Peregreni by Eve Williams:Preview and Thoughts

Peregreni by Eve Williams:Preview and Thoughts

Northern Irish singer-songwriter Eve Williams has carved a musical path that is not for the faint of hearts. It is not easy to just have a beautiful voice and songwriting skills these days. You gotta have grit. And grit is the very thing that pushed the release of her new album Peregreni. The new album has nine songs-a labor of love and took a lot of time to make. Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.05.16 AM

Although Williams did not encounter any writer’s block after the release of Twenty Miles From Home, health issues along with other personal challenges almost drained her creative energy. Yet those challenges did not deter her from finishing these nine songs. You can hear the inner strength in each of them. Even if her lyrics talk of something else, her voice is unmistakably saying, I’ve been through a lot. This is my story.

With her supple Mezzo-soprano, Eve Williams can glide between power ballads and Celtic folk with remarkable ease. Peregreni is a delightful album that showcases her songwriting genius and impeccable power of interpretation.

The album will be released on June 10, 2016. I am so glad to get a preview and I think with Peregreni, Williams has achieved another musical height that is more confident than her previous efforts. The album sees her growth both as a poet and arranger. This is also a work of endless chores in front of the computer (if she is not with her piano)mastering Excel and also Accounting.

Yes, all musicians should be taught accounting and how to use Excel!!! She replied in one of our online conversations about the plight of indie artists.

I get the feeling that Illumination is going to be a single off this album because it has this catchiness that is pure pop, even though the song is grounded on acoustic folk and gospel. Her voice sounds at home with a big bands(complete with strings). But there are also moments when her simple arrangements shine through like the haunting Ailsa Craig. Big voices are a trend these days and I think Eve Williams has this lighthouse effect that will continue to attract travellers from all walks of life.

Peregreni will soon be available here: http://evewilliamsmusic.com/store/cdbaby_store/

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Christmas Cheers! We are Warming Up.

Christmas Cheers! We are Warming Up.

So many tunes, to little time. It’s always like that year after year. But I got a few of these goodies from the artists I’ve interacted in the last few weeks so I am bringing you their Christmas musical efforts. They are all great to hear and the tunes will add warmth to this month of reflection and joy.

Listen to this beautiful instrumental track from Dee McIlroy. By the way if you haven’t known yet, he runs a venture called McIlroy Guitars. Beautiful acoustic guitars for musicians of fine taste.

Happy Christmas from McIlroy Guitars with this piece of acoustic guitar music, written by Dee McIlroy.

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Corpus Christi Carol

One of the track I play ever year from my dear friend Paula. She is primarily an electronic singer/composer but once in a while she dabbles with other types of music and is also a huge supporter of Celtic music. She made the Cara Dillon interview possible early this year. You can hear her voice and instruments in this tune called Corpus Christi Carol. She is also a history teacher.

Background(written by Paula):

This is referred to as a carol although it contains no reference to the Nativity….the predominant interpretation of the lyrics (below), which were found in a manuscript c.1504, is that they refer to Arthurian legend / holy grail quest.
The track was recorded with this historical interpretation in mind and the theme is reflected in the slideshow paintings. The melody is a traditional melody,not the Benjamin Britten arrangement.

Please see the link for further info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_C…

Lulley, lully, lulley, lully,
The faucon hath born my mak away.

He bare hym up, he bare hym down,
He bare hym into an orchard brown.

In that orchard ther was an hall,
That was hanged with purpill and pall.

And in that hall ther was a bede,
Hit was hangid with gold so rede.

And yn that bed ther lythe a knyght,
His wowndes bledyng day and nyght.

By that bedes side ther kneleth a may,
And she wepeth both nyght and day.

And by that bedes side ther stondith a ston,
“Corpus Christi” wretyn theron.

Glossary:
faucon: falcon
mak: mate, love
bare: bore, carried
purpill: purple (the royal color)
pall: a funeral pall, a cloth spread over a coffin
bede: bed
rede: red
lythe: lieth, lies
wowndes: wounds
bledyng: bleeding
kneleth: kneeleth, kneels
may: maid, maiden
wepeth: weepeth, weeps
stondith: standeth, stands
ston: stone
Corpus Christi: body of Christ (Latin)
wretyn: written

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In the trail of her shows all over the United States, it is always important to remember that Moya Brennan will always be the first lady of Celtic music. 

I will be bringing you more tunes in days to come.

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Upcoming: 2 albums from Allison Crowe!

I will be reviewing her two albums. I enjoyed her Newfoundland Vinyl(vol.1) and now she has released two goodies. Watch out for these peeps.

Reflections in Fingerstyle: The Robert Doyle Interview

Reflections in Fingerstyle: The Robert Doyle Interview

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The thing I like about Robert Doyle is that he has a lot to say about creativity. It is always exciting to eavesdrop inside a creative mind and discover what he does in a day-to-day basis when not working on music. This interview sent me looking for his last CD Life in Shadows and played the album once again. I remember the day it got to me. Like music, the artist has many layers. You can read between the lines or you can listen to the songs: They are all a part of him.

You have just released a new single Flags of Belfast with other musicians playing on this track. Are you taking a new direction for the new album?

‘Flags of Belfast’ is a reworking of the melody to ‘Star of the County Down’ with new lyrics. When I began working on it I knew I wanted to add other instrumentation when recording the song. I recorded a lot of demos of the track and some of these were done in Flood Plain Studios here in Dublin which is run by Graham Watson. He suggested trying a second vocal along with uilleann pipes and Aoife Dermody and Eoin Dillon were the perfect choice for this. So yeah there’s going to be some other musicians involved on parts of the album but it will still mostly be a solo record. Sometimes it feels right to have different instruments and then sometimes the music feels better played solo.

You mentioned the new album will be released in 2015. How’s the recording going?

I had hoped to have the album ready by the end of this year but that probably won’t happen now so 2015 is more realistic. From a recording perspective the last single was interesting for me because I got a new preamp for the home studio which now lets me record a guitar sound I’m happy with. This was always a problem in the past. So for the single I recorded the guitar and vocal myself and then we put the other parts down in Flood Plain. This gives me some flexibility for the next record that I didn’t have before. So for now I plan to record most of the album myself and for any extra instrumentation I’d like to work with Graham again. This will be a totally different recording process to last time when I only recorded two of the tracks myself and the rest with an engineer. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to recording yourself and I’ve been debating these with myself over the years. We’ll soon see if I’ve made the right choice this time round!553461_376232242408880_1434945284_n

How will the tracks differ from your last album Life in Shadows in terms of arrangements and lyrics?

At this stage I still have a lot of work to do on writing and arranging. Like the last album it’ll be a mix of original and traditional music but there’ll be a different feel because hopefully I’m a better musician now and this should show in the music. I have about 15 or 16 separate ideas that I’m working on. Some of that material will get cut and hopefully there’ll be a good album in what’s left. Also there’ll be more songs in English this time. In the past I was mostly interested in singing in Irish but there’ll definitely be more English on this record. There’ll be some new instrumental pieces and I want to push those arrangements further on this record. I love to improvise when playing fingerstyle because you have the chance to play basslines, harmony and melody altogether so I’ll improvise around the themes and try to work out the arrangements that way.

Aside from music, what are the other projects you are working on? Can you tell us a bit about your day job?

Work and music takes up a lot of time so aside from that I don’t have any other projects. There are other important things in life though so I hope I make time for them too. The day job is in IT and this comes in useful when invariably you have technical problems in the studio. Obviously not being a full time musician means you can’t spend as much time as you’d like on the music but you try to use the time you have and always stay with it. It would be great to have time to play more gigs and record more often but the important thing is to keep playing music.

After the last album what has changed so far?

Well I think I’ve learnt a lot since then. Each project is a great learning experience and it’s worth all the work for that alone. There was a big jump from the EP I released in 2008 to the album in 2011 and I think it’ll be a similar step this time. Overall I was very happy with the last record. It was great to get a positive reception and some good coverage and radio play. Of course listening back there’s some things that I’d have done differently both in the recording and post-production but that’s all part of it.

What do you plan to accomplish musically this year?

Work on the album is the priority now and if I can get a good piece of it recorded by the end of the year I’ll be happy with that. I’m also working on a collaboration with a bouzouki player based around some traditional songs which hopefully will get to involve other musicians too.

Where can listeners buy your last album Life in Shadows?

The CD is available from Claddagh Records and will soon be for sale again directly from www.robertdoyle.net. A digital download is available from iTunes, Amazon and eMusic.

What other instruments do you play?

I’m learning to play some piano at the moment. It’s not serious piano study but I’m enjoying playing some chords and seeing how they’re built on a different instrument. It would have been great to learn piano when I was starting out all those years ago because as a guitar player you’re often trying to play like a piano player if that makes any sense! I think it’s important to not get too obsessed with the instrument you’re playing so spending some time on another instrument is something I’d recommend.

https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/flags-of-belfast-single/id775461242

Robert Doyle – guitar and vocal
Aoife Dermody – vocal
Eoin Dillon – uilleann pipes

http://www.robertdoyle.net

Flags of Belfast

Boundaries are drawn
On council walls
Divisions are made easily
When a vote was called
The decision did say
The flag won’t fly daily

The Union remains
But the North had changed
Some divisions are the same
Next time you hear the Lagan sound
See the flags of Belfast town

When the protests began
Where are the leaders now
Heard with nothing to say
If there was a chance or a call for calm
It was soon swept away

Living on the sides
Of religious divides
Faith not faded with time
Next time round can you ask the crown
Has she seen the flags of Belfast town

At the start of the night
Through empty streets with dark light
Marches begin to pass
Along an enclave
Calls of an old age
Armed guards to defend both sides

Segregation in schools
Teaches old rules
Lessons begin early
As the children plan
To not let tradition down
And wear the flags in Belfast town

With the city closed
Blockades along the roads
Wasn’t this all a thing of the past
A sectarian divide
A part of city lives
No need to portray any side

Masks leave faces with no names
One after another taking aim
As broken bottles fall all around
The flags of Belfast town

Lyrics printed with permission.  

Listen to Flags of Belfast  by Robert Doyle

Listen to Flags of Belfast by Robert Doyle

Two years ago, Life in Shadows was released. It is still one of albums I listen to because of its timeless appeal. Artists are like heavenly bodies that shine when its their moment, and then they leave the orbit to give way to their creative period. In this gestation time, they leave us wondering about what might be in store when it’s their season to arrive once again. 1424447_662344490464319_103253994_n

The thing about Irish singer/songwriter Robert Doyle is that his songs always touch the human soul. They are always about life, the internal and external struggles one must face. No matter how we try to divorce ourselves from the politics of life, we can’t deny that everything affects us. In every discord, in every violence, life is always threatened. Sometimes it happens to people close to the artists ..and sometimes it happens to them.

We all want a better world and this is what the song Flags of Belfast is all about. The song features uilleann piper Eoin Dillon, who plays with the Irish band Kila, and also a singer named Aoife Dermody. Doyle explained that it is a traditional melody and the lyrics were written during the protests which took place in Belfast earlier this year about the flying of flags although the song is not political.

It has the unmistakable vocal style of Doyle which is very unique as I am yet to hear anyone who sings that way. It also has his signature guitar technique which he elaborated in the interview I did with him two years ago. Will this be the start of a new collection of songs that will become another album? Only Robert Doyle can say.

Robert Doyle – guitar and vocal
Aoife Dermody – vocal
Eoin Dillon – uilleann pipes

http://www.robertdoyle.net

Flags of Belfast

Boundaries are drawn
On council walls
Divisions are made easily
When a vote was called
The decision did say
The flag won’t fly daily

The Union remains
But the North had changed
Some divisions are the same
Next time you hear the Lagan sound
See the flags of Belfast town

When the protests began
Where are the leaders now
Heard with nothing to say
If there was a chance or a call for calm
It was soon swept away

Living on the sides
Of religious divides
Faith not faded with time
Next time round can you ask the crown
Has she seen the flags of Belfast town

At the start of the night
Through empty streets with dark light
Marches begin to pass
Along an enclave
Calls of an old age
Armed guards to defend both sides

Segregation in schools
Teaches old rules
Lessons begin early
As the children plan
To not let tradition down
And wear the flags in Belfast town

With the city closed
Blockades along the roads
Wasn’t this all a thing of the past
A sectarian divide
A part of city lives
No need to portray any side

Masks leave faces with no names
One after another taking aim
As broken bottles fall all around
The flags of Belfast town

You can buy Flags of Belfast, a new single by Irish singer/songwriter Robert Doyle through iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/flags-of-belfast-single/id775461242

And…Winter Came!

And…Winter Came!

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I have been checking out the instagram pics of my online pals. I see snow everywhere. Sad to say, there’s no such thing where I am. The tropics can be cold but not THAT cold. I take comfort in the way music takes us to places we’ve never been. Like books, they let you live life vicariously. And such is found in the album And Winter Came by Enya. Yes I have mentioned that this month is mostly about holiday albums, and I am taking my time to listen to albums I bought through the years.

I think I raved about AWC when it first came out yes, I am writing about it again yay! It is such a joy to talk about music with someone who shares the same interest. I like the white theme of the album. Enya has  themes running through all her albums.  The Celts- black ,Watermark – orange, Shepherd Moons – blue, The Memory of Trees – gold,Paint the Sky with Stars – sepia,A Day Without Rain- emerald, Amarantine – Red and finally, And Winter Came -white.

The white horse in the cover art. Take a look at that. Is it about The Order of the White Horse? I suggest you Google that and you might find interesting bits in the internet 😉  Her voice has evolved. I sometimes hear a likeness to Karen Carpenter as her voice started to acquire that deeper and warmer shade. Those who listened to her when she was still with Clannad would notice that incredible softness. It is not a girlish kind of softness. It is more like, diaphanous and otherworldly kind of softness. Yet she can hit very low notes that at times made her sound androgynous. But after later albums that signature voice has evolved and became more expressive.

She and producer Nicky Ryan always like trying something new in the studio. I remember after recording A Day Without Rain , they gutted their Aigle studio and replaced everything with hi-tech recording equipment. I keep tabs of anything Enya through the Unity forum. Although, I’ve not been very much active there these days. Her fans are always patient and passionate with whatever she puts out. It is true that any artist can build a career out of looks or spectacle. But when the music is bigger than the artist, fans will stick around.

I like O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I think it’s the Latin verses that really define the power of the melody. Her lyricist Roma Ryan(from Northern Ireland) has a huge background in different languages, mythology and history-Irish or whatever. I think the reason why the songs will remain fascinating through the years is because listeners can uncover different layers and references all the time. For instance, the song Aldebaran (from The Celts) is a tribute to director Ridley Scott ( who also gave us Blade Runner ). There are more things you will discover when you listen to her albums.

My next favorite track is Last Time by Moonlight. (I know Trains and Winter Rains, a single from the album is everyone’s favorite. But I always choose something that doesn’t usually make it to the singles).I used to play this track to my late mom. She would say that Enya has a beautiful voice. My mom passed away this year. But when I play Enya albums, the music brings me closer to my mom because we used to listen to her together. Oiche Chiuin (Silent Night) has a fantastic re recording. This is the second version of the same song she recorded in the late 80s.

I hope there will be another holiday album from her in 10 years. For now, this is my comfort music.

For info visit http://enya.com/

An Exciting Compilation Album for Haiyan Disaster Relief Fund by Artists from Northern Ireland

An Exciting Compilation Album for Haiyan Disaster Relief Fund by Artists from Northern Ireland

A collection of songs by local musicians in Northern Ireland supporting Unicef’s disaster relief efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. Featuring tracks from Gareth Dunlop, The Jepettos and more….

News flash! The friends of The Celtic Music Fan in Northern Ireland have compiled an album supporting the Haiyan disaster relief fund in the Philippines.  These are local artists with world class talents. All the songs in this album are worth a listen. They are all amazing they all stand out. There are many styles involved in this collection. These are soul-stirring original tunes carefully chosen to fit the concept of this album.

Songs for the Philippines – a collection of songs supporting the Haiyan Disaster Relief Fund (UNICEF) appeared on the 22nd of November 2013, on the bandcamp site of  Laura Stevenson Christmann(she reminds me of the very young Judy Collins) who organized this project, along with Eve Williams. Artists who appeared are Gareth Dunlop, The Jepettos, Andrew Fairfowl, Paul Mcilwaine, Wes Grierson, Darryl Hannah, Eve Williams, Stephen Dunwoody, Wookalily, Sean MacLeod, Ludwig O’Neill, Laura Stevenson Christmann.

There is however one unifying style in this album that I am sure will make you buy it-Van Morrison. Yes if you are a fan of his music then you will certainly like this album.

 

New Album by The Folkalists Now Available Free for Two Weeks!

New Album by The Folkalists Now Available Free for Two Weeks!

The Folkalists

Laughter is the best medicine. If you can find someone making funny tunes while maintaining musical excellence (and serious face) then he/she is on my top list. This is the case of Northern Irish band The Folkalists. From the first to last track all I get to hear are great vibes, amazing melodies and yes awesome humor. The world is harsh enough to dwell on too much angst(I had many for the past few days) and it isn’t healthy in the long run. Pickin Up The Change is the remedy.

Dee McIlroy, Eugene Glenn and Barry Skeff aren’t scared to poke fun at situations. They don’t take themselves too seriously which is a great thing. That is why these songs just come through right away. The degree of heartfelt humour and talent are  perfect addition to my collection of Irish albums! They made it to my top categories.

Dee has an amazing voice. It’s warm, mellow but with a great range. It is also an expressive instrument. The melodies are gorgeous. Their music falls on the folk/country side with echoes of traditional Irish flavour. Walking in the Sunshine is my personal ‘hit’ song because it is catchy, upbeat and artfully crafted. Just Can’t Find the Words is another favorite of mine. It’s a love song that reminds me a little bit of Crosby Stills  Nash & Young with a tinge of America. I swear I find no weak tracks in this album. This is really well conceived and flawlessly executed. They really make the songs shine with their vocal harmonization.

The instruments used in this recording are fantastic. The mixing sounds great. I look forward to more releases from The Folkalists because they are really nice to be around. We all need this music!

Like them in facebook: https://www.facebook.com/folkalists?fref=ts

http://www.folkalists.webspace.virginmedia.com/

Another Light Gone Out: Seamus Heaney ( 13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013)

Another Light Gone Out: Seamus Heaney ( 13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013)

And it’s no accident that this selection of the best poems from three decades begins with the word “between,” for Heaney was a poet of the in-between (as his friend Helen Vendler has observed), writing from a zone somewhere between north and south, between Catholic and Protestant, between Ireland, England, and America, between formal and free verse, between public and private, between realism and allegory, and between plain speech and loading “every rift with oar,” while also balancing the gravitas of his subject matter with the frolic and grace of poetic language. As Heaney said, “The point is to fly under or out and beyond those radar systems.” SEAMUS HEANEY: A POET OF IN-BETWEEN POSTED BY  (The New Yorker)

It’s everywhere. People in my stream have been posting about the passing away of the late great Seamus Heaney. His story is everywhere: The Guardian, NY Times etc.  It’s like a big hole has been punched into our collective consciousness. What is death? Why such disbelief? Perhaps we always think that great minds would never die. We feel the same way to those we love: our parents and close friends. Something in us  finds it hard to let go, as such soul has already nourished the umbilical cords of our creativity, our joys, our very lives. It is a symbiotic relationship that feeds poets, musicians, painters- to create. Where do we go without the beacon of light?

I don’t claim expertise to his works as I  only stumbled upon his works in the course of my music blogging. I don’t think that those in love with Irish music could divorce themselves from the culture and history ; the things that feed Irishness. So yes today I am one of those rediscovering the works of this great mind. He is gone but the memory will always remain stronger with years. For those of us who feel that being alive is a burden to carry, we find comfort in the poems of this poet. It’s like his words form this umbrella to protect us from the harsh glare of the sun and the unforgiving storms of reality.

I think being from Northern Ireland made Seamus feel that sense of being in two worlds at the same time. Your reality shapes your soul. I guess that is why we always long to find a soul mate because we have different souls inside.

What is this heart that continues

to break and does its duty of pumping

blood into our bodies?

It is the most abused organ

because it remembers.

Oh yes, it will always remember

the faces of those who left us,

The unrequited love that will haunt us

or the smiles of our departed mothers.

Here is a soul who never held back

down to the last of his life.

His heart was big

and it’s also a heart full of scars.

He was one of us:

the in-betweeners,

those of this world

and yet not at all.

His passing will always

be the passing of this great light

the ever consuming beautiful sun

exploding into the great space…gone too soon.

 

Michelle Butler Ceramics

Michelle Butler Ceramics

Michelle Butler Ceramics

These are fantastic ceramics by Michelle Butler!

When listening to Celtic music, why not embellish your coffee table with something lasting and beautiful as well? Michelle Butler Ceramics offers a unique way of looking at crafts. If you want something striking and personal then her designs are definitely something you should consider as gifts to loved ones, souvenirs if you happen to be in Northern Ireland or if you just want to awaken the ‘other you’  buried by years of cultural sleep.

Celtic Stone-Peacock Plaque
Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 5mm

I know how priceless these items are because I happen to own two of her ceramics. One is the Celtic stone peacock plaque and the other one is a brooch with a Celtic knot work design. She made sure the items have natural surfaces. She developed a style which reconciles primitive Celtic influences with contemporary designs and forms. What’s more, they are all handcrafted using textured stoneware clay and are finished with a rich metallic oxide producing a depth of luster-according to her website.

If you look at her catalog you will see that there are so many designs and they are divided into four types: Celtic stone, iron stone, jewelry and the unique. There is also a section for new products in case you are searching for something else. Her designs are so addicting that I am actually thinking of ordering items in the future for my growing collection of Celtic art at home. My big thanks to Northern Irish singer/songwriter Eve Williams who sent me these items. Thank you Eve for giving me something tangible and lasting. And also thanks for doing it at the time when I need something comforting and beautiful.

About Michelle Butler:

Michelle Butler is a Design Graduate from Falmouth School of Art, Cornwall, where she specialised in Ceramics. In December 1998 she started her business in the Omagh Enterprise Centre from where she relocated, in August 2005 to a barn at her home on the Gortin Road, Omagh where Sperrin Ceramics Studio was born.

Her stoneware ceramics have developed a style which reconciles primitive Celtic influences with contemporary designs and forms. The pieces are all handcrafted using textured stoneware clay and are finished with a rich metallic oxide producing a depth of lustre.

One of the brooches

A large variety of glazes are used to apply colour to specific areas of pattern and relief creating a rustic earthy ambience that makes each piece a unique gift from Ireland.

Celtic Stone, Iron Stone, Unique and Jewellery Collections are available in outlets throughout Ireland and abroad. Celtic Stone draws its influence in strong ancient Irish legacy while Iron Stone includes more contemporary designs and forms; Ironstone also features larger pots and lamp bases which are coil built and handcarved and are available as commissioned pieces.

The Michelle Butler Jewellery Collections boasts as amalgamation of these styles in a range of smaller distinctive jewellery items.

You can find more of her works in facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michelle-Butler-Ceramics/10293475761

Online store: http://www.michellebutlerceramicartist.com/

Or the store address:

Sperrin Ceramics Studio, 92 Glenpark Road,
BT79 7ST Omagh

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Huzzah!

And now few ads from friends:
Purchase the CANTUS LUNARIS – Debut-Cd : Fabula antiqua
Thank you for order and we hope you enjoy listening of our vocal-instrumental ensemble for old music and celitc !
Kind regards Cantus Lunaris
www.cantuslunaris.com

Celtic music record in Belgium.

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

New review of “Affinity”  Moya Brennan and Corma De Barra: http://www.newagemusicworld.com/affinity-moya-brennan-cormac-de-barra/

Conor Lamb: A Closer Look At Réalta

Conor Lamb: A Closer Look At Réalta

Conor Lamb of Réalta

Conor Lamb of Réalta

Conor Lamb took the time to talk about the music of the trio Réalta between touring.

I can close my eyes and get lost in the music of Réalta. There is something sublime about it. A quality that revive the spirit and soothes the mind. Open The Door For Three is what I would call as an auspicious album.The maturity and confidence of the trio are showcased in every track. I am glad to discover that Conor Lamb took the time to answer questions. It is also an honor to have him as our featured artist of the week representing Réalta.

 

Open The Door For Three is one of the amazing releases this year. How did you three decide to create this album?

Ha, deciding to create the album is the easy part… actually doing it is the difficult bit! We had been playing together for a few years and we had some nice sets worked out so it just made sense to try and capture that moment in time and get it recorded. We put a lot of work into the album so it means a lot to us when people enjoy it, so thanks very much, glad you like it.

L to R:Aaron O'Hagan (Uilleann pipes, Flute, Whistles, Bodhran) Deirdre Galway ( Guitar, Bouzouki, Concertina) Conor Lamb (Uilleann pipes, Whistles)

L to R: Aaron O’Hagan (Uilleann pipes, Flute, Whistles, Bodhran)
Deirdre Galway ( Guitar, Bouzouki, Concertina)
Conor Lamb (Uilleann pipes, Whistles)

Realta toured with Altan. Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh made an amazing recommendation of the band. How was the experience touring with Mairead and the rest of Altan?

Simply fantastic. Of course for all of us Altan have been a big influence on our music and their albums have always held a prominent place on our CD collection, so to tour with the band was a great experience. They really are a brilliant bunch of people… and you REALLY get to know people when you are on the road for a month! We had many a long chat about music and a few singing sessions into the early hours so an all round great experience. Mairead told us how Altan have always made a point of promoting Donegal songs and tunes and that we should try and do the same for our part of the world. I think this is a great point and one that we have taken on board. On that tour we were also away the excellent band The Outside Track and a singer/storyteller/matchmaker Willie Daly and again these were all a great bunch so we couldn’t have asked for better.

 Picking up a favorite is hard because everything in this album is beautiful.  But during a blind choice my finger landed on the beautiful air called Sliabh Geal gCua. Please tell me more about this track.
Glad you like it. Like many Irish airs, Sliabh Geal gCua originates as a song. This piece was written by Pádraig Ó Míléadha, who was born in Waterford and emigrated to Wales. The song describes Pádraig’s longing for the mountain close to the homeland where he spent his childhood. It is a tune we always enjoying performing.
Do you think The 2010 William Kennedy Piping Festival opened doors for the trio?  

realta2

Conor, Deirdre and Aaron

Me and Aaron have been going to the festival since we first started playing the pipes. So I think by attending the classes and concerts the festival helped open doors for us long before we could even scrape together the Kesh jig. This is why it was such a big deal for us when we were invited to play there as a band. A thoroughly nerve wreaking experience but also a very enjoyable one.
Two uilleann pipers and a female vocalist playing guitar and bouzouki. This is rare in traditional groups. How did you manage to make it work?
You think it works!? Hmm, that’s good to hear. It wasn’t a specific instrumentation line up we had in mind or had a reason for, we just got together to play tunes because we like it. And I think that is a good basis to start upon. To be honest, when you have two pipers in the band it also forces you to be creative with regards to arrangements and this can bring about some very interesting results. Also, I think people generally like the fact that it isn’t very common.


What’s the story behind Deirdre’s unique voice?

Hmm, don’t quite know how to answer that. That is just what she sound like, and we like it.


Tell me more about Aaron O’Hagan who also plays the bodhrán.

I have been friends with Aaron since we first started learning the pipes so we go back a long way. He is a great all round musician and also a brilliant pipe maker and reed maker. He studied at an instrument making course over in England and has been producing some great sets since. When you have two sets of pipes in the band it is great to have someone with his skills help keep the things working and in tune together.

Where can fans buy your album and things Realta?
www.realtamusic.com

You can also get the album from CDBaby.com and Amazon, but it is best to go direct to our own website. Also, if you like the tunes, please say hello on our facebook page www.facebook.com/realtamusic
Conor, you manage to be an amazing band spokesperson. How do you keep it together?
With great difficulty. Haha, only joking everyone plays their part in the band.


What are you and the rest of the band expect this year musically?

We have a few nice things coming up. We are just back from a two-week tour in Denmark, and over the summer we have festival gigs planned in Greece, Belgium, Netherlands and Brittany. Check out our website for the details.

 The world is getting a taste of the wonderful artists coming form Northern Ireland. This is an exciting year for Northern Irish artists. What’s your shout out to your fellow Northern Irish and also the rest of the listening crowd?

The amount of musical talent coming out of North and Ireland in general is superb. There are so many great new CDs coming out I simply can’t keep up. Certainly from the Belfast / Antrim direction a few names to keep an eye out for are At First Light, Craobh Rua, Brendan Mulholland, Grainne Holland, Ioscaid… the list goes on. The music is in safe hands.

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Huzzah!

Have a listen to this track written by Brendan Phelan and Performed by John Breen with Steven Collins on Mandolin. Such a soothing song with a beautiful message.