Celtic music

edited April 2011 in International
300x300.jpg Live! by Kelpie
emusic link

I downloaded this CD by the group Kelpie on emusic over a year ago, but really never gave it a good listen until recently. Boy, I didn't know what I was missing. It is really extraordinarily good from the first track to the last.

A Kelpie is a spirit in Scottish mythology who appears at the waterside disguised as a beautiful white horse. Once mounted, the unsuspecting rider is taken to the bottom of the loch never to be seen again. In Norway it is the water troll, Nøkken, who lives in a lake, occasionally surfacing to lure people to their doom. Thus, "Kelpie" is the perfect name for a group formed by the Danish singer and musician, Kerstin Blodig (who, by the way, has one of the best female voices I've heard), and Scots finger-style guitarist, Ian Melrose, combining folklore of their two cultures. Together, they create really nice original and traditional Celtic influenced Scandinavian music.

Although this is a live recording (I almost always prefer studio recordigns), the sound is fantastic.

Folkworld says this album "is of such high (sound) quality and contains such well played, beautifully sung songs and music that it’s recommended for everybody who loves Celtic influenced Scandinavian acoustic music."

Now I am going to have to get Kelpie's newest, which also sounds very good:

emusic link


  • kezkez
    edited April 2011
    wp-jones09.jpg] Rising Road by John Jones
    emusic link

    First solo album by the lead singer of The Oysterband. Been meaning to download this 2009 release for quite a while but only caught it as one of my last emusic downloads. Definitely one of my current favorites right now.
    Rising Road is a fit, focused, and trim album...As with his work with the Oysterband, Jones proves masterful at rearranging traditional material so that the songs bore deep into your mind in the manner of the best pop tunes. “Searching For Lambs” is a perfect example: how many times has this old chestnut been dusted down by folk revivalists? However, Jones’ interpretation becomes a duet, again incorporating a humming melody and a lean, funky rhythm. And after Bellowhead’s insanely enjoyable, disco-laden version of “Fire Marengo,” I wasn’t sure if I would ever hear this sea song again clearly. Jones keeps the call-and-response of the shanty, and the interplay of the banjo, violin, and percussion is both rocking and beautiful.- RootsWorld review by Lee Blackstone

    The Bellowhead-sounding "Fire Marengo" and "Searching for Lambs," a duet with Eddi Reader, and "One Morning in the Spring" are probably my favorite tracks. I love all of it.
  • I've been occasionally taking a look at emusers since I saw it mentioned on the eMusic message boards. But I just decided to sign up after noticing that Kez has started the Celtic music thread over here. Very glad to see it, Kez!

    I know there's a Hello thread for new members, but I thought this was a more suitable place for me to start out, having been involved in the eMu Celtic thread. By the way, Kez, I saw your parting comment about the Celtic 2 thread, but I seem to have missed that one, and can't find it now.

    I'm a bit tired tonight, so won't write much, but I will say I also have and like 2 albums by Kelpie, the live album, and one that's just called Kelpie. (Which doesn't seem to be showing up on eMu anymore, unless it's "misfiled". (Many things are!).

    Anyway, hello to Kez, and I've already noticed a number of familiar names among the members here, so I'm happy to know people are still involved whether or not they still use eMusic.
  • @Trad23 - so glad to hear from you! I hope you will post some celtic albums here, too, in addition to the emusic board. It's the only way I can follow anything you recommend now, and I've really been missing hearing from you.

    I chickened out at the last moment and just put my account on hold for 30 days, but that time's almost up now and I've about decided to go ahead and hit the 'cancel' button. The only thing that made me second-think was my monthly 'loyalty' bonus, but it seems new subscribers are getting better deals anyway, so I see no real advantage to hanging onto my original subscription. The aggravation of so many things which I won't re-hash just dampened my overall enthusiasm.

    I can't find the 'Celtic Music 2' thread now either, although I know it's there. I'm sure you could find it if you did a search within the message board. My computer doesn't have the cookies any more to get to it. But Mommio had raised the question in that thread whether you and I were on emusic any more. I figured if you were still there, you would have spoken up. I didn't post a comment simply because at that time I was too bummed out over emusic in general. There were a lot of recs I would ordinarily have posted on the messageboard (celtic and otherwise), but didn't for the same reason of being too discouraged with emusic in general. Still, one of the highlights of emusic for me was recommendations and conversations about music I got from their messageboard. So I hope you will be active over here.

    I will have to check out that Kelpie self-titled album. It is on emusic here. It sounds really good and I would like to get it sometime. The Live! album, though, is probably going to be my favorite of theirs. I'm amazed how good that one is! I really, really love it. The sound quality and the tunes themselves are just really top-notch. I can't believe I sat on that one for so long before I discovered how good it is.

    Hope to hear more from you soon!

    Welcome to emusers.

  • Welcome, Trad23!
  • edited April 2011
    denmark-flag-waving-emoticon-animated.gifWelcome !
  • Thank you everyone for the warm welcome to emusers! Unlike eMusic itself, I'm able to access this site from work (for now anyway...) although I'll have to do any album links from home. I'll post an album or two in another message later in the week (or probably on the weekend.) I'm also looking forward to reading some of the other threads here. I see lots to interest me, more than on the eMu message boards, in fact!
  • Welcome, Trad23, good to see you. I found the Celtic Music Part II thread but alas it has died an early death of disinterest - apparently these days no postings for just 2 months and you are consigned to the dustbin. I last posted in February, and I don't know what the actual number of days statute of limitation is for this consignment. Not even a bump for St. Paddy's Day - I thought about it but failed to do it. Just another aspect of the new and improved eMusic. At least here you'll get more action about actual music.
  • @Kez: Here's something I am thinking about that you would like:
    The Once (Andrew Dale,Geraldine Hollett and Phil Churchill) is a band of exceptional singers and musicians armed with bouzouki, guitar, mandolin and banjo who deliver ballads, shanties and original songs stemming from the rich traditions of their Island home. While Newfoundland music is often known for its raucousness, the Once come from the province’s quieter and more intimate side; weaving their music around riveting vocal harmonies and tasteful acoustic accompaniment.

    Winners of four Music Newfoundland and Labrador awards in 2009 and nominated for an East Coast Music Award in 2010, The Once are quickly making their presence felt on the Canadian folk/roots scene. Most recently the group has appeared with Stuart McLean on CBC Radio’s Vinyl Cafe and this summer will be performing at a number of festivals across Canada before embarking on a fall tour of Ireland.
  • @Bad Thoughts - yeah, you're probably right. Just last week I saw The Once on a list of top 10 folk albums of 2010 which caught my attention. I plan to check it out.
  • I'm not a huge Celtic fan but I stumbled over this one @ Bandcamp:


    - And there's quite a number of albums tagged Celtic, Scottish and so on.
    There's got to be some gems there just waiting to be discovered. . .
  • I have not myself been impressed with the quality of Celtic albums offered at Bandcamp, but Tannahill Weavers is a big name--I'm surprised they are offering any of their albums off label.
  • @Bad Thoughts - here's yet another list that includes The Once on the top 10 albums of 2010. I see also included is Bellowhead's Hedonism that you've been listening to. Been meaning to ask you what you think of that one.

    The list looks worth checking out, which I plan to do when I get a chance. List here.
  • @Kez: Bellowhead is a wonderfully guilty pleasure. Some of the horn arrangements can be shocking, touching on 60s and 70s soul and funk. Overall, it's a wild album, more of an alternative to the Pogues and Steeleye Span than a proper folk album. If you are looking for something loud to play while you drive, go for it.

    I got The Once yesterday at Amazon ... it's wonderful, particularly Margueritte and The Deserter.
  • Currently listening to Fay Hield from your list, Kez ... I like. I've also been looking at Tim Eriksen, whom I saw several times when I lived in MA.
  • kezkez
    edited April 2011
    @Bad Thoughts - thanks for pointing out the Fay Hield album. I saw that all the tracks are traditionals adapted and arranged by Hield in collaboration with Jon Boden, with some arrangements also by Bellowhead's Sam Sweeney. They also play fiddle and other instruments in a number of the songs. Sure catches my attention. I plan to give it a listen when I get a chance.

    I think this link is interesting - if you click on the tracks you get a very nice background of each traditional song and a short discussion of which other artists have recorded it. Some of them even have music transcriptions with tabs.
  • 54176-thumb.jpg?5

    Kez, one of the bands on that list, Urban Folk Quartet, has a three-track, live ep available for free on their website.
  • Thanks!
  • Any connoisseurs of the pipes available? I've got this John Burgess release King of the Highland Pipers, a bold statement that, on my SFL and things being what they are I hesitate over releases I don't know that well, and which the saner part of me asks how many times are you really going to listen to it, ya great daft booger.
  • Hmmm...I'll defer to someone who is more familiar with piping. But I would think a little goes a long way.
  • I don't have it, but I continually run into praise for King of the Highland Pipers. If you want some piping that you might enjoy more often, try some Northumbrian small pipes--Alistair Anderson or Kathryn Tickell.
  • 300x300.jpg Stem the Tide by Paul McKenna Band
    emusic link

    New album released in March 2011
    Traditional music as well as original songs and tunes from this dynamic young 5-piece led by singer Paul McKenna. The Paul McKenna Band have been playing to audiences throughout the UK and beyond since 2006. With a contemporary approach to songs, although not straying too far from their roots, their arrangements are both fresh and innovative. Their exciting sound is created through outstanding vocals, driving guitar and bouzouki, intense fiddle playing, a warm pairing of flute and whistles, and dynamic bodhr
  • kezkez
    edited May 2011
    New drop on emusic:

    300x300.jpg She Stitched Upon My Heart single EP by Mairi Campbell
    emusic link

    Maire Campbell is one-half of the Scottish duo "The Cast," who have released two previous superb albums - "The Winnowing" (which includes the track "Auld Lang Syne" used in the movie "Sex and the City"), and "Greengold." Both of them are available on emusic. [EDIT// Oops, I forgot they have a 3rd album "Colours Of Lichen" which has been on my list to get for quite a while.] My introduction to The Cast was through the album "Greengold," and it showcases what a great duo this group is! I was immediately impressed with Mairi's gorgeous vocals - she plays a fine fiddle and viola, too! - and her partner, Dave Francis, is a fine guitarist. Mairi has received the following awards:

    Scots Singer of the Year – trad music awards, 2008; Female musician of the year- liveireland 2009; Composition of the year – liveireland 2009; Burnsong winner – with ‘Smile or Cry’ ( Greengold album) 2008; Overall winner of ’Neil Gow International compostion award’ – 2009.

    The single track "She Stitched Upon My Heart" is one featured on Mairi's new debut solo CD, due to be released on Monday, May 16. While it is a little 'folksier' sounding than the previous two CDs of "The Cast," it still has some selections of fine fiddling, and Mairi's gorgeous voice alone would make any song one you want to hear again and again. You can stream one of the songs from the new album HERE.

    You can also download the song "Portobello Sands" FREE from Mairi's website HERE.
  • kezkez
    edited May 2011
    300x300.jpg Let Them Eat Fishcake by Harem Scarem
    emusic link

    Just discovered this 2004 debut album by a diverse group which includes Kris Drever and Nuala Kennedy among their members. Sounds like a fun album.
    "Let Them Eat Fishcake is a lively debut album from a group of young, very talented musicians. It is ambitious, too, with a surprisingly wide range of musical styles for a debut. Although there are a few arrangements of traditional tunes, the majority of the music consists of new compositions.

    The musicians come from far and wide: Fair Isle (Inge Thomson), Hoy (Sarah McFadyen), Arisaig (Ross Martin), Taynuilt (Eilidh Shaw) and Dundalk (Nuala Kennedy). The home islands of Thomson and McFadyen in particular give a clue to the origins of a certain Nordic influence on the music alongside the more obvious Gaelic one. All four women provide the vocals with Martin on guitars. Additionally Shaw and McFadyen play fiddles, Kennedy flute and whistle, and Thomson accordion, flute and percussion. Guest musicians are Kris Drever (double bass) and Jonathan Ritch (piano) who contribute to the overall musical breadth.

    The album is equally divided between instrumental and vocal numbers. The instrumentals start with the first track, "Finnish," which grabs the listener's attention from the outset with three upbeat tunes capturing the Nordic strain. "Frenchie" is a good example of the band's originality -- and quirkiness. The track starts with a traditional French-style tune on accordion with a scratchy record sound in the background cleverly evoking a French cafe!

    By the third tune, the band is in full flow in characteristic Gaelic mode. "Ode to Otis" introduces a more Irish ambience while "Predrag the Macedonian" is an intriguing tune played on the flute with a good double bass accompaniment. "Wrigley Heeed" [sic] and "Scary Neeps" are both very enjoyable and accessible with the latter even bringing in an Asturian sound in the second tune titled "Alborada Asturiana." The penultimate track, "Du's Daein' Dat Aa Wrang," is the climax of the album with four fine tunes full of subtlety and emotional power. It includes the familiar "Willie Smith's Reel" by Capercaillie's Donald Shaw. This track is a great party number; surely everyone would be up and dancing to this!

    The first vocal track, "Never," is one of the highlights of the album with its powerful main and backing vocals that build up in intensity throughout the song. "Is Truagh Nach Robh Mi Chomhla Riut" is lyrical and memorable with music by Charlie McKerron, a.k.a. Tearlach MacPharlain. "Me Me Me" is a lovely and upbeat song with a real contemporary feel. "Pray," "Heery Cheery" and "Mal Bhan Ni Chuilleannain" are simple songs with genuine emotion. The final track, "Human Metronome," provides a pleasing conclusion to the album with its impressive modernity. It is a song that points to some more really exciting things to come from this youthful and enthusiastic band." (from Rambles.net)
  • edited May 2011
    This isn't technically Celtic - having Scottish, Irish and English blood I know these can be touchy matters - at least not what I would generally call Celtic but is very close - Essential Martin Carthy. Is a fairly good deal at $5.84 for 34 tracks and a decent sampler given the large number of albums he has to his credit - one of those where do I begin situations.
    Edit - I see this is actually a new release , as a career retrospective - the CD isn't coming out until June 21th, and the MP3 version is $15.98 at Amazon so this is really a good buy.

    Edit - After some listening time I really, really like this
  • Damn! I was just about to post the Carthy set. The word "essential" is a major understatement.
  • Yes BT! Although i have a few of the tracks the rcording quality is a bit better on thsi too, so a whole download is worthwhile
  • kezkez
    edited June 2011
    300x300.jpgTribute by Dougie MacLean
    emusic link

    emusic has just added a whole slew of Dougie MacLean's albums - looks like probably all of them. MacLean has been frustrating to me, for he is the best traditional Scottish/Celtic artist EVER when he wants to be, but his more recent albums are more pop-folk which do not let him shine like he can shine.

    His album "Tribute" is MacLean at his absolute best. I would rank this album as one of the top 5 Celtic traditional albums of all time. If you like Celtic music at all (and even if you don't), you should give this a listen. I can't imagine anyone not liking it. It's hauntingly gorgeous at times and gets your foot to tapping at others. An absolue desert-island disk for me, for sure.
  • I'm stepping on the verge here again but any opinions on The Rough Guide To English Folk? I'm too fried at the moment to give due consideration, so I'm just throwing this out there. If it is indeed new this week it slipped by me at the time.
  • edited June 2011
    It is basically two different CDs - the first half has a collection of great fairly recent tracks by major English folk artists. I'll download just a handful, because I have many already. The second part is a bonus CD by the band Coope, Boyes and Simpson. I admit I hadn't really come accross them before - see http://www.coopeboyesandsimpson.co.uk/ If you like English folk music and don't have the tracks or you are looking for an introduction to this muisc the first 17 tracks are definitely worth the download IMO.
  • edited August 2011
    New lower priced ($4.40) version of An Raicin Alainn by Lasairfhiona available. Very lovely, sung in Gaelic. Would appear to be her own label, Aran Singer, since she's from there and the only release on the label.
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