Tag Archives: Celtic music

Golden Harps of Galicia

Rodrigo Romaní Trío – Fios de ouro no ár (Altafonte, 2018)

Spanish musician Rodrigo Romaní is one of the leading harp players in Galicia. He’s one of the pioneers of contemporary Galician folk music, who co-founded the seminal band Milladoiro. On this occasion, he appears with a trio that includes fellow harp player Beatriz Martinez and Xulia Feixoo on percussion.

The album Fios de ouro no ár (Golden strings in the air) features original pieces and traditional songs as well. It’s a superb melodic album where folk harp meets classical music and contemporary acoustic music.

The exquisite chamber string quartet Cuarteto Novecento appears on two of the musical pieces.

Although the majority of the album is instrumental, two guest vocalists appear on two tracks: Inés Lorenzo and Guillerme Ignacio Costa.

Fios de ouro no ár is beautifully-constructed recording by one of leading composers in the Galician folk music scene.

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Artist Profiles: Kerstin Blodig

Kerstin Blodig

Kerstin Blodig was born in Berlin and has Norwegian roots. She is a leading vocalist and guitarist in the German acoustic scene. Her band Touchwood, with Irish singer Cristina Crawley, has an album distributed in Ireland.

Kerstin studied musicology and Scandinavian languages and cultures in Berlin and in Bergen (Norway). She is involved in a wide variety of different projects, ranging from studio work, German folk-pop and theater music productions to the Celtic groups Norland Wind and Talking Water. She made a world music album, Valivann (with Mick Franke), combining her own Scandinavian/Celtic influenced compositions with traditional lyrics and modem grooves.

In her solo performances, Kerstin presents her arrangements of traditional Norwegian and Celtic songs as well as her own material.

In 2011 she released Trolldans, the debut album by Huldrelokkk, an all-female trio featuring acoustic folk music from Norway, Sweden and Denmark as well as their own material. The band includes Kerstin Blodig on vocals, guitar, bodhrán; Mia Gunberg Ådin (Sweden) on vocals, fiddle, nykkelharpa; and Liv Vester Larsen (Denmark) on vocals, fiddle, percussion.

Discography:

Atlantic Driftood – Harp Music & Song From The Celtic Northwest, with Norland Wind ‎(Slow Motion Records, 2000)
December Journey, with Norland Wind ‎(Alula Records, 2002)
Valivann (Alula Records, 2002)
Kelpie (Alula Records, 2002)
From Shore To Shore, with Norland Wind ‎(Laika Records, 2004)
Trollsang
Nordisk Sjel
Var det du – var det deg? (2007)
Kelpie: Live! (2010)
Trolldans, with Huldrelokkk (Westpark Music, 2011)
Desember måne – December Moon (2012)
Storm in a Teacup (Laika, 2013)
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P08LJZW?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B00P08LJZW, with Huldrelokkk (Westpark Music, 2013)
Out of the Woods (Stockfisch, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: The Breath

The Breath

The Breath is a Manchester-based innovative folk band inspired by Celtic music, rock, ambient electronic, and other influences. The group is led by vocalist, lyricist and flute player Ríoghnach Connolly and guitarist and composer Stuart McCallum. They met through MySpace in 2010 when McCallum was looking for a singer.

Ríoghnach Connolly was born in Armagh (Northern Ireland) and is currently based in Manchester. She is known for her work with Afro Celt Sound System and Honeyfeet. Ríoghnach has an extraordinary voice.

Stuart McCallum was born in Manchester. He is an exploratory guitarist, known for his masterful loops and effects. He worked with Cinematic Orchestra and released various solo albums.

The other two members of the original The Breath are drummer Luke Flowers and pianist John Ellis.

The group attracted a lot of attention in 2016 with its debut album Carry Your Kin on Real World Records, recorded in Manchester and at Real World Studios, mixed by Tchad Blake.

Discography:

Carry Your Kin (Real World Records, 2016)
Let The Cards Fall (Real World Records, 2018)

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The Breath Release Music Video and Announce New Album Let The Cards Fall

British band The Breath, featuring guitarist Stuart McCallum and vocalist, lyricist and flutist, Ríoghnach Connolly has released a music video for ‘Let the Cards Fall.’ Thesong is the title-track from their second album, scheduled for release in September 2018 on Real World Records.

The song is partly inspired by Queen Macha, an ancient Irish legend and the namesake of Armagh, Ríoghanch’s birthplace.

The video for ‘Let The Cards Fall’ was directed by Luca Rudlin.

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Artist Profiles: Soig Siberil

Soig Siberil

Soig Siberil was born February 1, 1955 in Paris, France. He is a name that keeps coming up in the Breton folk music scene. After recording with Sked, he founded Kornog together with Jamie McMenemy of the Battlefield band and two additional musicians.

Soig Siberil later became a member of Gwerz, another legendary Breton band. Since then he has toured and recorded with Pennou Skoulm, Orion, Les Ours du Scorff, Kemia, Den and Alain Pennec.

Solo Discography:

Digor (Gwerz Pladenn, 1993)
Entre Ardoise et Granit, Maen Glas… (Gwerz Pladenn, 1996)
Gwenojenn (Gwerz Pladenn, 1999)
Gitar (Naïve Records, 2001)
Du côté de chez Soïg! (Siam Production, 2003)
Lammat (Coop Breizh, 2006)
Tan Dehi, kan ha gitar, withc Lors Jouin (Coop Breizh, 2009)
Botcanou (Coop Breizh, 2009)
Red, with Nolwenn Korbell (Coop Breizh, 2007)
Noazh (Coop Breizh, 2010)
Dek (Coop Breizh, 2014)
Habask (Coop Breizh, 2017)

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Masterful String Intensity by Kittel & Co.

Kittel & Co. – Whorls (Compass Records, 2018)

Whorls is the debut album of a superb string band led by fiddler Jeremy Kittel, who was a member of the renowned Turtle Island Quartet. The ensemble features 5 talented musicians who deliver an exquisite mix of American and Celtic roots music, jazz and classical music.

The majority of the tracks on Whorls are instrumental, showcasing the instrumentalists’ virtuosity, improvisatory skills and melodic creativity. Mesmerizing vocals are featured on two tracks, provided by Kittel and Sarah Jarosz, who adds spellbinding ethereal harmonies.

The lineup on Whorls includes Jeremy Kittel on violin, viola and vocals; Josh Pinkham on mandolin; Quinn Bachand on guitar; Nathaniel Smith on cello and organ; and Simon Chrisman on hammered-dulcimer. Guest: Sarah Jarosz on vocals.

Whorls is a masterfully-crafted with stellar violin, cello, mandolin, guitar and hammered dulcimer performances.

Buy Whorls

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Artist Profiles: Pol Huellou

Pol Huellou

Grandson of a storyteller and son of a traditional singer-songwriter, Pol Huellou grew up immersed in the culture of central Brittany. He learned the music and dances of his people at an early age, beginning with flute lessons and later pipe playing. Pol played at traditional dances and weddings and collected dances and music for nearly ten years. In 1978 he settled in Ireland.

He has recorded over 30 albums, composed music for dance, film and therapy and has given lectures and workshops all over Europe.

Huellou is a skilled player of both transverse and shakuhachi flutes. His music combines traditional Japanese, Celtic and Breton elements.

After studying traditional music for many years, he works a lot today as a composer, writing for theater, contemporary dance and TV. He also collaborates with Breton harpist Anne Auffret.

Since 1989 he is living again in Brittany, in the Tregor area.

Selected Discography:

Harp & Bamboo, with Myrdhin (1991)
Escale Dédale (2005)
Anne Auffret and Pol Huellou (2010)
There Are No Checkpoints In Paradise (2012)
Let’s Blues It (2012)
The Lost Agenda (Goasco, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Kornog

Kornog

In 1981, a group of four young musicians joined in Brittany to form the group Kornog. lt featured Breton guitarist Soig Siberil and fiddler Christian Lemattre, along with the brilliant Scottish singer and bouzouki-player Jamie McMenemy, formerly of the Battlefield Band. Flautist Jean-Michel Veillon joined the band the following year. As one of the first Breton bands to tour and record in America, their success was unprecedented. During the 1980s, they recorded four acclaimed albums and toured throughout Europe and North America.

Giving a modern but still acoustic flair to age-old Breton dance tunes, Kornog created a revolutionary sound at once graceful and thrilling, ancient and contemporary. Their complex, textured arrangements made for an exciting new music, and their influence still resonates throughout the Celtic world and beyond. Nevertheless, their individual talents resulted in many invitations to collaborate with other Celtic musicians, and in 1987, they disbanded to pursue their solo projects.

Nearly two decades after their beginning, Kornog re-formed for a powerful new album Korong, named for the river running outside their studio in Brittany, as well as an extensive tour of the United States in the fall. With guitarist Nicolas Quemener, known from the Irish group Arcady, stepping in for Siberil (who had prior commitments) the band started a new phase in their career. Their signature sound continued to push the boundaries of Breton’s traditional music into new territory, confirming that they were still at the cutting edge of the region’s thriving music scene.

Discography:

Kornog 1 (Ar Folk, 1981) 33T
Première Live in Minneapolis (Green Linnet, 1983)
Ar Seizh Avel – On Seven Winds (Green Linnet, 1984)
Kornog IV Kanaouennou an Aod (Adipho, 1986)
Korong (Green Linnet, 2000)

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Artist Profiles: Gwerz

Gwerz

Gwerz was a supergroup that featured some of the finest innovative musicians in the contemporary Breton folk scene. Patrick and Jacky Molard, Erik Marchand, Youenn le Bihan and Soig Siberil founded it in the mid 1980s. Although most of Gwerz’s members have developed solo careers or joined other well-known bands, the group still performs together occasionally.

The Gwerz sound combines Breton traditional music, vocals and instruments with modern elements and Irish music influences, including the use of Irish pipes (uilleann pipes).

Musicians: Youenn Le Bihan (bombarde and bass bombarde), Jacky Molard (fiddle), Eric Marchand (vocals, clarinet), Patrick Molard (uilleann pipes), Soïg Sibéril (guitar), Alain Genty (bass), and Bruno Caillat (percussion)

Discography:

Musique bretonne de toujours (Gwerz, 1986)
Au delà (Escalibur, 1988)
Gwerz live (Gwerz Pladen, 1993)

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Artist Profiles: Gwendal

Gwendal

Since 1972, the year in which Gwendal was formed, its musical style has evolved, taking an increasingly sophisticated and original path. Gwendal has developed a large number of followers, both in their native country, France, and abroad. The group was formed by multi-instrumentalists Youen Le Berre (flute, bagpipe and vocals) and Robert Le Gall ( fiddle, electric guitar and vocals).

Very early, Gwendal took a new direction that made it stand out in the Celtic music field. The band used new arrangements and incorporated rock, jazz, folk and classical music.

Discography:

Gwendal, later called Irish Jig (Pathé, 1974)
Gwendal, second album later called Joe Can’t Reel (Pathé, 1975)
Rainy Day – À vos désirs (Pathé, 1976)
4 – Les Mouettes se battent (Pathé, 1979)
En concert (Pathé, 1981)
Gwendal, also known as Locomo (Pathé, 1983)
Danse la musique (Pathé, 1985)
Glen River (Tempo Maker Productions, 1989)
Pan Ha Diskan (Tempo Maker Productions, 1995)
War-Raog (Sterne, 2005)
Live in Getxo (Actos Management, 2016)

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