The Journey So Far-The Best of Loreena McKennitt

The Journey So Far-The Best of Loreena McKennitt

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The Journey So Far (The Best of Loreena McKennitt) might initially make you think that it is another compilation album. It is indeed a collection of her best songs spanning a career which started in the mid-80s. I listened to the double CD and there are tracks that have been altered. There are songs that get shortened. For example, the Lady of Shallot which is originally more than ten minutes has been trimmed to just above four minutes.

There are also new arrangements of album tracks like in the case of The Old Ways. The sound of drums and other instruments have been removed while others are thrown in front of the mix. Still, there are more songs in The Journey So Far that are different from what you originally heard in the album versions. I am glad for the inclusion of The Mummer’s Dance(radio edit) and other singles.

My personal favorite is a different take on Full Circle( from The Mask and the Mirror) in which though maintaining her powerful singing, the CODA has a rhythmic, almost reggae feel. Though there are those who might find contentment in their old McKennitt collections, new as well as die-hard fans will definitely enjoy this album.

The selling point in all her releases is always her amazing voice. Check out her live songs and you will know that she can carry a tune with exquisite technique inside and outside of the studio. There are many musicians who can reach her vocal range but to have an amazing technique within an already fascinating voice is a rare gift.

You can buy the album in different formats including the delicious vinyl through her Quinlan Road store:

http://www.quinlanroad.com/explorethemusic/thejourneysofar.asp

Make Way for Ranagri

Make Way for Ranagri

Jean Kelly , Eliza Marshall , Tad Sargent  and Donal Rogers

Jean Kelly , Eliza Marshall , Tad Sargent and Donal Rogers

I wrote a post about flutist Eliza Marshall two years ago. Now she is part( playing the Flutes/Whistles/Guitar) of Folk/Acoustic/World band based in London called Ranagri. They are currently recording their debut album. You can listen to two of their singles Sad Songs and the amazing cover of The House Carpenter.

It took me one listen to Donal Rogers and that’s it. He has a warm and friendly voice. There are Celticky instruments like the Harp,Electric Harp and Piano played by Jean Kelly. Tad Sargent  adds the Irish spice with his   Bodhran, Bouzouki and Whistles.

Their music video for Sad Songs is really fantastic. It really represents the dazzling sound of Ranagri. I am excited to hear the new album. Check out the youtube sampler below. I already predicted my future favorites from the album.

 

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Loreena McKennitt releases The Journey So Far
The Best of Loreena McKennitt

After 30 years in the music business(and running her own company Quinlan Road) The Journey So Far will prove to be a retrospective and interesting ‘music book’ covering her songs that span continents and culture. Ms McKennitt has always created ‘global’ Celtic music fusing different ethnic styles but still true to her folk roots. To get an in-depth info here is the link: http://www.quinlanroad.com/explorethemusic/thejourneysofar.asp

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If you haven’t yet check out my latest Podcast!

http://old.mixcloud.com/thecelticmusicfan/the-baxteria-podcast-21/

The Baxteria Podcast #17

The Baxteria Podcast #17

Hello friends. New tunes are up plus more emphasis on Christmas music in my Celtic music show. As for the indie variety, I am featuring tunes from Radio Happy Music Compilation for the Haiyan​/​Yolanda Victims.
Visit www.celticmusicfan.com

www.spheremusic.me

and www.radiohappy.eu

Celtic Music

Loreena McKennitt-The Seven Rejoices of Mary
Tara O’Grady-Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Enya-Amid the Falling Snow
Cherish the Ladies-Deck the Halls
Larry Kirwan feat. Ashley Davis-Happy Christmas
The Celtic Tenors-Silent Night
Damien Dempsey-Oh Holy Night

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Indie variety
Ade Hodges-Short Drone for Tacloban
Among the Echoes-Feels like Heaven
Xan Alexander-Klausified
Flight-Strange Little Girl
Heliophile-Nebula
Samuel Smith-The Way of the World

Feeling It’s Really A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns

Feeling It’s Really A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns

A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns ~ now available at www.shaunaburns.com  ~
Winter Star
Carol of the Bells
White Christmas
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Luma
The First Noel
Silent Night
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
The Gathering
What a Wonderful World
Carol of the Bells (Instrumental)
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Instrumental)
I’ve always been picky when it comes to holiday albums. The holiday or Christmas albums I like should contain the following:
1. It has to possess a haunting element that makes your hair stand.
2. It if isn’t haunting , at least it has to sound jazzy,  traditional or classical to show that the musician is really into deep stuff.
3. It must contain at least one track that has a long history that goes back to the Medieval times(Gabriel’s Message for example) so I can say that the artist has done his or her research and is not making a Christmas album just to hand out something to the consumerist culture that makes Christmas music dull. It has to have SOUL.

Priestess of the Piano: Shauna Burns

Priestess of the Piano: Shauna Burns

A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns made it to my list must listen to albums because of the three things I noted above. If she’s not singing in any track I really admire her talent with the piano. I know comparison to artists like Tori Amos might be common. But what makes her stand out as an artist in her own right is where she bends musically in terms of style and origin. I hear uilleann pipes and Celtic harps in some of her tracks. I think she is schooled well in the tradition of mystical sounds as she incorporates this imagery in her music. She even goes further as ‘wearing’ this style in her album artwork.
Ms Burns is also keen on layering her voice and doing experiments with her vocals so fans of ambient music can relate to this. I will take Luma as an example. She only sang few words and left  the rest to the piano to communicate the emotions. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is another stirring track. I love this tune. I  heard this version in And Winter Came by Enya. Loreena McKennitt also covered this in her A Midwinter’s Night Dream album. I am pleased that the version of Burns version is unique as it incorporates the use of uilleann pipes and the piano takes center stage again.
There are two instrumental tracks like Carol of the Bells and God rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. They make me travel through the mind when I listen to them.

Looking for something really seasonal-sounding and unique this Christmas? Try A Winter Gathering by Shauna Burns and it will be a good introduction to her other recordings.

Happy Samhain!

Happy Samhain!

I am writing this on a windy and slightly sunny afternoon. The big night is tomorrow. I would be celebrating it by going out dress up for the occasion, watch a movie then buy a book or maybe the latter goes first, either way I will be out. The next day I will be going to my mom’s grave. She passed away this year May 15th. It’s almost six months and I would be lying if I say I am over it. No one will ever be over losing someone who mean the world to you.

I hear the birds singing more often and the rustling of the leaves as life became more relaxed. I probably lost it for the last two years. I think what kept me going was the idea that I need to blog several times a week. And it’s always the music that has been a  source of comfort. It always was and always will be. I was writing back and forth with singer/songwriter John Breen and he told me about this outreach programs he was putting his energy on, trying to help kids with special needs and making life better for them. I think that by caring for others we also care for ourselves. I like my life to be more meaningful…more attuned to kindness and less attached with material stuff and clutter of ideas that make facebook and other social sites toxic these days. When you go out there and help injured animals, make an effort to stop bullying and plant trees then I think real joy is just around the bend.

I had no idea what I would be writing about when I took this laptop out and started typing away. I always take writing as a spontaneous conversation with a visitor and you don’t know what will happen until you start typing those keys. All I know is that it is really a great release to send thoughts out there…to the big universe and spread the goodwill of music. Music is a gift and thank God for musicians we have something to ease us from the harsh treatment of life. A haven in the midst of the storm.

So what am I going to write about? I will list down my top 10 Halloween albums and I am sure you have already heard some in my radio show which is also the current podcast I posted yesterday. If you are not aware yet, I have my own radio show every Saturday afternoon German time 3 to 6 pm. And the website is www. radiohappy.eu. Please tell your friends about it and about the podcast taken from that show after.

1. Lunasa-Otherword : I love this album for the explosive melodies and fine album art. Great music to celebrate the spirit of Halloween as we welcome the otherworld right into our midst.

2. Loreena McKennitt-The Wind that Shakes the Barley: Very good relaxing tune to celebrate ti Irish spirt. And her voice is really the voice from another world.

3. Clannad-Lore: Yes, I think this is perhaps the most haunting and fantabulous of all their albums. But the new album Nadur is also fantastic to call the spirits and awaken the other side.

4.Chieftains-The Long Black Veil: Yes, music to awaken the spirits of the past and to celebrate the beautiful mystical side of Irish music. MY favorite guest vocalists are Sting and Sinead O’Connor.

5. Ceredwen-The Golden Land: The Welsh dou made one of the most fantastic and atmosphereic New Age inspired albums of the late 90s. Transporting and passionate. Something to listen to as you light bonfires.

The bands who never made it here are in my remaining top 10. So don’t worry!

Rant Maggie Rant CD is the BEST live Recording in Years!

Rant Maggie Rant CD is the BEST live Recording in Years!

Lindsay Schindler – Fiddle, backing vocals.Glen Dias – Voice, recorders.Rob Larose – Drum Kit, Hand percussion, backing vocals.Barry James Payne- Guitar, backing vocals
(www.stringbone.ca)

Hometown: Stratford, Ontario

http://www.rantmaggierant.com

I have listened to many live recordings including mainstream albums but once in a while something pops up and takes the cake. I am talking about the new album by Rant Maggie Rant recorded live. They say good things come in minimalist packages. Don’t let the serene green CD package fool you. The album is packed with the most endearing Celtic tracks.

Big kudos to the sound engineer who recorded this performance because it captures the energy and the nuance of the band. They play so tightly and perfectly that you would wonder if this is really a live recording. Only when you hear the enthusiastic cheering of the audience then you know it’s really live. The strong points of Rant Maggie Rant are their rhythms, vocal presentation and arrangements. I think I play this CD at least three times a day starting in the morning when I wake up because it is really a perfect album to greet the day. There’s this huge positive vibe that wraps itself around you.

I love the Irish Gaelic track  Cunla because I’ve heard this performed by other bands before but RMR has given it a different twist! All the tracks are feet jerkers because of their energetic style. Gooseberry Bush did it for me. The fiddling is as delicious as ripe apples. I also love their slower moments like Bachelor’s Hall. Glen Dias has that Celticky vocals ( that’s how I call singers with that distinctive type of singing voice filed under Iarla Ó Lionáird, Loreena McKennitt, Connie Dover, Moya Brennan, Luka Bloom and other singers). Lindsay Schindler always shines in reels and jigs like the breath-taking Kitchen Set. As for the guitar of Barry James Payne, all I can say is : his guitar playing is always luminous, wispy and stunning.

The special guests can also hold their own like Loretto Reid’s fantastic tin whistle, Steve Clarke’s grooves and the foot stumping percussion of Graham Hargrove. I warn you. This album is addictive. Potent and magical stuff there. A great way to celebrate Halloween to liven up misty hearts and sleepy heads.

Listen to my Celtic Music Hour this Saturday, 4 to 5 pm German time because I will be playing a few tracks from the album. That’s on www.radiohappy.eu and the recorded stream will become my podcast a day or two later for you to listen again.

Rant Maggie Rant Live CD

Front and back of the CD

Rant Maggie Rant live CD

CD spread

In the Celtic Spirit by Steel Clover(Sue Borowski)

In the Celtic Spirit by Steel Clover(Sue Borowski)

Artist: Steel Clover ( Sue Borowski)

Album: In the Celtic SpiritIn the Celtic Spirit by Steel Clover © Copyright - Susan Borowski

Genre: Celtic Folk/Ballads

Mood: Easy Listening

Tracks:  1. Gone Are the Days  2. The Loving Time  3. Glen of Aherlow   4. Longing for Home  5. The Pride of Ireland  6. Oh Rowan Tree 7. Rocky Road to Dublin   8. The Fisherman’s Wife    9. Red Haired Boy   10. Down By the Salley Garden    11. To the Weaver’s We Will Go    12. Wild Mountain Thyme    13. Distant Shores    14. Back Home in Derry    15. Ag Croist an Siol

With the rarity of ballads in Celtic music these days, Sue Borowski finds a refreshing venue to showcase her multi instrumental capabilities. Even though she has no formal training in recording engineering, she arranged, recorded and mixed all the tracks  in her basement. In the Celtic Spirit has a unique and inspiring history. Diagnosed with breast cancer, Sue channeled all her creativity into this collection of songs inspired by Ireland and the British Isles. The result is a collection of healing music that became a success story.

You will hear songs that you have missed all these years. Songs like Rocky Road to Dublin, Down by the Sally Garden and Wild Mountain Thyme. This is an album for those who are into vocal music with an easy listening style. Her expressive vibrato makes the fifteen tracks sound human and intimate. No sonic gimmicky kind of approach here. Just down to earth arrangements celebrating  love and courtship, family memoires, and love for home and country. My personal favorite is the instrumental track Ag Croist an Siol. It is one of the most moving spiritual pieces in this album.

For fans of Loreena McKennitt, Connie Dover and Karen Matheson, this is a welcomed release. Celtic songs are beautiful, evocative and heart-hurting. It is always important that they are given the proper revival they need. So start listening to this album and sing along. Sing your heart’s content. Sing your pain, joy and love with the brevity of spirit through the celebration of the human voice: the greatest musical instrument!

Sue plays many instruments including guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bouzouki, Irish whistle, bodhran and accordion.

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

Artist contact:

Bio:

Sue’s love for performing music began at age ten in a Carpatho-Rusyn dance group, a sub-group of the Junior Duquesne University Tamburitzans. For three years she studied the music and traditions of her Slovak/Ukrainian heritage and performed her first solo on-stage at age eleven. In December of 2006 Sue gave her debut performance on the mandolin at the Melody Music Shop’s Holiday Showcase show at Carnegie Music Hall in Homestead, PA. In 2007 she met and auditioned with singer/solo artist, Matt Hughes of “Ar Eigean Gael”. Thus began her journey in the Celtic genre. After two years with Ar Eigean Gael, Sue joined the RichPatrick Celtic Music group as their fiddle and mandolin player, vocalist and guitarist. Sue enjoys playing in acoustic settings with friends around the City of Pittsburgh and most recently has ventured into a solo project under the name of “Steel Clover”.

 

Whiskey Tonight by The Indulgers

Whiskey Tonight by The Indulgers

Global release of WHISKEY TONIGHT

Band: The Indulgers

Album: Whiskey Tonight

Location: Boulder/Golden Colorado

Members: Damien McCarron – Vocals, Guitar
Mike Nile – Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin, Harmonica and Electronic Bagpipe
Renee Fine – Fiddle/Violin
Aaron Haywood – Bass
Francesco(Cheech) Mannone – Drums
Guesting on occasion:
Neale Heywood – Guitar
Ryan Bunnell – Guitar

Tracks

1. Whiskey Tonight/2. Ceili Mor /3. It’s You /4. Hold On to You /5. Story Rory /6. Lady Jane /7. New Lease On Life /8. Man of All Seasons /9. Doin’ Fine/10. Roll This Stone/11. The Cure/12. Dreaming of You/13. Big Storm Rising/14. Dublin Day


Work is the curse of the drinking class according to Oscar Wilde. For a moment The Indulgers, a band of Irish rockers based in Colorado treat us to songs that span generations, styles and yes drinking tables. Fine musicianship, witty lyrics and the lead singer’s beautiful vocals are among the things that you will encounter when you listen to the band. Whiskey Tonight is the band’s best effort to date. It’s also their seventh studio album.

The album begins with Whiskey Tonight. Notice the aural-stitching- fiddle- extravaganza courtesy of Renee Fine. The foot stomping beat is one of the band’s signature sound along with the rocking chorus of instruments that will rock your socks off. Ceili Mor has tight harmonies and amazing bagpiping there. This reminds me of a Celtic war music. It’s You insures to draw a smile with its playful melodies and catchy chorus. As lead singer Damien McCarron croons ” It’s you” makes you visualize the smile in the song.

Hold On to You has an echo of the Dubliners which combines the  Celtic warlike atmosphere of the second track. Rockin’ sweetness greets us with Story Rory in the vein of Thin Lizzy. I kind of like the sound effect of the crowd shouting “Rory” as if in an arena. Very glam. Lady Jane is one of those narrative ballads which calls to mind the reinterpretation of The Highwayman by Loreena McKennitt. It has that Spaghetti Western Feel.

New Lease On Life is a straight ahead Celtic rocker.  The talents of Aaron Haywood on  bass and Francesco (Cheech) Mannone  on drums really shine. Man of All Seasons charms its way into your debonair heart. Mike Nile played around five instruments in this recording. The guitars in this track are lovely! It’s fiddling heaven once again with Doin’ Fine (which is the only instrumental track in the album). Drums, bass and guitars do their wonderful stuff here. Adventure and soliloquy inhabit the ocean of Roll This Stone. I love the use of vocal effects where Damien’s voice sounds like it’s coming from an old AM radio broadcast. The Cure takes us into the subject of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. I’ve seen a video of this a few months back but I had no idea it would be part of Whiskey Tonight. I love the tight vocal harmonies and harmonica.

Dreaming of You is easy to sing along with. Big Storm Rising recalls the Celtic warlike atmosphere of the second track. The use of power chords and minor scales give this track a somewhat metallic edge. Dublin Day closes this amazing album. The soaring string parts and fast but steady rhythm makes this one of the most unforgettable closing track  for an album. I love closing tracks and this one satisfies to the max. Here’s an interesting trivia: Neale Heywood, who has occasionally joined them on stage,  is also in Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham’s band. He plays on all seven of their CDs. Ryan Bunnell  also joins them on stage/studio on guitar as guest musician on occasion.

Whiskey Tonight channels the energy of Celtic rock with smart pop appeal. The album is so infectious it is tragic not to own it.

The band’s bio:

Add up well over a thousand shows, tours across the U.S. and Ireland, numerous festivals, town concerts, fairs, pubs and theatres, and you have fourteen years in the life of Colorado’s Celtic rock pioneers, The Indulgers.
The Indulgers, a Celtic rock band with a unique western/americana twist, hail from Boulder and Golden, Colorado USA, but their musical roots and influences can be found in Ireland.
It began with The Indulger’s first song “In Like Flynn”, written and recorded thirteen years ago – which garnished awards from “Just Plain Folks” for best celtic song of the year as well as the CD receiving best celtic album of the year. Now over a decade later The Indulgers continue to push forward with new and exciting original celtic rock music. The Indulgers are working on their upcoming 7th CD “Whiskey Tonight” releasing the first single and video… “Whiskey Tonight” soon followed by the second single and video “Ceili Mor” (The Big Dance), a song written in Gaelic with a video that was inspired by Th’ Gatherin’ Festival in Wakeeny, Kansas where clan warriors gather to compete each year.
“Whiskey Tonight” follows The Indulgers 6th CD “Out In The West”, (nominated for best celtic album in 2009 by Just Plain Folks) featuring songs inspired by the western legends, culture, and experiences of the Irish/Scottish immigrants, who came to America bound for a new life in the west.
The Indulgers continue to create and develop an exciting blend of celtic rock/western/folk rhythms that move and inspire, delivering energetic live shows from San Francisco to New York City and abroad, including a successful tour of Ireland making arrangements with a professional travel agency to bring along friends and fans interested in touring with the band. Flights, hotels, bus, food, and a site-seeing tour guide was included in the package trip. The band perfomed in Ennis with Johnny Fean guitarist and vocalist of Horslips, a band considered to be one of the true pioneers of celtic rock music, and after a live radio broadcast in Kilkenny performed at the famed Cleere’s Theater, ending with a livley night in Damien’s hometown Howth, a beautiful fishing village just outside of Dublin. Damien’s family, friends, and locals joined the “Ireland Tour” crew for a memorable final night performance in Ireland. The band made many new friends and contacts on the journey and look forward to returning to Ireland as soon as possible bringing along another bus full of adventure seekers.
When not touring The Indulgers can always be found playing in their home pub Conor Oneill’s in Boulder, or at Scruffy Murphy’s Irish Pub in Denver, along with several other wonderful Irish pubs and venues along the rocky mountain front range.
For BOOKING INFORMATION contact THE INDULGERS at 303 949-7784 or dmccarro@comcast.net or visit www.shamrocker.com

World Music Award Winners
(Westword 1999, 2008 & 2010)
Irish Music Association Nominee 2009
Five times JPfolk Music Awards Nominees
(Winners Ethnic CD 2000 – In Like Flynn)
(Winners Celtic Song 2000 – In Like Flynn)
(Nominated Celtic CD 2005 High Road to Heaven)
(Nominated Celtic CD 2009 Out In The West)
(Nominated Celtic Song 2009 When We Were Young)

“World Class Music” – KBCO Radio
“Everyone’s favorite Irish band”
– Rocky Mountain News
“Denver’s Shamrockingest band”
– The Denver Post

Links:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/theindulgers2

http://www.shamrocker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Indulgers/59965579492

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Huzzah!

It’s almost weekend. I hope you are all fine and not feeling sick like me. Ok now, I have links that are posted on the facebook fanpage of The Celtic Music Fan and I think they are worth a mention here:

Here’ s a shout out from Trudy Carroll: Today lets help support mental health services for young people and #WalkInMyShoes day @WIMS2013

This one was mentioned by Jeremy Poitin :  “More great music from the English folk revival scene – Arlet

Here is one band from Belgium playing Celtic music. They call themselves: Celtiquez-vous

Their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Celtiquez-vous/259037564114379

Wezen by Alicia Ducout

Wezen by Alicia Ducout

wezen

Alicia Ducout (piano, harpe celtique et chant), Florian Baron (guitare et oud), Kenan Guernalec (flûte traversière irlandaise), Marc Blanchard (arrangements électroniques), Anthony Debray-Laizé (percussions)

The world can be a dark and scary place. That is why we have music to escape to when things start to get chilly. I would recommend Alicia Ducout’s (who also goes under the name Luascadh) ambitiously atmospheric project called Wezen. It is a CD-Book with accompanying artwork . Her works are always marked with her classical, renaissance and Celtic influences. This is an album that’s a treasure to own because this is not something you can find in mainstream music.

I like the Celtic harp because it conjures  images of Tolkien’s characters. Alicia Ducout is based in France. A detailed information about the album can be found below. Wezen is not just eclectic in the musical sense but also in its use of different languages. This calls to mind works of groups like Dead can Dance and artists like Loreena Mckennitt (for the eclectic instruments) and Connie Dover (for the multi lingual approach).

I love it when artists venture outside the English language or from their own native languages. I think language is essential for an album in addition to the instruments and arrangements. I think it adds to the authenticity of the sentiments you are trying to create and also the feeling of the song. It gives that feeling of being transported into the native soil of the composer and not in an urbane setting which is always characteristic of English songs. This is not to belittle the English language because it is what i use to blog, but being bilingual myself, I appreciate the beauty of being able to walk in the two worlds of spoken and written words.

Back to the harp, the beauty of her playing is her understanding of the emotional range of the Celtic harp or other harp instruments. Ducout studied drama at Lyon, and after 10 years of piano practice, she joined several medieval ensembles. The artistic  journey opened the doors of Celtic civilization and ancient traditional music to her and now we have Wezen.

Wezen is a tale  written in 2008 by Alicia Ducout. It tells the story of a strange character and the essential question: how to fight fear? This story deals with issues of identity, trust in yourself and others. The graphic novel and its soundtrack  was released in December 2012.
To echo a history, music is at the crossroads of several traditions, as shown by the choice of instruments: harp, bodhran and Irish flute for the Celtic sound. Oud for the Eastern source. The nyckelharpa for Northern anchor (Swedish), the piano like a familiar linking that connects us to our own history. The electronic sounds are even more subtle we can say connect this traditional matter and to present to the world today, bringing a breath of timelessness work.
This alchemy is born a minimalist style (inspired by Philip Glass, Bruno Coulais, Steve Reich) speaking we can say here instrumental or sung in several languages.

A journey through the sounds of German, English, Norwegian, Irish, Spanish, Aramaic, and even Elvish!

http://www.aliciaducout.jimdo.com/

http://projetwezen.tumblr.com

Súnas: Definitive Celtic from Australia

Súnas: Definitive Celtic from Australia

Sunas

Sunas

Australian Celtic quartet Súnas offers something mystical, relaxing and rich to all listeners.

The strongest asset of Australian quartet Sunas is their use of tight vocal harmonies. This is followed by enchanting and captivating melodies. In the world of fast and loud music, Sunas is a great find. This is suited for people who like their Celtic tunes more relaxing and mystical. For someone who discovered Celtic music through the likes of Clannad, Loreena McKennitt and Connie Dover, the emphasis on female voices is really a plus point. I love them!

They took all the influences from the Celtic nations and mix those with the unique sounds of Australia.  The vocals float between the world of folk and classical pop, making the songs accessible to all listeners. Even to those who don’t listen to Celtic music. Sunas has four members: Sarah Calderwood, Paul Brandon, Mannie McAllister and Michael Patrick. Each plays different instruments and also sings in solo or in harmony. They credit Kate Rusby,  Karan Casey, Pauline Scanlon, Flook. Liam O’ Manolai, Dougie MacLean,   Altan, Solas, Peter Gabriel and The Bothy Band as musical influences. No wonder they are so good. It’s because of the eclectic mix of sounds from different and amazing artists.

It is hard for me to chose any song as a personal favorite because there’s never one I don’t like. I am serious! There are tunes that you probably hear interpreted by other artists like for example Black is the Color and The Demon Lover. Reels, jigs and also a wider European sound are all over the recordings of Sunas. Instruments like whistles, fiddles and even didgeridoo embellish the recordings. But they are done tastefully. There are songs that use minimal instruments because perhaps, the band feels that the song demands it. There are fast and slow tunes: a good amount of balance.

My big thanks to percussionist Jeremy Sibson for bringing this terrific band to my attention.

Bio:

Súnas is a fiery four-piece Celtic band featuring multi-instrumentalists and exquisite four-part vocal harmonies.
Biography

Súnas is a fiery four-piece Celtic band featuring multi-instrumentalists and exquisite four-part vocal harmonies. They play a unique and unforgettable blend of original, contemporary and traditional tunes and songs.

The band has been in existence for more than a decade and has established a strong presence on the Australian folk festival circuit. In addition to performing at many popular venues around Queensland regularly and touring, Súnas has headlined the Cygnet, Tamar Valley and Fleadh Ceol Folk Festivals interstate and were chosen to perform their own music at the ’09 Woodford Festival opening ceremony. They have also appeared at the National, Snowy Mountains of Music, Wintermoon and Port Fairy Folk Festivals, Fête de la Musique (which was broadcast to France), the Queensland Multicultural Festival, Music by the Sea and Brisbane City Council events, and receive regular radio airplay in Australia, the BBC in the UK and worldwide. In late 2009 they toured folk clubs all over the UK, finishing with Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia Concert which was broadcast by the BBC as part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations. 2010 has already seen them play in several states and even Russia for St Patrick’s Day.

In 2008 Súnas released their debut album ‘A Breath Away from Shadow’, awarded four out of five stars by the Courier-Mail, and five stars by iTunes. They have just finished recording a new album, ‘Celtic Road’ and accompanying live DVD with the ABC/Universal Music that will be released in Feb 2011 and is already receiving airplay nationally.

http://www.sunasband.com/

http://twitter.com/sunas

https://www.facebook.com/sunasmusic

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Huzzah!

I am revising my blogging style again. Instead putting too many artists in my feature I decide to just take one and then just talk about anything in my Huzzah! section. That way I can concentrate on a particular band or artist and not drown my readers with too much information. After all I am going to post as often as possible now so no need to wait too much.

  Qristina and Quinn Bachand

Qristina and Quinn Bachand

For Qristina and Quinn Bachand, music is a Family affair in 67 Music

Yes folks my new album review for 67 Music is up so please read. And also don’t forget to subscribe to 67 Music because they always come up with interesting reviews as well as Celtic music oriented events. Take note: I made an error of writing debut album when what I meant was second album. Anyway, here’s the excerpt from the review:

The shared creativity of siblings Quinn and Qristina Bachand in Family is a testament to the fact that Celtic music is and has always been a family affair.   And it is no accident that the title is their second album is exactly that: Family.  This album was released around late 2011 which catapulted the two into international live shows and countless youtube footage uploaded by fans.  All the tracks are brilliant, well produced and display tight musicianship.  But let us not ignore the other merits that Family has in store for those who are trying to pick up their Celtic albums. Red more….

Kevin O'Donnell

Kevin O’Donnell

Here’s the third teaser for the Kevin O’ Donnell album:

The Irish-American Experience

While there are many strong connections and instances where American folk songs and tunes can be traced back to Ireland, and many fine songs written about the Irish experience abroad by Irish expatriates – especially in America – the experiences of their subsequent generations has gone virtually ignored. There has never been a collection of songs written exclusively from such a perspective.

This is the impetus behind the DEEP IS THE WELL project – uniquely American story-songs that are the specters of a common Irish past.

http://www.deepisthewell.com./

Wild Irish Poet: Alan Cooke

Wild Irish Poet: Alan Cooke

I feel I need to plug this because I am one of the callers. The show is based in New York and Wild Irish Poet a.k.a Alan Cooke who is the show’s guest is in Ireland. I called in from the Philippines. Crazy isn’t it? But the internet makes the world small. Anyway this is a radio interview about his book Naked in New York and I was talking to him earlier that day and told him I’d be calling. The show is Called Away with Words hosted by Victoria Valentine. It’s an interesting show so I encourage you to listen until the end. I called in around 14:28 and please don’t tease me about my nervous voice lol! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aww1/2013/03/27/alan-cooke-irish-emmy-winning-writer-actor-filmmaker

And now for events….

Click to enlarge

 

Click to enlarge

 

The Celtic Music Fan’s Solemn Christmas Wish for 2013

The Celtic Music Fan’s Solemn Christmas Wish for 2013

This one goes to the fallen ones who are not spending what we call an ideal image of Christmas.

I know this is the season to be Merry. Yes I tried as much as I can to stay true to the spirit by having my Christmas Eve spent with family members and the practice of  austerity. This greeting and salutation go to all my friends who are listeners and to the musicians themselves who made this page colorful, and without whom The Celtic Music Fan would not exist.

My heart goes to the FALLEN ones who are not celebrating Christmas like anyone else. These are those who are either spending their days contemplating the loss of loved ones due to tragedies or to circumstances beyond their control. My heart goes to you. Be aware that you are not alone. I too have my share of sad moments. And though I am not articulating them in this page we  are all sharing the same paths in this crazy thing called life.

I think it is time to let go of what binds you. For when you feel anger and pain then change will never happen. It is time to close the door and let another one open. I think 2013 is a good year for us. It is a year of change and opportunities. Yes pain is great but love is also powerful and I think it is the one thing that can save us. For someone who has probably undergone so many let downs, disappointments and insane situations, I have become more patient and self-reliant.  I will hold on the what gives me fulfillment, balance and clarity. Blogging has done this. And it is through the thought that I am speaking to each one of you, getting into your hearts and thoughts whatever part of the world you maybe, this is enough for me.

Honestly I didn’t know how to continue after my first sentence above because it seems fake. It seems pretentious to be pleasant and just talk about music when the world is falling to pieces. Music is what gives us joy and strength to go on. Without music and the humanity inside it then life would be mechanical. I believe musicians don’t just make music for themselves. They make music as a way to reach out to people. To touch strangers all over the world. And this is part of our humanity. Wither we like it or not, we are all connected. I feel your sadness as you feel mine.

With this year coming to a close and a new one beginning, I implore you to be more giving, more open, more sympathetic because we don’t know if the strangers we meet along the way are  walking wounded or  hollowed inside brought about by the chunks of wood in which we crucify people:WORDS. Or they must have experienced tragedy which you are not aware of .

Let us help one another to be more human. Thank you for your continued support and I promise to bring you more music news and love.  Cheers!

A Look into the Future, A Nod into the Past (Including two Interviews)

A Look into the Future, A Nod into the Past (Including two Interviews)

Celtic music…what do you think will happen and how social networking can influence your ways of getting heard.

Featuring: interviews with Enda Seery and Calum Stewart. Featured performances: Enda Seery, Calum STEWART & Heikki BOURGAULT, bands and a documentary.

As 2012 draws to a close, 2013 promises to be more exciting with the arrival of new albums. There are new bands out there who will probably reach our awareness next year. But these young people are fierce. They are armed with both the musical knowledge and tech savvy necessary in getting their music heard.

With technology  you have the power to make anything possible. But one must be aware that competition is all around. This is due to the sheer volume of music being released day after day. You  have to work twice as hard than before. There are musicians who became  friends and I  found that without being ‘involved’ socially then nothing can really come out of one’s effort.

Whither we like it or not, music is a social activity. You don’t write music for your own personal enjoyment. Whoever argues with this please raise your hand. Because I don’t believe in such a thing. Artists write music to be heard. If you think otherwise then you have to ask yourself if you are in the right business. With that said let me get into the main course which is of course music.

Enda Seery and A New Album Next Year

Enda Seery is working on a second album which will be released next year. I am looking forward to it because I love the way he plays. He has that style of playing that is hard to find these days. I’ve had many pleasures interviewing and featuring his works. Right now, he is busy doing interactive teaching. He is also working on other projects. His cousin Colin Nea also  released and album this year and he is  supporting the album.  I got questions about his new album. He answers them as best as he can. But before that, take a listen to this track!

An Luradán/Santa Cruz/Only for Barney (Jigs)
Final Performance for Masters in Traditional Irish Music Performance
Enda Seery-Sindt D whistle
Tom Delany-guitar
An Luradán composed by Junior Crehan
Santa Cruz composed by Enda Seery
Only for Barney composed by Josephine Keegan
Recorded live at Theatre at The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick, September 11th 2012
Recording Engineer: Niall Keegan

Here is another version of the track above without the talking in the intro. For those who just like the music.  In my case I like them all. Just saying 😉

Enda Seery talks about the upcoming album

How’s the second album doing?

Second album is coming along quite well. This is a big release for me with two years and a bit since The Winding Clock release and music being more or less my career now. Recording is finished. At the mixing and editing stage now and all the other details that come with releasing an album. Check out my blogs on tradconnect. Oh by the way, the album will be called ‘Síocháin na Tuaithe’ (Peace of the Countryside)!

You will be doing vocals in two of these tracks. This will be the first time I will hear you sing. Were you nervous?

Not that nervous to be honest but I suppose a little. I have been singing a while since being in my family’s céilí and pub band we had many years ago. I enjoyed recording the vocals in studio but singing live will be a different matter altogether! I spend so much time composing and researching other instrumental and dance tunes that I forget about looking for songs so this will have to change.

 What can we expect on the second album?

Well more of my compositions will be included. Nearly 10 in total between jigs, reels, hornpipes and slow pieces. A good bit of material and new tunes was got from my time on the Masters in Trad Performance course at University of Limerick. I had an absolutely brilliant year there. Also some duet and trio tracks will be on the new album with some great musicians I met in Limerick. I have expanded the repertoire on this album too as to not focus entirely on jigs and reels. I suppose the big change will be the songs and also the flute tracks along with my regular whistle playing tracks.

Ahoy! can’t wait to get my hands on that new album next year!

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Calum STEWART & Heikki BOURGAULT – “L’heure avant l’Aube”

I had a pleasure putting Calum Stewart as part of my featured artist of the week. It is also amazing to see his project with Breton artist Heikki Bourgault take off. Calum drops by for a little chat about the video. Cool guy. But before reading that, check this video out.

Published on Dec 18, 2012

“L’heure avant l’Aube”

trad / Calum Stewart – arrangements Calum Stewart & Heikki Bourgault

http://www.calumheikki.com

Calum talks about the video:

Can you tell us the whole experience making this video?

We recorded this video in an amazing venue, called Amzer Nevez: Near Lorient, in Brittany. It’s a venue strongly associated with Breton music, and the promotion of the Breton language, dance and song.

Can you give us a little background about this track?

The track is a set of 2 reels. The first I picked up while in Belfast, Ireland. It’s normally played a little more layed back than the way we do it: but we like this groove with the 2nd reel. The 2nd was written at 4.30am during the amazing Shetland Folk Festival: “L’heure avant l’haube” (The hour before dawn)!

What’s upcoming for Calum STEWART & Heikki BOURGAULT this 2013?

2012 has been a really busy year for the duo, and we’ll keep things moving in 2013. We are working on an album release for late 2013, which features a new repertoire. It’s always great to move onto new ground and keep things fresh!

Hmm late 2013 seems like a long time when you think about the sheer artistry of these two! But yes let us enjoy the current repertoire and let the music enrich our souls.

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Featured trad video:The Steeple Session withConal Ó Grada, Dave Sheridan, Benny McCarthy and Colm Murphy

A nod to the past:

These songs appeared in my facebook status after fever hit me. I was getting all nostalgic and these bands and artists popped in my head . I realized that they are like anchor to the new bands I feature week after week and it is always great to look back and realize how music has evolved through the years.

Originating from Argyll, a region of western Scotland it’s Capercaillie with Waiting For The Wheel To Turn from LP Delirium (1991)
Karen Matheson — Vocals
Charlie McKerron — Fiddle
Manus Lunny — Bouzouki, guitar
Michael McGoldrick — Flute, whistle, Uilleann pipes
Donald Shaw — Keyboards, accordion
Ewen Vernal — Bass
Che Beresford — Drums
David “Chimp” Robertson — Percussion

“Coisich, A Rùin (Come On, My Love)”actually made it to the UK top 40 …lyrics in Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig)

I still listen to ” Hi How Are You Today” by Cape Breton artist Ashley MacIsaac.In this track he is joined by Mary Jane Lammond singing in Cape Breton Gaelic. One of the reasons why I want to see the East Coast of Canada one day.

From Brittany…beautiful place fin the North west of France ..The father of Celtic harp music Alan Stivell.

Also from Brittany Cecile Corbel. At 18, she went to Paris to study archeology, still dreaming of music. Concert after concert in Parisian pubs and cafes, she self-produced her album Songbook 1, soon noticed by the label Keltia Musique (Sinead O’Connor, Loreena McKennit).

From Manitoba Canada, Loreena McKennitt studied to be a veterinarian but Celtic music took her away.

And…last Clannad and Bono of U2: From the album Macalla which is Irish Gaelic for Echo. I think this is really cool in a sense that it’s the first time fans of New Wave music and Irish music got together in the mid 80s to cheer for this amazing song.

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Irish Folk Music Revival – Documentary (90mins)

I took down notes while watching this documentary. For those who think it is long, I list down the names of speakers and artists who appeared in chronological order…These  are very familiar names that are in this documentary:

Ronnie Drew speaks(he appears all over), Bob Geldof(he also appears all throughout) the voice of Eamon Devalera, writer John Waters, Martin Hayes (also appearing many times),Paddy Moloney,….. watch the part around 7:15 ,Willie Clancy,Anne Briggs,Johnny Moynihan,Philip Chevron of the Pogues,Teada,Eamon Carr of Horslips,
writers:Brendan Behan appears with Patrick Kavanaghand Flann O’Brien, Paddy Glackin,The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem…

Sean Limmas, writer Joe Kennedy, The Dubliners, Christy Moore,Pecker Dunne,Sean O’Riada who added the orchestral movement to trad music in the mid 60s…
Johnny Moynihan, Donal Lunny and around 1968, the Troubles.
Terry Woods ofSweeney’s Men,Andy Irvine..this is the period when the bouzouki was introduced in Irish music….
Planxty, journalist Peter Lennon, ..the 70s was sweeped by the Planxty phenomenon, then Horslips happened in the mid 70s, Thin Lizzy followed, Then The Chieftains, Clannad, DeDannan and the rest…The Bothy Band took where Planxty left off, Paddy Glackin..
The 80s where irish music became prominent brought by the popularity The Boomtown Rats, U2 etc.
The Pogues, Neil Hannon of The Devine Comedy comments,the difference being London Irish and Irish Irish, Kristy Mccoll,
Then..the birth of Celtic Music spearheaded by Clannad through the evolution of their sound in the mid 80s…oh goosebumps!Maire Brennan appears in a clip. Also the lil bit about the Brennans.

Then came the 90s happened with sound clip from Sinead O’Connor,Mary Black, The Sharron Shannon Band,the rise of Irish women!

In the 2000s with Michael Flatley, Riverdance, Damien Dempsey the documentary closes with Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill playing a tune.

I hope you enjoyed this post as I did writing it..even during my fever. I am working on another interview article and more music.

A Holiday Album For All

A Holiday Album For All

Also in this edition: Marc Gunn, Celtic Twist/Holland and Palmley Duo and Jamie Smith’s MABON

Album Review: Together for Christmas(Various artists)

A CONTEMPORARY CELTIC CHRISTMAS COLLECTION’ with Larry Kirwan, The High Kings, Damien Dempsey, The Elders, Kyf Brewer, Cherish the Ladies + more!
What’s holiday without Celtic musicians coming together in one albumTogether for Christmas CD cover
Together for Christmas CD cover

right? I am listening to Together for Christmas and I see great reasons to own this album. It contains eclectic sounds from rock, jazz to classical. I also noticed the huge efforts placed by the contributing bands, sound people and solo artists each track.

Songs from Together for Christmas is something you can listen to again and again because it is an amazing gift you want to unwrap and play either through your headphones or huge speakers. It has the great casting and track order. Lots and lots of surprises!

The Elders make  perfect album opening due to the upbeat and catchy melodies of Christmas Day. Solid harmonies, strings and stirring chorus can get you up your feet. Ashley Davis moves me with her terrific voice. Fans of Sarah McLachlan and Loreena McKennitt will warm up to her haunting and captivating style in Nolaig Moon. Her voice is so good I sometimes overlook the craft placed in this song which is equaly amazing! I will definitely check more of her own projects.

John Munnelly adds that Beatlesque touch with the jolly Happy Christmas. Cherish the Ladies offers a fine  instrumental track in Deck the Halls. Take it from the pros in the genre. A combination of traditional carol sounds and Irish jigs.

Kyf Brewer’s gruff vocals and upbeat pace of Whiskey for Christmas will keep you humming and tapping up to the end of the end..Emma Kate Tobia soars with her angelic soprano that adds a magical touch to this album. It creates a soothing balance like watching snow crystals fall slowly to the ground. Walking in the Air is true to its title in every way.

Track Dogs is a band with nice surprises. They do a kind of alternative rock with a touch of shoegazer sound. The Celtic Tenors top the bill with Silent Night. Those who got their album Feels Like Home will know what to expect. The Celtic Tenors are like the Three Musketeers. When they blend their talents they make powerful songs.

Happy Xmas is a popular tune originally done by Lennon and Ono. Sarah Mclachlan also covered this track. It is nice to finally hear it in another interpretation through Larry Kerwan and Ashley Davis.The Wild Colonial Bhoys surprise us with their punk inspired sound that has both the hint of The Beach Boys and Traditional Irish sound.

Damien Dempsey’s almost a capella rendition of Oh Holy Night  showcases his robust voice while keeping true to the atmosphere of the song..The High Kings give us the new sheen to Driving Home for Christmas. It’s another classic!  I was crossing my fingers when I saw this in the tracklisting. I didn’t want to be disappointed. And  good enough, The High Kings add freshness to this classic. They make it very Irish yet preserving the spirit of the original composition by Chris Rea.

The Temple Bar Band feat. Dave Brown and Claire Pelo make a beautiful nod to 2000 Miles (originally done by the Pretenders). This time, you hear the choir of children.. And yes! Clair Pelo has a terrific voice. George Murphy Feat Emma Kate Tobia   don’t need further intro with Fairy Tale of New York. This track was released as a single last year. I am glad that it finally  made it to this compilation. Their talents are amazing together.

Tara O’Grady closes this compilation with her jazzy take on Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Everyone’s style stands up. The range of artistry and genre covered by the artists who contributed their talents in this release are wide. You will enjoy it!

Special thanks to Anita Daly

ANITA DALY
DALY COMMUNICATIONS for this wonderful album.

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Gigs, news etc!

Ok, now get ready for the mentionables!

CELTIC CHRISTMAS SHOW by Marc Gunn

Image from Marc Gunn

Image from Marc Gunn

Mark has been a blogging buddy since I started this site in 2009. This fella is a huge volcano of creativity. He is a great example for those who want to keep the Celtic Music scene alive.

From Marc:

“In addition to fine tuning my Christmas playlist, I finished a Celtic Christmas drinking songs show for the Pub Songs Podcast.   I also started compiling songs two shows exclusively for the Celtic Christmas Podcast.  The first goes online today!

I invite you to listen to the Celtic Christmas Podcast.  It features Celtic Christmas shows from many of the top Celtic podcasts online.  I didn’t update it last year, but I’m bringing it back again in 2012.  Subscribe at http://celticchristmaspodcast.com/

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Christmas Track :Snowfall-Celtic Twist/Holland and Palmley Duo

This track reminds me of a little music box. The high bell sounds are really great to hear. The heavenly voice  of Phil Holland is something you don’t want to miss here. The kind of feeling you want to have when you think of this season. I think more and more, the Holland and Palmley dou are transitioning into what I can only describe as breath taking sound! They have evolved in terms of artistry and so do we!

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Jamie Smith’s MABON – NEWS – NEW TOUR DATES 2013 ANNOUNCED

LORESPOSTER!cid_2F5941A2-0ED1-4617-9C76-9F7872FDA6B7

Fans of the amazing Welsh Celtic band Jamie Smith’s MABON will have something to rejoice this 2013. Tour dates are announced!

According to John Eeles (Facilitator /  Sound Engineer):

“The band have just wrapped up a great year, with sold out shows during the recently completed tour and widespread critical acclaim for their new album.

2013 is already gearing up to be a busy year, both in the U.K. and abroad, with plans afoot to put a European tour in place, and dates in Canada and Scandinavia in the pipeline.”
For more information on the shows and the band go to the website :
 ***
So there you have it folks. More news to come. Stay tuned to my next edition which is still about Celtic music news for you.

 

Visual Artist and Musician Eva McCauley: The Power of Light and Air (Interview)

Also in this edition: NUA

Eva McCauley & InVisible

A painter’s paradise: Eva McCauley talks about how in Ireland, “the air is infused with moisture, and because of that, there is a luminosity to the light  that is very unique, and an incredible thing for a painter to experience.”

Technology has a way of bringing visual artists and musicians together. Art has become multimedia. Eva McCauley explores the mystical side of painting and print making with her installation works. Inspired by technology’s ability to create something new and her love for evocative spirit of the Irish landscape, she created haunting and beautiful artworks. These are hanging illustrations rendered in a way that light and occasional wind play tricks on them. If musicians like Loreena McKennitt, Moya Brennan, Enya and Connie Dover have talents that can transport you with their voices and melodies, then Eva McCauley is the visual counterpart of such power.

Hi Eva, welcome to The Celtic Music Fan artist of the week edition! Your prints are fascinating. Can you give us a brief background on the things that inspire your work…these are beautiful ‘ghostly’ creations of paintings printed on scrims of fabric (silk oraganza) and hung from the ceiling in multiple layers to create an installation.

My recent print media installation “In/Visible”  was exhibited in Cork, Ireland this past August/September at the beautiful Wandesford Quay Gallery . As you say, the images are larger-than-life faces printed on transparent silk-like fabric (42” X 96”),  making them appear almost ephemeral, wafting in the breeze as people walk by.

The images are originally created as hand-pulled prints (monotypes & lithographs)  and then are digitally captured, enlarged and printed on fabric (PolyVoile) using a wide format Agfa Aquajet printer. The faces came to me as a result of my experience living in a pre-famine stone cottage on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the rugged southwestern coast of Ireland, where I was taking part in an artist residency in a very old village  called Cill Rialaig, which has become  an internationally renowned artist retreat, created by Noelle Campbell-Sharpe Although I wouldn’t consider myself to be superstitious, after  living and painting  in this  stone cottage  every day for a month,  I became aware of the invisible but tangible  presence of human beings, who may have lived in these stone dwellings in the past.

My show, called “In/Visible”, gave these “ghosts”, or apparitions,  a larger-than-life presence in the exhibition. The large faces were interspersed with large photographic images of the skies and water, so that they melded with each other, creating a multi-layered layered effect, so that the viewer could see through each ghostly image to what was behind.

 Your travels to Ireland inspired most of your artworks. What was the most memorable thing about your travels there.

As a a painter I was struck by the quality of the light. Since Ireland is an island, and it rains almost every day, the air is infused with moisture, and because of that, there is a luminosity to the light  that is very unique, and an incredible thing for a painter to experience. It really is  a painter’s paradise.  And the people in Ireland are the salt of the earth…incredibly kind, generous, always have time to talk and tell stories, in spite of the incredibly stress they are experiencing as a result of their tanking economy.

The other aspect of Ireland that influences my art is the music—I play traditional Irish music on the fiddle, mandolin and concertina, and when I’m in Ireland I become totally immersed in the local music session scene, and the local people who play the music have become great friends. I listen to the music continually when I paint, and it’s become an integral part of my work.

You have a strong affinity for things Irish/Scottish …. this is a strong influence in your art. Even your son Jacob is a world renowned Bodhran player. What was the earliest memory you have being exposed to the Celtic culture.

My father, Robert McCauley,  is the Irish side of my family. He plays the harmonica and Irish tin whistle by ear (and incredibly well!), and I grew up listening to him play. He took me to Ireland for the first time in 2002, and I was instantly smitten! Since then, I have been back to Ireland 4 times (and my son Jacob often flies over with me, and then takes off on his own travels in Ireland and Scotland) in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 (for 6 week visits), and am looking forward to returning next summer for another artist residency in Cill Rialaig, Kerry. I then hope to return to the little village of Glendree (near Feakle) in East Clare for the music and to visit friends.

 You are presently the Founder & Director of Riverside Celtic College, Guelph, Ontario. What can students learn going to this place?

We offer classes in traditional Irish and Scottish music (Irish Fiddle, bodhran, Irish Flute, Scottish Smallpipes, Mandolin and Tenor Banjo, Guitar accompaniment, Tinwhistle, Introductory Violin and Celtic Song) as well as Irish Language and Irish Ceili & Set Dancing.  We also host  trad sessions for students, as well as traditional music concerts with musicians, (both internationally renowned and emerging), from all over the world. Often we’ll offer trad music workshops in conjunction with the concerts.

In 2012 we’ve had concerts with musicians like renowned fiddlers Tony Demarco & Patrick Ourceau, brilliant Galway fiddler Maeve Donnelly with guitarist Andy Hillhouse,  the amazing Irish flute player and singer Nuala Kennedy with fiddler Dana Lyn and guitarist Andy Hillhouse, and  look forward to upcoming concerts with the new trad trio Nua (fiddler James Law, guitarist Graeme McGillivray and bodhran player Jacob McCauley)  as well as a joint concert in December featuring Bua and North Atlantic Drift.

We have 52 mutual friends in facebook. And you are also very active in networking. But tell me, how effective is social network sites in terms of getting people to attend shows…especially in terms of those you invited within Ontario. 

I think that it’s a great way to get the word out, as more and more people are on Facebook.  And it’s an excellent way to keep people informed of what going on in one’s life and career, especially if you’re travelling, and touring around Ireland and having shows!

The Riverside Celtic Society is turning lots of heads these days. Can you tell us more about it?

I founded Riverside Celtic College in the village of Elora Ontario, in 2003, when I was first getting into learning how to play the fiddle. I was instantly addicted to the instrument, and traditional Irish  music, but was having trouble finding instructors to teach Irish fiddling.

I started the school, partly because I wanted to learn how to play, but also wanted to turn other people on to the music. I also found that after my trips to Ireland, I would come back to Ontario and crave the intimacy and richness of the Irish culture that I’d left behind me, and had a desire to create that same feeling of community in Ontario.

So, in addition to starting the school, my close friends and I started a traditional Irish pub session at the Shepherd’s Pub, in Elora, Ontario, Canada, that has been going for almost 13 years! Since then, the school has evolved into a really special and unique non-profit organization that seems to attract the most wonderful folks to its classes and events.

Riverside Celtic Society has recently received a major catalyst to its growth and evolution as an organization: we received a generous two year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which has proven to be a  very positive development, allowing us to offer  a new educational outreach series of  music/dance performances called the “Kitchen Party”, as well as hosting an exciting new concert series (including music  workshops),  called the RCC Traditional Music Concert Series “Live Trad at the Albion”.

We have also recently received generous donations from a group of former students, to create a a new traditional music scholarship, in memory of a dear former student who, sadly, passed away in June 2011, the Tom Kelly Music Scholarship.  Ar RCC, we’ve essentially put our energy towards creating a community of like-minded people,  who love the music and culture of Ireland and Scotland, and want to share that passion.

What albums are you listening to these days and what music would you recommend to us?

After spending time in East Clare this past summer, and going to the Feakle Festival (and spending time with my good friend Maeve Donnelly), I’ve been immersing myself in the music of Clare: “The Thing Itself” with Maeve Donnelly and Peadar O’Loughlin, “The Shores of Lough Graney” with Martin Hayes and P. Joe Hayes, the albums of Dennis Liddy and Michael Hynes “Waifs and Strays”, and “Spectacle Bridge”,  and I love John McEvoy’s album  “Traditional Irish Fiddle”, as well as the album “The Kilmore Fancy”, recorded with his sister, the brilliant Irish Flute player, Catherine McEvoy.

The most recent recording I’ve been excited about is the soon-to-be-launched EP of the new trad trio, NUA (full length CD to released in 2013), with fiddler James Law, guitarist Graeme McGillivray, and bodhran player, Jacob McCauley, which features some really exciting original music that, while grounded in traditional Scottish music, is really innovative and experimental in its approach.

Who is Eva McCauley as a mom and as a friend?

An artist and musician…equally addicted to both!   www.evamccauley.com   www.riversidecelticcollege.ca 

Art samples:

Eva McCauley: Invisible

Eva McCauley:Invisible

Cill Rialaig Sky

Night Swimmers III

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NUA

A addictive traditional brew is being served courtesy of  award-winning fiddle player James M Law, versatile & tasteful guitarist Graeme McGillivray and award-winning bodhrán player Jacob McCauley. Stylish, delicate at times and mostly energetic, Nua is a trio that’s sure to captivate and please listeners. I am a big fan of Jacob McCauley’s drumming style as he brings layers of expression to the bodhran. Graeme McGillivray’s wispy strums create an envelope of steady rhythm to the laser preciseness of James M Law’s fiddling.

NUA live in Guelph, April 2012. Original composition by NUA

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 members: award-winning fiddle player James M Law, versatile & tasteful guitarist Graeme McGillivray and award-winning bodhrán player Jacob McCauley. The interaction between the three 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 poly rhythms, 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 is currently preparing for the release of their first E.P and their debut album to be released early 2013.

More of Nua here: https://www.facebook.com/TRIONUA

Contemporary Celtic Rock, Jazz, and Instrumental Music

In this edition: Sahara, Declan Sinnott and Dave Hum

A great weekend to all you readers of this page. We have great albums worth listening and I will tell you what I like about them. Enjoy and listen to the music samples.

Sahara: A New Beginning

Genre: Original Contemporary Celtic Rock Jazz Eclectic

Members: Dave Long vocals, guitar keyboards & sequencing

Trish Long vocals, sax, flute, flageolet, recorder keyboards & sequencing

Release date: October 2012

Sample track:

Fans of Bruce Hornsby, Van Morrison and Marc Cohn will certainly welcome Sahara’s A New Beginning with open arms. The duo of Trish and Dave long incorporate a broader spectrum of musical styles. There are hints of smooth jazz, pop rock and Celtic. In terms of instrumental delivery, I’d say hands down to both of them. Their years performing on stage and recording  the way they want their albums to sound, ripened and made their music intoxicating like fine wine. It is the confidence brought about by the test of time, elements and LIFE that we all go through. There are certainly events that shake us rendering us incapable of moving. But it is the call of artistic desire that always brings us into a sense of purpose. This optimistic thought is present all over the album’s 10 tracks.

Sweetness, pain, laughter: these are emotions that surround A New Beginning. There are other atmospheric surprises like The Promise which possesses a definitive Celtic sound. The vocal layering and melody lean into Clannad and Loreena McKennitt. Other titles like Right the Wrongs and A New Beginning are songs that anyone who has gone through tough times can relate to.

The Sweetest Thing, track four, delivers the “get into the Irish pub” kind of sentiment. It has that relaxed atmosphere of being with someone you loved through the years. It says that you don’t have to hide anything because you can be who you are with the right person.

Let’s Unite affirms the belief that we can all get through our differences if we  realize our similarities. I reflected on this and also remember all the natural disasters like earthquakes, famine, disease and poverty. We aren’t invincible. So why should we fight each other when nature is already fighting us and diminishing our numbers? Must we also contribute to the pain? The song has that Irish marching beat.

It Could be True is an example of someone continuing to “court”  a beloved through the years in the relationship. I think it is telling us that winning someone’s heart doesn’t stop after marriage. It continues and there is never a morning when you wake up with a sense of wonderment and challenge to continue loving against all odds. The nice sound of the recorder glides throughout like a nightingale.

Renovating my Igloo is groovy. Fans of Talking Heads can relate to the 80’s New Wave style. Another tribute to being with someone through thick and thin and also the idea that nothing is constant but change. But love the a unifying and constant force.

Is it only Me has a rocking feel. Both vocal and instrumental arrangement set the example of musical excellence. Rainy Day At Shady Creek explores the world of Jazz and Bluegrass. It sounds like traditional Irish music gone crazy. I love it though. Such a nice ending for this album that needs repeated listens.

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Declan Sinnott: I love the noise it makes

Genre: Folk Rock

Players:

Declan Sinnott: Lead vocals, guitars and various instruments

Owen O’Brien: Keyboards, piano.

Release date: September 2012

Sun Shine In is the carrier single off this new album by former member of Horslips (before they became official) and Moving Hearts. He is associated with both sisters Mary and Frances Black. He currently plays and tours with Christy Moore. “ I love the noise it makes “( a quote he loved from John Lennon when asked whether in music it is the lyrics or the melody he prefers ) was released on 7 September 2012 in Ireland and on 10 and 11 September in the UK and USA respectively.

There are twelve tracks. They are on the easy folk rock style that’s catchy and groovy. Everything in this album sticks together. The sonic quality is amazing, partly through the efforts of Tim Martin and Ian Cooper courtesy of Metropolis Studios. The album has a nice packaging imitating the cardboard style CD. The liner notes are informative and excellent especially in terms of visuals. There are photos of Declan with co-songwriter Owen O’Brien in the studio. The consoles he uses for recording will make a record junkie drool. In one photo, there is a room filled with ethnic instruments (African), synthesizers, assorted guitars and drums.

This album feels like a bunch of hay stacked and tightened in great detail. Craftsmanship and art are combine creating a collection of songs that is timeless and also at home with today’s folk rock top 40. His voice is just the right combination of time tested roughness and whiskey smoothness that goes down easily. Sun Shine is bound to stay in your head for  along time with its melody and easy breezy delivery.

Other tracks like Blood Rushing Through These Veins, I See the World From Here, Corrina, Corrina, Broken Glass and Circle Round the Sun beg for covers due to their amazing sentiments, and heartfelt lyrics. Other tracks like Me and My Dark Companion and Ocean are bluesy and finely executed that they will spawn more covers and jams in years to come. One sweet surprise is the ambient track called Orbit found at the end of the album. It is actually a remake of a traditional tune. I think it is an awesome way to close such excellent album. I like the fact that I won I love the noise it makes and yeah I love it…I love the music it makes!

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Celtic and Bluegrass 5 String banjo Album 2

Genre   Instrumental – Celtic – Bluegrass – Old Time – Traditional – Original – Banjo Music

Banjo – Guitar – Mandolin – Bass – Harmonica – Keyboards – Percussion – Programming-All by Dave Hum.

Released Date: August 2011

Sample track:

Album two is a progress to album one of Dave Hum’s top notch banjo playing. I haven’t met anyone who plays like a deity. Expect tracks combining Irish, Bluegrass and Celtic music. Album 2 is composed of 21 tracks. Other artists would have released this as a double album. But you see folks, Dave Hum doesn’t boast his talents through promotion. He relies so much on the word of the mouth and social networking to showcase his craft.

He does everything here. But the star instrument is the banjo. It would be unfair not to mention his expertise in the guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboards, harmonica and percussion. Cluck the Old Hen is a track that has been around in youtube and never gets old. Check out his wild harmonica intro in this track. This is good bluegrass music. Other tracks really hardcore trad music because these are titles that are not familiar to me. He plays them all like he has known them all his life. One fine example is Nashville Blues which is track 15 in this album.

Everything in this collection has the polished sheen of expensive and worn pair of shoes. You could never go wrong picking up this album. I think it is the best banjo album I have heard in years.  His artwork has also flourished. It shows bolder and deeper colors. The Irish Traveller has come  a long way and is trying to explore new territories. Dave Hum has a wizard’s fingers and a chemist’s intelligence in merging and breaking apart the mystery of tunes. His playing is innovative yet rooted deeply in the past. Album 2 of Celtic and Bluegrass 5 String Banjo is a must have and it plays well in any season.

Terry Kelly, Mickey Harte and Merlins Nose Records‏

Introducing an amazing Canadian artist, A German record label, Album Review, Loreena McKennitt and Picture of the day.

“It was kind of cool to work the sound board for him, because my dad said that when he was in university Terry used to play upstairs in the student union building. Another really cool thing  is that the choir I sang in, did one of his songs a few years ago but I didn’t know who he was so I didn’t realize it until he started playing the song. He sounded so good live.”-Layne Greene

Ever wonder how I got my fresh ideas for this site? Yes, I have good friends whom I spend hours and hours discussing musical stuff. So, apart from getting direct messages from bands themselves, I also get word of the mouth from this or that who knows this or that.

After one song I warmed up to Terry Kelly right away. Fans of Dave Gunning will love his music and yes he is also Canadian! You hear different  influences in his music ranging from Bluegrass, Irish to Pop rock. In My Father’s House (the video you see above) has an amazing fiddle part and the video is also well done. His voice combines strength and tenderness. The music lifts the soul, casting your burdens aside. So, to all of you who are having a hard time, those who are trying to heal from a broken heart or a terrible situation, the music of Terry Kelly is a perfect remedy. Not too heavy on the sugar, good calorie count and full of goodness.

http://www.terry-kelly.com/

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Record label to check out: Merlin’s Nose Records‏

Merlin's Nose records giving you ambient, pagan folk and other interesting releases

Merlin’s Nose records giving you ambient, pagan folk and other interesting releases

Those who love ambient sound with something medieval and folk then Merlin’s Nose Records have great stuff for you. The company is based in Germany and it sells records in various format. These tracks you hear are just samplers of the great things to come. Visit their site to browse through the catalog. http://www.merlins-nose.com/index_1.htm

Music sampler:

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Album Review: Mickey Harte: Forward to Reality

The music of Mickey Harte is easy to the ears and it goes down smoothly. There are enough hooks to appeal to both pop and rock listeners. His voice has the characteristics as Rod Stewart and Sting or a combination of both. The album booklet has a nice biography that will explain how this recording came into reality. It also shows black and white photos of the studio with the artist and crew during recording sessions. The album has 13 catchy pop rock songs , artfully crafted but they also made sure to retain that raw energy courtesy of sound Engineer Dave Hill.

The songs are typical adult alternative music that talks about relationships, the tragedy, redemption of love and things in between. There are folksy sensibilities in songs like Bordertown, Living in our town, Unstoppable train  and my personal favorite Broken Love. Mickey Harte has a voice possessing a wide range of expression and layers. In I like the way you think, his voice go really deep and sensual in a Chris Isaak croon.

So what about the instruments? Expect to hear Hanson guitars, alto trombone and the usual mix of keys, bass and drums. The recording and mastering took place inside 1 Bit Studio in Chicago IL. Interesting results happen when artists from the Emerald Isle let American sound engineers do the final touches. All in all Forward to Reality is one strong album that is poised to satisfy a wide range of listeners from the musical spectrum.

https://www.facebook.com/mjharte

http://mickeyhartemusic.com

Album Sampler

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Featured Video: Loreena McKennitt – Penelope’s Song (HQ)

“Penelope’s Song”, from the DVD Nights From The Alhambra (2007) and the album, An Ancient Muse (2006).

I love the way her voice wraps itself around you. It is a voice that moves the soul. I know there is no one else who sounds like her in the world.

***

Picture of the day:
Celtic Helmet, 4th Century BC, Found at Agris Charante, France. Taken from The Celtic & Prehistoric Museum

 Celtic Helmet, 4th Century BC, Found at Agris Charante, France.


Celtic Helmet, 4th Century BC, Found at Agris Charante, France.

Celtic 5 String Banjo Player – Dave Hum‏

Plus:Featured mp3s: Dan Aston, New video by Cheers! and Nolwenn Leroy

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. ”
Bob Marley

Featured artist Celtic 5 String Banjo Player – Dave Hum‏

“An instrumental selection of traditional Celtic, bluegrass and old time tunes, featuring Dave Hum playing the five string banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin, harmonica and percussion.”

The  music of Dave Hum is like  a friend who comes to visit to bring you great news. It  overflows with an almost Rastafarian philosophy that is all embracing. It is a kind of feeling you get with when you take that time off  from the harsh realities of life . The seductive rhythm invites you to throw your worries and close your eyes. Imagine someone you have not heard for some time announcing he is dropping by. You don’t know what to expect. He comes marching in. Then he cracks a joke. Everything dissolves into a familiar warmth of old friendship and easy fun. That’s exactly what his music is like!

He sounds like no other. I’d call his music timeless, with the mood elevating qualities of dark chocolate.  In place of words, he uses his mastery of melodies and arrangements. There aren’t any stumbling block in his musical path…it is like a great river rushing, where everything flows so smoothly.

It surprises one to know that there is only one person behind this big sound. Yes he plays everything that you hear in the recording.

http://www.davehum.com

http://www.myspace.com/davehum

 

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This Edition’s Fresh Video: Cheers!

Finally, the most anticipated video from Celtic rock group based in the Czech Republic is out.  It features the band playing live interspersed with an old Czech film. According to  Pavel, the lead singer of “Cheers!”:

“We used this movie – to point out the culture in its roots. Even if we play something totally else”..

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Featured mp3: Dan Aston

If you are very active in the Celtic folk in scene in Cornwall, then you might have seen Dan Aston as  the guitarist of Cornish language band (with both his parents in it) An Derow. His music is inspired by artists like John Martyn, Nick Drake and Gary Moore. These are selections off his soundcloud page. Dan is a fine singer with a good range. His voice is in perfect shape and pitch. When asked about the possibility of releasing an album:

“I am currently working on my debut album which will hopefully be out in January 2013.”

That is a good sign. So what can we listeners expect from his debut album?

“The listeners can expect a selection of my original songs that have strong roots in folk, blues and jazz genres as well as possessing a Celtic touch. Working with local Celtic group An Derow and having played on Sue Aston’s recent album ‘Between Worlds’ has influenced me in this direction as well as my natural love towards renowned musicians in the folk/Celtic genre such as John Martyn and Nick Drake. Some of my songs will be expanded instrumentally for the album and will feature additional musicians to add further depth and textures to their musical landscapes. The expansion of my songs will also include myself playing lead guitar and harmonica which doesn’t currently appear on the soundcloud demos. The record will be musically diverse and will hopefully appeal in one way or another to listeners from all musical backgrounds.”

Dan has a live show and according to his status update:

“I will be playing at Goldsithney Charter Fair this Saturday, performing my usual mix of folk/jazz originals and covers with some new covers by Deep Purple, Bruce Springsteen and Blue Oyster Cult! Hopefully see you there should be a great event.”

Don’t miss this awesome artist live and have a listen to his recordings below.

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Today in Pictures: Nolwenn Leroy

Raphaële Beyssier / 11 Le Magazine

She brings sass and spice to Celtic music.

Reflections, Meditations and Walking the Mists


Thoughts and a little bit of book review for you.

The United States still posses the biggest chunk of my readership.  The UK ranks the second. I am amused by the fact that my American readers seem to prefer that I write about artists from other countries. To cite an example, the Russian band 208 Talks of Angels got a lot of traffic when the article was published and 96% of the readers were from the US. Yesterday, Marc Gunn, the Celt father topped the number of readership. Yn Chruinnaght CD review ranked the highest, the day before yesterday.

Thunderstorm! This weather is enough to drive someone into spiritual reflection.Which, was the case when I took a week off from the Internet. That included turning the phone off and avoiding people. This doesn’t happen often but it was a great experience. It feels good to realize that there is a big world out there outside cyberspace. I was able to finish reading four books and started mixing tracks for a future project with a friend who asked me to mix his next album. I am not really confident that I will do good but it is nice to be asked. He actually recorded 7 instrumental bits for me to assemble using effects. It was quite an experience.

There is a great book I finished reading. It is called Walking the Mist by Donald McKinney. The author put a lot of himself in the book. It also glimpse into the history of the Druids. Like me, Donald McKinney was also influenced by the music of Enya and that got him started into the whole thing. Just like myself. I never knew about Celtic music until I heard the uilleann pipes and whistle in Watermark. It was also my first taste of Irish Gaelic after hearing her song “Na Laetha Geal M’óige”. I think I have to credit her influence on my desire to be a music journalist. It is that feeling you get when you hear something so beautiful. You are at loss for words, but you want to describe that experience because it is that moment in your life when you reached an epiphany and you realize: this is something I want to do!

Here’s what he wrote(page 6)

Another indication was the music of Enya. Like many people, I had thrilled to the sound of “Orinoco Flow” and it even inspired me to have a Celtic Christmas that year-my partner bought me lots of Celtic items. It is almost embarrassing now to recall how powerful Enya was for me.

The author further expounds on the power of music in general(page 149):

To the Celt, music was a powerful tool. Perhaps accompanied by poetry, it was the key to the heart of man. The harpists that wandered the roads of Ireland were treated like lords and it was a great honor, well into the late Middle Ages, to have a bard attend your house.

Donald McKinney has other interesting topics covered in this book especially about meditation and maintaining the balance of mind, body and spirit. My big thanks to Paula who mailed this book to me all the way from England.

The author recommends the following albums:

Karen Casey-The Winds Begin to Sing

Anuna-Invocation

The Chieftains-Tears of Stone

Enya-Paint the Sky with Stars

Loreena McKennitt-Elemental

Loreena McKennitt-The Visit

Mary McLaughlin and William Coulter-Celtic Requiem

Aine Minogue-The Mists of Time

Paul Mounsey-Naboo3:Notes from the Republic

Gary Stadler-Fairy Nightsong

Various-Celtic Voices

You can purchase the book using this link: http://www.donaldmckinney.com/walkingmist.html

I remember the day The Celts came out on cassette tape. It was evening. I didn’t wait the next day to buy the album.

Celtic Twist-Twist in the Tale (album review)

 

 

I was so excited when the mailman gave this to me, that I stopped all chores and put this in my CD player. Celtic Twist is a duo that will win more followers with their brand of Celtic music.

There’s a lot of artistic polishing done to the recording of  Twist in the Tale by  the duo Celtic Twist (Phil Holland and Dave Palmley). Only an arrogant listener with the heart of ice will fail to appreciate these enchanting pieces. The first track, Maids of Mourne (based on Sally Gardens) opens with the sound of seagulls by the shore. Then, we have the guitar and harp by Phil and Dave. The song soon builds up into an Enyaesque piece complete with vocal layering that sounds like church choir.

There are lively tracks like The Raggle Taggle Gypsies/The King of The Faeries, Ye Jacobites, Gerdundula, Toss the Feathers/Scotch Sally and Whiskey You’re the Devil that will sweet you up your feet with their refreshing and energetic styles. These are all wrapped in jigs and reels.

The remaining half of the album are tracks that convey relaxation and reflection. These are elegantly crafted compositions. One song called Looking For Moss(third track), is already familiar because Phil already uploaded this track on youtube for friends to hear. Hearing it compiled here is a treat! I also need to commend her rendition of She Moved Through the Fair. In this traditional song, Phil puts aside  her classical singing style, to make way for the lighter, airy spirit of Irish music-more like Kate Bush meets Moya Brennan.

Takes Forever expresses that hopeful longing for someone. The melody just breaks your heart. The Far Away Child is a vocal track with harp and guitar. Once again, I noticed the lighter and sweeter voice of Phil. Heart of Ice sounds like a song about heartbreak or loss.   Cold wind, Cold heart, Still life, Torn apart, Walls of ice, Carpets of snow, Cannot stay, And cannot go….

The album ends with Climbing Pendle. Have you heard how a harp sounds like through an effects pedal? This will tell you how. I thought it was a didgeridoo or something. It used used during the intro and the last part of the track. Climbing Pendle is one of the most memorable instrumentals I have heard in quite a while. If you like the music of Loreena McKennitt, Enya, Clannad, Chieftains and even Kate Bush then you will appreciate Twist in the Tale.

Order of tracks: 1: The Maids of Mourne Shore 2: The Raggle Taggle ypsies/The King of The Faeries 3: Looking For Moss 4: She Moved Through the Fair 5: Ye Jacobites 6: Takes Forever 7: Gerdundula 8: The far Away Child 9: Toss the Feathers/Scotch Sally 10: The Wild Geese 11: Heart of Ice 12: Whiskey You’re the Devil 13: Climbing Pendle

http://hollandandpalmley.blogspot.com/

To purchase the album, contact: lmcrecords2011@gmail.com

About Dave and Phil

The exciting and dynamic fusion of two such versatile musicians creates a sound that is as varied as it is unique. Rooted in Celtic music but drawing from their diversified musical backgrounds, Dave Palmley and Phil Holland bring to this musical communion all their decades of experience and insatiable passion for making music. Their contrasting yet harmonious vocal styles give added depth and texture to an already fascinating weave of instrumental sounds. Their repertoire consists of many traditional Irish and Scottish classics and lesser-known songs, jigs and reels, but Dave and Phil have also combined their song writing and compositional skills to create their own inimitable sound. Dave Palmley: Guitars(acoustic and electric),mandolin, bass, bodhran and vocals. Phil Holland: Celtic Harp and Electric Harp, violin, keys, bass and vocals.

The Shimmer of Sounds

Jazzy and electric

Jazzy and electric

The first few chords of Coburg St Nights from their second album  reveal the adventurous spirit of Buille. Formed in 2004 by Armagh born brothers Niall and Caoimhín Vallely along with Paul Meehan and Brian Morrissey, Buille became a fresh force in the Irish trad scene. Their music has a universal appeal. The production almost makes you think  of reflections on a clear pond. The instruments shimmer with transparency and gossamer smoothness. Everyone in this band is in top form. Guitars, fiddles, and percussion parts sound fresh as if every bit of them have been polished to make sure only the smooth silky finished bodies of sounds get to the listeners.

The debut album was released in 2005 while the second was in 2009. I don’t have news for the new album yet. It would be great to hear about new music from these wonderful musicians!

http://www.myspace.com/buille

http://www.vallelymusic.com/buille.htm

http://www.niallvallely.com

 

Spotlight Instrument: Hurdy-Gurdy.

The hurdy-gurdy made waves in the mainstream top 40 in 1997. Musician Nigel Eaton performed this instrument in the video of The Mummer’s Dance by Canadian superstar Loreena McKennitt. MTV made it one of their most played music videos at that time. I  think a lot of people started noticing this instrument after. Resources were not available until recently. It sounds like a bagpipe, but has the mellifluous quality of the violin. These days you get to hear this  in the Celtic metal band like Eluveitie . In this video, Alison Gowan of Canadian band The Swamp Ward Orchestra talks about her own hurdy-gurdy and folk festivals. I have to say this. They sound amazing!

http://www.myspace.com/theswampwardorchestra