Fall 2007 Celtic Music Roundup

Loreena  McKennitt -  Nights from the Alhambra
Loreena McKennitt – Nights from the Alhambra
The latest batch of Celtic music recordings received at World Music Central span various countries and cross musical boundaries. The most famous Celtic music artist with a new CD out is Canada’s Loreena McKennit. Her latest release is the live album Loreena McKennitt: Nights from the Alhambra.

Renowned traditional Irish music group Patrick Street will release their first studio album in four years,  On the Fly , with an American tour. The new CD comes out on November 13, 2007 on Loftus Music, a new independent label from fiddler Kevin Burke distributed nationally by Burnside Distribution Corporation (BDC). It’s the second release on Loftus, following Kevin’s duo CD with guitarist Cal Scott, Across the Black River, released in May 2007.

One of the finest contemporary Galician folk bands, Fia Na Roca, has a new CD titled Vente Vindo. The veteran band has some of the finest instrumentalists in Galicia, who play cutting edge Celtic music with global beats and jazz elements, together with the wonderful vocals of Sonia Lebedynski. Fia Na Roca combines traditional instruments such as pipes, low whistle, tambourine, fiddle, accordion and guitars with keyboards, electric bass, drum set and world percussion.

From Scotland comes the duo known as The Cast, formed by Mairi Campbell on voice, fiddle and viola; and Dave Francis on guitar. They are joined by additional musicians on fiddle, double bass and shruti box. Their latest album, Greengold (Greentrax CDTRAX319, 2007) features a combination of new and traditional slow-paced evocative folk songs.

For a livelier sound, listen to the Irish dance hall music of melodeon-banjo duo formed by Paul Brock and Enda Scahill. Their CD Humdinger (Compass, 2007) features guest musicians Ryan Moloy on piano and Tommy Hayes on percussion. The selection of traditional songs includes Irish and Irish-American songs.
American band Boudicea plays Celtic folk-rock on its self-tiled independent release, adding drums, world music percussion, electric guitar and other modern instrumentation. The core members of the group are singer/percussionist Angelena Kyzar-Crowhurst, drummer Ian Luke and guitarist John Crowhurst.

Across the pond, in Galicia (Spain), piper Pablo Seoane has released Fluindo en pechado (2007), an album dedicated to the Galician bagpipe (gaita). Seoane plays traditional music, combining gaita with zanfona (hurgy gurdy) and drums. The music selection includes folk music styles such as as alboaradas, xotas, cantigas, pasodobles, mazurcas and muiñeiras.  

The bagpipe fest continues with the modern Scottish folk music of Dàimh, formed by outstanding virtuoso musicians. The group sounds relies heavily on the interplay between the bagpipe and fiddle. Dàimh’s sound on Crossing Point  (Greentrax, 2007) is Pan-Celtic. They perform pieces from Scotland, Ireland, Galicia and Cape Breton. Skilled Galician piper Anxo Lorenzo participates in the album on the Galician pipes and Baroque recorder.

The fiddle is well represented by Irish musician Kieran Fahy. On his new album, Man from the West (Arc Music, 2007), he plays new arrangements of traditional jigs, hornpipes, airs, polkas, waltzes and mazurkas. 

Award-winning Scottish singer Sylvia Barnes has collected traditional songs in her latest recording, The Colour Of Amber . She is joined by minimal accompaniment: guitar, fiddle, small pipes and piano.

The neotraditional sounds seems to be the latest trend in Galicia. Luvas Verdes also uses the bagpipe (gaita) and snare drum (tamboril). On Fandango Desesperado (NGD, 2007)The uses several pipers with different tunings and one drummer to perform traditional folk tunes such as pasodobles, fandangos, alboradas, muiñeiras, xotas and even a Brazilian piece. More information at www.luvasverdes.com.

Veteran Scottish folk singer and guitarist Ross Kennedy is known for his work with various bands, including the popular Tannahill Weavers. On Scottish Voice and Acoustic Guitar  (Greentrax, 2007) he presents a collection of traditional songs and new compositions. He is accompanied by Lorne MacDoudal on whistles and pipes, Alison Smith on fiddle and Steve Lawrence on bozouki.

Traditional party music from Scotland is represented by the popular Glencraig Scottish Dance Band. Their latest CD, The Reel Party "Are ye askin’?" ,(Greentrax, 2007) contains lively reels, marches, jigs, two steps and even wedding music. The line-up includes two accordions, fiddle, piano, bass and drums.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.