Moving Up with Latitude-Rant Maggie Rant.

Moving Up with Latitude-Rant Maggie Rant.


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!

Interview with Luke Fraser of The Bombadils

Interview with Luke Fraser of The Bombadils

I wrote a post about The Bombadils working on a new album. What I haven’t told you os that I made an audio interview with Luke Fraser and it is finally here. This is the first audio interview with him and you can tell that we made a good team.

Luke is one of the four members that comprise The Bombadils. He plays the guitar, mandolin and other stringed instruments. He also played for Raftmen.

Original song written by the Bombadils. Copyright 2012. Filmed and recorded by Denis Martin at Stewart Hall – Point Claire, Montreal, Canada.

Order their CD online:

The Bombadils are:
Sarah Frank – fiddle, vocals
Luke Fraser – guitar, mandolin, vocals
Anh Phung – flute, Irish whistles, vocals
Evan Stewart – bass

Visit their website:

Become a fan on Facebook:

Book them at:


Here’s an old video of Luke Fraser and Kit Soden made four years ago, shot in Sutton farm in rural Quebec…



Two Available tracks from Wish by Poitin, via Soundcloud.

Two Available tracks from Wish by Poitin, via Soundcloud.


Yes you heard it right. The new album Wish by Poitin is finished. The main reason to rejoice.

Just when the thought the seas have calmed, Poitin brings out a new album called Wish. I am not sure about the details of the album yet, but I know the band have worked in recording tracks around Autumn last year. They uploaded two track via soundcloud: The Broomfield Wager and Toffee Jigs. The former is a vocal track showcasing the versatility of Jeremy King’s voice. It is also an acoustic and bodhran driven song. The latter is an instrumental collection of traditional tunes.

Like I said, I have not listened to the whole album yet, but I can tell this is something new. The poitin flavor is still there. But there is that slick and superb texture that I noticed in these two tracks. It is easy to judge that the album will sound this way. And this is an exciting release!

The album will be available everywhere and I will tell you more about it in my future post about the guys of Poitin.

Repost your Soundcloud!

Repost your Soundcloud!


A blog featuring John Breen, Fraser Fifield and TradConnect

It is great to realize that soundcloud has grown into a site where musicians and listeners can interact and repost music. Have you been reposting the music you heard too? I have been doing this today. I have not uploaded my podcast in soundcloud as I use mixcloud for that. But soundcloud is still the biggest site where you can reach many people.
From a mere(passive)listener of tracks you can actually make a difference by reposting. So you don’t have to be a blogger to influence people if you have a soundcloud account. Just share what you are listening to and the Internet will take care of the rest.

When bloggers like us experience a downtime in traffic and comments, we launch into conclusion that perhaps we have done something wrong to put our readers off. Maybe we are not doing good enough and that is why readers are going somewhere. Well, the truth is, you are wrong. For niche bloggers like me, it is expected that I will get specialized subscribers who are really passionate about Celtic music. I don’t expect pop listeners to check out what I post. This goes with other niche blogs out there.

Too many choices.

As new bloggers crop up everywhere, competition becomes deadly. The market is no longer dominated by those who are ‘stalwarts’ in this industry. Prepare for that. When you are doing video blogs or simply writing blogs, don’t be discouraged when you have lost view counts. This is normal. It happens to everyone. It’s even happening to Tech vlogger Chris Pirillo.

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Are you afraid that if you do something different you will turn certain subscribers off? Don’t be. In fact it might be a good thing. Blogging is like marriage. There are times when a relationship hits plateau and you need to do something different to spice the relationship up.

Going back to soundcloud, I have discovered new posts today and I am sharing them with you. Yes this post is after all about soundclous. But if you get something helpful from by detour then good!


John Breen’s Compilation



I enjoyed many songs from John Breen. There is this simplicity in his way of delivering songs. Expect a range of songs going from simple to grand treatments. This time he compiled his own soundcloud playlist of what he thinks are his top artists.


Fraser Fifield Playlist

Here’s the Scottish master of eclecticism. This is a good introduction to what his music is all about. There are other amazing talents that share the spotlight with him, in these recordings.


TradConnect playlist:

If you are looking for something purely trad then this is the best site for that.



Brishen and Podcast #24

Brishen and Podcast #24

Photo by Ryan MacDonald

Quinn Bachand, lead guitar

Richard Moody, violin

Reuben Wier, rythm guitar & vocal

Joey Smith, upright bass.

It has long been regarded that Canada is a melting pot of the best traditional music in Europe. What I admire about the Victoria, BC quartet Brishen is how they combine Jazz with world and folk elements. When you are looking for a fusion between sumptuous Acadian folk, jazz and Celtic then you have to listen to them. I think of dancing Gypsies when I listen to any of their tracks. I am sure that to watch them live would be quite an experience. Take for instance the seventeen-year-old Quinn Bachand bringing his own fresh influences with the stalwarts of music like Richard Moody (violin)  Reuben Wier( rythm guitar & vocal)  and Joey Smith( upright bass). That’s really got to be something. I love the vocals of Ruben Weir. I think he will give Michael Buble a run for his money.

They identify with their influences Django Reindhard and Stephane Grappelli which I am yet to hear but I am sure some of you out there already know their music. I don’t know if it’s the hot chocolate in my system or something else but Coquette left me feeling high and jolly. There is something about early jazz music that touches the heart. To combine that with other musical styles prove to be a powerful mix. Quite addicting. Brishen is indeed the storm bringer of fantastic music.

Photo by Ryan MacDonald

Photo by Ryan MacDonald


The Baxteria Podcast #24

If you missed the tunes I played this Saturday, the tunes are up that link! Enjoy!

CLEGHORN-9 Minutes of Woo – House of Blues
Riverdance-Opening Scene
Dave Sheridan, Michael McCague & Donal McCague-The Independence Hornpipe
Enda Seery-Tatter Jack Walsh
Loreena MCKennitt-Ancient pines
Brian Kennedy-Carrickfergus
Capercaillie-The Tree
J.P. Kallio-River Takes You Over
The Alex MacNeil Quartet-Lullaby for Alice
Don BeeKeeper-Saviour
Alex Pardini-Sad Little King
Love Spirals Downwards-City Moon

The Passing of Pete Seeger and Podcast #22

The Passing of Pete Seeger and Podcast #22

My late mom used to sing me a song called Where Have All the Flowers Gone. It’s such a sweet poignant song that reminds me of dusk and summer, of petals getting blown to nowhere. It was not decades later when I learned it’s written by the late Pete Seeger who passed away today. I heard a lot of his songs (without knowing him) because I was raised by people who grew up after the Second World War. So my upbringing was a combination of the old ways and the love for exploring new things. Judy Collins was also a popular artist in my childhood. So I get to hear Turn Turn Turn a many times in the house. My cousins were huge fans of folk music.

I started venturing into Celtic music in my late teens. He was associated with banjo and 12-string guitar. He has a continuing powerful influence   to other singer/songwriters with  names like Billy Bragg, Jackson Browne, Donovan, , Nanci Griffith, Indigo Girls, Tom Paxton, Bonnie Raitt, Martin Simpson, and Bruce Springsteen are associated with him.

I think his impact to me is more as a songwriter than a performer. His songs get better with time. The distinctive folk elements in his songs tell you: this is how to write a song. Pete Seeger will be sorely missed. It’s characteristic of people who carve their names in everyone’s heart. Life is a collage of all things that you’ve heard, seen and felt. His songs were the songs of the best years of my life. How could I let those go?

When I feel this heaviness in my heart I go into this little corner and listen to the songs of my childhood. And like magic the pain disappears. Where Have All the Flowers Gone indeed? Life is a mystery that is temporary. But memories are forever.




The Baxteria Podcast #22

Podcast 22 comes with a live concert featuring The Gloaming.
Track listing:
The Gloaming-Set at the National Concert Hall of Ireland(Live concert)
Robbie MacInnis-Massacre of Glencoe (ft. Robbie MacInnis)
Eivør-Hounds Of Love
BrowneProject-Silver Sun
J.P. Kallio-Time
Once A Tree-Light Me Up
Paula-I Could Be
Dadawa-Sister Drum

The Log Drivers: Folk and Modern Beauty

The Log Drivers: Folk and Modern Beauty

The Log Drivers

The Log Drivers deliver another fresh sound from Canada. They combine that love for traditional style and modern sensibility to create a kind of sound that teeters between the ancient and the urban. Even fiddler and singer Julie Fitzgerald maintains that jazzy vibe with an understated vocal delivery that comes out elegant and timeless. I already know Spencer Murray ( Flute, Pipes) through his other projects. Nate Douglas (Guitar) maintains that wispy and vigorous playing which he does with his other band The High Drive.

The debut self-titled album combines influences from folk, jazz, world and even pop. It sounds rich as they add the other instrument to the mix including bagpipes, drums and various strings. It has to be noted that Canada is blooming with great talents in all genres. The Log Drivers are riding the waves of beautiful independent music that will appeal to all types of listeners.  Their music is energetic without being intrusive. Their talents are sublime. You will love Blue Reel, A Miner’s Life and more. So better get their debut album quick! You can sample their sound here:


A Taste of Cornish Music and Language:She’s to Blame “Dhe Vlamya Yw Hi” by Phil Knight  

Softly caressing her hair,
As the sun was rising, before my love had awakened,
Did I see on looking closely
That she was silently weeping, hiding her misery?
Tear turned to frown,
And when I spoke… in one leap,

Gone was my love, my sweetheart,
No doubt you would recognise her well.
No wonder, although my heart’s completely broken,

She has left me;
I long for her.
She has left me;
She wants to forget.
She has left me
And it seems I don’t matter
But she is to blame.

When I looked up she had gone,
No longer could I see her, only her track in the yellow corn.
The dawn sky was red,
The sun sparkling through leaves and a cow was lowing.
Though she had disappeared from sight,
Her anger and cruel words were still with me.

Gone was my love, my sweetheart.
No doubt you would recognise her well.
No wonder, although my heart’s completely broken,

She has left me;
I long for her.
She has left me;
She wants to forget.
She has left me
And it seems I don’t matter
But she is to blame.
But she is to blame.
But she is to blame.
But she is to blame.

Lyrics printed with permission


Check this out: Top 10 Irish Traditional Album Covers of 2013


Here’s the link to the full article:


Traditional Music: The Music of the People

Traditional Music: The Music of the People

A set of reels recorded for the fleadh program in Cavan 2012. Thanks to Brian Cunningham for sharing this video.

We can’t deny that traditional music is the music of communion. Be it Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton or any music of the seven Celtic nations, there is always that sense of community whenever one goes to these sessions. Unlike the ‘star versus the spectator’ culture of pop music, Celtic music encourages the audience to participate-be it dancing or playing. It is after all the music of the people.

As someone who is trying to learn how to play traditional Irish music instruments, I feel that sense of connection to the culture through these instruments. As if the music is telling me that it doesn’t matter if I am no expert but to play is to be part of something timeless.

My bodhran and tin whistle.

My bodhran and tin whistle.

I think there are more and more music schools being built and organized because the demand to learn traditional music is increasing. People can just buy a bodhran, Celtic harp, tin whistle or fiddle from ebay.  Everything you need is there. You just have to know where to look. Even youtube offers free lessons. You just have to be enthusiastic enough to learn how to play.

Jeremy King of Poitin mentioned that his son is learning the accordion at such an early age. I mentioned in my previous post that there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the accordion. Scottish singer/harpist Anna McLuckie has wowed the mainstream audience with her unique performance of a mainstream tune. People now know that her musical upbringing is rooted in traditional music.

As I have mentioned above, traditional music is the music of the people. Wherever you are in the world, when it touches you, then you belong.

Is it True?Accordions Are Making A Comeback in the Mainstream?

Is it True?Accordions Are Making A Comeback in the Mainstream?

I woke up experiencing the coldest morning in a tropical country ever. Philippines might not be experiencing polar vortex like the other countries but this is the coldest brrrr! An interesting headline in the Atlantic caught my attention. I still care about mainstream music. And when an instrument that isn’t really mainstream gains popularity among those who don’t normally listen to true/beautiful/complex/traditional music then it’s exciting.

Waste Ventura of Will Tun and The Wasters photo by Pietro Di Nardo

Waste Ventura of Will Tun and The Wasters photo by Pietro Di Nardo

Have you seen the video of Full Set? How about Jamie Smith, Martin Tourish and Micheal Curran?Traditional bands are really great in representing themselves to the world. I would not be surprise if a couple of years from now, being in a traditional Irish/Scottish/Welsh/Cornish/Breton etc band would be considered fashionable. But I think that’s how it is in the music world. When there is an overload of the same style, people will always want something different. Kids grow up and they discover new music. I have observed this through the years. Artists who maintain longevity aren’t those who started their careers as teeny boppers.

I guess the popularity of traditional instruments are partly due to online music courses. For example you can learn any instrument when you go to  at €19.95 for full membership access. There are more and more traditional music sites offering  ways to learn any traditional instrument of your choice. Celtic music is a community affair. We learn to play the instruments so we can take part in sessions.

So when is the bodhran going to be a ‘hot’ instrument again?

Young Trad, Sweet Trad.

Young Trad, Sweet Trad.

Featuring: Moxie with the music video What Lies Behind the Wall, JP Trio and Last Track from Lyon France.



Perhaps the title of this post might come as a surprise but I took this line from an old mushy song from the 60s simply because youth is indeed a sweet time to experiment and to be insanely in love not just with people but with music. Yes this is not a post about love or love songs but about the love for traditional Irish music or any forms of music in the same musical culture.

January is not over yet but we have a huge batch of artists whose flowering talents are just waiting to be plucked and savoured to your satisfaction.  We start this off with the world debut of What Lies Behind the Wall by Irish trad band Moxie. Just go to the search bar on the upper right of this side beside the header and type Moxie or Cillian Doheny and I am sure you will have links to interesting articles I wrote about this band.

What Lies Behind the Wall by Moxie.

Cillian Doheny Tenor Banjo / Nylon & Steel String Guitar / Mandola
Jos Kelly Button Accordian / Keyboard
Darren Roche Button Accordian / Nylon String Guitar
Ted Kelly Tenor Banjo / Tenor Guitar / Mandolin
Paddy Hazelton Percussion

Shot by Peter Clyne;

Energy, style and craft: These are things that make any song captivating. Moxie made an electrifying debut with the music video to their track What Lies Behind the Wall. The track is already stunning on its own. Add a stylish black and white video and what you get is a great package of visual and aural treat. This is what a good trad video should be. Straight to the point, elegant and the focus is the music. Peter Clyne’s artistic vision captures the band at their most stunning: playing live music. I like that part in 0:50 when percussionist Paddy Hazelton starts tapping. It is like a build up of suspense only to be consummated when the band  dips into heavier playing at 2:20. The whole ‘rain of notes’ element is brought about by Ted Kelly’s Tenor Banjo. Jos Kelly, Darren Roche all deliver exceptional playing along with their telegenic talents. And Cillian Doheny is rocking!  I will quote from my previous review I wrote about this track:

What Lies Behind the Wall has notes tapping with suspense at the beginning of the track. It is like watching a flower bloom in hyper speed. Like all remarkable Irish bands playing traditional music, Moxie offers fresh approach to a tradition that has been around and is determined to stay.

Their sound is vibrant and the arrangements are intricate. This is traditional music with a cool twist. Sophisticated style blends with rustic simplicity making them one of a kind Irish band.

Band Bio:

Formed in late 2011 as part of the annual folk festival, Sligo Live, Moxie are a Sligo and Limerick based band that formed through years of musical friendships from playing together at certain festivals around Ireland. The band incorporates Irish music with other genres such as folk, rock and new age bluegrass. A vibrant new band playing an exciting mix of traditional based compositions with richly developed layers of fantastic harmony. The band includes JPTrio members, Ted Kelly (banjo, tenor guitar, vocals), Jos Kelly (button accordion, keyboard, vocals), Paddy Hazleton (percussion, vocals) and Limerick based musicians, accordion and melodeon powerhouse Darren Roche and virtuoso banjo & guitar player Cillian Doheny.



Introducing: JP Trio


Fresh, hypnotic and amazing. The JP Trio is definitely you need to listen to. They describe their sound as Celtic roots funk. According to Cillian Doheny who recommended this trio: “They are so talented. Some of the members are in Moxie but its a totally different type of music. ” So let is get to know them better. JPTrio is composed of  brothers Ted ( on banjo, tenor guitar and vocals) and Jos (button accordion, keyboards and vocals) Kelly, Paddy Hazleton (percussion and vocals), joined by Niamh Farrell for the lead vocals. JPTrio amazing fresh trad sounds incorporating their personal influences. According to their bio, all three musicians are founding members of Spraoi. They claim to be  influenced by jazz along with traditional music. These influences result to a fusion  which is described by critics as  unique and exciting. Trivia: They recently won a Danny Kyle award at Celtic Connections.



Last Track from Lyon France

Last Track: Jean Damei and Jean-Christophe Morel

Last Track: Jean Damei and Jean-Christophe Morel

From Ireland, we move to Lyon which is the place of good Irish music in France. Lyon is also the hometown of the band Shelta. More and more French Celtic musicians are making this huge impact in the trad scene for both old and young. Last Track is one of them. The duo are comprise of Jean Damei and Jean-Christophe Morel. Their meeting created a very strong bond of friendship and musical partnership. They are influenced by different styles including jazz and funk. Looking and listening to their live performances will tell you that they are musically matured and sophisticated.  You can listen to their tracks and watch videos via their official website :

The Celtic Music Fan would like to thank Cillian Doheny for this post. He’s the one who recommended these bands and for that A big thank you to him!

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

Getting To Know Aulaga Folk from Spain(Interview)

Juan Carlos  from Extremadura Spain talks about his band and a beautiful wildflower where the name of the band was taken from.

Band website(in Spanish)

Music is an emotional persuasion. Anyone who deals with it whither directly as a composer or passively as a listener will know what it takes to really appreciate it. It is a feeling that sweeps over you that sometimes, you are helpless under its spell.  Funny that that very thing that inspires us to do things can be both a blessing and a burden. Lucky are the few who made it by finding an outlet. Such is the music of Aulaga Folk.

Juan Carlos

Juan Carlos

Passion is evident in any Spanish melody. That is why we always see Latin singers as emotional and sizzling. It is that sensuality that drives the artists to bring out the best in what they do and also draw something from the listeners. But to find its very appeal and distinctive style then  fuse those with other styles can be a transforming experience.

There are different elements that colour the sound of Aulaga Folk. From the haunting Gregorian inspired vocalize that finds its way into some of the tracks, to the lively poly-rhythms of Jazz and World music, the band have something for everyone. Borrowing heavily from the Celtic sound of Galicia, Asturias, and the folk music of Spain itself, this unique band  are led by Juan Carlos. The the new album promises to enchant as well as to inspire listeners with its grace and sophistication. Here, he explains his thoughts about the band, the music and also how it is like carving a name for themselves in a world where styles can be an elusive thing.

    Why the name Aulaga folk?

Aulaga is a plant that grows abundant in  our land in the mountainous region. Once, the farmers hated it because it is a beautiful plant with yellow flowers but has  very sharp spikes which does injury to livestock and had to be avoided. I decided to take the name of this plant for the band.

How do you describe your style of music?

We try to make music without borders. We can call them a combination of ethnic rhythms and progressive folk. Anything that smacks of tradition seems very interesting. It is the music of the people and for the people . We keep the original root of the songs but we try to adapt to the times. Everything in life evolves and folk music as Celtic music that we know must also adapt to new times. It allows us  a fresh approach to the sound.

 Can you give us a description as to what the new album is all about?

Aulaga Folk have 3 albums already , the first “From Ambroz Our Way” is a compilation album of popular music of our valley. It is very traditional and also our first attempt in releasing a recorded album. The second album Not Bad Wood” incorporates new rhythms and melodies. It also showcases how we evolved as musicians.  This third album is released in 2011, “A quarter” and it shows, or so we think, a greater variety of ethnic rhythms mixed with progressive folk. We have found our way into the work of collecting and disseminating traditional culture, not only in Extremadura, but in many parts of the world.

      Your music is lively and infectious. Was this intentional?

The folk music gives us plenty of feeling –be it joy, sorrow, work songs- in short, everything that is related to the life of our elderly. The treatment of the songs  is to try to make them as realistic as  possible with the environment where they originated from but at  the same time, trying to give them our own touch as a group and that leads many of them to be festive and contemporary. We always try to respect the richness of  the original melody, but by nature the music conveys feelings, sometimes joyful and festive and other times melancholic and profound.

   What’s fun about recording the new album A Quarter?

The most fun is doing what we like to do best: in this case translate the work and dedication to the collection and dissemination of popular music in all its possibilities. In the current album we have been fortunate to have great collaborations of national folk masters: Eliseo Parra, Joaquin Diaz, Manuel Luna, Javier Ruibal, and other artists who  participated in this work, which has filled us with satisfaction and pride. It has been a luxury to work with these great masters of music and the collection ofroots music. We had fun and learned a lot from the wisdom of established musicians.

 Aulaga:a beautiful plant with yellow flowers but has  very sharp spikes which does injury to livestock...

Aulaga:a beautiful plant with yellow flowers but has very sharp spikes which does injury to livestock...

 What were the challenges doing the new album?

Trying to get the traditional music and make it sound  current was quite a challenge. We are trying to reach out to   young people today to let them  become aware of their past which is for the sake of understanding the present so that we will walk steadily forward. Also, to discover what their grandparents were doing not so long ago, the roots and origins of the things that we are living right now, and finally to have a sense of history and a past that we are trying to retell. I think these were the challenges that we had creating A Quarter.

What keeps you guys together and what drives you to keep steady during tours and festivals at this time?

In these difficult times where the economy is so affected, most of the budget cuts are made in the areas of culture. Many of the festivals organizers do not know whether they will continue due to the budget cuts. The  future is uncertain this 2012. So we  reflected in our past, our roots, and we hope to continue tour with our work. We want to meet new people which is the most beautiful of the tours, and discover new places, enjoy the landscapes and its people-these are  really the most important and beautiful part of being in this business.

World Charts

This ‘video’ of ours on You Tube has had nearly 10,000 views. That’s pretty amazing, I think. The track is the opening number on Jiggery Pokery (on CDBaby) and also the first track on our first ever album. I like some of the comments. Poitin

World Charts everyone? Jeremy posted this update. Looking at the list of artists I am embarrassed to admit I still need to expand my knowledge. I am proud to see two friends : Poitin and Marc Gunn(also of Brobdingnagian Bards).  For those who are expanding their knowledge of Celtic music in the world, you better check this out:

Here’s one for traditional Irish:

Thanks Jeremy for the links. It was fun posting on your forum 🙂

The McDades:Pure Vibrations!

The McDades:The fusion that works like potion.

My friend Christi introduced me to this band yesterday. And since then I could not get rid of these headsets off my head. Whither you are listening to large surround speakers or the intimacy of your earphones, you could not stop your  feet from shaking and tapping.

Throbbing bass, hypnotic hand drumming, high-octane playing; the things that make the sound of   siblings Jeremiah, Shannon and Solon – The McDades. I am writing this article while  moving my head and smiling. I couldn’t help it. Theses guys are sugar and pepper. All the more reason for  listening and collecting Celtic music we now know as  hip and refreshing. Forget your mediocre top 40 radio and college campus music, this is it! This is high energy , the thing that  new Celtic music should be like.

The band are another export of the burgeoning Canadian Celtic music scene. The fusion of Jazz, World music and even some of that French folk makes their music sound like a buffet . Yeah after a full listen to Bloom it’s like having that full meal surrounded by a garden of exotic flowers…makes you  feel the good vibration.

Musical style: Celtic, World, Jazz

Origin: Edmonton, Alberta

Achievements: Bloom – Free Radio Records 2006 (2007 Juno Award Winner – Best Roots/Traditional Album (group), 2007 Independent Music Award Winner – Best World Album Traditional [1], two time Canadian Folk Music Award Winners Best World Group & Best Instrumental Group)



I Will Carry You-Shishonnah

(R) Jenne Lennon (L) Liz Madden Photo by Roland Labana

(R) Jenne Lennon (L) Liz Madden Photo by Roland Labana

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  ~Christopher Reeve

Hope is the physician of each misery.  ~Irish Proverb

The new single from duo Jenne Lennon and Liz Madden known as Shishonnah will definitely thrill fans of Loreena McKennitt, Connie Dover and Enya!  The song  “I Will Carry You” starts out with a gentle piano melody that builds up into a sweeping choral and chamber extravaganza. The classically trained  lush voice of Jenne, and Liz’s supple ethereal folk voice compliment each other well- like they’ve been born to sing together. This song talks about hope and healing amidst all the pains that life hands us. Listening it again and again is such a joy!

Their first single Dance with the River is so unique and powerful. Especially the chanting  and percussion part. This is a kind of song that I think Capercaillie wish they recorded.

Jenne Lennon:

Known as “The Janis Joplin of Celtic Music!”, Jenne’s mission as an artist is to become the first American singer/songwriter internationally known in the new genre of Celtic World Fusion music, and to use her music as a platform for social awareness of poverty, AIDS and Native American rights   and

Liz Madden

“If a harp had a voice, it would sound like Liz Madden.  With a sound that flows through the air like rose petals through a wind chime…” Gregg Senko of Why So Blu?

A patron of the Irish charity Bee for Battens, Liz is also a supporter of the Children in Crossfire charity and recently performed at two events accompanied on guitar by Richard Moore, Director of Children in Crossfire. Liz had the honor of singing ‘A Price for Love’ written by the late Christie Hennessy, patron of Children in Crossfire. Liz is the first artist since Christie Hennessey, to sing this wonderful song. Along with various other charity work and activism, Liz has also just completed her first book entitled ‘Letters from The Ancients’.

Didgeridoo Sessions

Interesting info about this video:

“Enjoy this short impression of our contribution to the Summer Solstice world didgeridoo meditation.
Four times a year people all over the world take part in this didgeridoo sound healing meditation wherever they are. The didgeridoo meditation happens on the equinoxes and solstices at local sunset times. It is like a wave of healing sound following the sunset around the globe four times a year.
So the meditation starts in New Zealand (since they are the first large land after the date line); soon after participants in Australia, Taiwan, Japan and other Asian countries join in; the wave will then be carried on by participants in Arab countries, Israel, Africa and Europe with Americans, Canadians, Middle and South Americans complete the world wide circle.
We will do this didgeridoo meditation at every solstice and equinox, so we will join our global energy playing didgeridoo four times a year. Join our growing worldwide didgeridoo circle in this regular meditation, the next one will be on 22 June 2007. Wherever you are on this beautiful planet on 22 June 2007, please allow for one hour starting at your local sunset time. If you cannot set that hour apart, be with us in spirit as much as you can during that hour.
Let’s Surround the Earth in a Didgeridoo Sound Blanket!!!
For more info:”

If you are a world music enthusiast like me, I know you will find it hard to resist the sound of the didgeridoo. The didgeridoo is a wind instrument of the Aboriginal Australians which dates back up to 1,500 years. The popular culture has made the didgeridoo ‘hip’ and thus incorporate it in recordings. A fine example is found in Long Black Veil of The Chieftains and also can be heard in The Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt.

Highland by Blackmore’s Night from the New Album

Highland by Blackmore’s Night from the New Album

Those who love the beauty of British folk will have no second thoughts from savouring this track from this wonderful band whose roots go back to the 70’s.  Those who love the music that I featured in this site will surely love this release as well. After all, don’t we all love the essence of “Ren and Rock”? Read more on the press release for this wonderful duo of husband and wife team up.

NEW RELEASE DATE) Spinefarm Records to Release Blackmore’s Night’s ‘Autumn Sky’ In The US January 18th, New Song Streaming Now

BLACKMORE’S NIGHT, the group featuring husband and wife Richie Blackmore and Candice Night, will be releasing their new album Autumn Sky on January 18th. With a career spanning nearly two decades, the band of minstrels has gained crossover success all over the world with its new genre of “Ren and Rock” music. The lyrics, written by award winning singer/songwriter Candice Night, are inspired by nature and the myths and fairy tales they encounter on their international travels. The melodies, composed and arranged by Grammy nominated Ritchie Blackmore, encompass musical structure and the essence of melodies from the early 1600s. And then they are “Blackmore-ized.” Blackmore’s Night’s last album, Secret Voyage, debuted at #1 on the Billboard New Age Chart and held that spot for four consecutive weeks. 

In addition to being known from their unique sound which combines traditional as well as modern day instruments (including electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, violins, shawms, chanters etc), and Candice’s enchanting lyrics and vocals, they are also known for their fabulous live shows, many of which have been performed at castles and other exceptional venues that add to the mystique and warmth of their performance. Blackmore’s Night has appeared nationwide on PBS and Discovery channel specials, and has been awarded the Best Album of the Year and Best Vocal Album of the year by NPR New Age Reporter for their past 7 studio CDs.

Autumn Sky brings us 14 new Blackmore’s Night songs, plus a cover of “Celluloid Heroes” from The Kinks. Recorded during Candice’s pregnancy, Candice and Ritchie have dedicated the Autumn Sky album to their newly born daughter Autumn Esmerelda Blackmore.

Listen to “Highland” from Autumn Sky here:


Poitin’s Evocative Spirit:An Interview

The Celtic band from the Czech republic is keeping the world under a spell…

Jeremy Poitin

Jeremy Poitin

Irresistible spirit, frisky optimism and Gypsy charm-all these elements meshed into patterns that make Poitin really worth you ears.  I’d say, without my curiosity then this band would be something on an album cover or a magazine-interesting to hear or look at but never definable. Talking to the band’s lead man Jeremy, gave me a glimpse not only of the band but the personality of  the one who help shape it, the little things that make up the albums interesting and yes-that dear little goblin!

Personally I subscribe to their newsletter a year ago. So that gives me up to date news as to what they will be doing next. The country Czech Republic has always been a source of curiosity to me–from Franz Kafka, Dvorak and other colorful personalities, I also have a friend who lives there but we lost contact through the years. I wish he comes across someday -like a message in a bottle. Here’s the wonderful Interview I did with  the band’s frontman Jeremy. Enjoy!



1. I love your approach in traditional music. It is energetic,brave and it has a lot of mix on it. how did you develop this sound?

Glad you like the energy, Baxter. The energy comes from the musicians as much as the music, I suppose. Irish dance music naturally has a lot of energy in it, but it’s important to not let the energy and enthusiasm take over from the rhythm and melody. That energy needs to be focused, and when it is, and everything comes together there’s nothing like it. Each of us brings his or her own influences to what we play-Kuba (guitar) and Honza (bouzouki, banjo, whistles) actually have a background in traditional Czech folk music and dance, and Honza really likes Eastern European melodies and rhythms, so most of our albums have at least something ‘Slavonic’ or ‘Balkan’ tucked away in there. The title track from Bofiguifluki is a good example of that-it’s actually made of two tunes written by Kuba and Honza respectively, finished off with a traditional Eastern European tune. It’s got everything apart from the kitchen sink in there-sax, darbuka, bouzouki plus the more traditional Celtic instruments. We had a great time putting that set together and it always surprises me how all these different instruments complement each other so well.

2.Czech republic  is a country bursting with literary, artistic and musical talents. What is it about your country that brings out the best in her people?

It’s true. And the Czech Republic is also a country bursting with artistic talent, too! It’s a small country with a complex history, so some people aren’t sure exactly where it is or what it’s called (some think it’s still Czechoslovakia). I mean, when I first headed out this way from England, I wasn’t sure exactly where it was either! Maybe because the Czech Republic is in the centre of Europe it is a mixing pot of cultural influences. It has Germany and Austria on one side and Slovakia and Poland on the other and it’s not far north of Italy. All of these countries have rich cultures and I guess it’s inevitable that some of this should be seen in Czech culture too. The Czech Republic also gave birth to the term ‘bohemian’ which has all kinds of connotations, mostly good!

3.You play a number of instruments. What’s your favorite?

I only play the bodhran and sing, but it’s true the band uses and has used loads of different instruments-harp, accordion, banjo, bouzouki, whistles and flutes, sax (alto and soprano), guitar, fiddle, didgeridoo…I’m sure there’s more. I don’t have a particular favourite, although I do have a soft spot for the bouzouki-I love the bell-like tones that Honza gets out of it.

4. Tell us about your current albums and anything we can expect after this year?

The two albums we have out now are Jiggery Pokery and Bofiguifluki. Jiggery Pokery was released last year as an introduction to the band and looks at what Poitin has achieved since it got together back in 1996. It takes tunes from all our previous album releases, ‘Poitin’, ‘De la Basse Bretagne’ and ‘Hot Days’ plus some new experimental remixes by DSPI. I think it shows how the band has changed and developed and evolved really well over the years; the raw energy of the first album with accordion and harp, the melancholic and haunting second album with Neige our French vocalist and her Breton influences and the third album where Helena’s saxophones have a strong role in the whole feel of the album. I think that the new album Bofiguifluki combines all of these feelings and emotions and is a great expression of where we are now as a band. We’re already talking about recording a new album for the end of next year, which is great. We’re always getting new ideas, and as you’ve heard, we’re also experimenting with DSPI and celtic electronica. This week we’re debut-ing a live set incorporating acoustic instruments and DSPI remixing live on stage. I’ll let you know how it goes!

5.I noticed this little dwarf?elf/ in your band pic. What’s the significance?

Oh yes, that little goblin! Our first bodhran player, Tonda Mužík, is a sculptor and painter(yes, the country really is bursting with artistic talent) and we took the photo in the old vicarage where lives. As he wasn’t in the band any more, we wanted to have something that reminded us of him and this little guy happened to be lurking in the corner so we asked him to join us. I also just realised that in Czech, ‘mužík’ means ‘little man’, so it’s quite appropriate,really! He could also be a stand-in for Dick(the didge) Savage who couldn’t make the photo shoot-but Dick is a little more active on stage than the wooden goblin!

6. There are elements of fusion in your music. I hear a little bit of Gypsy,Jazz and other styles. So far this is working because a lot people nowadays are open about music. Do you see your band incorporating this in your future recordings?

I think we’ve always been influenced by other styles of music. Otik previously played jazz guitar before founding Poitin, and now he plays fiddle, so he’s bound to have brought some jazz with him, and there’s bound to be a gypsy/klezmer influence in there somewhere what with our central European location, especially when we’re incorporating instruments such as Helena’s alto and soprano saxes. And our latest experimentations have been with electronic sounds courtesy of DSPI. Thank goodness there are a lot of open-minded listeners out there! However, we had a Bob Dylan ‘Judas!’ moment the other day when we premiered some of our electrocelt material. Remember that famous live recording of Dylan when he played on an electric guitar and someone in the audience cried out ‘Judas’? Well, a similar thing happened to us, and Dick (DSPI) was booed by someone as he started his live mix with us. The majority though were really ecstatic at this development in the music and were really getting into vibe and dancing fit to burst! We’d kind of expected some sort of criticism, but I think music should not be static, otherwise it can stagnate, and if you don’t experiment, then you don’t evolve. Sure, you’re going to maybe make mistakes along the way, and upset a few people, but all of the greatest musicians upset people by taking their genres (and their listeners) to places they’ve never been before. I mean, it’s hard to believe that the Bothy Band, the Chieftains and Planxty were all considered revolutionary in their day, but now look at them, they’re thought of as being the ‘establishment’ nowadays. So, to answer your question, yes, we’ll continue to incorporate elements from other genres into our music and see where it takes us!

7. Do you think social networking sites such as facebook and twitter helped in spreading the music out there-the mediums which weren’t available 10 years ago?

Goodness, yes! When we started, back in 1996, nobody knew what the Internet was. We were still listening to music on vinyl in the Czech Republic! Oh, and cassettes, too. Nowadays it’s much easier to let people know what you’re doing by posting a YouTube video or uploading an MP3 to MySpace or any one of the myriad other music websites. And of course, unlike 10-15 years ago, it’s not just people in your own home town who get to hear the music; it’s people like your good self on the other side of the planet who we can have a dialogue with. I just had a look at recent CD sales on CDBaby-something else which wasn’t around 10 years ago- and people from the Philippines to Italy to LA have all downloaded our music-it’s crazy and wonderful! Having social networking allows us to have a relationship with our fans and vice versa wherever they are in the world. That must be a good thing!

8.It’s winter and I read about upcoming shows. How do you guys prepare yourselves for gigs?
Winter-right! It’s been a snowy and cold one so far in the Czech Republic. We’ve all been pretty healthy (apart from me-I’m suffering from a cold at the moment!), and we have a regular Tuesday night session in a very accommodating pub in Pilsen which serves as a rehearsal and a fun night out for everybody, including guests. No special preparation needed, just a love of the music, a warm coat, and maybe a drop of the rare old mountain dew to warm the cockles 🙂

Thanks for the great answers.

You’re very welcome, Baxter-I hope they make some kind of sense! It was a pleasure. Thanks so much for being interested. All the best to you and thanks for everything you’re doing for Celtic music. Jeremy and Poitin.

Links (in Czech) (Jeremy on FaceBook)

Jaroslav „Oto“ Macháček - housle Jakub Siegl - kytary Jan Brabec - bouzouki, tin whistle Jeremy Marc King - zpěv, bodhrán Saša Šantorová - příčná flétna Dick Savage j.h. - didgeridoo, spoons

Jaroslav „Oto“ Macháček - housle Jakub Siegl - kytary Jan Brabec - bouzouki, tin whistle Jeremy Marc King - zpěv, bodhrán Saša Šantorová - příčná flétna Dick Savage j.h. - didgeridoo, spoons

Shishonnah’s First Single “Dance With The River” Coming This New Year

(L) Jenne Lennon (R) Liz Madden Photo by Roland Labana

New updates from Jenne Lennon !

I chatted with Jenne Lennon over Skype and it’s been confirmed. The new single by Shishonnah will be out this early New Year which will introduce the album next year. According to Jenne:

Liz(Madden) and I are hard at work in the studio. Our first single “Dance With The River” is going to be released in the early new year as an album teaser. We were just notified yesterday as a matter of fact, that the full length album will be released April 20. The first three tracks are up on Shishonnah’s myspace,with the rest of our sites to follow soon. So all is well on the album front. Hope you have a very blessed holiday season!

Looks like there is no stopping this lovely duo and their lovely music. Sweet anticipation. And just look at these gorgeous pictures!

And they have a facebook page as well:

by Roland Labana