In this edition: Nua,
Jonathan Kershaw and Eclipse
Making waves: Irish/Scottish Traditional Music, Experimental, Fusion trio from Toronto Canada.
NUA came up with an auspicious debut in a form of an EP. It gives us the taste of what this trio can offer not just today but also in future releases. These are clean, crisp tunes that sparkle with precision and showmanship. The audio quality is something get excited about. The surface sound of every instrument is captured giving us a degree of nuance and atmosphere.
The EP starts with Fizzbuzz which showcases the thunderous bodhran playing of Jacob McCauley and the invigorating strums of Graeme McGillivray on guitar. These sounds are sliced up with James M Law’s luminous playing on fiddle. That fiddle simply sparkles in all of the tracks.
The Draw is perhaps what one would call a ‘carrier single’ due to its upfront rhythm and fast paced characteristic that draws influences from Jazz, Folk and even World. Here, Jacob McCauley’s bodhran becomes emotive, giving us an impression that this percussion has finally reached its tonal height and is capable of being a lead instrument. We have to remember, Jacob plays different types of bodhrans including those custom made by Christian Hedwitschak. This is a tune that’s guaranteed to get you dancing.
Martin’s Yellow Tea Pot has that folk pop quality that waltzes on you like a sunny afternoon. We hear exquisite chord structures as well as interesting changes of rhythms. The guitar has a crunchy sound that really keeps everything together.
The Hijack is a perfect track to close the EP. It has all the elements of how ripe talents should sound like. Confidence, experimentation and cohesiveness are traits of what a good album should possess-and they are all here. If they are able to come up with a full sound in this 4 track EP, just imagine what a complete album would be like. You would be missing a huge part of your musical life if you don’t get this EP!
NUA is an innovative new trad trio, bringing a fresh and unique sound to traditional music, creating their own distinctive flavour with both original and traditional compositions from Ireland and Scotland. Based in Toronto, Canada, NUA consists of three award-winning members: fiddle player James M Law, guitarist Graeme McGillivray and bodhrán player Jacob McCauley. The interaction between the three
e is what really makes the music shine, whether it be their soaring melodies or tasteful grooves. The trio is also well known for their exciting incorporation of odd time signatures and polyrhythms, which give the music an electrifying lift and spontaneity.
Each member adds their own distinctive sound and influence to the music. Although they are a trio with a sole melody player, the brilliant multi-tasking of each member is demonstrated countless times with perhaps a guitar-driven flat-picked melody, rhythmic fiddle playing, or melodic bodhrán playing to add to the mix. The ability for each member to take on multiple roles is one of the staples of NUA. This adds to a thrilling live experience, and a “you just don’t know what’s coming next” approach!
NUA released their first EP on November 12th 2012 and they are currently beginning work on their full-length debut album to be released in 2013.
Now for something dark and Celticky…
If you are ready for something seductive, atmospheric and emotionally charged Celtic fusion music, then you better give Jonathan Kershaw a listen. Everything he does points to Renaissance music in the vein of Dead can Dance. There are also Celtic folk and Viking influences embellished with subtle atmospherics. The guitars are gentle and the female vocals are mysterious. There are other instruments like the cello.This album kept me up all night while I did my usual blogging and it has that quality of being un intrusive but at the same time with the right volume, creates a full-house of soundtracky experience.
Jonathan Kershaw – guitars, percussion
Laura Fauvel – vocals, some flute
Karina McGrath – vocals
Chris Jones – other instrumentation
In the words of Jonathan Kershaw:
The sound of this album was (in it’s inception) clearly supposed to be sat firmly in the traditions of Celtic folk music. Evident in the rich, flowing guitar lines intertwined with flute and violin, ringing pedal sounds and the sometimes rather ominous bodhrans.
However, somewhere along the line, the link was clearly stretched beyond its traditional boundaries. Jonathan’s love of music from outside this area becomes apparent with strange colourings from elements of classical, baroque music and dare I even say it, hard rock!
As a result, the album maintains a curious, ethereal feel of mysticism throughout as it moves through pieces in a variety of emotions:
Artist: Jonathan Kershaw From the dark, pounding introduction of “The Demeter” and “Crossing the Third Sea” to the sensual stories and thoughts of “Never Love an Angel”, “Sandwalkers” and “Clocks & Mirrors” (with vocals courtesy of guest vocalists Laura Fauvel and Karina McGrath); the light, joyful melodies of “Lotus Corset” and the jig-like “The Green Man” to the comedy of “Rat Run” or “The Alchemist’s Penny” and the ever- increasing power of the centre piece “Andrasta”.
New album “Bizarre Tales” available now!
Celtic folk – Traditional – Acoustic rock
Here is the link to the music store where you can listen to samples: http://www.jonkershawmusic.co.uk/region_select.htm
It’s Christmas Now!
They are singer/songwriters originally from Edinburgh, Scotland but currently live in CT, USA . They call themselves Eclipse:twin sisters Nell and Trish and their brother Matt Wilkie.
The strong vocal harmonies and percussive arrangements make this holiday album a joy to have. It has an almost African, Mid-Eastern and Reggae vibe to it. There are modern and traditional tracks. Oh Christmas Now is traditional but this is the first time I’ve heard of this one.It seems the artists behind Eclipse have this thing for the obscure. They also have this characteristic of delivering strong and crisp vocal mixes.
There are four official members but a total of eleven people contributed their talents in creating this album. The mixing is amazing because you can even hear the surface sound of every instrument. That is how crystal clear It’s Christmas Now ! is. I am really choosy when it comes to holiday albums because I like my music loud. And I like to bring it anywhere too. And I am a total show off!
I like a holiday album that doesn’t sound ‘like Christmas’. You know what I mean? It has to be something that you can play for all seasons and doesn’t sound out of place. It’s Christmas Now! is one example of an album that can be at home in any part of the year. And yes, listening to this one makes you feel warm and cozy.
Trivia: According to the band, they were particularly proud of “ Christmas in our Hearts “, (track 6), which they wrote for their family back in Edinburgh and their arrangement of “Auld Land Syne” (track 12)
Here is the link to the store where you can buy the CD: http://www.celticmusicradio.net/eclipse-its-christmas-now/
You can also listen to the samples here: http://www.eclipse-bandllc.com/