Tag Archives: Celtic music

Artist Profiles: Cherish the Ladies

Cherish the Ladies in 2008

Cherish the Ladies is an Irish traditional music sensation, one of the most successful and sought-after Irish-American groups in Celtic music history. The group was named after a well-known Irish traditional jig.

Organized in in 1985 by folklorist and musician Mick Moloney and sponsored by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, they began as a concert series featuring the brightest lights in Irish traditional music. Though initially the group won recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band, they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have won many thousands of listeners and fans of their music.

With their remarkable mix of skilled instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and dazzling step dancing, Cherish the Ladies combines all the facets of Irish traditional culture and puts it forth in a humorous and entertaining package. The group has traveled throughout North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe performing in the finest concert halls and international festivals. They have been named Entertainment Group of the Year by the Irish Voice Newspaper and received the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s International Group of the Year Award at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland.

The original musicians were Joanie Madden (flute, whistles), Mary Coogan (guitar), Maureen Doherty Macken (button accordion, whistle), Winifred Horan (fiddle, dancing feet), Siobhan Egan (bodhran), Eileen Golden (dancing feet).

Discography:

Cherish the Ladies: Irish Women Musicians in America (Shanachie, 1985)

Fathers And Daughters from Cherish the Ladies: Irish Traditional Music in America (1985)

The Back Door (Green Linnet, 1992)

Out and About (Green Linnet, 1993)

New Day Dawning (Green Linnet, 1996)

Live! (1997)

One and All: The Best of Cherish the Ladies (Green Linnet, 1998)

Threads of Time (1998)

At Home (1999)

The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone (2001)

Across the Waves (2004)

On Christmas Night (Rounder, 2004)

Woman of the House (Rounder, 2005)

A Star In The East (2009)

Country Crossroads (2011)

An Irish Homecoming, Live from Bucknell (2013)

Christmas in Ireland (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell is known and respected all over the world for his masterful flute playing and singing, solo as well as with his band, Boys of the Lough and for the enormous number of tunes and songs he has stored in his head over a lifetime in music. A co-founder of the band and a member for nearly thirty years, Cathal and the Boys Of The Lough have performed in major concert halls throughout the world and have recorded nearly twenty albums.

Born in Co. Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland, he won All-Ireland Championships in both flute and tin whistle at the age of 18. Five years later he started touring with the first incarnation of the Boys of the Lough and has been with them ever since as instrumentalist and lead singer. He has become well known over the years as a true virtuoso of the flute and pennywhistle.

Discography

The Boys of the Lough (Trailer Records, 1973)
Second Album (Trailer Records, 1973)
Live at Passim’s (Philo Records, 1974)
Lochaber No More (Philo Records, 1976)
The Piper’s Broken Finger (Transatlantic Records, 1976)
An Irish Jubilee ‎(Topic Records, 1976)
Good Friends … Good Music (Transatlantic Records, 1977)
On Lough Erne’s Shore (Topic Records, 1978)
Wish You Were Here (Transatlantic Records, 1978)
Regrouped (Flying Fish, 198)
In the Tradition (Topic Records, 1981)
Open Road (Topic Records, 1983)
To Welcome Paddy Home (Philo Records, 1985)
Far From Home – Live (Shanachie Records, 1986)
Farewell and Remember Me (Shanachie Records, 1987)
Sweet Rural Shade (Shanachie Records, 1988)
Live at Carnegie Hall (1992)
The Fair Hills of Ireland (Lough Records, 1992)
The Day Dawn (Lough Records, 1994)
Midwinter Night’s Dream (Blix Street Records, 1996)
The West of Ireland (Lough Records, 1999)
Long Expectant Comes at Last (2000)
Lonesome Blues and Dancing Shoes (Lough Records, 2002)
Twenty (Lough Records, 2005)
Rising Fawn Gathering, with Norman Blake (Western Jubilee Recording Company/Plectrafone Records, 2009)
Good Friends – Good Music (Rounder, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Cady Finlayson

Cady Finlayson

Cady Finlayson specializes in spirited Irish fiddle music with American Folk and World Music Influences.

From her first show in a small Irish pub in the U.S. Virgin Islands to her Carnegie Hall appearance for the New York Police Department (NYPD) Memorial Concert, Cady Finlayson has brought her spirited Irish fiddling to numerous venues throughout the United States.

Cady Finlayson received her Master of Music degree from Mannes College of Music and the President’s Award for Irish fiddle study at Blas World Music Centre in Limerick, Ireland.

Her Shines Like Silver was listed as one of the top 2 CDs of 2002 by WVPE. Recording credits include the soundtrack to Irish film Snakes and Ladders, baseball film Random Acts, the Peace on Earth Holiday Folk Tour with Judy Collins, and CDs for artists including Pierce Turner, Piper John Bradley and Holly Palmer.

Her all-star Irish band includes singer Honor Finnegan, guitar master Kyle Sanna and a driving rhythm section led by Tim Alworth. Her CD, Harp and Shamrock, celebrates her love of both traditional Irish music and American folk/world music percussion.

Discography:

Shines Like Silver (2002)
Harp and Shamrock (Violincaddy Music, 2004)
Irish Coffee (2007)
Electric Green, with Vita Tanga (2010)

www.cadyfinlayson.com

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Artist Profiles: Carreg Lafar

Carreg Lafar in 2016

Carreg Lafar was formed in 1993, in Cardiff, by musicians coming from different parts of Wales: Wrexham in the North, Llanelli and Swansea on the South Coast and the valleys of South East Wales. Their backgrounds were diverse, but they all share a love and enthusiasm for the music and culture of Wales. The original lineup featured Rhian Evan-Jones on fiddle, Antwn Owen-Hicks on bodhrán and vocals, James Rourke on flute, Linda Owen Jones on vocals, and Simon O’Shea on guitar. Danny KilBride has been playing guitar with the band since 2007.

The band spent a lot of time researching and arranging traditional material, culminating in their debut album Ysbrydy Werin released in November, 1995 on Sain Records.

Carreg Lafar’s live performances are passionate and lively. The band has performed at Celtic and world Music festivals in Wales and Brittany. Through a mixture of traditional and traditionally inspired original music, the group conveys a fresh and vibrant spirit whilst remaining firmly rooted in the language and musical heritage of its homeland.

Discography:

Ysbrid y Werin (Sain Records, 1995)

Hyn (Sain Records, 1998)

Profiad (Sain Records, 2002)

Aur (Sain Records, 2016)

website: www.carreglafar.co.uk

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Artist Profiles: Burach

Burach

Burach is one of the most innovative and popular bands to come out of the new wave of Scottish musical inventiveness combining Celtic music and contemporary rock influences to create a unique sound that is popular with young and old alike.

Formed in the autumn of 1994, Burach won the 1994/95 Scottish Folk Group Competition. Since the release of their first album, The Weird Set, Burach have been making a name for themselves with tours to Scandinavia, Brittany, France, Holland and Italy, they have played as far as Turkmenistan in Central Asia and shared the stage with a number of prestigious performers including Big Country, Alison Moyet, Nils Lofgren and Goat’s Don’t Shave and have appeared on MTV, the BBC, and Russian television.

Burach is a Gaelic word colloquially meaning a mess, or more formally, “a delving in the earth.” The band’s second CD Born Tired, was released in 1997. Tracks from both albums have been licensed to several compilations albums, such as The Electric Muse II, EMI’s Folk ‘n Hell, and the Scottish Arts Council’s recent release, Seriously Scottish.

Band members include: Doug Anderson on guitar, mandolin and vocals; Eoghain Anderson on drums and percussion; Gregor Borland on fiddle and background vocals; Sandy Brechin on accordion and background vocals; Alison Cherry on lead vocals and whistle; Roy Waterson on bas and background vocals.
mp;Backup Vocals

Discography:

The Weird Set (Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX93, 1995)

Born Tired (Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX136, 1997)

Deeper (Greentrax Recordings, 2000)

Unstoppable (Brechin All Records, 2006)

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Artist Profiles: Bodega

Bodega

Bodega were Gillian Chalmers (Fraserburgh – pipes, whistle and fiddle); Ross Couper (Shetland – fiddle); Tia Files (Oban – guitar, bass guitar and percussion); Norrie Maclver (Isle of Lewis – lead vocals, accordion and guitar) and June Naylor (Isle of Skye – clarsach). The band formed in March 2005 and met while they were attending The National Centre of Excellence for Traditional Music, Plockton, Ross-shire. Late in 25 they won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and early in 2006 the Band signed to Greenstrax Recordings. Their debut album is titled simply Bodega.

Jack Evans, who produced the album, wrote – “Bodega is highly talented and versatile and together their music has a kind of fierce energy, imagination and joie de vivre, that you just don’t hear very often. They do songs brilliantly. They do tunes superbly. They sing in Gaelic and English.

They’re funky, yet respectful of traditions. They have clever arrangements. They improvise. Individually they’re among the very best young musicians we have today. Collectively, they may just be the future of traditional music. Get into Bodega now, because where they lead others will follow.”

Bodega disbanded at the end of 2011.

Discography:

Bodega (Greentrax CDTRAX 295, 2006)

Under the Counter (Greentrax, 2008)

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Artist Profiles: Vamp

Vamp in 2016 – Photo by Edgar G. Bachel

Vamp was formed in 1990 by Øyvind Staveland, Calle Øyvind Apeland, Paul Hansen, Bjørn Berge, Odin Staveland and Tore Jamne. It is one of Norway’s best-known and most popular groups in the field modern folk song. The group’s unique blend music has resulted in three Spellemannpris awards so far. Vamp preserves the best of Norwegian modern folk song tradition, and its Celtic music-influenced sound evokes the band members’ close connections to countries bordering the North Sea.

Vamp’s songs are built around the concepts of longing and belonging, and the lyrics are the group’s main focus. Poet Kolbein Falkeid, who has collaborated with Vamp for many years, deserves a special mention. Vamp tours in Norway and Denmark, and the group draws full houses everywhere it plays.

Discography

* God morgen, søster (Majorselskapet MSCD 1114, 1993)
* Horisonter (Majorselskapet MSCD 1121, 1994)
* 13 Humler (Majorselskapet MSCD 1131, 1996)
* Folken (MajorStudio MSCD 1135, 1996)
* Flua på veggen (Majorstudio MSCD 1138, 1998)
* Ei med alt (Majorstudio MSCD 1146, 1999)
* En annen sol (2000)
* Camomile (Emi Fujita, 2001)
* Månemannen (2002)
* Siste stikk (2005)
* Tir n’a noir 1992 (2006)
* I full symfoni (2006)
* Velkommen inn (2008)
* På Bredden (2008)
* St. Mandag (2008)
* Liten fuggel (2012)
* To me alt (2013)
* Populas (2015)

web site http://www.vamp.no

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Artist Profiles: Téada

Téada

Founded by Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, Téada was formed in 2001 to make an appearance on the innovative Irish television series ‘Flosc’. Téada (meaning ‘strings’ in the Irish language) emerged as one of the most exciting and traditional young Irish bands of recent years. Since 2001, Téada has evolved to frequent headline performances at major music festivals throughout the United States of America, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

The original line-up included Oisin Mac Diarmada (fiddle), John Blake (guitar, flute, piano), Seán McElwain (guitar/bouzouki), Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán) . With engaging textural arrangements, Téada, meaning “strings” in the Irish language revels in the vibrant traditional music of Ireland. Deftly playing up its structural intricacies while preserving the contagious energy inherent in the repertoire, the group strives to capture a sense of the rawness and individuality of the solo artist, within a modern group context.

The band released its debut album in Dublin and it reached the No. 1 position at Celtic Note, Dublin’s largest Irish Music store. A notable highlight was a headlining appearance to a 30,000-audience in Brittany during 2006, a year which also saw the band launch a hugely successful CD/DVD Inné Amárach, released by released by Gael Linn and Compass Records.

Téada won Irish Music Magazines Best New Traditional Irish Band of the Year Award for 2003.

2008 proved to be an extremely eventful year for the group, with a performance at Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada and a headlining appearance at the Penang World Music Festival in Malaysia. The group also received an invitation from the Irish Embassy in Rome to perform at a commemorative event marking the 400th anniversary of the landmark event in Irish history known as “The Flight of the Earls”.

Band Members in 2010: Oisin Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Paul Finn (button accordion), Damien Stenson (flute), Seán McElwain (guitar/bouzouki), Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán)

Discography

* Teada (Ceol Records CEOCD 002, 2003)
* Give us a penny and let us be gone (Green Linnet 1228, 2004)
* Inne Amarach (Yesterday Tomorrow) (Gael Linn/Compass Records, 2006)
* Ceol & Cuimhne – Music & Memory (Compass Records, 2010)
* Ainneoin Na Stoirme – In Spite Of The Storm (2013)

Web: teada.com

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Music for St. Patrick’s Day 2017

There’s always a bit of a letdown when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around. Instead of celebrating a culture filled with the Celts’ vibrant art and mythology, grand writers and even grander musicians, I get goofy leprechaun graphics, cheap, green beer specials and dreadful Irish brogues hawking everything from Celtic-inspired party favors to get lucky sweepstakes.

The general theme, whether it is a car dealership sale or your local St. Patrick’s Day parade, seems to dictate everything be painted bright green, decorated with dippy looking leprechauns and the occasional fake pot of gold. Now, I’m okay with taking on faeries, because little people with wings flying around are just wrong. Get a fly swatter or a can of Raid because I’m pretty sure faeries are carriers or rabies or Lyme disease. Unfortunately, much of the music doesn’t get much better with cheap knockoffs of pub bands or the not quite Enya singers. The good news is that I can do a little something about music with a few suggestions for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Tara Music has re-released Fuaim by Clannad. Hailing from County Donegal in North West Ireland, this is the real deal in Celtic music. This reissue allows listeners to revisit Clannad’s early years and wallow in the goodness of “Na Buachailli Alainn,” “La Brea Fan Dtuath,” “Strayed Away” and “The Green Fields Of Gaothdobhair.”

 

Clannad – Fuaim

 

Speaking of re-releases, Real World Records has pulled some goodies off the shelves for reissue like Peter Gabriel’s Big Blue Ball. Guess as the founder or Real World, Mr. Gabriel has got a fair amount of pull. While more of a world music fusion project than a strict Celtic recording, Big Blue Ball slips in some offerings like “Deep Forest,” “Rivers” and “Altus Silva” that are well worth snagging.

 

Big Blue Ball

 

Pulling some other gems from the shelves Real World has reissued Anatomic, Seed, Volume 1: Sound System, Volume 2: Release, Volume 3: Further in Time, Capture 1995-2010 and Pod all from the Afro Celt Sound System catalog. Again, there’s a good deal of musical cross pollination with other genres, but don’t overlook tracks like “When I Still Needed You,” “Beautiful Rain,” “Mother,” “Drake,” “Seed,” “Nevermore,” “The Other Side,” “Colossus” and “Go on Through.” The Afro Celt Sound System sound remains timeless.

 

Afro Celt Sound System – Volume 1: Sound System

 

Afro Celt Sound System – Volume 2: Release

 

Afro Celt Sound System – Volume 3: Further in Time

 

Afro Celt Sound System – Seed

 

Afro Celt Sound System – Pod (remix album)

 

Afro Celt Sound System – Volume 5: Anatomic

 

Afro Celt Sound System – Capture 1995-2010

 

This Day Too: Music From Irish America by Terence, Michael and Jesse Winch has a friendly Irish bar feel. Out of the Washington, DC area, the Winch brothers get some help by way of fellow musicians and singers Patrick Armstrong, Tina Eck, Eileen Estes, Brian Gaffney, Conor Hearn, Seamus Kennedy, Nita Conley Korn, Zan McLeod, Brendan Mulvihill, Connor Murray, Dominick Murray and Madeline Waters. And just by the names, that’s a whole lot of Irish. This Day Too: Music from Irish America offers up tracks like “The Wonder Hornpipe/Austin Tierney’s/The Thunder Reel,” “Lally’s Alley/Cat’s Tail & Gravy,” “Earl’s Chair/The Green Groves of Erin/Sailor on the Rock” and “In Memory of Michael Coleman/Hughie’s Cap/Forget Me Not.”

 

Terence, Michael and Jesse Winch – This Day Too: Music From Irish America

 

Arc Music has put out Celtic Mystery with tracks by artists like Ron Korb, Altan, Noel McLoughlin and Golden Bough.

 

Various Artists – Celtic Mystery

 

Real World Records has another reissue on tap this year with Martyn Bennett’s Grit. This was a stunning release and time hasn’t diminished it in any way. Fierce and explosive, Grit is razor-edged fusion that astonishes as much as it entertains. You should check out tracks like “Blackbird,” “Chanter,” “Why” and “Ale House.”

 

Martyn Bennett – Grit

 

Looking for something on the sweetly folksy side, you might want to check out Midnite String Quartet’s Celtic Heartstrings out on the Roma Music Group label. There are some sweet string versions of “The Blood of Cu Chulainn,” “The Irish Rover” and “Carrickfergus.”

 


Midnite String Quartet – Celtic Heartstrings

 

This year seems to be the year of the reissue and as luck would have it Robin Williamson’s Glint At The Kindling/Five Bardic Mysteries/Robin Williamson reissue is out this year. Tracks off the Glint at the Kindling featuring Mr. Williamson, as well as Sylvia Woods, Chris Caswell and Jerry McMillan or better known as the Merry Band and tracks from his 1985 spoken word release Five Bardic Mysteries sports such tracks as “The Road the Gypsies Go,” “The Woodcutter’s Song,” “Lough Foyle,” “The Dialogue of the Two Sages” and “Three Celtic Nature Poems.”

 

Robin Williamson – Glint At The Kindling/Five Bardic Mysteries/Robin Williamson

 

Golden Bough wraps up their sound in the goodness of Celtic harp, violin, accordion, mandolin, bouzouki, guitars, tin whistle and bodhran. Their offering Celtic Festival jaunty nod to St. Patrick’s Day.

 

Golden Bough – Celtic Festival

 

If that’s not to your liking you could always check out Noel McLoughlin’s Song for Ireland is out on re-release.

 

Noel McLoughlin – Song for Ireland

 

As if The Dubliners needed any additional introduction, Arc Music has the goods on this Irish standard and has put out a special 2-CD set of The Dubliners with Luke Kelly. This compilation features such tracks as “Song for Ireland,” “The Sun is Burning,” “Free the People,” “Donegal Danny,” “Now I’m Easy,” “Whack Fol de Diddle” and “Irish Rover.”

 

The Dubliners – The Dubliners with Luke Kelly

 

Newfolk Records has put out Beoga’s Before We Change Our Mind and Tallymoore’s Drive for your listening pleasure. Either by single track or full recording, these two bands shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

Beoga – Before We Change Our Mind

 

Tallymoore – Drive

 

Celtic music favorite Kila’s Kila Alive out and is a kick in the pants and will have dancing on the tabletops faster than the green beer special with offering like “Mutatu,” “Electric Landlady,” “Babymouse” and “Raise the Road.” If that weren’t incentive enough Alan Doherty is a guest on the recording.

 

Kila – Kila Alive“>Kila Alive

 

Released in 2016 Deliverance by The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc is a stunning CD. Combining the fiddling traditions of Norway, Sweden and the Shetland Islands, Deliverance is simply spectacular with tracks like “Talons Trip to Thompson Island,” “Flinken” and “Da Scallowa Lasses/Lorna’s Reel” to snare your inner fiddler.

 

Nordic Fiddlers Bloc – Deliverance

 

The clever Celtic band West of Mabou put out West of Mabou in December of 2016, but shouldn’t be overlooked. The group offer up jaunty numbers like “Rannie MacLellan,” “The Foxhunter,” “Slip Jigs” and a plummy “Temperance Reel/Devil’s Dream.”

 

West of Mabou – West of Mabou

 

For you hard rocking Celtic fans The Rumjacks’ latest release Sleepin’ Rough was release last year, but you might want to check your local music scene because the band is on tour in the US in March and April.

 

The Rumjacks – Sleepin’ Rough

 

Finally, there is the double CD/DVD set Affinity by Atlas. Lovely and atmospheric, Affinity is a lushly masterful collection of music by guitarist Cillian Doheny and concertina player Cillian King with fellow musicians Maria Ryan, Lucia Mac Partlin, Sean Warren, Michael Shimmin and Nicky Scott.. Don’t miss this one.

 

Atlas – Affinity

 

Should you find yourself sitting in a bar somewhere wearing a cheesy shamrock hat, surrounded by paper leprechauns and drinking green beer while listening to a Celtic Goth band murder “Whiskey in the Jar,” just remember that the Celtic spirit takes many forms. And, if approached by faeries grab a shoe!

Sláinte mhaith, my friends.

headline photo: Beoga

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Artist profiles: Marc Duff

Marc Duff – Photo courtesy of Iain Thomson Band

Born in Ontario, Canada and raised in Argyll Marc Duff co-founded the Celtic band Capercaillie with whom he has toured extensively and made many successful recordings. His time spent at the Guildhall School of Music has given him an eclectic taste in music and a distinct style of playing which has kept him in demand as a session musician and a teacher.

Since leaving Capercaillie in 1995 to pursue his own career, he has worked with many prominent artists, such as Def Shepherd, Fish, Iain Morrison, Dick Gaughan, Billy Bragg, Iain Thomson, and Wolfstone, playing low D whistle, bodhran, bouzouki and wind synthesizer.

In addition to his work as a musician, Marc is also a researcher and teacher.

Discography

* Cascade (Etive Records ERLP 333, 1984)
* Crosswinds (Green Linnet, 1987)
* Sidewaulk (Green Linnet, 1989)
* Delirium (BMG UK in Europe, Green Linnet in USA, 1991)
* Get Out (BMG UK in Europe, Green Linnet in USA, 1992)
* Secret People (Survival Records/BMG SURCD 017/Green Linnet in USA, 1993)
* Capercaillie (Survival Records SURCD 018, 1994)

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