My friend Anita of Daly Communications has a treat for all of you Celtic music lovers. I encourage you to watch out for them and if you don’t know yet, we have already posted past events and releases:
My friend Anita of Daly Communications has a treat for all of you Celtic music lovers. I encourage you to watch out for them and if you don’t know yet, we have already posted past events and releases:
River is one of the catchiest Celtic rock songs I have heard in ages. There is no comparison because the style is original. Perhaps I would mention a little bit of Dougie MacLean, Luka Bloom and Simple Minds for reference but I mean when I say that they’re quite unique and captivating. The song (River) starts with a banging of (alsmost gated) drums. The chorus “Take me down to the river..’ is so well-written and recorded that it makes me sing along! It is taken from their new album Windmills in the Sky, consisting of ten songs reflecting their Scottish roots but with modern appeal.
There are five people in the band with Paul Eastham ( Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Piano)
Chris Barnes( Percussion and Vocals), Finlay Wells (Electric & Acoustic Guitars and Vocals)
‘Mop’ Youngson ( Drums) and Dave Williamson (Bass and additional Vocals). Here’s a brief background from their website:
COAST is a world class, UK based professional rockband started by brothers Paul Eastham and Chris Barnes in 2009.
Paul is an outstanding songwriter, vocalist, performer, producer and virtuoso pianist with an extensive industry CV which includes credits and collaborations with some of the most highly regarded international artists, songwriters and producers.
Having spent many of their childhood years on the Island of Benbecula in Scotlands’ Western Isles, the musical work of COAST has a character and style which is shaped and coloured by the dramatic landscapes and cultural aspects of the region.
With two albums, three EPs and many UK, European and Scandanavian festival appearances behind them, COAST continue with what has been a rapid rise to international acclaim with a new album launching in early 2017 followed by extensive touring of their new high energy show.
Their songs touch various topics and one has such historical content like the ballad “1884.” At times, their music approaches a cinematic scope like the soaring and frisky “Old Atlantic Sky.” Like their Irish cousins Clannad (who ventured into soundtracking), they’re able to come up with a haunting instrumental piece called “You’re So Beautiful To Me.” I think this track will get Celtic music aficionados (like me) to put them in the elite category of the musical culture. They know how to make a grand close with the title track which showcases their propensity for a grand sound.
Windmills in the Sky is now available for purchase through their website. You can also pre-order CD and vinyl versions.
A brief bio I got from their website:
Ask Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, or Bono about the roots of Irish Music, and they will point you to the McPeake Family!
The four generations of the McPeake Family are one of those rare Irish gems that have been whispered as ‘folk-royalty.’ Their beloved song “Wild Mountain Thyme” has been on the lips of music lovers across the globe – in Irish pubs, concert halls, and music festivals worldwide – since it was first performed in the late 1940s. This hauntingly beautiful folk anthem has been covered by music superstars such as Glen Frey (The Eagles), Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan and Judy Collins, to name but a very few.
Francis McPeake I penned “Wild Mountain Thyme;” Francis McPeake II influenced Van Morrison, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan; Francis McPeake III taught John Lennon the Uilleann Pipes; and now Francis McPeake IV – who has worked with iconic Hollywood film companies, such as Walden Media, and Academy Award-winning actors – has formed the vibrant new band McPEAKE.
Figuring prominently in the EMMY Award-winning PBS Special “Music of Ireland,” McPEAKE is now taking the world of Celtic music by storm with its own contemporary brand of self-penned songs and compositions. Since their initial tour of USA in 2009, McPEAKE are now on the main stages of the USA festival circuit, performing regularly to audiences in excess 10,000 people. The new generation of this legendary family has developed a distinctive sound that is totally immersed in the popular culture of today, while maintaining a firm anchor in the influences of past generations.
McPEAKE’s unique blend of Indie, Country, Folk and Irish music attracts widely diverse audiences that might not otherwise commingle. Fans consistently use superlatives such as fresh, authentic, original, and dazzling to describe the experience that is – McPEAKE!
Secret Garden’s Fionnuala Sherry stands on her own in Songs from Before
That distinctive John Edward Betts violin from 1790 is Fionnuala Sherry’s instrument of choice in both live and studio sessions. And like her choice of instrument, the style of most songs in her album Songs from Before (released in 2011 by Hearts of Space Records) never stray far away from the subtle mood of Secret Garden-with notable exceptions in some tracks. I am talking about the stunning rhythmic drum work in Lark in Clear Air and the experimental/ambient style of My Lagan Love.
Songs from Before is clearly a nod to Irish traditional music but with modern arrangements, and sans the neo-classical style of Secret Garden. Perhaps there will always be challenges in projects like this one. Will be some of the parts be any lesser than the whole? Will her musical efforts get noticed away from the shadow of million-selling duo that are Secret Garden? But many have ventured this path: Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance, Moya Brennan of Clannad and even Karen Matheson of Capercaillie, among others. I think her strength is in her classical discipline. Couple that with her pop sensibilities and you get a modern album that is also timeless due to its traditional spirit.
I remember one early morning while riding the bike. I was playing this album through my bluetooth speaker attached to my messenger bag. I stopped by a bridge just in time for Lark in Clear Air to play. And it was quite a musical moment.The sweeping view and the stately sound seemed to have created that synergy which was spiritual. I understand that her music is always rooted in nature. There is something organic and soothing about her style. It’s like being inclosed in a thick foliage. It is a private moment keeping the world at bay. Even if it’s just for a span of forty minutes. And it is good enough.
Have you gotten your own copy of Canvas by Moya Brennan? Yes it is out now. Here’s the editorial review via Amazon:
CANVAS is the ninth solo album from the First Lady of Celtic Music, Moya Brennan. This collection of original songs is steeped in her Celtic roots – Moya comes from Donegal in the NW of Ireland. But, more than ever before, the album has a contemporary twist due in no small part to her co-writers/ composers, daughter Aisling and son Paul, both in their early twenties with strong ambient electronica and contemporary singer-songwriter influences. Moya s haunting, ethereal, vocals have been her unique hallmark both in her years with Celtic music pioneers, Clannad, and in her own solo recordings and film work. The album contains some songs in Moya s native language, Gaeilge, while other songs celebrate, for instance, elemental/environmental themes or lament the child victims of needless war and conflict. Musically the record unveils a spectrum from poignant, fragile beauty through to dramatic, symphonic peaks. The album title comes from Moya s rediscovery of her love for painting. She painted the cover and art featured throughout the CD package. Canvas combines the simplicity, depth and beauty of the extraordinary skills which makes Moya unique in her field. Grammy award winner Moya has sung on most of the world s great stages and has collaborated with many notable artists including Bono, The Chieftains, Bruce Hornsby and Robert Plant. Among her movie credits is her collaboration (and co-writing of the end title song) with Hans Zimmer on King Arthur.
For Drum Fannatics!
This is interesting! As a percussion enthusiast this is a great find for me. Big thanks to Matthew Bell for pointing this out to me. More about this project from Contemporary Bodhran:
Kit Chatham, Matthew Bell, Alex Kuldell, Josh Dukes, and Ryan Mullins play a variety of percussion and stringed instruments in a Genre-defying instrumental mashup. Features Mandolin, Banjo, Highland Bagpipes, Jaw Harp, Irish Flute, Guitar, Kanjira, Pipe Band Snare, Rope Tension Bass Drum, Rope Tension Snare Drum, Bodhrán, tabla, drumset, and programmed percussion.
There you have it for now.
Lindsay Schindler (fiddle, vocals)
Glen Dias (lead vocals, recorder and incidental percussion)
Barry James Payne (acoustic guitar, bouzouki, harmonica, vocals)
Rob Larose (drums & percussion)
Steve Clarke (electric and upright bass)
Daev Clysdale (Irish Flute, whistles, accordion).
Additional musicians have also included Alberto Suarez (drums & percussion), Graham Hargrove (drums & percussion), Jay Rheil (drums & percussion), Loretto Reid (Irish Flute, whistles, concertina & button accordion), Dave Nuttall (Irish whistles and wind instruments) and Pat O’Gorman (pipes, Irish flute and whistles).
So happy to finally get my hands on the newest CD of Rant Maggie Rant called Latitude. They made a good buzz prior to the album’s release. Such things are always helpful. The packaging is amazing. The liner notes and artwork give the album a premium feel. You can really tell a lot of thinking went into the conception of Latitude.
I am a big fan of the recorder. In fact the first wind instrument that I picked up was a soprano recorder. The tenor recorder on the other hand has a mellow and mellifluous sound. In the hands of an expert like Glen Diaz, the instrument becomes a powerful tool of universal expression. The best moments are when it goes into duet with Lindsay Schindler’s fiddle. Perhaps other bands have already tried this combination but this is the first time for me. And if you think their recorded music is amazing, you should also see their live shows. They are highly entertaining.
Huge appreciation goes Barry James Payne for providing the golden sound of the acoustic guitar and other instruments. Rob Larose kept everything lively and bombastic. And drums need the groovy bass of Steve Clark-and together they are incredible. Daev Clysdale on the other hand keeps that distinctive Irish feel. Check out the liner notes for details on additional musicians who appeared in this recording.
Their musical efforts did not go unnoticed. As a band, they already picked up the Australian Celtic Award for International Artist of the Year in 2015. They also got the Jack Richardson Music Award for Traditional Folk/Roots and got nominated 9 times for Traditional Folk/Roots, World Music and Celtic Awards. Their eclectic music is the result of their individual artistic influences. Their website notes that their sound is a fusion of Latin and Mediterranean rhythms, African hand drumming and percussion, blues/rock guitar backdrops, revved up tempos, unexpected time changes, and a unique rhythmic attack take their listeners on a journey to several cultural musical landmarks.
The twelve tracks will satisfy your eclectic spirit. It’s like my experience drinking tea infused with different flavors. It always leaves you smiling. Latitude also arrived just when I am rediscovering my love for World Music. Which reminds me that fans of Jazz and Latin music should get this album!
Plus Kyle Carey’s Kickstarter update, The Celtic Social Club and Friday Frolics.
Well well well, lads and lassies my mailbox is buzzing! Music keeps coming in from all sides and this is the busiest holiday so far. There is just so much music to taste (with my ears of course). So first up…
Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.
It’s been a while since I heard major releases from these two Canadian artists. I never thought it would be a holiday album with their combined musical talents. I am yet to listen to A Celtic Family Christmas so I can post a reactionary entry.
Here’s an in-depth info from their website for those who are curious. Again my big thanks to Anita Daly for always pointing me to the great artists! The album is available from
“For the album A Celtic Family Christmas, we’ve taken some classic Christmas songs and flavored them with our own brand of Celtic tradition,” says Natalie MacMaster. “We have celebrated Christmas in a big way our entire lives and finally have recorded the music. What ease and joy with which it came pouring out!” She continues. “Many Christmas songs have gorgeous melodies that stand strong as instrumental pieces and I want it to stay with our fans throughout the holidays and beyond.”
The album creates a counterbalance between both the traditional and modern. Donnell says, “I feel there is a lot of depth behind the melodies and meanings. What I love about this record are the layers of ancient instruments, weaving through and around one another to create a Celtic Christmas tapestry.”
Sound great right? I’ve always considered these two as the ‘stalwarts’ of Celtic music. They are the force of nature in the industry, bringing old and new fans together with every release. I am so excited to listen to the album to let you know what I think.
New Christmas Album: Falling Snow by The Gothard Sisters
Have you seen any of their YouTube videos? If you haven’t yet, you should. They are amazing stage performers and they combine their mastery of the visual as well as musical side of their careers. They have a new album out, just perfect for the holidays.
Falling Snow will be released in the middle of December (16th to be exact) and I am sure this will enchant listeners.
“It was high time for a new Christmas album featuring the songs we’ve been playing at the Christmas shows over the last few years – there were many great songs and arrangements just begging to be recorded,” says Greta Gothard.
“The music of Christmas is so beautiful, it has been a delight to work on these arrangements of eight classics – Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Still Still Still, Winter Wonderland, Skater’s Waltz, Good King Wenceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, French Carol (Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant) and Joy to the World, as well as including two new tunes that the band wrote – Christmas Flower and The Happy Elf.”
The press release adds that although the sisters are known for their Celtic music styles, their western American heritage can be heard in their music. This has always been part of their specialty as a trio and the fusion works positively. Expect magical sounds wrapped in sweet melodies floating, bright as tinsel in the cold magical air! Christmas is coming!
SeaStar is a blend of both the old and the new, the tranquil and passionate, the dramatic and playful.-Official band website.
Here’s another American band bringing to us cool music. They are called SeaStar. I love that name! They describe themselves as an original Celtic Folk band from Seattle.Seattle is also the original home of Grange music in the 90s, if you remember. The same place in the western United States with many Loreena McKennitt devotees.
There are four members who are also friends ” who love to play music and share stories with others.” Another interesting background is that they already toured around Ireland, Scotland and other places in Europe.They even shared the stage with notable performers like Dougie MacLean.
The new album is called Never Go Back. The band described the music as “Dusty dreams, salty seas, and a few silver linings tangle with powerful vocals, contagious melodies, and singable choruses.” They also promised to ” bring together a unique fusion of Celtic, Americana, Folk, and Bluegrass.”
Sounds like an interesting combination! I will post my reaction after I’ve listened to the whole album so watch out for that.
Kyle Carey has reached her Kickstarter goal with 102% this week. This is really good news because it means her fans are passionate about what she does. I am so excited that the new album will happen and we are all part of it! Congratulations Kyle!
I received this link from the Facebook Celtic Music Fan page and it is an interesting concert held in Brittany. They are called The Celtic Social Club. And judging from the Reggae infused music, they are very inclusive and they keep the listeners groovin.’ Just look at those people! Visit their website to know more.
Have you also heard of the Friday Frolics? They are a Celtic/Folk band from Barcelona Spain. I remember featuring a band from Spain before called Aulaga Folk so I feel a bit nostalgic.
Their second album is called Factor 3,has just been released. I haven’t heard the new album yet but I will post the entry here when I am done listening. Their Facebook page is right down below. Check out the amazing video. The music will blow you away. Sooo good!
Plus…Liz Madden’s “Will You Go Lassie Go” from “Legacy” and The New Blackthorn Stick, the World’s First Irish Clarinet Album.
Anatoliy Khomenko – violin, mandolin, vocals
Sergiy Khudoliy – accordion, vocals
Alexey Sletkov – drums, additional gang vocals
Nick Turunov – guitars, vocals
Serge Vdovychenko – lead vocals, bass guitar
Andrew Yakovenko – guitars, vocals, tin whistles, flute, mandolin, kazoo
Alexander Nemish – additional backing vocals
Iryna Dzhola – additional backing vocals
I love hearing new music. And I have forgone the formula when it comes to writing. I’ve been posting on this site since 2009 and if you look at my archives you can tell that I’ve posted quite a lot. The thing I am grateful for is my fervent love for music. I might grow tired of blogging. Who knows I might pursue a different career path a few years from now. But listening to music will always be my first love. Music takes to a place of joy when the world seems cruel. And years from now, there will come time when we will be taking out the records we bought when we were in our 20s and marvel at how we’ve change. We can also take pleasure at being able to travel back in time and get that understanding as to how we’re in our current state.
So allow me to introduce this wonderful band from Kyiv, Ukraine. It is the capital and largest city of Ukraine. It is situated in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of last year was 2,887,974. Ukrainians are wonderful and talented people. I am so glad that this blog can now reach the fans of ShamRocks.
Moya Brennan has the spirit of rock n roll. Maybe not overtly as one would expect but it is there. As a longtime fan of Clannad, and have researched the band’s history, I’d say it is only fitting that she would shine on her own. She might not be as hyper as Icelandic singer Bjork or outspoken as Tori Amos but the need for constant challenge and restlessness is there.She is also prolific and has an amazing body of work to boast!
Innovation is always part of her evolution as an artist. You can hear it in her melodies and arrangements. She does not shy away from collaborating with other big artists. Her associations with Schiller and Chicane brought forth good results. It exposed her voice to the younger audience who were not born yet when Clannad’s first UK top 40 hit “A Theme From Harry’s Game” shot into the mainstream.
Provisionally titled River of Songs, she picked her children to work with her in this album. I have heard a few snippets via Paul Jarvis’ Snapchat posts and I can say they are amazing! There is no shortage of experimentation there. And although 10 seconds cannot reveal everything, I sort of get the idea what it’s going to be. It is bold, big and contemporary. It will definitely appeal to the younger ears while still enchanting and captivating original Clannad fans.
Her son Paul Jarvis is doing interesting things with the guitar and some experimentation with other musical instruments(including technology). Aisling Jarvis(apart from making a name for herself as a singer-songwriter/ sound engineer) is manning the sonic landscape. She was also hired by Clannad for the same job with their recent album Nádúr.
Apart from her ability to play many musical instruments along with the harp, she is also a philanthropist and a mom. And we all know, moms are awesome!
The new Moya album will be released early next year and I am so excited!
Have you been following the Kickstarter Project of singer-songwriter Kyle Carey? She has one week to go to fulfill her campaign in order to record a new album. Check it out The Art of Forgetting here:
I’d say she’s one of a kind. A true gift to the Celtic music community. Supporting her art means preserving the musical culture that we really love.
The Ballyfermot Rakes
For those who love Irish folk in its true sense can now bask under the artistry of The Ballyfermot Rakes. A little bit about the guys:
Celtic Album of the Year winner (Celtic Music Radio), Jennifer Licko releases her first Christmas Album – The Lights of Christmas – via Sabas Records. The album features the Jennifer Licko band which is comprised of Riverdance Star, Patrick Mangan on fiddle and award winning Irish guitarist, Patsy O’Brien. The backbone of the band is Jennifer’s long time British producer, arranger and keyboardist; Bob Noble. He has produced five of Jennifer’s seven albums including this release ‘The Lights of Christmas’ . Vocal production took place at Remidi studios in Florida as well as Estudio Cajueira in Brazil with Grammy award winning sound engineer, Mauricio Cajueiro.
“A true reminder of what the Christmas season means” says one music fan. ’The Lights of Christmas’ is a follow up to The Jennifer Licko band’s extremely successful annual Celtic Christmas tour hailed by critics as one of the best Christmas traditions of the year. The album continues the theme with favorite Christmas carols, given the unique special celtic touch, and some traditional Irish Christmas songs that share traditions and stories of Celtic lands.
The Jennifer Licko band will be touring the Southeastern United States from Dec 8 – Dec 18th with their ‘Celtic Christmas’ concert in support of ‘The Lights of Christmas’ album. For more information and tour dates, please visit www.jenniferlicko.com
1. Pat a Pan
2. The First Noel
3. Brightest and Best
4. Soilse na Nollag
5. The Holly and The Ivy
6. There is a Star
7. Children’s Winter
8. Silver Bells
9. Bread and Fishes
10. O Little Town Of Bethlehem/Hark The Herald Angels Sing
11. Rebel Jesus
Awesome. Will be reviewing this as soon as I get a copy. Cheers!
Music comes from the most unexpected places! Ok, I just ripped off Jose Feliciano’s “Love Comes from The Most Unexpected Places.” I do love that song. It’s been a regular part of my childhood playlist especially when we take our afternoon siesta listening to the radio.
But I say unexpected because many artists love to experiment. I think we see the rise of cultural exploration, how it has really taken off in the past ten years. That is why you can now hear Celtic music in many parts of the globe. And yours truly is a Filipino blogger living in a quiet town in Asia. Would you believe?! I love doing this(when not working) and I think I will be doing this for the rest of my life. Nothing like the itch of writing and discovering new music!
It is past 3 in the morning while I write this entry. I am listening to this high energy band called Shamrocks. They’re from the Ukraine. According to lead man Anatoliy:” We play Celtic Punk / Stout Rock – our signature mixture of Irish, Finnish and other types of folk music with a variety of rock and metal styles.” But there’s more. They have a good degree of finesse when it comes to recording craft. They sound like they’ve rehearsed a couple of times before going to the studio. I like it. There is that raw punk energy in their songs coupled with clean delivery, so you get something that will last for many seasons.
They are releasing a new album in the middle of this month so watch out for that. More details here: https://www.facebook.com/ShamRocksBand/
If you are a big fan of Irish folklore then this game will be a treat! Game Skinny already reviewed this:
Sceal, which is developed by Joint Custody and recently released on Steam, is a magnificent mini Irish folklore adventure game. Players take on the role of this young girl spirit who is trying to recover her memories before the day ends.
*New Solo Studio Album – Due February 2017*
I am delighted to say that I have been working on my brand new solo album, provisionally titled “River of Songs”. I can’t believe it has been 10 years since the release of Signature, my last studio album, and I can’t wait to share this new music with you all.
To add to the excitement, it is very much a family affair here in the studio! I have been writing songs non-stop with my son, daughter and husband over the past few weeks. My daughter, Aisling Jarvis, is engineering and mixing the album, with some help from my son, Paul Jarvis. And it will be a co-production between all of us! So I am hoping that you will enjoy the old Moya sound coming together with the new modern styles of my kids, while still keeping the Celtic vibe that I know you all love so well.
With the release of the new album, I will be touring throughout Europe early next year. Tour dates are posted on my website here:
I will keep you all updated with the progress of the album in the coming weeks!
(Réalta – Asturian Set – Clear Skies (Saltón de Meres – Pasacáis del Xarreru)
Promotional video for the Irish Traditional band Réalta – the opening track from their second album Clear Skies (2016).
Clear Skies is available from iTunes, Bandcamp and the band’s own website:
For more information about Réalta, check out
Realta just released their second album Clear Skies and judging from the video it will be better than their first. Apart from their great stage presence and youth, I really like their style of music. They remind me of those great trad bands in the 70s and the newer hip bands that proliferate our Celtic airwaves. They always come up with fresh ideas plus a musical chemistry that really works!
I’ve been following the posts by Cookeilidh on Instagram. The platform enabled me to discover new music. It is also a great way to advertise this blog. This video proves that their sense of cool is always there be it musical or fashion-wise!
About the band:
Cookeilidh ( Cook – Kay – Lee )
Cookeilidh is a 4 member Celtic band from Victoria, BC, comprised of 12-string guitar, fiddle, wooden Irish flute, electric bass, bodhran, and vocals.
Noted for our high energy performance, we play a variety of Irish & Scottish Trad tunes, with a good dollop of Canadian East Coast and West Coast flavours, along with some tasty originals. Driven by a passion for the timeless and traditional Celtic music of past generations, we enjoy weaving our own special blend of “Trad with Attitude”.
How was your Halloween? With so much work load it is hard for me to take time and post an update but I am trying my best because work will never go away as long as we live. So what’s up? There are great releases before the year ends. I wrote bout Kyle Carey’s Kickstarted venture and looking forward to the new album that she’s making.
Here we go with the music. First is an update from Daly Communications:
2 amazing Indie Irish rock acts from Dublin in NYC -THE STUNNING + JAMES VINCENT MC MORROW/ Scottish Play comes to the McKittrick Hotel sponsored by THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND
The Stunning Live!