Celticsprite’s Blog

A Bardic Tale of Changing Seasons on South American Paths – Part 4
September 30, 2008, 5:49 pm
Filed under: A Bardic Tale

A Bardic Tale of Changing Seasons on South American Paths – Part 4 – “About my essay on Faerie,my book of Bardic Poems, The Gwyn & Duir line-ups till the foundation of Bran”

Thanks to a close relation with the Asturian Celtic League, they offered me to publish an essay I wrote in 1986 about Faerie, called “Correspondences between Galician and Asturian Legends – Comparative study between celtic motifs.” The book was issued in asturian language (‘bable’) in 1988 with the support of the Principate of Asturias.
In 1989 I met Fernando Lynch, an irish descendant who by those days carried along a duet with a non-celtic fiddler called ‘Gwyn’. After the break of ‘Poitín’, we sessioned together and considereded then the chance to line-up ‘Lenda Gwyn’ (Lenda: galician for ‘legend’/ Gwyn: welsh for ‘white or pure’, also related to the deity). With few shows, the band disolved in 1991, but my musical link with Lynch remained. Since the harp was rather difficult to carry along without a car, I started to consider the need of adcquiring a model more suitable for trips. By those days I’d made contact with Elizabeth Clark, dulcimer player and partner of the ex-’Mooncoin’ Micky Zeckley, at Lark in the Morning, California. With her advice I ordered a lap harp kit which I-later assembled with the help of Ruben Uballes in February ‘92, it carries along 22 strings with no sharp lever. It’s shape and tone pleased me quite a lot to gain the road, though I allways had trouble with the soundboard which bends under pressure. After almost ten years of looking out I came across Alberto Ortega, the only paraguayan harpist, who besides teaching and playing, repairs and makes native harps. With Lark’s model in hand we´ve deviced on March ‘97 a new design of lap harp on cedar wood and pine soundboard, which proved to sound and looks pretty good!. A sort of travelling harp on G we´ve called ‘Bardic Rover’.
Throughout 1992 and first half of 1993 I joined with Manuel Castro in the purpose to work on a book called:“Celtic Legacy”, which we finally issued in 1993 in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a galician/spanish edition. Compiles selected poems written on contemporary bardic styles by myself and Manuel. It is not intended to be a recopilation of works written in youth, but an invitation to discover a common tradition, an identity still alive that cannot be distant to those who inherit a celtic legacy. We promoted the book with great success through shows consisting of recitation of some poems accompanied mostly with harp and few with whistles, featuring contemporary celtic tunes of my own and traditional arranged. A few months later during Samain, I found myself at Lynch’s home sessioning and making plans for a new band.Due to the engrave of an oak tree displayed on a pseudo-celtic card oracle, we decided it was time for ‘Duir’ to sound along, reaching out this time expectant non-celtic audiences unaware of this ancient lore. Tunes traditional and of our own; songs sung in english, gaelic, breton, galician, and asturian have been delighting listeners all around since then, allowing us the opportunity to gain more acceptance for our music within other cultural circles. It´s necessary to comment at this point, that technical advances on digital recording in the ‘90s enabled bands all over the world to show their folk music, and opened a new market to labels. As what to the celts concern, many titles were reissued rendering to listeners the chance to adcquire old classics, out of order, and new tracks with the enhanced quality of Cd´s digital sound.
On 1994 I-met Andres Valle, a lad with no celtic roots, but keen to folk bands like Clannad and Capercaille, and countries like Ireland. In fact, I-knew him after his recent trip to Eire where he acquainted with the O’Brennans at Donegal and Capercaille at Dublin. Since he is owner of a Compact Disc’s Shop, we started to work together for the spread not only of celtic music but reviews on it too. On Dec’94 was issued the first number of ‘Discover’, the institutional magazine for which I’ve been writing since then.On Nov’95 The Royal Celtic Galician Association was disolved and Manuel Castro left Duir to found the Celtic League of Argentina, re-launching ‘Poitín’ with an ex-member under the name of ‘Potim’,actually an epical new age less folk version of the anthological band. The band finally dissolved on 1988.
Beside my everlasting shows with Duir, I intended to line-up a Celtic Progressive band named ‘Dagda’,conceived rather as a creative cross-polination than a folk-rock based band.Due to lack of time and keen musicians, I started with a solo project which gave birth to a new band, lined up with musicians who seldom joined DUIR over the years. On Samain ‘97 I left DUIR to line up BRAN, my present band, whirling around the recording of a CD issued on August ‘98 under the name of ‘Awen’, which has come an exciting experience since then.
By the year 2006 I met Gabriel Bollani, a renowned percussionist in my neighborhood, with whom I began to record a new project as a duo, basically based on virtual experiments mingled with acoustic sets which recreates irish and scottish songs of love, dreaming and desire. Presently we have pre-recorded 13 tracks still unrealeased. Only the 1st cut has been issued through the Mellotron Magazine Sampler in Dec 2006.
It’s rather difficult to resume deeds and events spaned over the last eighteen years. Many accounts have not been quoted, but it’s lovely to know that each day there is more worldwide acceptance for anything relative to celts, and in Argentina young people are more fond of this music. Presently I still carry on the pressure of being the only folk harpist. Maybe I’m lucky not to be compared with, or maybe it implies more responsability and dedication in order to be true with this art. Anyway, as the bards will relate, I’ll keep my own pace till the last stroll, and wear the butter-coloured socks the wee folk gave to me, weaving tunes unto Faerie and the moon, and at noon,… walk back on them!.

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