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

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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….

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