Monday, January 24, 2011

Monumental Scott

"'WE ALL know Sir Walter Scott was a fan of a dance,' noted our host Phil Cunningham from behind his accordion, celebrating the bicentennial of Scott's poem The Lady of the Lake, a piece very influential at the time of its composition and that also kick-started appreciation of its Trossachs setting as a tourist destination.

For the first and shorter of the pieces, Cunningham had composed a musical accompaniment to the poem (read by Bill Paterson) entitled The Trossachs Suite. The second section saw Cunningham and his nine-piece band, including various guitarists, a pianist, a flautist and a bodhran player, along with backing singers Eddi Reader and Karen Matheson, work their way through a selection of songs by Scott and others, interspersed with livelier instrumental pieces."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hear Ríl Og play their tune this Saturday

"A young group of musicians who have just recorded their own CD will finally get to launch it this Saturday night in Arva, after the initial date in December had to be cancelled owing to severe bad weather.

Ríl Óg are a fantastic group of musicians who are just breaking onto the trad circuit. They have been playing together for almost two and a half years now.

There are six members in the group, ranging in age from 11 years up to 16 years.

Ríl Óg are: Emmett Lynch (bodhran), Maria Matthews (flute, whistle, vocals), Cillian Hourican (fiddle), LiaM Doherty (banjo, bouzouki, guitar), Hannah McEntee (button accordion) and Laura Doherty (fiddle)."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Firebrand fiddler promises foot tapping

FIDDLER Richard Wood will launch the new Where Good Music Matters Season at the Park and Dare Theatre in Treorchy next month.

Back in the spotlight after a break of more than 10 years, Wood is arguably one of the most entertaining and talented fiddlers from the Celtic world.

And despite his absence from the music scene, critics say he has lost none of his fire and zip in the intervening years.

Accompanied on guitar, bodhran and vocals by Gordon Belsher, the performance combines the best of jigs, reels and strathspeys with Wood’s own compositions.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lighting the fusion fuse - Herald Scotland | Arts & Ents | Music Reviews

"Celtic Connections moves to the beat of many different drums.

Several sit ready on the stage before 2011’s opening concert at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Thursday but, surprising perhaps for those who consider this purely a “folk” festival, only one of them is a bodhran.

Instead, the centre spot is given over to the tabla of Zakir Hussain. To stage right rests the dholak, a larger traditional Indian drum. Well, if chicken tikka masala is our other national dish, why shouldn’t a fusion of Indian and Celtic sounds tingle our musical tastebuds?"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Celtic connections: Pulse of the world

The opening concert of this year's 18th Celtic Connections brought together a contemporary colossus of Indian, world and fusion music, tabla guru Zakir Hussain – plus three of his compatriots on violin, bansura (bamboo flute) and the double-ended dholak drum – with seven of today's leading figures in Scottish and Irish music.

As festival director Donald Shaw explained by way of introduction, the seeds for the project at this end were sown some 15 years ago, when he was listening to a mix-tape on which, among a selection of mainly Gaelic material, he happened across a track from Hussain's landmark debut solo album, 1987's Making Music, and was struck by the mutual echoes.

With the Celtic cast here comprising Charlie McKerron (fiddle), Patsy Reid (fiddle/viola), Michael McGoldrick (flutes/whistles), Ross Ainslie (pipes/whistles), Matheu Watson (guitar), John Joe Kelly (bodhran) and Gaelic singer Jenna Cumming, no-one could have guessed that this richly absorbing and rewarding performance began as a blank slate on Monday.

Music review: Celtic connections: Pulse of the world - News

Bodhrán Lessons - Tone Hand Basics by Chris Weddle

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jig & Reels (Tim O'Kane bodhran) (2).MP4

Dancers to give you moors for the money in SCERA event

In the Shelley Irish Dance Company's version of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," there is no white rabbit, Mad Hatter or Queen of Hearts. Instead, an Irish dancer named Alice follows a little leprechaun to meet the Dancemaster of the Pub and Banshee of Killarney.
Tina Shelley and Jo Lambert, founders of the company and choreographers of "Ireland: The Dance Experience," didn't set out to make the concert a theatrical version of "Alice in Wonderland."
"The music is really what inspired us," Lambert said. "We went off that and started building these pieces, and then realized that they were all so different in feel that we needed a story line that could tie them together. And that was where 'Alice in Wonderland' was born. ... It actually came upon us at just a genius moment. We said, 'How are we going to put this together?' and suddenly it just made sense."
Though somewhat mimicking the storytelling qualities of ballet, Lambert said that this Irish dance drama is more accessible than a typical ballet.
"It sort of mirrors a ballet ... in that it's a story told through dance. However, the ballets tend to be hard to follow because you have to read the story before you watch it. But this actually has narration that leads you through. So it's a very family-friendly show."
Though Shelley and Lambert's choreography experience is extensive, before "Ireland" neither had attempted to create what Lambert called a "dance drama."
By tying the dances together to construct a story, Lambert said they created a concert that is fast-paced and filled to the brim with dance. "There's just dancing, dancing, dancing. It's a constant show of dancing. The dancers have hardly any breaks between their numbers. So it is a really high-powered, fast-moving show. It goes from one number to the next, and it's exciting."
The dancers, ranging in age from 8 to 25, have been rehearsing the concert since August. And since Irish dance is generally focused on competition more than performance, "Ireland" gives these dancers an opportunity to perform for the audience rather than for the judges.
"The most rewarding part for me is to see the confidence in the dancers as they experience this new experience of performing for a run of 10 shows," Lambert said. "I've seen dancers grow from teenagers who aren't sure of themselves to self-confident, self-assured young adults."
Alice will be played by 11-year-old Adrianna Hall. "We wanted an Alice that was mature enough to be directed in a play of this sort, and also who just exuded this innocent and knock-kneed, 9-year-old girl innocence, and she just fulfilled that for us," Lambert said. "We love her smile and the natural way she exudes on stage. ... She's doing a great job."
The music for "Ireland" will be performed by local pipe bands and fiddlers. There will even be a live bodhran, or traditional Irish drum.
The event will last just under two hours with one intermission. Patrons are encouraged to bring families; Lambert said that even her 3-year-old will sit through the show.

Dancers to give you moors for the money in SCERA event

Renowned Celtic Band Battlefield Band Heads to Hawaii « World Music

Renowned Scottish group Battlefield Band will be touring Hawaii this month and they will be presenting matetrial from their upcoming album.
For the first time Battlefield Band have recorded a song in Gaelic. ‘A’ Bhriogais Uallach’ translates as ‘The Pompous Trousers’. Ewen Henderson, ‘the new boy’ of the band, sings the main vocal on this traditional song, with the rest of the band on backing vocals. ‘The Waves of Otur’, a Mike Katz composition, follows the song, and the set of music finishes up with ‘Split The Whisker’, a traditional tune with what is probably a fairly bawdy title…

‘Robber Barons’, written by Alan Reid, is the first single release from the new album, and looks at greed through the ages, from the ‘Robber Barons’ of the Middle Ages in Germany to the modern day politicians & bankers. The subject matter is as relevant today as it ever was…

Renowned Celtic Band Battlefield Band Heads to Hawaii « World Music

ReporterHerald- Elders bring the magic back

On the morning after Winter Solstice, the dawn breaks bright indigo with ice crystals in the air as Ian Byrne, lead singer for The Elders, calls from Kansas City.
“Colorado has become very emotional for us. We have made some good friends there,” said Byrne, his gentle lilting voice and distinctive Irish brogue a welcome sound.

The Elders will return to the Rialto Theater on Friday, Jan. 7. As a Loveland favorite, they have offered up free concerts at Foote Lagoon each summer from 2007 to 2009. This past summer their outdoor concert was moved to Hammond Amphitheater in North Lake Park because of the threat of rain, where thousands of local residents packed the park to listen to their Celtic music from the heartland.

“Colorado audiences are different. They have a respect for Mother Earth, a love of nature, the mountains, the snow. I love Loveland. Loveland has been very good to us,” added Byrne.

The Elders deliver an energetic blend of original Celtic and Americana folk tunes.

Their songs can be mystical or swarthy, comical as well as cultural. The lyrics speak of family bonds, spirituality, poverty, civil war, love and friendship and address the heritage of history, characters, places and events — some real, others imagined.

“I only write about what I know — what I see and learn around me,” said Byrne.

“The ideas for the songs come from all over, such things as immigrants and American roots.”

With a new studio album due to be released this spring, this concert will consist of old favorites as well as fresh material.

“This is going to be the best one yet,” said Byrne of their seventh album in the works. “We are really excited about it. We are going to be doing a lot in 2011. This is going to be a huge year for us.”

Byrne is referring to not only the new CD, but their seventh annual Ireland tour in late May. In addition, they’ve added a European tour this summer, which will include stops in Spain, Denmark, Germany and France.

During the Ireland tours the band not only plays in a variety of venues, but they also visit with many of Byrne’s family and friends from his home of County Wicklow.

These trips are somewhat ironic because “it’s a bunch of guys from Kansas going to Ireland to play Irish music. Kinda’ nuts. At first, they thought we were more bluegrass or Cajun,” said Byrne.

The group consists of six talented gents, including frontman Byrne, who plays the bodhran, a traditional Irish percussion instrument, several whistles and a battle drum.

There are five other veteran musicians from Kansas City. Steve Phillips, formerly of The Rainmakers, is the guitarist. Bassist Norm Dahlor played for the Tommy Shaw band, while keyboardist Joe Miquelon was formerly with Asleep at the Wheel. The roundup is completed by Brent Hoad on violin and drummer Tommy Sutherland.

“We appreciate that everyone is having a tough time, everyone’s hurting everywhere, not just in the U.S. We hope people will come, have a good time, try to forget their worries and strife. We want to bring a smile and a bit of joy to your lives,” said Byrne, assuring people that they will get their money’s worth at the show.

“I feed off the energy of the people,” added Byrne. “I give them everything I’ve got, then they in turn give back. I can’t just go through the motions. I get into the hearts of the audience. It’s a magic moment.”
© Copyright 2010 Loveland Publishing Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

ReporterHerald- Elders bring the magic back