Tag Archives: Celtic music

Artist Profiles: Gaelic Storm

Gaelic Storm

Gaelic Storm gained international success thanks to its 1997 appearance as the “steerage band” in Titanic. The band landed the part while they were still drinking pints and playing weekly at O’Brien’s, the pub in their adopted home of Santa Mónica, California. After years of playing together, co-founders Murphy (vocals, piano, accordion, spoons, harmonica) and New Yorker Steve Wehmeyer (bodhran, vocals, didjeridu) settled on a permanent line-up on St. Patrick’s Day 1996, including Englishmen Shep Lonsdale (drums and percussion) and Steve Twigger (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals). Gaelic Storm’s recent addition, Kathleen Keane, a Chicago native born to Irish parents, has been playing since she was five and step dancing since she was seven years old. She plays tin whistle, fiddle, flute and button accordion and singing harmony vocals.

Since then, they’ve splayed at the largest and most prestigious Irish festivals in the United States and played for thousands in concert halls, performing arts centers and universities worldwide.

Though huge crowds initially shocked the band, Gaelic Storm is as accessible as ever, signing autographs after every show and visiting personally with their fans. “At the performing arts centers, we invite the audience out for a beer at the local bar across the street or the best Irish pub,” Murphy says. “It’s another way to meet and greet and get to know them better.”

The reason for their popularity is the band’s combination of Folk, Pop and World music influenced interpretations of Irish classics alongside poignant, well-crafted originals.

It was Gaelic Storm’s first effort with producer Jim Cregan (Rod Stewart). “At our first meeting at O’Brien’s, we were most impressed with his Guinness drinking abilities,” Wehmeyer joked. “Once we ascertained he could drink with the band, we said, ‘You’ve got the job. Now what kind of producer are you? “’

“Then we were playing in Ireland when he was in England. He made a great effort to get to Ireland and see us there. Once he saw us, he got us immediately. In terms of our stage show and performances, he knew our strong points,” Wehmeyer said.

As producer, Cregan guided the band to new levels of excellence in songwriting and musical performance. “We gave him a sense of where we wanted to go in a way we’d already built, both live and recording,” Wehmeyer said. “What’s exciting is that Celtic music has never been a limiting genre. It’s always been adaptive and creative. “[Cregan] played to our strengths and knew untapped potential we were able to bring out.”

Discography:

Gaelic Storm (Higher Octave Music, 1998)
Herding Cats (Higher Octave Music, 1999)
Tree (Higher Octave Music, 2001)
Special Reserve (Higher Octave Music, 2003)
How Are We Getting Home? (Lost Again Records, 2004)
Bring Yer Wellies (Lost Again Records, 2006)
What’s The Rumpus? (Lost Again Records, 2008)
Cabbage (Lost Again Records, 2010)
Chicken Boxer (Lost Again Records, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Fraser Shaw

Fraser Shaw learned the bagpipes from the renowned piper Fred Morrison of South Uist, and latterly from the Tiree piper Kenny MacDonald. At the age of 16, Fraser moved to Skye to study at Sabhal Mor Ostaig and became immersed in the trad music scene. He co-founded four-piece band Cluanas with whom he has toured extensively. He has recorded with Farquar McDonald and Aidan MacEoins and appeared on Radio Scotland’s Pipeline.

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Artist Profiles: Fraser Fifield

Fraser Fifield

Fraser Fifield is a composer and producer, piper, low whistle player, and saxophonist with a background in traditional Scottish folk music.

Fraser lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not performing with his own trio or with Salsa Celtica, he is usually in his studio at home working on television or library music.

His first solo recording, Honest Water, was released on his own label, Tanar Records.

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Artist Profiles: Filska

Filska

Filska is a band from the Shetland Islands, who built their music on the Islands tradition of fiddle playing. The word Filska comes from the Shetland dialect, and means mischievous and high-spirited. The line up includes sisters Jenna (Fiddle/Accordion/Vocals) and Bethany Reid (Fiddle/Piano/Vocals), Gemma Wilson (Fiddle/Vocals) and Andrew Tulloch (Guitar/Vocals).

As girls, they grew up together playing traditional Shetland music through the encouragement of Jenna and Bethany’s mother, Joyce Reid. Throughout their upbringing, the late, great fiddlers Tom Anderson and Willie Hunter taught the girls. They also had tuition from Eunice Henderson, Margaret Scollay and Trevor Hunter. Under this fine direction, they each went on to become prominent prize-winners of Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year competition.

In 1995, the band recorded their debut album, titled Harvest Home. The album included traditional material from Shetland, Scotland and Ireland, and confirmed their musical talents from an early age. Following the success of this recording, Filska began to perform increasingly on the Mainland of Scotland at various concerts and festivals. Subsequently, Filska were invited to perform on the Grampian TV traditional music program Ceol na Fidhle, recorded live at Coo Cathedral, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire.

The band returned to the studio in 1998 to record their second album Time and Tide. Shetland singer, guitarist and recording engineer Andrew Tulloch, recorded the album and played guitar on the recording. Before long, Tulloch was a member of the band. Time and Tide introduced the band to a much wider audience, and their line up of three fiddles, guitar, accordion, piano and vocals delighted audiences throughout Ireland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and the States. Filska’s trip to the USA came as an invitation to perform at the millennium celebrations held in the Epcot Centre, Florida. On their return to the U.K., Filska performed as finalists in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in London.

Since the release of their second album, Filska has integrated an increasing amount of original tunes and songs to their set, as well as performing their own native music. This approach to traditional, Shetland and contemporary tunes is what gives Filska their highly unique and innovative sound.

Discography:

Harvest Home (1995)

Time and Tide (1998)

A Thousand Miles Away (Foot Stomping CDFSR1723, 2003)

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Artist Profiles: Fiddlers’ Bid

Fiddlers’ Bid

Fiddlers’ Bid is internationally respected as a leading exponent of their unique musical heritage and rich fiddle tradition. Global ambassadors for Shetland, this dynamic four-fiddle front line joins with a powerhouse of piano, bass, guitar and Scottish harp to create a ‘display of stunning virtuosity’.

Since their formation in 1991, the “flying fiddles and furious talent” of Fiddlers’ Bid have astounded audiences all over the world with their expressive, high energy music and performance.

Fiddlers’ Bid have performed at some of the largest folk festivals in the world including the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in USA and have had two hugely successful tours of Australia and Tasmania, performing at the Melbourne Concert Hall and Sydney Opera House. One tour earned the band a nomination for Best Contemporary Music Presentation at a national music award ceremony in Australia.

Their album Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer was the Greentrax best-selling album of 2002 and Naked and Bare received acclaimed reviews.

Discography:

Around the World (Fiddlers’ Bid, 1994)

Hamnataing (Greentrax Recordings, 1998)

Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer (Greentrax Recordings, 2001)

Naked and Bare (Greentrax Recordings, 2005)

All Dressed in Yellow (2009)

website: http://www.fiddlersbid.com

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Artist Profiles: Ffynnon

Ffynnon (pronounced: fun-on), a Celtic folk group from Wales, perform songs deeply rooted in the rhythms, traditions and landscapes of the Celtic tradition. Their album Celtic Music from Wales (Green Linnet), is ancient and contemporary, traditional and modern. The sixteen tracks include a Scottish border ballad, traditional dialect songs, 6th century nursery rhymes and Cumbrian sheep counting, jigs, a Breton song for dancing and 17th century poetry put to music.

Vocalist Lynne Denman has an ethereal voice provides an idyllic soundtrack for the new Wales. Stacey Blythe displays a unique cross-cultural diversity on a wide variety of instruments including accordion, cello, harpsichord, recorders, piano and voice. Dave Reid played six-string bass guitar, and was an active figure in the London jazz scene.

In January of 2003 Ffynnon announced that David Reid, the bass player in the group, died from a heart attack in New York City. The band was in New York to perform at a showcase at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. With the release of their CD on Green Linnet (the first Welsh CD on this leading American Celtic music record label), they were on the verge of doing some really great things and this was a big blow to Lynne and Stacey.

The group released an album titled Adar Gwylltion in 2006 and Llongau in 2015.

Lynne Denman – lead vocals and bodhran

Stacey Blythe – keyboards, accordion and vocals

Discography:

Celtic Music from Wales (2002)
Debatable Lands
Adar Gwylltion (2006)
Llongau (Taith Records TRCD00018, 2015)

website: http://ffynnon.org

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Artist Profiles: Eric Rigler

Eric Rigler

Eric Rigler is a well known piper who has performed for numerous Hollywood films and pop stars. He has been described as the most recorded piper of all time. Rigler is constantly in demand in studios, providing the sonorities of the uilleann pipes, the Great Highland bagpipe and the low whistle to film, television and recording audiences around the world.

Rigler is the son of a Scottish father and an Irish mother” although he was adopted by a California family. At age seven Rigler began to play the Highland bagpipe. In his early teens he won the California state amateur championship. He later moved to Scotland in 1984 to broaden his knowledge and lived there until 1986. He won the reputable Dunvegan Gold Medal on the Isle of Skye and the first Young Piper of the Year award from The Famous Grouse Whisky. While in Scotland Rigler studied the Irish uilleann pipes.

Eric Rigler is one of the founders of Bad Haggis. It is a band that plays a fusion of the most cutting-edge Celtic with influences of Alternative Rock African World Beat vocal and groove-based stylings.

Eric Riglers sounds can be hard on familiar movies such as Troy, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Road to Perdition, Titanic, Braveheart, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. He has also recorded for CDs by Josh Groban, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Ruben Blades, Barbra Streisand, and Tracy Chapman.

Discography:

Celtic Spirit (1998)

Celtic Carols (1999)

A Highland Christmas (Brentwood 2001)

Celtic Aire Christmas (2010)

An Irish Christmas (2011)

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Artist Profiles: Emma Christian

Emma Christian was born on the Isle of Man in 1972, and raised on the family farm. At thirteen, she left the island to study the recorder at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. In 1990, Emma began studying Celtic history at Newnham College, Cambridge. These studies have led to a doctorate on the history of the medieval church in the Isle of Man and the Western Isles of Scotland.

Emma has performed traditional music from the Isle of Man widely on the island itself and at Celtic congresses in Brittany, Dublin and north Wales. She has also performed widely throughout the British Isles. Emma launched her solo professional career at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994, with a series of ten recitals in the city’s cathedrals and churches, and in Edinburgh Castle

Discography:

Beneath the Twilight – Ta’n Dooid Cheet in Manx (Manx Celtic Productions, 1994)

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Artist Profiles: Eileen Ivers

Eileen Ivers – Photo by Patrick McBride

Eileen Ivers – The musical star of Riverdance and currently a sensation in Europe, Eileen Ivers is the most successful American-born competitor in the history of the all-Ireland championships. Along with her thirty medals, Eileen Ivers won seven All-Ireland fiddle titles and an eighth on the tenor banjo. The native New Yorker displays a breathtaking technical range and refreshing choice of repertoire.

Born in the Irish community of the Bronx, New York, Eileen Ivers began playing fiddle at the age of eight and eventually studied with famed Limerick-born fiddler Martin Mulvihill.

As an Irish-American raised in an ethnically diverse Bronx neighborhood, Eileen was forever intrigued by the multicultural sounds of her childhood environs. After graduating magna cum laude in Mathematics from lona College, Eileen passionately immersed herself in the myriad of musical genres that had once filled her young ears. Perhaps it was the mathematical mind coupled with her passion for seeking parallels in certain traditional music styles that contributed to what has become Eileen’s signature sound: A beautiful and enthralling melange clearly grounded in traditional Irish music that embraces the rhythms of African. Latin and American roots music in a natural way.

Eileen Ivers in 2006

Eileen was a founding member of the all-woman Celtic folk group Cherish the Ladies and has been a member of such notable bands as, Hall and Oates, The Green Fields of America, and Chanting House before joining the World Wide hit show Riverdance.

On her album Crossing the Bridge, Ivers collaborated with a broad array of celebrated world-music performers, including John Doyle and Seamus Egan of Solás, Bakithi Kumalo (heard on Paul Simon’s Graceland album), Joanie Madden of Cherish The Ladies, and jazz artists Eddie Gomez and Randy Brecker.

In 1999 Eileen established a touring production company in New York City to present the music which now encompasses Eileen Ivers and her band, Immigrant Soul. This mix of African and Latin percussion and bass, Irish instrumentalists, and American soulful vocals is privileged to appear at major performing arts centers, guest with numerous symphonies is true to the heart of Irish music while embracing the multiculturalism of American life.

Discography:

Eileen Ivers (Green Linnet 1139, 1994)

Wild Blue (Green Linnet 1166, 1996)

So Far – The Eileen Ivers Collection 1979-1995 (Green Linnet 1185, 1997)

Titanic (Sony Classical SK 6691)

Crossing the Bridge (Sony Classical SK 6746, 1999)

Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul ( Koch CD-8494, 2003)

An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas (2007)

www.eileenivers.com

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Remarkable Solo Celtic Guitar

Soïg Sibéril – Habask (Coop Breizh, 2017)

Virtuoso guitarist Soïg Sibéril has become of the finest performers in the Celtic guitar field. He’s been involved in countless musical projects with leading Breton and Celtic music artists.

Although he’s recorded solo albums before, Habask is truly a solo album, with no guests. It’s just Soïg and his guitar, playing acoustic music inspired by the traditional music of various Celtic cultures.

Habask features mesmerizing originals by Soïg Sibéril along with adaptations of traditional songs from Brittany and other parts of the Celtic music world.

Habask delivers exceptionally expressive acoustic guitar performances rooted in Celtic music.

Buy the digital download version of Habask. Or buy the CD from www.coop-breizh.fr

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