Album Review: Four Celtic Voices with Celeste Ray

Album Review: Four Celtic Voices with Celeste Ray

Good day folks! All you music lovers out there will love what I have brought today. An album review plus a facebook event that has been making waves!

New album:

If you like Broadway Style of Singing -or classical singing for that matter then you appreciate the Four Celtic Voices with Celeste Ray album. The singing is strong, pristine and emotional.fourcelticevoiceswithcel

As for the instruments, you will hear traditional as well as classical instruments. The mood is relaxing and it is overall magical.

Although the theme is not seasonal (or Christmas) the mood is suited for the contemplative spirit of winter. This is shown in one track called The First Noel which I am sure you know how to sing by heart.You can tell that the talents involved in this project have pipes that have undergone countless performance. There is the confidence that resonates in every track.

The style jumps from medieval, renaissance, folk and even country. There are even instrumentals. My favourite is Scotland the Brave / Psattery Dance. It has that spritely energy that brings a smile on your face!

The Blessing of the Three closes this album. The dramatic soprano reminds me of Loreena McKennitt. The vocal harmonisation is beautiful. There is a playfulness there that’s been evident all throughout the album.

This is a perfect holiday album which you can play in the background if you want to feel the spirit of the winter, which beautiful voices and instruments that will take your breath away! Thanks Anita Daly for bringing the magic around.


Mental Health Awareness.
Notice: St. Patricks Mental Health Foundation in Ireland. Text “shoes” to 57802 to make a donation. You can visit the website at if you are outside of Ireland.

Below is a video about a trad challenge which has been making rounds in Facebook like the ‘ ice bucket challenge’-remember that one lads? These musicians are nominating their friends to raise mental health awareness. Yes mental health is important. Take a look at Sean Og Graham and Niamh Dunne of Beoga.


Today, Blackie O’Connell also posted here own below:


Flashback! Climbing Pendle by Celtic Twist:

I love this instrumental tune and would love to hear it from time to time. Here’s Celti Twist ( HOLLAND AND PALMLEY) for you:


Hot Days (Album review) and Appalachian Still

Hot Days (2006)

Always expect energy when you listen to a Poitin album.  These guys always deliver goods with gusto. Hot Days is an album that looks the way it sounds (note the chili pepper red cover that screams hot hot hot!). The introduction of the didgeridoo and the soprano sax are pleasant surprises.  The album has everything that jumps and grabs you from behind.

Step It Out has Jeremy King’s superb vocals. Precision and tight musicianship are the things the band is known for.

For to Free. Wowwowow! The didgeridoo addition here is something I truly dig.  It is the right ingredient to the track! It makes you feel like you are in Australia, wearing a kilt and jumping with kangaroos. It begins with this ambient sound of an old vinyl record    being touched by a needle.

Who Are You is a fast traditional song. Every nuance is captured in the recording. The crisp vocals and resonant fiddle jive together with the fiery guitar strums. This song makes me feel like a young man ready for action.

Springtime Frolics is a track I can sum up in one word: stunning. These guys record their albums live. Such precision is not easy to master. I read somewhere that they would do it over again if ever something goes wrong. It’s like me writing this review, having a lot of re-editing to do when the grammar goes wrong wink wink.

Crazy Man Michael starts a capella and then blossoms with a guitar. It is a great title track. It sings about a tragic incident. You know, I read that if you have some Irish in you, then you will understand that the more painful the song is, the more the singing gets better. With its bare arrangement, the vocals gain the dramatic effect making it one of the most memorable singing styles I have heard in years.

Hot Days is a track which begins with both the high and low whistles fencing each other tenderly. The mournful notes progress into a beautiful track with rich arrangements and incandescent beauty which calls to mind a phoenix rising from its ashes. The second half of the track jumps into a jig with an explosive chorus of other instruments.

Midsomer is an energetic traditional track that won’t let you stop tapping your feet.

A Bucket Full of Mountain Dew is another traditional track with fast singing.  There are amazing vocal harmonies and a beautiful melody.

March Flowers is a jazzy jig which begins with the acoustic guitar, then the whistle and then other instruments join in. It has this swaying rhythm to it. It makes you think of seaside and relaxing afternoons. I noticed that there is a consistency of clean recordings all throughout the album.

For to Free really frolics into your mood and into your subconscious.

I Was A Young Man is a fast ballad about coming of age. There is great bodhran playing on top of the fiddling. The didgeridoo encapsulates the track like fine moth’s wings. It’s awesome!

Saxet is a jazzy traditional track with a vibe that smells of beer and chips. It is also a sexy track.

Curragh of Kildare ends the track with its amazing fiddling. Hot Days is an album that makes you realize that some very talented Irish music players are also found in the Czech Republic. This is world music at its finest. You can buy Hot Days here:



Get to know Appalachian Still

Guys who are into Bluegrass and anything Americana might want to get themselves ensnared by the music of these six guys bringing you nothing but the freshness of homegrown freshly brewed American music. The  good vibes of Bluegrass and Country music have made their way into my chest and now my head is moving back and forth while listening to tracks like Deep Ellum Blues and I Know You Rider. The band, Appalachian Still, is from Northampton Massachusetts and they have been around since 2005. Bring on the croissants, this is going to be a great day! Just give them a chance and who knows? You might get hooked, head over feet.


Andrew Woodland: Clawhammer Banjo, Vocals & Management
Jared Libby: Guitar, Vocals, Recording & Engineering
Sean Mallari Upright Bass
Sam Barnes: Fiddle
Ivan Ussach: Drums/Percussion
Peter Nabut: Sound-Man


De La Basse Bretagne-Poitín

De La BasseBretagneis an album by Poitin, a Celtic band based in the CzechRepublic. Since the release of their first album in 2000, the band have gained a steady cult following around Europe and the UK. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, people don’t have to wait for music to get into their music store. They can just search the web and discover the kind of music they want.

De La Basse Bretagne is a fine example of a musicianship that has grown ripe with challenges, time and passion. The opening track  J’ai Une Bonne Amie a Quimperle defines the kind of consistency you can find in the album. The strong and at times silky delivery of the female vocals and also the tight execution of instruments  make you hope that there is a follow-up to this Breton flavored album.

They have other releases dealing with other styles around the seven Celtic nations. But what makes this one great for me personally is the dedication to the kind of music that are associated around the geographical the area. And not only  do they give justice to tracks like De La Basse  and Marv Pontkalleg with  mouth-watering instrumental execution but also because of the sensitivity that Jeremy King and the rest of the band  put to this recording. I have to say when you reach track 11 of this album called Son Ar Sistr, you would be rolling your eyes  and tapping your feet to the exquisite beat of the bodhran!

I learned that Poitin make their recording in a live way and  have to do it all over again when there is even a slight mistake. Now that is hard to see in current bands with all the comforts of studio layering and sound engineering. And this makes them the best live band ever.


Jaroslav “Oto” Machácheck – fiddle ; Jakub Siegl – guitars; Jan Brabets – bouzouki, banjo, tin whistle, backing vocals; Jeremy Marc King – lead vocals, bodhran; Sasha Shantorova- flute and whistles; Dick Savage- Didgeridoo, spoons, egg, backing vocals.

1. J’ai Une Bonne Amie a Quimperle 4:11
2. Kan Bale an A.R.B. 4:16
3. Gavotte Des Montagnes
4. File La Laine 3:40
5. Ma Jument Hippoline
6. De La Basse Bretagne
7. La Blanche Biche 6:35
8. Le Loup 2:34
9. La Jument De Michao
10. Marv Pontkalleg 5:14
11. Son Ar Sistr 6:18
12. Lída, Lidunka 4:00

Amazon sells their album now:

Also, check out

Aulaga Folk, A Menos Cuarto(Album review)


 I received the album inside a parcel. I was surprised to find that it is a box containing 3 discs. One is the album, the second a collection of rarities and the third, a DVD.The motiff is black and white with a clock . Inserted  is a liner note of the band’s music including lyrics and pictures. I must say that it is one of the most beautiful CD packaging I put my hands on in years!

The Music.

The album opens with Los Motiladores. The distinctive vocals of Juan Carlos can be heard which reminds me of those ancient Greek  songs in mixolydian mode. Ambient sounds like crickets, percussions and an explosion of festive instrumental playing somewhere close to the middle of the track, the all like butterflies in the stomach.

My personal favorites are: the first track of course, and then  Quitate with that amazing female vocals and belly dancing rhythm. La Cautiva is very energetic , a combination of Jazz, and Latin melodies. Los Carnavales is very haunting as it reminds you haunted carnivals however the songs picks up tempo in the middle. Extramairlandura is an instrumental piece that moves in different styles. Here the driving sound of fiddle, bodhran and other instruments make themselves proud. La Uva is a showcase of guitar, percussion and vocals. Reeguedoble calls for a beautiful movie with its visual melody and stunning comic singing. The title track A Menus Cuarto closes this album with the sound of winding clock and infectious latin beats which combine all the beautiful elements of Folk, Jazz and World Music.

One can play this CD anytime again and again. I is a kind of music that is at home anywhere in the world. Juan Carlos and the rest of Aulaga Folk made a wonderful album that not only sounds good but looks good as well!

October 5:Music that Uplifts

Donal McCague (fiddle): Sep 20, 2011 Unitarian Church, Dublin( with Dave Sheridan (flute) and Michael McCague (bouzouki)

Donal McCague (fiddle): Sep 20, 2011 Unitarian Church, Dublin( with Dave Sheridan (flute) and Michael McCague (bouzouki)

A friend told me that the mother of the dog that he has passed away. On top of that I have this frustration that I find hard to describe except this: the feeling you get being nominated several times but  not bagging even just one award. So what to do? Nothing. But the feeling of being confined eats you. In times like this only music is the way out.  Let me give you a list of performers that merit a listen in situations like these artists:

Eden’s Bridge: Grow- Taken from the upcoming  The Longest Day EP. The freshness of this track will carry you into caress of waves and prairie leaves. Transporting, uplifting, let it carry you to the silver lining of your personal clouds:


Visit :


Listen to Donal McCague’s Bit’s and Pieces

Explosive shimmering interpretation of traditional pieces from this young Irish fiddle player. The golden album cover speaks of the tracks-utterly timeless, radiant and mesmerizing.  Here’s the preview:



Nuala Kennedy creates a mood that kicks off the blues. This Scottish singer/flutist has made a following of her own with her style. Check this info from reverbnation :

Based in her adopted homeland of Scotland, Irish singer and flautist Nuala Kennedy performs a range of material from across the Irish and Scottish traditional music repertoires.

She also composes her own idiosyncratic brand of traditional music and tours in a variety of lineups from duo and quartet to a nine-piece festival band.

She has a new album (Tune In) released on Compass Records in March 2010. It was described as ‘A Picaresque Adventure and A Delight’ **** by THE IRISH TIMES


Feel free to share your own tunes and we will discuss it .

Pure Celtic

The green album box plus the shamrock design looks inviting. For non Celtic listeners this would sound like a chill out record to own. 60 tracks of the best sounds and voices in the world in this Sony release. Quite a blessing especially for a 4CD album with a very reasonable price. The way the songs are compiled create a consistent mood throughout. It’s not like one track is sticking out like a sore thumb. Everything blends seamlessly.

I am the type of person who has to test the record before bring it home. There are hidden agendas here:

  1. To know if the record has scratches or other defects.
  2. 2. Record stores have bigger speakers and it is always nice to have your Celtic music in full blast( in competition with Lady Gaga or Justin Beiber)
  3. I like smelling new recordings.

There are artists here who aren’t really Celtic but I guess Sony decided to include them because of the ethereal mood they invoke. The band October Project (Where You Are, Deep as You Go) and Sarah McLachlan (Angel, Fallen) are examples of this. It’s kind of sad to know that Sony music is the same label that killed October Project. Later on we see it recycling music perhaps after realizing that even now the band still have this loyal following.

The good this about this compilation is the inclusion of Capercaillie’s Coisich, a Ruin and Molly Ban (Bawn) by The Chieftains (vocals by Alison Krauss). The production is superb especially the packaging which sits well with your coffee table.

Release Date: 17 November 2010
Style: Celtic Format: 4
Label: Sony Music Entertainment

CD 1 Tracklisting:

01. Clannad – Theme From Harry’s Game
02. The Chieftains – Molly Bán (Bawn)
03. Sarah McLachlan – Angel
04. Brian Dunning / Janet Chvatal / Jeff Johnson – cùChulainn’s Last Battle
05. James Galway / Marisa Robles – Brian Boru’s March
06. Capercaillie – Servant To The Slave
07. Lisa Lynne – Fields Of Gold
08. Davy Spillane – A Place Among The Stones
09. October Project – Where You Are
10. Mary Mc Laughlin – Stor Mo Chroí
11. Finbar Wright – You’ll Never Walk Alone
12. Christy Moore – Black Is The Colour
13. The Clancy Brothers / Tommy Makem – Irish Rover
14. Cherish The Ladies – Thady Casey’s Fancy/The Ladies Pantalettes/The Monaghan Twig/The Linen Cap
15. The Young Dubliners – Foggy Dew

CD 2 Tracklisting:

01. Jeff Beck – Declan
02. Fairground Attraction – Ay Fond Kiss
03. Clannad & Bono – In A Lifetime
04. David Arkenstone – The Dragon’s Breath
05. Celtus – Moonchild
06. Máire Brennan – An Fharraige
07. Carlos Nuñez – Saint Patrick’s Polka
08. Cherish The Ladies – Rolling in the Barrel/Pinch of Snuff/Vincent Campbell’s/The Galloping Hound
09. Capercaillie – The Whinney Hills Jigs
10. W.G. Snuffy Walden – By The River Shannon
11. Cantara – Waiting For The Wind
12. Aine Minogue / Alasdair Halliday – Rosemary Faire (Song of Lughnasadh)
13. The Incredible E. G. O’Reilly – An Chúileann
14. Christy Moore – Finnegan’s Wake
15. Kate Smith / Arthur Fiedler – Danny Boy

CD 3 Tracklisting:

01. Lisa Lynne – Circle Of Joy
02. Máire Brennan – Eirigh Suas A Stoirin
03. Brian Kennedy – Carrickfergus
04. Phil Cunningham – Strathglass
05. David Arkenstone – Cailleach’s Whisper
06. Nightnoise – The Rose Of Tralee
07. Cherish The Ladies – The Curragh of Kildaire
08. Eleanor McEvoy – Whisper A Prayer To The Moon
09. Clannad – Robin (The Hooded Man)
10. Sally Oldfield – Natasha
11. Davy Spillane – Forever Frozen
12. Capercaillie – Coisich, a Rùin
13. The Gallowglass Ceili Band – Haste To the Wedding/The Irish Washerwoman
14. Roger Whittaker – I’ll Tell Me Ma
15. Finbar Wright – Will Ye Go, Lassie Go

CD 4 Tracklisting:

01. The Chieftains – Opening Medley
02. The Young Dubliners – Rocky Road To Dublin
03. October Project – Deep As You Go
04. Celtus – Strange Day In The Country
05. Sarah McLachlan – Fallen
06. Aine Minogue / John Arimond – Silence
07. Clannad – I Will Find You
08. William Coulter / Todd Denman / Shelley Phillips / Deby Benton Grosjean / Paul Machlis / Heidrun Hoffmann / Barry Phillips / Theo Paige – Keening Of The Three Marys
09. Mary Mc Laughlin / William Coulter – Caoineadh Na Mara/Amen (Lament of the Sea)
10. Phil Coulter – The Shores Of The Swilly
11. Jeff Johnson / Rick Crittenden / Tim Ellis / Roger Hadley / Brian Willis / Brian Dunning – Way of the Warrior
12. Christy Moore – Beeswing (Live)
13. The Clancy Brothers / Tommy Makem – The Leaving Of Liverpool
14. Eileen Ivers – Crowley’s/Jackson’s
15. James Galway / Henry Mancini – Pennywhistle Jig


 Music News

All Ireland Fleadh 2011 Cavan – Harcourt Hotel


Monday at 20:00 – Tuesday at 02:00


Harcourt Hotel, 60 Harcourt St, Dublin 2.

Created by:

Traditional Harcourt Sessions


All Ireland Fleadh 2011 Cavan
In Harcourt Hotel Dublin April Monday 18th 8.30pm
… Call 01 4783677

Your Host on the night Martin Donohoe Cavan ! Please join us and all the Musicians participating from 8.30 pm – A great evening of Ceol, Amhrain agus Craic galore.. with Dancing and maybe a few sets if space allows

Among many travelling to the Event and giving their services free on the night are :

Sean O Se Cork (Singer)
John Carty Roscommon (Banjo and Fiddle)
Seamus Fay Cavan (Lilter)
Fintan Mc Manus Fermanagh (Bouzouki)
Patsy Hanly Roscommon (Flute)
Roisin OReilly Cavan (Singer)
John Mc Sherry Antrim (Piper)
Donal OConnor Louth (Fiddle)
Cathal Lynch Tyrone (Singer)
Anton McGabhann Cavan (fiddle)
Brid Harper Donegal (Fiddle)
Martin Gaffney Cavan (Flute)
Darren Maloney (Cavan (Banjo)
Daoiri Farrell Dublin (Singer)
Gary Lynch Fermanagh (Fiddle)
Kavan Donohoe Cavan (Harp)
Dave Sheridan Leitrim (Flute)
Philip Clarke Cavan (Piano)
Trevor Bury Cavan (Bodhran)
Laura Crossan Leitrim (Dancer)
John Campbell Louth (Guitar)
Niall Preston Dublin (Bodhran)
Joe Brennan Cavan (Guitar)


POITIN – A.C.W. Saloon, Plzen


15 April · 20:30 – 23:30


A.C.W. SaloonKollarova 18Plzen, Czech Republic

Created by:

Jeremy Poitin

More info

Irish night!


Album Highlight:Tears of Stone

I remember the days way before the Internet. I do my research of what’s new and cool in music magazines and newspapers.Sometimes through movies(end credits) and TV shows.That’s how I discover artists. Publications like Time Magazine,Newsweek and locally published musicmags(with guitar chords) were really helpful. There are music reviewers who are so good that they give you an accurate detail of what the music sounds like way before you get hold of the album.

I got hold of my very first Chieftains album The Long Black Veil in the mid-90s . My collection was growing then . I had
friends come over and I bragged about my collections that no one in the town or country has heard of. But then again , my
taste even in literature was already defined at that time-way before I hit my 20s. The first track will tell you at times
all about the whole album. Sometimes you’d be surprise.That’s why I will never buy a single. I am an album guy and I love
how the songs work together to create an album. I love the high and low moments. I love the suspense of what the new track
will bring. It’s like wading through sonic geography where songs are landscapes. I love the liner notes, the album
artwork, the lyrics ,musician credits, where it was recorded..even how the new paper smells. My hands shake and my heart
beats so fast every time I open a CD or cassette tape out of the plastic wrapper. And there I just described what I felt
like when I got my first Chieftains album-or any album that I love.

In short time I became a huge fan of this Irish band(though rock bands U2 and The Cranberies were so popular here  that students from every University even know how to sing a lot of songs from their albums). My favorite hangout was either the library or record stores. I kept an eclectic gang around(metalheads,Goths,nerds,ethnic musicians,poets etc). I listened to all kinds of music but made sure this type of music has a special place in my shelf. For years The Chieftains never ever disappointed the public with their releases. Several Grammy Awards and TV specials can attest to that. And Tears of Stone is one of the greats that came out before the end of the decade. Too sad it was  never  made available locally at that time. So I had to wait more than 10 years to get hold of this beautiful album(and having the money to get music too,instead of saving my allowance for clothes,shoes and even food just to buy a CD). But the wait or time is never an issue. Music like this never gets dated after all. So I a giving the spotlight to this album today.

Released February 22,1999
Label: BMG
Producer: Paddy Moloney

1. “Never Give All the Heart” – 2:50 (Anúna and Brenda Fricker) Irish Choir Anúna dazzles here vocally. I ‘ve always been a fan of their airy choir approach. Brenda Fricker’s narration adds a poetic touch to this haunting track.
2. “A Stór Mo Chroí” – 3:46 (Bonnie Raitt) Boys on the Side movie made Bonnie Raitt’s very familiar with “You Got It”. Her sad whiskey meets  Ealr Grey tea flavoured contralto is perfect for this mournful track.
3. “The Lowlands of Holland” – 3:46 (Natalie Merchant) Former 10,000 Maniacs vocalist contributed beautiful and strong distinctive vocals here. ..and these stormy seas came between my love and I”It’s hard not to feel like dying as she sings this last line.
4. “The Magdalene Laundries” – 4:59 (Joni Mitchell) A very touching subject involving nuns and ‘ cast the first stone those who have not sinned’ kind of narrative. You can almost see Joni Mitchell’s indignant expression as she sings each line .
5. “Jimmy Mó Mhíle Stór” – 4:37 (The Rankin Family)Like rubies on stony ground, the vocals provided by this musical family shifts between the angelic and the earthly.
6. “I Know My Love” – 3:54 (The Corrs) Andrea’s lead vocal adds a pop touch in this fast gypsy flavored track.
7. “Factory Girl” – 4:23 (Sinéad O’Connor) It is hard to hear Sinead’s beautiful haunting voice and not be moved by it.
8. “Deserted Soldier” – 4:39 (Mary Chapin Carpenter) This is sung in Gaelic flawlessly by an American Country singer.Each word flow effortlessly like golden chocolate. The second part of the song is a jig with her bright tinkling piano.
9. “Ye Rambling Boys of Pleasure” – 4:33 (Loreena McKennitt) A Celtic album is not complete without the rich vocals of this amazing Canadian singer. Expect the sae dramatic appeal found in her albums.
10. “Sake in the Jar” – 4:28 (Akiko Yano)So what happens when Japanese vocals meets Irish music? The combination is as exquisite as Sake in the Jar.Akiko Yano (Akiko Suzuki) has already established herself as pop and jazz musician in Japan since the release of her 1976 album Japanese Girl.
11. “Raglan Road” – 6:19 (Joan Osborne) “One of Us” became a grunge anthem in the 90’s. Very few knows what happened after. Well this one happened after, and this is an excellent performance by Joan Osborne who I remember fondly with that nose piercing.
12. “Siúil A Rún” – 4:35 (Sissel Kyrkjebø) After Titanic, Sissel joined the Chieftains not only through recordings but also touring with the band. This Viking fairy has never failed to enchant us with her own album releases. Her flawless airy soprano just glides in this track like an ethereal blanket, while singing in Gaelic.
13. “The Fidding Ladies” – 10:23 (Natalie MacMaster, Eileen Ivers, Maire Breathnach, and Annbjørg Lien) Expect a party of virtuosity as instrumentalists of epic proportion gather here. The toe-tapping track makes you want to have another round of that Guinness.
14. “Danny Boy” – 5:28 (Diana Krall) Jazz meets folk.Canadian Diana Krall who is married to Irish rocker Elvis Costello, adds her own sultry contralto vocals to this sad traditional track. She gives an ai of those 50s black and white films. And this song also ends this wonderful album that will surely be rediscovered for decades with its beautiful vocals, instrumental arrangement and choice of material.