast#28

There comes a time when existential blues happen to any blog. I think it is the discontented feeling of doing the same thing again and again that gives rise to this feeling. And it is good to be someone who gives you the latest in our music community. But I found out that this blog has grown into  a more structure routine-without my overt opinions. And I feel that like any relationship, things have to change. Perhaps stir on a different direction. Maybe spice things up a bit. I also realized that my mind has become cluttered as I am thinking of so many things these days. Perhaps it’s the new work that I found. It’s blowing me into a different direction. So yes things have become less personal and more sterile. It is time to shake the apple tree until the fruits fall.

We all grow. Perhaps we grow together or apart. It’s the same with friends. There are those we meet for the first who give their best foot forward. Always smiling and friendly. Then one day things become confusing. Unlike friendship, music gives us a choice. Either we listen to the same artist or probably explore other styles. But life is always like that. It is full of uncertainty. We offend someone though we don’t mean to. Or it could be all in our heads. Who knows? Sometimes we do embarrassing things and we make a fool of ourselves. In the end our greatest adversary is our own minds. I know it is hard to let go of someone’s approval; especially if that person means a lot to you. But like anything else in this world, nothing stays forever. Whether we like it or not. So things have to change.

I’ve finished uploading the radio show from last Saturday. I am happy being an online DJ. It’s something different from the usual blogging that I do. And I don’t want to impose myself on anyone. That is why I am doing less promotion on my personal page because if people really like what you do, there is no need to tell them ‘hey listen to me, what I do is cool.” And it should not be an obligatory thing because friendship should be about freedom. I’ve learned that the more we force or expect people for their time, attention and effort, the more we are imposing ourselves to them and friendship becomes strain. And the other party will start feeling trapped.

So I think whatever it is you are doing, whatever it is you are passionate about; just do it. And people will just come along. I have more than seven hundred friends in my facebook personal page. I only correspond to around five percent. But I can’t delete those who added me from my previous job. I can’t delete those who added me for the sake of Celtic music. I don’t think it is necessary. But sometimes the feeds can be too much.

I think when you are an artist, the greatest asset that you have is not really your style or talent. Everyone has style and talent. It is either you are very good or good enough. It is what you say or the ‘unique’ things you bring to the table that makes you remarkable. I am just a blogger. I am not a ‘writer.’ But I think I have something to say(like all the bloggers out there). I have opinions. I have visions and things that not everyone thinks about. And this side doesn’t really get itself known because I have followed a strict rule of doing ‘just that.’ But this is not work. This is not something I owe anyone. This is my house. And I think it is time to say whatever I want to say. And even though we can’t please everyone, as long as we are happy with what we do then we are alright.

Oh and happy St. Patrick’s celebration to all of you.

***

Sounds you should hear.

It’s been ages since I visited my soundcloud stream page. I found several artists you will enjoy. One is Scottish singer/harpist AnnaMcLuckie. Her vocal style is contemporary. She puts a cool spin to pop tunes.

I like demo tunes from established musicians. We all know that these demos or ‘live’ recordings will find their way into an album but it is always good to see the progress of the music. This time it’s Sir Phillip McHugh (slip jig) performed by Enda Seery: Vincenzo Di Mauro C Flute and James Hughes: Fiddle tuned to C.

And the last but not the least is something from Scottish piper/flutist Fraser Fifield.

Fantastic Album: At your Call by The Buachaills

Fantastic Album: At your Call by The Buachaills

The Buachaills

The Buachaills

If you recall, I wrote about the The Buachaills in my previous post. I am really glad to get to listen to “At your Call” ahead of the official release. The album will be available on May 10th 2014. So all you music fanatics and supporters of the genre, let this album bolt out of the doors when it hits the stores. Make it a great event!

The album has good opening and closing track.

At Your Call which is the title track reminds me of the lost glory of 90s Alternative bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket and Jars of Clay. My friends at The London Celtic Punks already wrote a review so you might want to check that out. Combining the beauty of Irish instruments and good songwriting, this song is unique, explosive and inspiring. The chorus has vocal melodies that goes ” Someday soon we’ll find the words to say.” The lyrics and the melody float together making this a perfect song. If they need me to carry the torch all the way to top 40 radio for modern rock tracks then I will carry it for this song!

The same goes for Baker Street (Which is their first single with an awesome video above). If you like something by Chris Isaak, Bible Code Sundays, Alice in Chains and anything with these bands combined, then you will love everything you hear in At Your Call. You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time, showcases the perky tin whistle and sing along chorus.

King of The Fairies pays tribute to the Irish myth. In this tune, they explored their haunting and atmospheric side. This is actually my kind of ‘Celtic music’ as the genre is meant to transport you.

There is another surprise. It’s the brilliant remake of Will Ye Go Lassie Go(Which I originally heard from Mountain Goats). Lovers of Light has pure rhythmic fun as it showcases world favors on top of the irresistible beat and sumptuous uilleann pipe sounds. Little Creatures closes this beautiful album with its energetic and haunting nature.
The band’s strong point are the following: Their use of vocal harmonies. The second is their songwriting style which is very contemporary  and which has the capacity to jump genres. Next is of course, the instruments.

Be sure to get this album when it comes out on May.

The album was produced by Ciaran O’Shea http://ciaranosheamusic.com/ who has worked with Linken Park , Bush and the Frank and Walters to name a few.

It was mastered in New Zealand by Darren O’Reilly (Clannad).

www.thebuachaills.com

www.facebook.com/thebuachaills

 

https://twitter.com/buachaills