Celticsprite’s Blog


Halloween: a-modern-concept-of-an-old-celtic-celebration
October 30, 2009, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Hi to all! For this forthcoming Samnain many celts will be celebrating the Celtic New Year and Summer’s End… some in the old ways and some in the Hallow’s Eve way…. for this year I have prepared this trivia… hope you will enjoy it! hehehe

Quizzes by Quibblo.com



Influential Musicians: Alan Stivell
October 26, 2009, 2:54 am
Filed under: Celtic Harp, Influential Musicians
Hi to all! I would like to share with you this video featuring my spiritual master Alan Stivell performing one of my favourite irish tunes “Brian Boru’s March”…this time with lyrics added by him and playing a harp of his own design …this song is included in his album “Brian Bour” issued on 2005. A nice and rare version indeed…enjoy!
Feel free to visit his official website…
www.alan-stivell.com (trilingual in Breton, French & English).


LYRICS:

Marv Brian Boru ‘rein buhez ‘n Iwerzhon
Dihan e Bro-Ulad ha ba ker Dulenn
Undedan tiegezhn unded an dud-man
Unded ar Gelted hag an douar

Maraiodh Brian Boru chun beatha nna heireann
Siochain in gcuige Uladh agus i mbaile ‘cliath
Aontacht an teaghlaigh, aontacht na dtuath
Aontacht an domhain is na gCeiltteach

Diouzh nerzh ar c’hadou da nerzh an ehan
Diouzh ‘bed doueek bennozh ar c’haroud
O neart an chata go neart na siochana
On brith dhiaga beannacht an ghra

Duirt siad gurbh i seo sochraide ar muintire
Gur choir duinn bheith sollunta fein
Biodh nach Raibh bronach

Marv Brian Boru ‘rein buhez ‘n Iwerzhon
Dihan e Bro-Ulad ha ba ker Dulenn
Undedan tiegezhn unded an dud-man
Unded ar Gelted hag an douar

Ta muid ‘nos ha haimsire
Go hairid an ghrian
Agus thogh muid ait bhog cois abhann.



Suggested Albums: Loreena Mc Kennitt – "Live In Paris And Toronto"
October 26, 2009, 2:14 am
Filed under: Loreena McKennitt, Reviews
Official Press – “Road signs to Rome, a turnoff to Munich, a traffic jam en route to Hamburg, a fuelling station on the highway out of Barcelona, Easter in Brussels, buses and trucks making their way through the night. Flights to Montreal, New York or Los Angeles, the lights of airports, highways, run-ways… the exotic and eclectic blend of expericnces, from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the touching to the infuriating, the invigorating to the exhausting…”

Captured live in April and May of 1998 in the Salle Pleyel in Paris and Massey Hall in Toronto, this two-CD set is, says Loreena McKennitt, simply “the sound of us doing what we did.” Featuring performances of all of the songs from “The Book Of Secrets” as well as a generous selection of favourites from previous recordings, “Live In Paris And Toronto” comes in a dcluxe, custom-made, “book”-bound package.

Currently available exdusively via mail-order from Quinlan Road, “Live In Paris And Toronto” is not only the artist’s first ever full-length live recording, but is also a charitable effort in support of The Cook-Rees Memorial Fund For Water Search And Safety, to which net proceeds from sales will be donated. The fund’s aims are to fund research, education and general programs to promote water safety, and it contributes to the purchase of equipment which is essential to water-related rescue and recovery exercises. If you would like more information about the fund, its aims, or how to make a direct charitable contribution, please contact:

The Cook-Rees Memorial Fund For Water Search And Safety PO Box 21030, Stratford, Ontario N5A 7V4 Tcl 1 519 273 5522

“Loreena McKennitt comments on the album in her own words”

“Although I consider my studio recordings to be a more thorough portrait of where I am creatively, the sonic snapshot that is a live recording can show that picture in a different, if perhaps more conventional, way.

Music playcd for an audience always has its own dynamic personality, which flows trom the chemistry of’the day, the location, and the performers’ interaction with those who were there. And, of course, live music also has its share of spontancity. Just ask anyone who attended the París concert during our spring tour last year. As we began performing All Souls Night’, I headed oft in my own direction, while the band stayed stubbornly to the agreed-upon musical arrangement, and the ensuing musical trainwreck had both us and the audience rolling in the aisles. A few weeks earlier in Rome, on our first performance of the tour, we were greeted with a power cut ten minutes into the show, thereby inserting an unscheduled intermission a little closer to the beginning of the concert than is usually considered advisable. All manner of surprises can greet you on the road, and after attempting to eliminate as many of the pitfalls as you can before setting out, you must decide to roll with them as they come.

On the road, the touring company – which runs from the featured musicians through to the caterers who feed them anci the bus and truck drivers who ensure they arrive – becomes your surrogate family. I was particularly blessed, once again, with a stellar team who brought a high level of expertise to their work and great integrity to their personal conduct, which, in the end, is what allows the music to happen in the best possible circumstances.

It’s not uncommon, then, that the live rendering of the music, compared to its studio version, is different, as you will hear on this recording. Sometimes, those differences are the result of practical matters, such as the number of instruments you have brought on the road, or the number of musicians you have to play them, but it’s also that, as you play a piece repeatedly, you learn more about it than you did in the studio. Some things you learn strengthen the work; other things simply change its hue.

If there’s any regret I have about this gypsy side of an artist’s life, it is that we have not been able to extencl our tours to all the wonderful locations to which we have been invited. I do hope that somewhere down the line, and maybe in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to launch our little musical village on the road again. Until such time, however, I hope this live recording will give you an aural taste of the event as it was.

Track List

SET ONE
Prologue 5.00 The Mummers’ Dance 3.54
Skellig 5.24 Marco Polo 4.35 The Highwayman 9.19 La Serenissima 5.55 Night Ride Across The Caucasus 6.22 Dante’s Prayer 5.25

SET TWO
The Mystic’s Dream 6.29 Santiago 5.32 Bonny Portmore 3.50 Bctween The Shadows 4.18 The LadyOfShalott 9.05 The Bonny Swans 6.33 The Oíd Ways 5.03 All Souls Night 4.13 Cymbeline 6.27



Influential Musicians : Loreena Mc Kennitt – An Introspective Biography
October 22, 2009, 1:57 am
Filed under: Influential Musicians, Loreena McKennitt, Reviews

It doesn’t seem strange that a Canadian farmer’s daughter living in Morden, Manitoba, wished to be a veterinarian. The eagerness of young Loreena’s musical parallel quenched in conservatories, opera singing, and piano studies, built up a formal scheme that would burst into adulthood within the root of traditional music. This approach was the result of her attendances at a local folk center where, according to her own confessions, she was influenced by bands like Bothy Band, Planxty, Steeleye Span and Pentangle. The Celtic Harp ethereal spell of her ancestors was in charge of Breton musician Alan Stivell, whose music she used to listen to all night long on an endless tape specially built up for an uninterrupted listening.

Being a Shakespearean actress in the ’80s she afterwards assumes the role of an itinerant minstrel. performing her first work “Elemental” on cassette, produced with a lawn from her parents. A work that turned out to be her version of classic traditional tunes in his own seal. Her search for Celtic roots took the grain to sell 60,000 copies since the first one up to over half a million with her album “The Visit” under distribution agreement with Warner Music.

Since I follow Loreena for years now, I firmly believe she is a romantic styled composer and musician. Part of the magic lies in her apparent Elizabethan image , sometimes Welsh or Breton, not only on stage or on CD covers but in its daily walk, as well as musical dramatization of the classic poets.

Sometimes I imagined her wandering through the woods or at the foot of cliffs as a captivating fairy queen, far from that redhead of Irish blood who contracts the Warner.

Although Loreena acknowledges she would not like to have lived four or five centuries ago, she is highly interested on the rescue of Romanticism from lost civilizations and accomplishments of the current. Druidess which cultivates modern metaphorical power of nature and animals.

Loreena once stated for the Spanish magazine Cambio 16: “Theater influences my music, but music also influences the theater. The structure of a dramatic piece sometimes has allowed me to give a dramatic structure to a song. One of the things I’ve moved from theater to my concerts is that the test of a work gives you the feeling that every time it is a new piece. On one occasion, playing a song my father died and the feeling was very different despite I had sung that song a thousand times. “

Let is quote that her father, Jack McKennitt, died in 1992 one week before her daughter appeared in duo with cellist Ofra Harnoy in the Juno Awards, consecrating “The Visit” as the Best Album of Traditional Roots. But to the surprise of many, Loreena was not born in either Ireland or in Stratford, Ontario, but in the southern plains of Manitoba, in the town of Morden.
Her mother Irene who still lives there, remembers: “We were so excited when she was born … Warren, our son is three years older, and then came the girl with red hair like his father. We had family in California who we told of a little girl named Loreena. And it seemed to rhyme with McKennitt.”

Traditional Dances of Scotland were the strongest of Loreena as a child, but paradoxically a car accident on Sunday, culminating with her legs in casts. Her grandmother would send the family piano to her and Loreena start her music lessons. With five years old ,said goodbye to the dance.
She studied classical piano until fifteen and lyrical chant till ten. Her first teacher, Olga Friesen, who directed the Child Choir of Morden, tells us: “She knows very well her own voice. Has evolved, but retains the same positive purity. If she comes into my restaurant I would say: sing to me. “

During primary school Loreena always had troubles: “I was playing sports and playing music in my own willful and creative style. But I felt different … I wasn’t the same kind of sociable creature like most girls of my age. Due to this sense of early maturity, spent more time with my gym teachers. “

She used to share with them philosophy, piano and nature. By those days her parents made him join a school for girls in Winnipeg.

Anxious to be a veterinarian, Loreena discovered the Winnipeg Folk Festival as a basis for her development, leaving a little chance to the University of Manitoba. When everyone was at the Disco, Winnipeg was the center of folk music by 1975, and there was Loreena. But almost in the ’80s, the folk boom declined, and her relationship with an actor would lead her to Stratford.
Se could act, write music, but was still like “a singer in search of a song”, till 1982 when she decided to travel to Ireland. But why Ireland?

The McKennitts came to Canada from Donegal in 1830, her mother’s branch, the Dickeys, came from Belfast. But Loreena was eager to seek the “Romantic Ireland” as the saying of Yeats. It would take two years and a trip to England to meet the Celtic harp and learn it by herself, but the trip to Ireland would be her starting point, its magic, and endemic melancholy .
Irish Born with 24 years. “Until 1985, I worked in theater in Stratford, but I realized thatin order to grow musically I needed to have my own recording. I did not know anything related to the record world, nor editing, and by chance I came across a book How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording” (The Complete Guide to Independent Recording) by Diane S. Rapaport which became my Bible.

I borrowed ten thousand dollars to my family, a lot of money for them, and I embarked on my own. ” Lately, due to it’s success the book was published with Loreena’s own foreword.


With street sales of cassettes and mail order, solo concerts were launched and granted her to accumulate enough money for a second album in 1987 and a third in 1989. Mc Kennitt sat to negotiate with Warner Music. Her lawyer Graham Henderson (with other clients such as Cowboy Junkies, Crash, Test, Dummies and Holly Cole) explains that “with sales of Parallel Dreams in thirty thousand copies and concerts filled the Warner Loreena question was’ what can you do for me ‘. ” Warner accepts the distribution of her album The Visit in 1991 and some others. “The structure of the music business,” -says Loreena, “is unrealistic and in many ways manipulative. Artists end up with arrangements between companies and managers. When you hear of a business of four million, many times it refers to what the company plans to invest and how. you must also sell enough for them to recover that amount before you see a penny. That really was not of interest to me. I really urge artists to put forward on the business side of their careers. I can’t conceive those who say ‘I am a sensitive and creative mind and do not wish to become contaminated with business.’ That’s horrible, but candles for your own interest, ensure the other for their own interest, or maybe nobody appears. not much different from women in the ’40s and ’50s, saying ‘my husband pays the bills and I want to know the light meter or whatever.’ When you ar growing up on a farm you learn to preserve and create by yourself . If you have troubles, you should be creative enough to solve them without the means at your disposal to do so. “


Concerts On Demand: Loreena McKennitt at the 2009 Calgary Folk Music Festival
October 19, 2009, 1:46 am
Filed under: Loreena McKennitt

Canadian Tour Broadcast

Recorded: Jul. 25, 2009 Canadian Tour

Venue: Calgary Folk Festival, Calgary, AB

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Loreena McKennitt and her band wrapped up their summer tour on the Calgary Folk Music Festival mainstage. Loreena McKennitt has been exploring the whole world of Celtic music for over 2 decades. It’s a musical journey which has led her from the Silk Road to the Arthurian legends. Her international band also brings exotic flavours to the mix – from the oud and the hurdy gurdy to the harp and the cello.

Loreena’s latest CD is a limited edition two-disc set called A Mediterrean Odyssey.



Faerie Lore: Fairy Music
October 16, 2009, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore, Fairy Music

Posted from the book “The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries”, by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Oxford [1911]. Get you Kindle Edition here

Since the following testimony was written down, its author, the late Mr. John Nelson, of Ramsey, has passed out of our realm of life into the realm invisible. He was one of the few Manxmen who knew the Manx language really well, and the ancient traditions which it has preserved

‘A Blinding by Fairies.–‘
‘My grandfather, William Nelson, was coming home from the herring fishing late at night, on the road near Jurby, when he saw in a pea-field, across a hedge, a great crowd of little fellows in red coats dancing and making music. And as he looked, an old woman from among them came up to him and spat in his eyes, saying: “You’ll never see us again”; and I am told that he was blind afterwards till the day of his death. He was certainly blind for fourteen years before his death, for I often had to lead him around; but, of course, I am unable to say of my own knowledge that he became blind immediately after his strange experience, or if not until later in life; but as a young man he certainly had good sight, and it was believed that the fairies destroyed it.

The Fairy Tune.–
William Cain, of Glen Helen (formerly Rhenass), was going home in the evening across the mountains near Brook’s Park, when he heard music down below in a glen, and saw there a great glass house like a palace, all lit up. He stopped to listen, and when he had the new tune he went home to practise it on his fiddle; and recently he played the same fairy tune at Miss Sophia Morrison‘s Manx entertainment in Peel.

Hearing Fairy Music.–‘
Up by the abbey on two different occasions I have heard the fairies. They were playing tunes not of this world, and on each occasion I listened for nearly an hour.’



Faerie Lore : Fairy Music
October 14, 2009, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore, Fairy Music

Posted from the book “Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland” by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde (1887) (Obtain this full work and many more backups by clicking here!)

The Fairy Dance

The following story is from the Irish, as told by a native of one of the Western Isles, where the primitive superstitions have still all the freshness of young life.

One evening late in November, which is the month when spirits have most power over all things, as the prettiest girl in all the island was going to the well for water, her foot slipped and she fell, it was an unlucky omen, and when she got up and looked round it seemed to her as if she were in a strange place, and all around her was changed as if by enchantment. But at some distance she saw a great crowd gathered round a blazing fire, and she was drawn slowly on towards them, till at last she stood in the very midst of the people; but they kept silence, looking fixedly at her; and she was afraid, and tried to turn and leave them, but she could not.

Then a beautiful youth, like a prince, with a red sash, and a golden band on his long yellow hair, came up and asked her to dance. “It is a foolish thing of you, sir, to ask me to dance,” she said, “when there is no music.” Then he lifted his hand and made a sign to the people, and instantly the sweetest music sounded near her and around her, and the young man took her hand, and they danced and danced till the moon and the stars went down, but she seemed like one floating on the air, and she forgot everything in the world except the dancing, and the sweet low music, and her beautiful partner. At last the dancing ceased, and her partner thanked her, and invited her to supper with the company.

Then she saw an opening in the ground, and a flight of steps, and the young man, who seemed to be the king amongst them all, led her down, followed by the whole company. At the end of the stairs they came upon a large hall, all bright and beautiful with gold and silver and lights; and the table was covered with everything good to eat, and wine was poured out in golden cups for them to drink.

When she sat down they all pressed her to eat the food and to drink the wine; and as she was weary after the dancing, she took the golden cup the prince handed to her, and raised it to her lips to drink. Just then, a man passed close to her, and whispered– “Eat no food, and drink no wine, or you will never reach your home again.” So she laid down the cup, and refused to drink. On this they were angry, and a great noise arose, and a fierce, dark man stood up, and said– “Whoever comes to us must drink with us.” And he seized her arm, and held the wine to her lips, so that she almost died of fright. But at that moment a red-haired man came up, and he took her by the hand and led her out. “You are safe for this time,” he said. “Take this herb, and hold it in your hand till you reach home, and no one can harm you.” And he gave her a branch of a plant called the Athair-Luss (the ground ivy) [*] . This she took, and fled away along the sward in the dark night; but all the time she heard footsteps behind her in pursuit.

At last she reached home and barred the door, and went to bed, when a great clamour arose outside, and voices were heard crying to her– “The power we had over you is gone through the magic of the herb; but wait–when you dance again to the music on the hill, you will stay with us for evermore, and none shall hinder.” However, she kept the magic branch safely, and the fairies never troubled her more; but it was long and long before the sound of the fairy music left her ears which she had danced to that November night on the hillside with her fairy lover.

[*] In Ancient Egypt the ivy was sacred to Osiris, and a safeguard against evil.