Tag Archives: Celtic music

Artist Profiles: Hevia


Hevia – photo by Tim Kavanagh

Jose Angel Hevia Velasco was born in Villaviciosa, Asturias in 1967.

He first came into contact with the bagpipes when he was four years old during a procession in Amandi when he was with his grandfather. It was there that the image of a man and his bagpipes had an impact on the very young Jose Angel. The unity between the pipe player, his music and the instrument seemed magical to him.

Hevia then began bagpipe classes. Three times a week, after school, he took the bus to Gijon. Armando Fernández taught him in the traditional style and then accompanied him back to the bus. He arrived home at 12 o’clock at night and the following day practiced what he had learned in class so he hardly had time for other leisure activities.

In the same year in which he began classes, he underwent a ?baptism of fire? in sporadic performances with folk groups.

His sister, Maria Jose, noticing that a drummer accompanied all bagpipe players, wanted to participate. One of the best drummers that Villaviciosa had, Sabino Cifuentes, agreed to tutor her in all the traditional rhythms, in his own house, with great patience. At the end of class Hevia took his bagpipes and played songs so his sister could try to accompany him. All this often ended up in a huge rumpus when a pacifying “mother’s spanking” usually resolved the problem.

Shortly after, they began performing together throughout Asturias and travelling to different Asturian centres overseas.

In 1985 Jose Angel began to give classes and shortly after formed a bagpipe band with his pupils. Thus, without abandoning the traditional pair, the bagpipes and the drum, a new period in his life had begun. During this time, the bagpipes had suddenly become popular amongst young Asturians and music schools sprung up in a multitude of places. Jos? Angel himself founded new schools in Villaviciosa, Candas, Ribadesella and Mieres, out of which came new bagpipe bands. During this time he also performed in various folk groups and collaborated in a variety of recordings. Meanwhile he was studying Spanish Philology at university but his real vocation continued to be music and the bagpipes.

In that same year he developed the midi-bagpipes. This initiative started by trying to solve the problem that all pipe players have when they are practising at home; that of disturbing the neighbours. To this end, he and Alberto Arias, one of his pupils who was a computer programmer, created a kind of plastic scale with the pulse buttons of a slot machine. This eventually became the midi-bagpipes, which in the end has become emblematic and indispensable in his work. Within this research team also worked the electronic technician Miguel Dopico.

In 1997 Jose Angel began his career as a soloist. He recorded his first album Tierra de Nadie, which was his first great success both on a national and international level. His album, backed by a world tour, was released in more than 40 countries and in many of which reached the first places in the hit parades. More than 2,000,000 albums were sold winning a multitude of gold and silver discs in countries as diverse as Italy, Hungary, New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark and Portugal.

In 2000 he released his second album Al Otro Lado with which he renewed his success visiting with his new tour some of the previous countries and discovering new ones.

The following year he accomplished his dream and inaugurated a musical instrument factory in Guadarrama (Madrid), www.arhpa.com.

On November 12, 2018, José Ángel Hevia Velasco was elected president of the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE).

Discography:

Hevia (Nuba Records, 1991)
Tierra De Nadie (Hispavox, 1998)
Al Otro Lado (Hispavox, 2000)
Étnico Ma Non Troppo (Hispavox, 2003)
Obsessión (EMI, 2007)
Al Son Del Indianu (J. A. Hevia, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Emilio Cao

Emilio Cao

Emilio Cao is one of the central figures of the Galician Folk music scene. He recovered the use of the harp in Spanish folk music and has had a long and successful career as a harpist, composer and singer. Poetry is very important in Emilio Cao’s work. This is clear in his recordings. He collaborates with current Galician poets such as Suso De Toro, Uxio Novoneira and Anxo Ballesteros.

Cao also adapts pieces from classic Galician authors such as Rosalía Castro and Manuel Antonio. Cao’s 1977 album A Lenda da pedra do destiño (The Legend of the Stone of Destiny) is considered a classic of Galician Celtic music. Most of the music is based on Galician sounds and rhythms, although there is also a medieval Welsh piece, where Cao is accompanied by Cromlech.

Discography:

Fonte Do Araño (Novola, 1977)
Lenda Do Pedra Do Destiño (Guimbarda, 1979)
No Manto Da Auga (Guimbarda, 1981)
Amiga Alba E Delgada (Edigal, 1986)
Cartas Mariñas (Lyricon, 1992)
Sinbad En Galicia (Do Fol Edicións, 1996)

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Artist Profiles: Doa

Doa

Doa was formed in Coruña in 1978 by Bernardo Martinez (flute and percussion), Xoan Piñón (guitar, lute and mandolin) and Enrique Ferreira (cello) accompanying Xose Quintas Canella (vocals, zanfona [hurdy gurdy]). Later, additional musicians were added: Miro Casabella (vocals, zither and zanfona), Xaquin Blanco (gaita [bagpipe] and flute) and Carlos Castro (percussion, vibraphone, keyboards)

The group went through various changes in line-up. Some of the musicians who appeared in recordings and live concerts included: Baldo Martinez, Pepe Bordallo, Javier Jurado, Alfonso Moran, Nora McEvoy, Francisco Luengo, Manuel Varela, Luciano Perez, Xavier Cedron, Roberto Grandal, Javier Ferreiro, etc.

Doa is regarded as a reference in Galicia’s eclectic instrumental music scene prior to the 1980s.

The group’s musical style during its first stage was based in combining several musical influences with Medieval and traditional Galician music using free form arrangements and composing techniques. These characteristics marked Doa’s attitude throughout its history. Its philosophy is based in avoiding self-plagiarism and the repetition of musical formulas that guarantee immediate success, as well as avoiding market and record company pressures that exert too much influence in the musical style of a band.

Doa uses contemporary expression modes, improvisation as a work tool and the combination of traditional folk instruments (gaitas [bagpipes], zanfonas [hurdy gurdies], etc) with state-of-the-art technology (MIDIs, electronic instruments, etc).

Doa has carried out numerous tours throughout Galicia and the rest of Spain, as well as the United States and Canada exposing previously unknown songs from the The Way of St. James pilgrimage route [Camino de Santiago], the Cantigas de Santa Maria (Alfonso X El Sabio [Alfonso the 10th, the Learned]) and its own compositions based in Galician roots.

The band describes its philosophy in the manifest that appeared in its first recording O son da estrela escura:

“Finisterre [Land’s End], at the end of The Way of St. James [Camino de Santiago], is the Dark Star, the last star of the Milky Way. For many years, way before Christianity, it was a mysterious magnet that led many varied Indo-European peoples to Galicia. This was the seed for the development of a unique form of music, born out of magical motivations. This work is a small anthology of traditional pieces from various ages and roots. In its creation we started from music sheets found in different songbooks. We did not intend to do it in an orthodox way, but rather guided, in a subjective manner, by the sensibility that is found in this land.”

Doa’s first recording, “O son da estrela escura” was released in 1979 on the Ruada label. It was reissued in 2003 as part of Son de Galicia, released by La Voz de Galicia.

The second album, “Polaridade” came out in 1984 (Sociedad Fonografica Asturiana, Ion Producciones). It featured singer-songwriter Victor Manuel as vocalist and producer. It was reissued by Dos Acordes SL. in 2002 in digital format. An additional 500 pieces were donated to “Nunca Mais”. The Nunca Mais [Never Again] popular movement was formed in Spain in response to the Prestige oil tanker environmental disaster in 2002.

“Perfiles” was released in 1986 by Sociedad Fonografica Asturiana/Ion Producciones, featuring the vocals of yet another famous singer-songwriter, Amancio Prada.

Doa with Rosa Cedron

“Arboretum” came out in 2002 on Xingra producciones. The latest album up to now is “A fronda dos cervos” (2006) which includes Galician folk acts Rosa Cedron and Leilia.

Discography:

O son da estrela escura (Ruada, 1979)
Polaridade (Sociedad Fonografica Asturiana, 1984)
Perfiles (Sociedad Fonografica Asturiana, 1986)
Arboretum (Xingra Producciones, 2002)
A fronda dos cervos (Fol Musica, 2006)

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Artist Profiles: Citania

Citania was started in 1986, researching Galician traditional tunes and recovering ancient musical instruments. The group disbanded in the early 1990s.

Musicians: Xosé Álvarez on lute; Lete Torres on flute, ocarina; Fernando Aguiar on zanfona; Fernando Rey on Galician frame drum and tambourine; Xesús Domínguez on guitar; and Miguel García on flute.

Discography:

Citania (Sonifolk, 1986)
O Asubío Do Padriño (Sonifolk, 1988)

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Artist Profiles: Carlos Núñez

Carlos Núñez – Photo by Daniela Dacorso

Thoruhgout his career playing the gaita (Galician bagpipe) Carlos Núñez , a charismatic piper from Spain’s northwestern coast has collaborated frequently with the Chieftains, Ry Cooder, and Sinead O’Connor. Carlos Núñez tours with a dynamic ensemble that fuses individual and ensemble playing with bouzouki, Spanish guitar, dancing fiddle, and passionate whistles.

Núñez began his international career at the age of 13 as soloist with the Lorient Festival Orchestra. There he won the Macallan Trophy three years in a row for his performance on the gaita, an instrument he took up at the age of eight. Discovered there by The Chieftains, Núñez first collaborated with the Celtic superstars on the soundtrack to Treasure Island in 1989. Since then he has been a guest on several of their albums, including the Grammy award winners The Long Black Veil and Santiago. Núñez himself was the inspiration for Santiago, The Chieftains’ own exploration of Galician music.

Núñez also received classical training on the recorder at the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, but would not be swayed from his first love, the Galician musical tradition.

All of these experiences resulted in the recording of Núñez’s first BMG recording, Brotherhood of Stars (A irmandade das estrellas), co-produced by Núñez, Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, and Ry Cooder. The album was certified platinum in Spain, breaking all previous sales records for this kind of music.

Núñez subsequently embarked upon a tour of all of the major Celtic festivals in Europe, culminating in a performance before an audience of 80,000 at WOMAD in Gran Canaria, Spain. This was followed by a world tour with The Chieftains in 1997. In 1999 Núñez was a featured performer on Paddy Moloney’s album Christmas in Rome, a collection of holiday music from around the world.

Two years in the making, Os Amores Libres (which translates as “Free Loves”), released in 1999, was an even more ambitious record than its predecessor, encompassing music and musicians from the Galician and Andalusian traditions within Spain, as well as the music of gypsies from Romania, Muslims and Sephardic Jews, all cultures who passed through Spain at one time or another, leaving their imprint upon the native music as well as carrying its influences abroad. The album was a serious piece of musical scholarship, illuminating this borrowing and trading of musical styles and revealing the inner connections among seemingly disparate cultures.

Carlos Núñez

Núñez enlisted the services of over 100 musicians to realize his vision, some world famous, others known primarily to knowledgeable insiders and serious devotees. Among the best known of these guests are Jackson Browne, Mike Scott (formerly of the Waterboys), Teresa Salgueiro (Madredeus), Derek Bell and Kevin Connell of The Chieftains, producer/keyboardist Hector Zazou, Afro Celt Sound System mastermind Simon Emmerson, Breton guitarist Dan Ar Braz, Donal Lunny (Bothy Band, Planxty), Flamenco vocalist Carmen Linares, Israeli vocalist Noa, and piper Paddy Keenan. Also appearing were such diverse performers as the Romanian Gypsy band Taraf of Caransebes, the Sufi Andalus Tangiers Choir, and Galician peasant vocalist Divina.

His third CD, Mayo Longo (BMG Music Spain, 2000) took Núñez closer to pop structures, getting airplay in pop radio. Todos os Mundos followed in 2002.

At thirty, he released his first CD with Sony Music, Almas de Fisterra, which was also released in France. It was a tribute to Finisterres (land’s end), which are found both in Galicia and Brittany. For three years Núñez spent many weeks in Brittany, selecting the best musical pieces. He collaborated with some of the most famous Breton musicans, such as Alan Stivell and guitarist Dan Ar Braz.

In 2004 Núñez entered the world of cinema. Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar asked him to compose a song for his movie Mar Adentro. This led to his participation in the movie score. The movie won an Oscar as well as 14 Goya awards (the most prestigious Spanish movie awards).

Cinema Do Mar (2005) explored the world of soundtracks, including music from Mar Adentro and several Japanese productions.

Throughout the years, Carlos Núñez has sold over 1.000.000 CDs worldwide and is regarded as one of the most reputable musicians in the Celtic music scene.

In 2016 Núñez participated in the movie J: Beyond Flamenco by Carlos Saura, the celebrated Spanish filmmaker who introduced the passion of the jota, a popular trasditional waltz-like castanet dance with its origins in Saura’s home province of Aragon.

Discography:

A Irmandade das Estrelas (BMG Ariola, 1996)
Os amores libres (BMG Ariola, 1999)
Mayo Longo (BMG Ariola, 2000)
Todos os mundos (BMG Ariola, 2002)
Almas de Fisterra (Sony Music, 2003)
Cinema do mar (Saint George, 2005)
Alborada do Brasil (Sony Music, 2009)
Discover (Sony Music, 2012)
Inter Celtic (Sony Music, 2014)

DVDs

Carlos Núñez & Amigos en casa (Sony/BMG, 2004)

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Artist Profiles: Berrogüetto

Berrogüetto – Photo by Xoan Piñón

Berrogüetto was a crucial band in the Galician folk music scene. The six members of the band had great careers before starting this project, as they came from other important Galician bands such as Matto Congrio, Fia na Roca, Armeguin, etc. The band was started in the spring of 1995 and its music could be described as Contemporary Galician music. Berrogüetto worked both with the elements of the tradition and with the spirit of experimentation that defines the contemporary Arts.

Berrogüetto also included in its live shows the great voices and the tambourines of the seven women from the traditional all-female group Cantigas e Agarimos. This voice-tambourine sound is one of the most representative and original musical traditions from Galicia.

Berrogüetto celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006 with the release of their fourth album 10.0. The group disbanded in 2006.

Musicians: Anxo Pintos: gaita, zanfona, violin, sax, flute, piano; Santiago Cribeiro: accordion, keyboards; Kim Fariña: violin; Isaac Palacín: drums, percussion; Guillermo Fernández: acoustic and synth guitar; Kiko Comesana: Celtic harp, bouzouki; and
Guadi Galego: gaita, piano, vocals.

Discography:

Navicularia (BOA, 1996)
Viaxe Por Urticaria (Do Fol, 1999)
Hepta (Do FoL, 2001)
Navicularia (La Voz De Galicia, 2002)
10.0 (Berrogüetto Música, 2011)

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Artist Profiles: Atlántica

Atlántica

Atlántica was formed in 1988, months after Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass met in France, at the Saint Chartier International Traditional Music Festival. After that, they worked in the field of traditional music, first as a duo and later as a quartet with percussionist Miguel Cobo and accordionist and keyboard player Ramón Bueno.

The band’s versatility was one of their principal assets. The sheer variety and quantity of the instruments Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass played in their concerts was remarkable, because both musicians share a multi-instrumental approach and a knowledge of the music of Celtic roots from many countries.

Their first album, called simply Atlántica, appeared in 1996. While working together as a duo, Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass also found time to be members of Luétiga, a group devoted to research, arrangement and interpretation of Cantabrian folk music (Cantabria is a region in the north of Spain located between Asturias and the Spanish Basque Country).

With Luétiga, Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass recorded three albums: La Ultima Cajiga (1992), Nel el Vieju (1994) and Cernula (1996). They also took part in the Misa Popular Cántabra, a folk mass composed by Nobel Samano, which was performed by Luétiga with two choirs and a group of dancers.

In 1998 Marcos Bárcena and Kate Gass decided to leave Luétiga to follow their own musical direction and put all their energies into their own projects, mainly recording the second Atlántica album, Transitus and arranging a live repertoire as a quartet, combining Celtic pieces from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and North America with music from Cantabria, Galicia and Asturias

Atlántica also performed concerts with conferences about Cantabrian folk music for senior citizens and high school students, they animated ceilidhs with the aid of two callers, and participated, together with the Markab Theatre Company, in La Leyenda de los Besos, a musical play based on a short story by Manuel Llano.

The band had a show for kids called Atlántica con el Medio Ambiente, where they combined music with dances, games and stories about the environment. During the 1990s Atlántica was present in most folk festivals in Cantabria and the band played in many other places throughout Spain, as well as in Portugal and Wales.

Atlántica’s performances in more than sixty schools in Cantabria gave it extensive experience with kids.

Transitus includes dance tunes and songs from Cantabria and other Celtic regions, together with their own compositions in traditional style. By Transitus they meant to define a meeting point between the musical traditions of different places sharing common roots. It is a musical journey where they try to give their own vision of Celtic music, a global vision born out of their own experiences and contacts with this world. Transitus means a transit both through space, since they took the listener to the music of different countries, and through time, reflecting several periods, with a nod to the Iron Age men and a wish for the survival of traditional roots and the union of the nations.

The group disbanded in January of 2006. Ramón, Miguel and Jorge stayed together and formed another band named Garma.

Kate rested from music for 2 years for various reasons including the stress of working in a men’s world and being a single mother with 2 adolescents, and a sick mother. Marcos went on a spiritual adventure for a year and a half from which he returned in 2007 and later released an album of his own compositions, titled Marcos Barcena.

In May 2007 Kate took up her musical career again, this time as a solo artist working on a project called “Solistas Internacionales” with Paco Diez (Spain), Wafir (Sudan), Magali(Peru), Yoshie (Japan) and Laurent (France).

Discography:

Atlántica (Several Records, 1996)
Transitus (Resistencia, 1998)
La luz del iviernu Lugas (El Tripulante, 2000)
Lugas (El Tripulante, 2001)
En directo (RTVE Música, 2002)
Desde esta orilla (RTVE Música, 2004)

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Celtic Connections 2019 Opens January 17

Acclaimed music festival Celtic Connections begins this Thursday, January 17, 2019. The eclectic Celtic and world music event will feature around 100 young musicians from across Scotland and Showcase Scotland partner-country Galicia (Spain) taking to the stage of the Main Auditorium at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, together with some of the utmost well-respected Scottish musicians to have emerged since the festival first began in 1994.

folk orchestra SonDeSeu

Syne of the Times will star young musical talent from the 45 Fèisean (Scottish Gaelic Arts Youth Tuition Festivals) now held annually around Scotland, the Orcadian youth music project Hadhirgaan and Galician folk orchestra SonDeSeu. Artists including Julie Fowlis, Duncan Chisholm, Lauren MacColl, Michael McGoldrick, Donald Shaw, Aidan O’Rourke, Brighde Chaimbeul and recently crowned Trad Awards ‘Folk band of the Year’ Daimh will be among a set of other special guests performing as part of the Celtic Connections Opening Concert for 2019. This very special show will celebrate the passing on of the tradition through generations.  

It will be the first of over 300 events featuring more than 2,000 musicians from around the world, taking place in venues across Glasgow until Sunday, February 3rd.

The packed program features a host of concerts including one-off musical collaborations and special commissions alongside talks, workshops, film screenings, theater productions, ceilidhs, exhibitions, free events and late-night sessions.

In a program rich with Audio-Visual shows, highlights include the world premieres of Brave in Concert and The Bard’s Tale.

The immensely popular Disney movie Brave will be screened with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performing the music from the film live, alongside solo performances from artists who appeared on the original soundtrack. The score was written by award winning Glasgow-born composer Patrick Doyle, who the festival will also be celebrating with a special one-off show to mark his 65th birthday.

Fiona Hunter

For the first time Gaelic culture and the gaming world collide with The Bard’s Tale. Featuring the uplifting voices of Kathleen MacInnes, Fiona Hunter, Eilidh Cormack, Kim Carnie and Mackenzie, Simple Minds bassist Ged Grimes, who has also composed all of the live music, will lead a stellar backing line-up of Gregor Philp, Ali Hutton, Innes White, Màiri Chaimbeul, Martin O’NeillEwen Henderson and Brian McAlpine. This show will be a virtual quest through 18th century Scotland incorporating synchronized video, gameplay, drama, and live music that was originally composed for the computer game The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep.

Experience a sonic encounter of voice, guitar, gamelan, percussion and strings in singer and composer Susheela Raman’s performance with contemporary Indonesian gamelan players, Ghost Gamelan.  Opening will be a creative new project by Tom Bancroft that focuses on the common ground between Scottish music, jazz, Indian music and electronica.  

Other world music highlights include Malian quartet Songhoy Blues and Fado star Mariza.

Sona Jobarteh at the Arts Center in Carrboro, 2018 – Photo by Angel Romero

Born into one of West Africa’s principal griot families, multi-talented Gambian/British artist Sona Jobarteh is the first woman of such lineage to attain virtuoso status on the kora, interrupting seven centuries of exclusively male tradition. Sona will play the Queen Margaret Union over the first weekend, with 2019 marking the first year the festival will be using the West End venue.

Also taking place in the Queen Margaret Union will be Baile air Bhoil. Following previous joint promotions by Glasgow University, Ceòl ’s Craic and An Lòchran, Gaelic club night Baile air Bhoil makes its Celtic Connections debut, headlined by two of Gaelic music’s most innovative acts. Now expanded to a five piece, including Josie Duncan’s transcendent vocals, Inyal craft boldly panoramic soundscapes, alternately epic and ethereal, fusing fiddles, uilleann pipes, whistle and guitar with synth, electronics and drums. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Griogair’s current project sees him fusing original spoken-word poetry with hiphop production, also incorporating jazz, soul and African sounds. Special guests include inspirational Jamaican singer Brina, Malian percussionist and kora player Kalifa Kone and Skye DJ/producer Jamie Shaka.

Music created at song writing workshops run by Glasgow’s Vox Liminis Distant Voices organization, which brought together Scottish musicians with people affected by criminal justice issues and featured on the 2018 album Not Known at This Address, will be performed live by co-writers Kris Drever, C Duncan, Emma Pollock, Admiral Fallow, Rachel Sermanni, Pronto Mama, Fiskur and Donna Maciocia. The Distant Voices project will also be explored in a talk and discussion.

Musicians from Celtic Connections 2019 international partner, Galicia, will perform a series of shows, and music industry delegates will attend Showcase Scotland, which provides a platform for Scottish musicians to develop their careers.

11,000 school children will learn about, enjoy and be inspired by Celtic music through a series of free morning concerts and workshops as part of the Celtic Connections Education Programme.

Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, said: “With each new Celtic Connections we look to bring together artists, ideas and unique collaborations that create powerful and moving work that can be enjoyed by audiences and musicians alike. Each year we present a selection of the best music and musicians you can see anywhere in the world and through all this we remain true to our Celtic roots – roots that began with a journey of discovery by a nation that is always searching.  Celtic Connections will also once again be at its heart a celebration – a coming together of people from across the world to enjoy live music and, as always, it is that I am most looking forward to.”   

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, stated: “It’s time to banish the winter blues as we get set to embark on the incredible musical journey that is Celtic Connections. As a UNESCO City of Music Glasgow is the place to be for lovers of live music. This brilliant festival brings the best of our home grown talent and artists from across the world to stages across the city, with world leading musicianship and inspiration and shows that capture the unique spirit of Celtic Connections – a festival that unites artists and styles and cultures to create something truly new, truly special. We hope very much you can join us at Celtic Connections 2019.”

Alan Morrison, Head of Music, Creative Scotland expressed: “Since its launch in 1994, Celtic Connections has pushed back the boundaries of Scottish culture while never losing sight of the traditions at its core. In 2019, that’s as true of the young musicians filling the opening night stage for Syne Of The Times as it is of the videogame technology behind The Bard’s Tale concert. This is a finger-on-the-pulse festival where respect for Scotland’s heritage is woven through the program and artists are encouraged to collaborate and experiment, taking that heritage to the next level. Once again it’s time to throw our doors wide open so that musicians from near and far can come in and brighten our winter nights.”

To see the full program for Celtic Connections 2019 and buy tickets visit: www.celticconnections.com

Headline photo: Folk band of the Year Daimh

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Artist Profiles: Calasaig


Calasaig – Photo by Alan Wylie


Since the group’s formation in the late 1990s, Calasaig secured an admirable reputation in the world of traditional music through their numerous performances and recordings. Their albums, Until Then, Making For The Shore and Near & Far have brought the band critical acclaim and have ensured their continued inclusion in the top ten of several traditional music album charts in Europe and the US, as well as on radio play lists around the world.

Their 4th album, Merchants’ City, was recorded in Phase One studios in Toronto and at The Foundry in Glasgow. It was released in North America on REL Records in August of 2003 and was released in the UK and Europe by Lazy Mist Records in February of 2004.

The band: Keith Johnston – cittern, guitar, vocals; Celine Donoghue – fiddle, tenor banjo, mandola, vocals; Andy Webster – guitar, bouzouki, vocals; Keith Easdale – Highland pipes, small pipes, mandocello, whistle, flute, mouth organ, vocals; Kirsten Easdale – vocals, viola, bodhran

Discography:

Until Then (Bellcraig Records, 1998)
Making For the Shore (Lazy Mist Records, 2000)
Near & Far (Lazy Mist Records, 2002)
Merchant’s City (Lazy Mist Records, 2003)

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Excalibur Honors the Ladies


Alan Simon – Excalibur – The Ladies of the Lak

Alan Simon – Excalibur – The Ladies of the Lake (Babaika Productions/Cherry Red, 2018)

The Ladies of the Lake is an anthology of songs featured in the highly successful Excalibur series by French composer Alan Simon.

The album includes the female artists that appeared in various Excalibur recordings, some of the biggest names in the Celtic and England folk music scene: Moya Brennan (Ireland), Maddy Prior (England), Karan Casey (Ireland), Kohann (Brittany, France), Siobhan Owen (Australia), Jacqui McShee (England), Nikki Matheson (Canada), and Maite Itoiz (Spain); as well as iconic English progressive rock vocalist, Sonja Kristina (Curved Air).

The Excalibur albums combine symphonic, Celtic, pop and rock influences. Rather than traditional folk music, The Ladies of the Lake focuses on songs that have a wider commercial appeal, between pop and light classical with Celtic music touches.

The Ladies of the Lake presents a superb group of highly expressive women with distinctive vocal skills.

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