Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

I have to admit, writing about the new musical venture of Cathy Maguire was a challenge. How do you start writing about something totally different from what you are used to? I reviewed bands, I blogged about musicians and their albums,or even wrote about musicals but posting about a TV show was a challenge. But then again this is no ordinary TV show. It is about music and the Irish musicians that perform them.So where do I start? Of course, the music. The music will guide you through.

Sunnyside Sessions is an exciting venture that Irish singer-songwriter launched recently and it showcases talents based in the East Coast United States-the expats. Now I remember posting a video of HamsandwicH on my Facebook status and that’s  why the show’s title sounds familiar. I saw them perform in the Sunnyside Sessions with the rest of the talented people. My first impression: great location and set design.

I exchanged emails with Cathy Maguire and I discovered more about why everyone should check out Sunnyside Sessions. Here’s an excerpt from Irish Echo written by Sean Devlin:

Cathy Maguire is no stranger to new opportunities. In possession of a career decorated with accomplishments, including television appearances and multiple album releases, she has rubbed elbows with some of the best talent the country music industry has to offer. With “The Sunnyside Sessions,” she’s been branching out into a new TV venture, and embracing all the stops along the way.

With many amazing performers I am sure Sunnyside Sessions will continue to attrack audiences eom different demographics. Here’s an info I got from the press release as to what this show is all about:

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I think this is a fascinating show that everyone should support. We need more artists like hose that appeared in her show. May the force be with her!

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

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

nar·row·back /ˈnæroʊˌbæk/ [nar-oh-bak]
–noun Slang.
1. Disparaging. an Irish-American.
2. a person of slight build who is unfit for hard labor.

The brain child of a future banker and a drop out bartender, The Narrowbacks are a fresh voice for songs and stories old and new. After some late night sing songs, a couple whiskeys and a few lost jobs we came up with a young punk attitude that found itself running through the veins of an old time folk band.

If Joe Strummer, Shane MacGowan and Bruce Springsteen survived a drinking session through the 5 boroughs, the hangover would be called The Narrowbacks.

If you have devoted your life supporting Celtic music then you’ll know that the world never runs out of great talents. There will always be amazing bands from any time, any place. They just need a good channel to get exposed to enthusiasts.

Such is the case of The Narrowbacks from New York. For those who are not aware New York has offered us great bands since the 90s like the October Project and Black 47. There are more though they escape my fingertips as of the moment but yes, New York is an amazing place when it comes to unique bands. And the musical energy of the place is a big influenced to these musicians behind the band. They have their own eclectic styles and influences and they all bring it to the band. So what you get is music that seems to come from many sources yet so distinct and so exclusive to the Irish musical culture.

They are adept in performing old a new tunes but they have a knack for great arrangements that the old and new songs can sound as if they all came from the same era. When it comes to energy well, they have it all as all bands celebrating the spirit of Irish rock. Fans of Barleyjuice and Dropkick Murphy’s will love their style of music.

I really enjoyed listening to their songs especially the crowd rouser Paddy’s Field.

Check out the press release:

Releasing new single ‘Shannon’ Friday February 19th prior to album release in April!

If Joe Strummer, Shane MacGowan and Bruce Springsteen survived a drinking session through the five boroughs of New York City, the hangover would be called The Narrowbacks. The brainchild of a future banker and a bartender, The Narrowbacks are a fresh voice for songs and stories old and new.  The band is currently winning over audiences with their high energy set of tunes and over the top performances.  They have played gigs at notable venues such as The Stone Pony, Webster Hall and the Bowery Bal1room.  They have shared the stage with Flogging Molly, Black 47 and The Dropkick Murphys.  But maybe their most note worthy shows have been in support of The Ice Bucket Challenge, performing at many charity events to raise money for the cure of ALS and their dedication to the cause has helped fuel their notoriety and is taking them nationwide.

The band has been brewing on the East coast and developing their own unique style of ‘Celtic Rock’.  Not to be stuck in that genre the band can rock out with any of the best players out there.  Music writer Colleen Taylor of The Irish Echo says of the group, “Their music is literally and figuratively electric and it sounds best live… The Narrowbacks fill the need for a young Irish-America that knows how to rock.”   They receive constant rotation on radio stations such as WFUV in NYC and Sirius XM on Larry Kirwan’s ‘Celtic Crush.’

After a few years recording their own versions of traditional Irish and folk songs and anthems, the band will be releasing an album of all original tunes in April. To get a taste of the music they will be premiering a single called ‘Shannon’ on February 19th on iTunes.  Disc Jockey Bruce Swan of WPKN radio says, “The new single ‘Shannon’ from The Narrowbacks is classic storytelling, genre-bending and non-stop great.  If this is the start of what is yet to come, the new cd from The Narrowbacks will kill it.”

The band is gearing up for the St Patrick’s Day season with a March tour and show dates include March 16th at The House of Blues in Boston opening up for The Dropkick Murphys and March 17th at Webster Hall NYC.

The new single, ‘Shannon’, will be out on iTunes on Friday February 19th. We can send on an MP3 if you are interested for review and airplay.

For more information and full tour dates go to:  http://www.narrowbacks.com/

MEDIA CONTACT: Anita Daly / Daly Communications / 212 772 0852 / anitadaly@yahoo.com

 

Na Fianna: Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

Na Fianna: Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

Na Fianna: Celtic Rock, powerful  and contemporary take on songs old and new!

It is great to have an insider’s view of this interesting band that everyone is talking about. The band is Na Fianna from Ireland-which is also my spiritual home. They have several songs out via YouTube, various sites and social media. Better check them out because you don’t know what you are missing. And yes, they have great advice for their fellow musicians as on how to be in top shape, musically!Xd6cd1Ay.jpg

1. Congratulations for releasing the new exciting album called Unearthed. What’s the story behind the album’s title?

Thanks very much, it was hard work but thoroughly enjoyable to record. The title “Unearthed’ was chosen because it was perfect for where we were and what we were doing at the time. We were hidden away with all these musical ideas for a long time and it was time to unearth them to the world.

2. There are four of you : Ciaran, Hugh, James and Peter. Did you invite other artists to the recording sessions?

We had invited a drummer, ‘Binzer’, to collaborate with Peter in the percussion department to elaborate our ideas more in the songs. There also was our producer and musician Bill Shanley who we worked with to bring this sound out even more. He played some bass and guitar in the backline to collaborate with Ciarán in the strings department.

3. This album has a strong impact to many listeners. I noticed you have passionate and supportive fans especially in the social media! Do you have plans of putting up an ‘acoustic’ session and invite fans over, and have it filmed and released in video format?

That’s a good idea, we would love to do that. You know, we already have done an impromptu gig with such a setting in Boston and it was received very well. Nothing is impossible in the future. It reminds me of when Incubus did the Morning View Sessions. A great recording. We’re up for it.

4. The current single off the album is Toora Loora Lay . I noticed the strong rhythm right away, on top of the strong melody. Can you tell us a it about the recording of this song?

We wrote it in Pink Floyd’s Britannia Row Studios in London with friend and super talented songwriter Don Mescall. We sat down with ideas and put our heads together and wrote Toora Loora Lay. So we had a demo done from there, then we brought it to Bill Shanley’s Cauldron Studios. The song flowed so nicely it was quite fun to record but it was also intense as we knew the song had a shot at becoming iconic in the folk world.

5. Any plans to tour? Where’s your first stop?

We’ve had many mini tours and once off gigs in Europe and America so far. We have a great desire to tour a lot, but we want to record a little more material and spread our name throughout the world through social media etc. then we can tour in peace of mind that people will come see us. Saying that, we like to work fast and anything can happen so quickly. This year however, first stop is The Dubliner in Oslo, Norway. Follow our events on for more gigs and tours.

6. Bill Shanley produced this album. Can you tell us how it’s like working with him and his amazing talent?

Bill Shanley is an outrageous talent. We heard he is the best at guitar accompanying….and producing, we can swear wholeheartedly he is up there with the best in the world. Working with him in the studio at close quarters is an amazing experience. He’s always very calm and he has the best ideas to promote our own for the good of the song. His musical ear is phenomenal. If you’re out of tune by a minuscule, he will hear it. The whole process of working with such experience will stand to us forever more. We can’t wait to record with him again this year in Cauldron Studios.

7. Drunken Sailor is my personal favourite. It’s really fast. How do you guys manage to keep in top shape musically?

We keep in top shape musically because we are always playing music. We play small gigs in duets and solos every night and day in Dublin on top of Na Fianna rehearsals. Also we like to challenge ourselves as much as possible in each song. Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

8. Your message to fans?

Our fans are the greatest in the world, no joke. We have loads more songs to give them this year and many years to come. We love this journey we’re on and they are with us every step of the way. Thank you kindly.

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Voice of the Heart:A Mother’s Embrace by Tom Phelan and The Martin Healy Trad Band

 

In the end, memories are all that we shall have. It’s almost three years and I still cry at the passing away of my mom. Well, not as often as before. But we all have our moments. I think, when we deal with the passing away of someone we love, it’s always the feeling that we didn’t have more time speaks louder. Not all of us live lives ideally. Though it is what we aspire to have. But when everything is silenced by distance and time, one thing remains: love is the  most powerful thing in the universe. Love creates a bond that is stronger than death.

This is what this song is all about. Love-a mother’s love. I stumbled upon it and the thought behind the music is captivating:

I love the candid simplicity of the style.

This brought me to this idea that no arrangement is lofty enough. No poetry is ever adequate. And no eloquence is fervent enough. A son’t love to his mother could never be measured by anything..other than the feeling itself.  And this song speaks that sentiment of longing. And no matter who or what we are, loss is a great equalizer. And love is love regardless of the style in which we sing it.

Don’t forget to check out more amazing songs from this band via YouTube.

Here’s an info about the trio:

The colourful trio include Martin; Tom Phelan, a Jesuit brother based in Dublin’s Gardiner Street: and Kerryman Niall Brosnan, who plays the accordion.

 

 

The marriage between trad and electro:Jiggy the Band

Jiggy is the name of the group!

I got a surprise via Soundcloud. I heard this cool group from out of the misty universe which is the internet.They call themselves Jiggy. It seems that they are the answer to my longing for the fusion of electronic beats and traditional music. Perhaps there are very very few bands doing that these days, a kind of style started by The AfroCelts in the 90s.

So who are the artists behind this fascinating group? According to their website:

“New Irish band Jiggy put some serious pep in the step of traditional Irish Music.”      Irish Central

 

Jiggy is a very groovy collective!4f3805_e87d8b99cc764d7fa0fbe281a6b65af5

 

Featuring the talents of traditional musicians; 

Daire Bracken (fiddle), Aoife Kelly (fiddle), Éamonn Galldubh (uilleann pipes), Éamonn De Barra (flute & whistle), Robbie Harris (percussion), Niwel Tsumbu (guitar & Vocals) and Yoshi Izumi (bass) who have teamed up with DJ Jack on the decks. 

 

Jiggy has developed a sound unlike anything else, fusing vocal lilting & beatboxing, Irish traditional music, hip hop dance grooves, world music rhythms and harmonies. Expect a thrilling live set of original music and traditional dance tunes. 

 

Jiggy also features special guest beatboxer MIC Bandit.

 

Jiggy have collabrated with producers Steve Lynch (Stellarsound), Mark Murphy (Sound Butlers) and Sam Jackson. Mastering is done by Fergal Davis.

Oh so that’s it! Sounds like they have many exciting things coming this year. Is there a studio album that we can buy? Here’s another info from their website:

Jiggy are in the studio recording and mixing the new album!

 

Jiggy have just released ‘Laethanta Saoire’

Laethanta Saoire is composed by guitar ledgend Steve Cooney and out now on iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. 

Produced by Sam Jackson

Mastered by Fergal Davis.

 

Buy now on  iTunes 

Ok I gotta go back to my dancing. I can’t stop!

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Wow it’s really 2016. More exciting things happening in music. There many bands lining up to be featured, and so many tunes to be savoured. Yes you will hear then soon. I just keep them in my ‘drafts’ section and I am not revealing yet as I want to keep the suspense 😉

So for starters let me wish everyone a great new year and the best in 2016. Here are the picks of the day :

 

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:

“It was recorded in real time with minimal overdubs” Caitriona O’ Leary Talks about The Wexford Carols

“It was recorded in real time with minimal overdubs” Caitriona O’ Leary Talks about The Wexford Carols

the-wexford-carols-covers

Happy Holidays! I wrote an entry about The Wexford Carols by Caitriona O’Leary a few days ago. And it is a delight to receive a response from the interview questions I sent her with the help of my friend Anita Daly. So here they are and I was not really surprised that she mentioned Bjork as one of her influences. These two have amazing voices.I am sure Bjork would love O’Leary’s rendering of the traditional carols. The album’s production is superb, the artwork is exceptional-plus you gotta get your hands on the liner notes as a lot of inspiration was poured in making this project. Read further and more surprises await you!

  1. The Wexford Carols was released very early of this year. What’s the story behind the re-release?

Actually the album was released for Christmas last year! But I feel that The Wexford Carols has the potential to be a long-lived perennial offering and that we hadn’t reached every music lover just yet!

  1. You are backed by fantastic studio musicians, singers and sound  tech people. It must be an exciting recording session.
 

It was indeed a very exciting session. It was recorded in real time with minimal overdubs. Basically, we were all in the room (a beautiful, converted 17th-century stable house with huge windows overlooking woodland), making the music at the same time – watching each other, responding to each other’s musical impulses.

  1. How extensive was the background research for this album?
 

I spent many years researching the carols. I started dabbling about 20 years ago, but it has really been the past couple of years that I completely submersed myself in the material. I have visited the church in Kilmore (where the carols are still sung), spoken with local Wexford historians, and spent many happy hours in Dublin libraries and music archives unearthing clues to the melodies that had been lost.

  1. Are you working on a new album and if you are what can we expect?
  1. What’s the inspiration behind this album, and the musical direction you took in recording this(see answers to question 6).
 

I am indeed working on a new album – The Wexford Carols, volume 2! There are still a dozen carols hiding in Wexford history and we want to bring them into the light too. We will be recording in the spring with the renowned producer Ethan Johns and taking a different musical approach to the first volume. It’s a very exciting prospect!

  1. Who are your major musical influences?
 

I have many, many musical influences! Nina Simone, Skip James, Sara Ghriallais, Chabuca Granda, Jordi Savall, Björk…you can probably hear bits of all of them in my work (Björk not so obviously…yet…)

  1. what your biggest Christmas wish?
 

Peace on Earth and goodwill towards all creatures and the planet.

Enjoy your copy of The Wexford Carols. It is an album that’s meant to enchant you not just this holiday season but for all seasons!
The Wexford Carols brings the 17th and 18th century Irish Christmas songs to your Living Room

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

WexfordCarols.

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

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

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

Rhiannon Giddens – Voice, Fiddle, Minstrel Banjo

Rosanne Cash – Voice

Tom Jones – Voice

and also:

Adrian Hart – Fiddle

Eamonn de Barra – Flute, Whistle

John Smith – Guitar, Mandola

Dónal Lunny – Bouzuki

Kate Ellis – Cello

Greg Cohen – Double Bass

Mel Mercier – Bodhrán, Bones

Graham Hopkins – Drums

Joe Henry, Producer

Ryan Freeland, Recording Engineer, Mix and Master.

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

TRACK LISTING – 61 Minutes

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

 

Visit: http://www.caitrionaoleary.com

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

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

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

 

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

Going Home by David O’Leary (named as Ireland’s most exciting young tenor).

Going Home by David O’Leary (named as Ireland’s most exciting young tenor).

David O’ Leary is an Irish tenor with a bright voice. Going Home was released in 2011 and I feel a bit sad that I missed the whole official release event. His repertoire does not end in Classical and traditional Irish tunes. He also sings standards.

One of the heartwarming tracks in the album is his rendition of  Smile. I love the crystalline way  of how the instruments were recorded, couple that with his pristine voice and you get an album that will appeal to many people including those who don’t really listen to Celtic music.

Going Home by David O'Leary

Going Home
by David O’Leary

So who is he? The young tenor from County Wexford has studied voice in New York City. His credits include performing for President Bill Clinton and Irish-American philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman at the prestigious Metropolitan Club-Irish Central.

Going Home has eight tunes. The album opens with Black is the Color which is very familiar to all those who love Irish ballads. It is followed by a Catholic hymn called The Lord is My Shepherd. Then there’s  Smile, Carrickfergus and the Elvis Priestly classic Can’t Help Falling in Love. Il MoCuore Va is an Italian rendition of My Heart Will Go On (which was also covered by Sarah Brightman and originally recorded by Celine Dion). Danny Boy is perhaps one of the most dramatic and touching songs in the album. The orchestra is just superb. It ends with the haunting Going Home.

This is a good holiday album! Get it here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davidoleary1

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

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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

Prisoner Zero: Moya Brennan and Aisling Jarvis

Prisoner Zero: Moya Brennan and Aisling Jarvis

Moya Brennan

Fans of Moya Brennan will love this new project which is now part of her huge body of work as a solo artist. She worked with daughter Aisling Jarvis(noted for her work as a sound Engineer and singer/songwriter). According to her facebook page posted on October 16:

Aisling Jarvis and I have been writing the music for a TV show called Prisoner Zero for the last 10 months, and the trailer is available for you all to watch now! 

I am extremely excited to be working on it, and have been loving working with Planet 55 Studios and Telegael on this production.
Watch the trailer below to hear some of the music we’ve been creating, we are very proud of it and can’t wait for you all to see the show!

Moya is also busy preparing her An Irish Christmas Tour this holiday. I have to say our First Lady of Celtic Music has a busy year and her energy impressive! I have followed her career since I got my copy of Perfect Time in 1998. Since then I enjoyed her every album.

Mountain Rose by The Gothard Sisters: Girl Power in Celtic Music!

Mountain Rose by The Gothard Sisters: Girl Power in Celtic Music!

Just say you are a casual listener and you happen you see one of the performances of The Gothard Sisters. I am pretty sure you would be amazed how these three sisters carry themselves. They are musically and visually captivating. You don’t even have to be a fan of Celtic music to really take note of their musical skills. This is girl power to the max. I mean, they have always carried their musical careers independently since the release of their debut album in 2006. And they stayed true to their style no matter how fickle-minded the music industry is.61eNCSEy9CL._SS280

I love the cover artwork of Mountain Rose. It really says a lot about their playfulness. And the materials are sonically delicious. I am talking about the cover of Andy M Stewart’s “Queen of Argyll.” Mr Stewart introduced me to traditional Irish music during the explosion of Green Linnet records in the 90s. The sisters gave this tune an interesting twist. The trio wrote some songs too. And whole album is like a good book you need to read up to the end. I say that because I am more of an album guy. I’d rather buy full-length albums as opposed to compilations or ‘best of.’ I am sure some of you can relate to this as every song tells a story. And every story is a branch that makes up the bigger tree which is the album. Greta, Willow and Solana are really good in making this album consistent while making each track unique to each other.

I love the clarity of The Bandit. They combine the elegance of their classical training to folk tracks. I Courted a Sailor sounds fitting in these times of gender equality. But while making interesting materials worth the discussion over coffee, they also make sure that the craft doesn’t suffer. Cat In A Bush is another playful track to listen to if you are a fan of traditional instrumental music. The Boatman’s Call reminds me a bit of Connie Dover in terms of the clear and magical vocals, while St. Annie’s Reel is a force of nature. As a fan of Grace O’Malley’s story, I am so glad the sisters have this track about her. Yes another tribute to a strong woman in history.

There are plenty of tracks you should not miss in this album. It is really a satisfying experience and I hope you get Mountain Rose and that this album will introduce you to the rest of their discography. Out of five starts I give this a five!

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!

Amazing Songs For This Week.

Amazing Songs For This Week.

Erin So Green.  

Think of the best melodic folk bands in the 70s and then combine that with pop rock sensibility and you have one of the best songs to come out this week. It’s by Northern Ireland singer/songwriter Dee McIlroy. Listen to his Soundcloud page and also listen to his other tunes and I am sure you will appreciate them all.

           Tracks from The Wild Atlantic Way – A Journey in Irish Music       

For lovers of traditional Irish music this playlist compiled by Tradconnect is a must. It will introduce you to the many wonders of Celtic music and the amazing musicians that inhabit this world. Listen to Danú, The Kilfenora Céílí Band and Kíla. These tracks will rouse you from your sadness and take you to the magical world of a musical style like no other. The Wild Atlantic Way is a compilation album of many artists within the genre.

Richard Parkes from Newtownards, Co.Down on bagpipes, and Trevor Stewart from Belfast on Uilleann Pipes, playing a hornpipe called Jimmy Blue, followed by a selection of jigs. 1996.

This is a beautiful blast from the past. The amazing skills of these musicians will leave you breathless. As if you are chasing after beautiful luminous balls bouncing in the countryside. I had to play it again and again because it is simply irresistible.

 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.

“Irish heart, American Soul artist Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer

“Irish heart, American Soul artist Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer

  

http://youtu.be/jdrsXdNYNNE
“Irish heart, American soul” artist Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer. If you haven’t heard his music yet then visit his official band page and play the Soundcloud widget. His music is a combination of alternative rock, Americana and Irish folk. It is one of the beautiful sounds to happen this year. His last album Off the Grid has already pulled positive reviews from critics and I am sure the upcoming release Highway Artwork will fare better.

Burns has a great vocal rage that is both  soulful and upfront. From Ireland to America, this artist takes us to a musical journey that evokes many layers of emotions. 

So who is Danny Burns? I got this from his press release:

Danny has been touring since the age of 17, learning his craft on the road both performing and living in New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Nashville. His influences come from his traditional upbringing and also from legendary singer/songwriters like Van Morrison, Richard Thompson and Christy Moore. He has also drawn influences from the culture of New Orleans where he has recorded with George Porter Jr. and Mean Willie Green. He took part in the historic song writer’s night at The Blue Bird Café Nashville, home to writers like Townes Van Zant and Steve Earle. Danny was also featured in the critically acclaimed documentary about Irish Rock Legend and Pogues leader, Shane MacGowan, ‘The Fairytale of New York.’ At home in Ireland he has worked with Damien Dempsey, The Hot House Flowers and Solas.

Danny Burns will be releasing his new cd, ‘Highway Artwork’ this summer. It was recorded in Nashville at John Prine’s studio The Butcher Shoppe and at 5 time Grammy Award nominated engineer Gary Paczosa’s studio, also at Jeff Hill’s studio in Brooklyn. Danny says, “The new record is almost a complete bridge to the gap between Irish, folk, bluegrass and Americana roots music.” It features some of Nashville’s finest pickers & players who have recorded with KD Lang, John Fogarty and Lee Ann Womack.

Don’t miss this:

 On July 15th at the City Winery Danny Burns will be the opening act for the ‘King of New Grass’ Sam Bush. http://sambushmovie.com/ It will be a great night of homespun music, so come on out! For tickets call (212) 608-0555 or go to http://www.citywinery.com 

For more info visit: http://www.dannyburnsband.com/