Celticsprite’s Blog

ON LINE BROADCAST STREAMNG – Nastafication, Aberdeen, UK
December 31, 2010, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
When?: Sun Jan 02 11 10:00 PM
Where?: Nastafication, , Aberdeen, UK


Music press kits


Suggested Celtic Harp Album : " A Light in the Forest" by Anne Roos
December 27, 2010, 3:01 pm
Filed under: Celtic Harp, Suggested Albums
A Light in The Forest Recorded in 5.1 Surround Sound, it is perhaps the first Folk/Celtic/World Music CD to be available in this format! This is a Book AND a C!

Music about the woods and the fascinating creatures that dwell within them– fairies, trolls, nymphs, leprechauns, witches, bears, and more. It’s packaged inside a 31-page hardcover book describing the folk history and legends of these creatures and the tunes, filled with vintage artwork and whimsical illustrations.

This recording also features Char Berta on flute, tenor recorder, alto recorder, and whistle, Chris Caswell on percussion and harmonium, Michael Frost on viola, Alan Fuller on guitars and cittern, and Dorothy A. Hawkinson on fiddle and hardingfele.

Includes the following tunes: Considine’s Grove, Epping Forest, King of the Fairies, The Fairy Child & The Fairy Queen, A Bruxa (The Witch), Craigieburn Wood, Artemisia, Bourrée de la Luciole (Dance of the Firefly), Trollspolska, Roslin Castle & The Woods of Kilmurry, Bottom’s Dream, The Golden Castle, Bears—BearDance & The Dancing Bear, Robin is to the Greenwood Gone (Bonny Sweet Robin or Robin Hood), Three Old English Tunes—Gamble Gold, Abbots Bromley Horn Dance & The Green Man, Virgin Forest, The Forest Nymph—Song of the Woods & The Tree in the Woods, and The Gold Ring.

“Anne Roos is an amazing harpist, and this CD showcases her talents beautifully,” says Catherine L. Tully about Anne Roos’ performance on her most recent album release, A Light in the Forest. She adds, “Roos’ harp music is effortless. Gliding and sliding over notes, she shows her skill time and again…”

Here is Ms. Tully’s entire review, as it appears on the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine website:

“Anne Roos is an amazing harpist and this CD showcases her talents beautifully. A small musical group joins her on this effort, which highlights songs about woodland creatures such as fairies, nymphs and trolls. A 31 page hardcover book comes with the CD and it talks about various folk history and legends–a nice touch to a well thought out musical effort.

The group provides a lovely sound. Cds that are put forth only showcasing harp music can be nice, but it is equally wonderful to have some additional accompaniment; and it expands the amount of people that it will appeal to as well.

Roos’ harp music is effortless. Gliding and sliding over notes, she shows her skill time and again, but this isn’t “gaudy” music.
It’s simple, pretty fare. At 18 tracks, there are quite a few songs to enjoy here, each offering its own mood and feel. The gentleness of the harp is underscored in some pieces, the yearning almost palpable. If you love the instrument, you have to listen to this and see what can be done with the various arrangements. If you aren’t a huge fan of the harp, there are still plenty of tracks here that you can enjoy.”

The author of this review, Catherine L. Tully, is a freelance writer and photographer. She specializes in the arts. She has written for American Style and Classical Singer, among other
magazines, and reviews music for Marc Gunn’s Celtic MP3s Music Magazine. You can reach her through her website at

This article appears on The Celtic MP3s Music Magazine–a free monthly online Celtic music magazine featuring free music downloads of Celtic, Scottish, Irish music from around the world.
The website is hosted by
Marc Gunn. He also hosts five podcasts, including the Renaissance Festival Podcast and the highly celebrated Irish & Celtic Music Podcast, which is one of the most
popular music podcasts on iTunes.

In order to find out more Celtic Harp Albums by Anne Roos hit here

December 21, 2010, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
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"The Joy of Walking Bar Chords" by Danny Carnahan
December 14, 2010, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Reviews on Celtic Tunes by Danny Carnahan

This article was previously published on Mandolin Magazine by Danny Carnahan and posted under his kind permission. All rights reserved by the author.

[Click here for Pg. 1 and here for Pg. 2 of printable notation for “The Boys of Ballinafad”]

When I’m chording along with Celtic tunes on my octave mandolin, I’m often struck by how different my instinctive collection of basic chords is from those which are found comfortable and sensible by mandolin players. True, I came to the octave mandolin cold, learning it from scratch and without much technical instruction. There really wasn’t any consistent Irish bouzouki style in 1978 and the few hotshot masters of the evolving style (Alec Finn, Donal Lunny, and Johnny Moynihan, for example) all had their own unique signature sounds.

Possibly Alec Finn, of the Galway-based band De Danann, had the most impact on me in those first tentative days of poking around on my new toy and trying to find a way to play it. Finn played a real Greek bouzouki with De Danann, cross-tuning it and playing wonderfully open, drony, suspended chords under the melodic work of Frankie Gavin. One aspect of Finn’s chords I loved from the get-go was his free use of open strings as he slid up and down the neck on the other courses, implying chords more than actually playing them.

Borrowing left-hand positions from guitar, I came up with some pretty odd fingerings, like the 2-2-0-5 A chord using my thumb to bar the bottom two courses and pinky finger on the high E string. I don’t actually recommend or teach this chord, though I still find myself using it when it suits me. But the chord, or family of chords, that I want to talk about this time started with another A chord that I’ve found more useful than any other chord on the instrument.

Irish tunes are rarely wholly major or minor. In sessions, when I was building repertoire and not always sure where a tune might be going, I tried to stay away from the 3rd scale step, letting the shape of the tune dictate just how major or minor or happy or moody it wanted to be, without my chord choices getting in the way. So my first, idiot-proof A chord was, of course, 2-2-0-0. Sometimes I’d finger it with thumb and second finger, sometimes with second and third fingers. Since it’s just two A’s and two E’s, it’s about as plain and unproblematic as a chord can be.

It was also boring after a while. So as I got cockier and the tunes started sounding familiar, I added a 3rd step, playing A-major as 2-2-4-5, first finger barring the bottom two strings, then ring and pinky fingers covering the top. Again, this got boring, as it’s so flat-footed in its happy majorness. Lifting the pinky and making sure my index finger didn’t kill the high E string, I got a less sweet and much more practical A chord. And then I discovered that I could walk up and down the neck with it and things got more fun in a hurry.

Every scale step from the first through the sixth is chordable with one of two slight variants of the same chord. [insert notation example here.]

I finger both variants the same, using my index finger to cover the bottom two courses and my ring finger on the third course. I find that this gives smoother transitions between the major and minor chords than you get by switching fingers. The high E string stays open and free for all the chords, and that’s part of the joy.

There are countless tunes in A that lend themselves to being chorded with this happy little chordal family. I’ll give you one here that you might not know. This tune, “The Boys of Ballinafad”, is #195 in the O’Neill’s collection “1001 Gems, the Dance Music of Ireland”. For some reason, it’s not widely played in the sessions yet (though I’m hoping to change that). I found it one day while looking for a particular tune to fill a hole in a song arrangement. I love the assymmetric emphasis in the first part, with the strong beat halfway through the second bar, but the echoing phrase unexpectedly jumping the gun and giving twin strong beats for both halves of the sixth bar. This one rocks, folks.

But the second part is the one you can have particular chordal fun with. There are many ways to chord this tune, but I’ve provided one option that shows how easy it is to slide from the major 1-chord to the major 4-chord, and then down through the minor 3-chord and minor 2-chord. Remember that this is just one of many ways to go with this tune. But let it be a jumping-off point for you to try applying these chords to other tunes, whether jig or reel or hornpipe.

For notation this issue, I’ve tried something new, with parallel tab lines to indicate both the melody and the way I pick the chords. You’ll notice that I often suggest hitting an open string while switching from one chord to another. This is both a concession to physics and a joyful reminder that drones are built into the very fabric of Celtic music. You’ll need the space of one eighth-note to get to the next chord and it’s more important to hit the first beat of the new chord than the last beat of the previous one.

And again, remember you can mix things up rhythmically and should try to play the tune at least a little differently every time through. The chord fingerings should work for pretty much any longer scale mando family instrument, though I can’t vouch for you stalwart players of regular mandolins. But heck, give it a whack anyway. And the tune sounds great whichever octave you play it in.

[Click here for Pg. 1 and here for Pg. 2 of printable notation for “The Boys of Ballinafad”]

A Quote from Celtic Sprite: You may find a nice rendering of this tune on Danny Carnahan’s album “Buckdancer’s Coice” with his band “Wake the Dead”

Maureen Brennan: Celtic harp
Cindy Browne: acoustic bass
Danny Carnahan: vocals, octave mandolin, fiddle
Kevin Carr:uilleann pipes, whistle, fiddle
Sylvia Herold: vocals, guitar
Paul Kotapish: vocals, mandolin, bouzouki, guitar, National Steel guitar
Joe Craven: percussion
Brian Rice: percussion

Produced by Danny Carnahan and Paul Kotapish

Visit www.wakethedead.org for more information on the band and links to band members’ other recordings and creative projects.

Released March 2004 on Redwing Music (RWMCD 5413).
For more info on Redwing’s fine line of CDs, visit www.redwingmusic.com

Winter Solstice Festival : Yule Log Crafts and Magic
December 6, 2010, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Celtic Culture
For ancient Germanic and Celtic people, the impulse to celebrate solstice was the same as for their neighbours to the south , a celebration of the cycle of nature and a reaffirmation of the continuation of life.
Yule means “feast” or maybe”wheel” . Midwinter Solstice is the time of year when we experience our shortest day and longest night – the sun is at its lowest point in the sky at noon.
This article was previously posted on Love of the Goddess. All rights reserved by the author.

The Yule log was used by the Celts in their Yule celebrations and rituals. It was usually made from an Oak tree, and decorated with evergreens, mistletoe and holly. Burning the Yule log comes to us from the tradition of the Yule bonfire which symbolized the power of the sun, which was thought to be reborn at the Winter Solstice.

There are many different crafts and magical rituals you can do with a Yule log. For your Yule ritual, take a log of oak or pine (really anything you can get easily) Cut out three holes on the top, you can cover it with some varnish or sealant so it wont dry out. Now put three chime candles in, colors of red, black and white to represent the Goddess. Now you can use this for your Yule ritual! You can also take your Yule log on the night of Yule, carve some symbols in it representing your hopes for the coming year, decorate it with some red ribbon and holly, and then burn it to release its powers.

Making and using a Yule log can become a great family tradition! Kids love making holiday crafts and it’s a good way to introduce them to your Pagan faith. A great little craft to do with kids, is to make mini Yule log ornaments. You can give these away as gifts for Yule, or just simply hang them on your own tree.

Mini Yule Log Ornaments

*A stick about 3 in long
*Red yarn or ribbon
*Small feathers
*Small pieces of evergreen like pine, holly, fir
*Seed beads in your choice of colors
*Hot glue gun

Decorate each small log with the feathers, evergreens and seed beads. Tie a piece of red yarn or ribbon around the center and knot it in a bow. To hang as a tree ornament, add a small ornament hook or a bent paperclip.

These are very easy to make and fun too!
Enjoy making your Yule log family traditions!

Yule log ornaments is from About.com

A quote from Celtic Sprite:

Traditionally the Yule log was lit with the saved stump of last year’s log, and then it was burnt over the twelve days of the winter celebration, and its ashes and stump were kept until the following year to sprinkle on the new log, so that the fortune would be passed on from year to year.

Yule is attested early in the history of the Germanic peoples; from the 4th century Gothic language it appears in the month name “fruma jiuleis”.

The etymological pedigree of the word, however, remains uncertain, though numerous speculative attempts have been made to find Indo-European cognates outside the Germanic group.

About AD 730, the English historian Bede wrote that the Anglo-Saxon calendar included the months geola or giuli corresponding with either modern December or December and January.[3] He gave December 25 as the first day of the heathen year and wrote that the Anglo-Saxons celebrated all night long to honor the Germanic
divine “mothers”:

They began the year with December 25, the day some now celebrate as Christmas; and the very night to which we attach special sanctity they designated by the heathen term Mōdraniht, that is, the mothers’ night — a name bestowed, I suspect, on account of the ceremonies they performed while watching this night through.

Luar Na Lubre : "Solsticio" New CD Album (2010)
December 1, 2010, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Luar Na Lubre, Suggested Albums

” Solstice” , the new release from the renowned Galician Folc Band Luar Na Lubre .

It’s leader, Bieito Romero, in a recent interview with Europa Press, said that Luar Na Lubre is “fully fit” more than 25 years after its birth, and celebrate with “the longest drive of its career, which also opens new avenues in sounds, “for their traditional way of making music now with medieval elements.”
As already mentioned, they plunged into the medieval Galician Portuguese lyric and have worked considering the merger of the traditional pagan music of Galicia and some other European areas “with medieval music more educated, more Christian.” In fact, “hence the title, the ancestral worship of pagan origin.”

“The album opens a new cycle of styles precisely because we have not tried yet so deeply. It is the first time that we get well into the medieval music, with a certain chamber treatment , performing it as the troubadours and the courts in the XII Century. We got something completely different and new, and open a new cycle in the sound,” he underlined.

The Album In Detail Track by Track

01 O son das pedras
Three-part suite created as the soundtrack for the grandeur of the stone, noble material that lasts and resists the passage of time in different buildings made by stonemasons in immemorial times.

The suite is based on three “Cantigas de Santa María” (Canticles of Holy Mary) written by King Alfonso X “The Wise”, numbers 119 “Como somos per consello”, 384 “Por muy gran fremosura” and 179 “Ben Sab’a.”

02 Camiño do Norte
Joy also defines us Galicians as a people, and one way to express it is through music, so we did this Galician “set”. Starting and ending with a dance called “Armentón”, plus the Pasacorredoiras of Pontevedra and Ponteareas, registered with the numbers 442 and 380 in the musical compilation “Cancionero Musical de Galicia” by Casto Sampedro y Folgar.

03 Mia irmana fremosa (MUIÑEIRA DE POIO)
This is one of the 7 medieval chants that came to us by the hand of the Galician troubadour Martin Codax, included in the Vindel parchment, whereat is specified who the author of the compositions is. The “Muiñeira of Poio” is registered in the musical compilation “Cancionero Musical de Galicia” by Casto Sampedro and Folgar as number 315, and in this case is performed with the collaboration of the Irish musician Pat Kilbride.

04 Unha volta polo medio (Traditional Galician)
Pandeirada and Muiñeira, the most popular Galician rhythms by definition, with the vocal performance of the Irish musician Pat Kilbride, an old friend of Luar Na Lubre.

05 Doentes
Waltz and muiñeira composed by Bieito Romero for the soundtrack of the movie “Doentes” by the director Gustavo Balza.

06 A Carolina (SCHIARAZULLA MARAZULLA /A CAROLINA)(Traditional Romance)
The first theme is a Renaissance piece composed by the Italian musician Giorgio Mainerio, included in the songbook “Il primo libro de balli” (1578), which collects folk songs and dances composed by the musician himself.

The second is one of the most popular songs in the traditional Galician music.

07 Quantas sabedes (Martín Codax)
Another of the 7 Martin Codax compositions, known as “Cantigas de Amigo”, true gems of our medieval music and poetry. Here we have the voice of one of the most important Galician singers, master Miro Casabella.

08 Monte Pindo
Musical tribute to our sacred Pindo Mountain, from two original themes by Bieito Romero.

09 A miña amiga (Xosé Quintas Canella)
Beautiful song inspired by the medieval Galician-Portuguese lyric and composed by the musician Xosé Quintas Canella, for whom we feel great admiration and respect and want to pay tribute with our version, which in this case has the collaboration of one of the most privileged voices that we have heard in the last times: Diana Navarro.

10 Na Frouseira (Traditional Romance)
Three-part suite inspired by the death of Marshal Pardo de Cela in front of Mondoñedo Cathedral, ordered by the Catholic Monarchs.

11 Maravillosos et piadosos
Cantiga (song) 139 dedicated to the Holy Mary and attributed to King Alfonso X “The Wise.” In this theme we have the invaluable collaboration of Xulia Cea and the Choral “Canta Compaña.”

12 Ven bailar Carmiña (Traditional Galician)
A classic in Galician traditional music, played as we like: In our own way.

13 Vía Láctea
From immemorial times, the way of stars outlined in the sky known as the Milky Way was a guide for many pilgrims who, guided by its light, reached the Galician Finisterre, where they were amazed by the vast Atlantic Ocean and the breathtaking sunsets that can be seen from there.

14 Sabor a Santa María
Cantigas de Santa Maria, number 328 and 215, whose composition is attributed to King Alfonso X “The Wise,” although there are theories that defend the Galician troubadour, poet and composer Airas Nunes to be the author of a large number of them, including these ones.

15 Trasmontana
Piece inspired in the old “agarrados” (traditional dance) that often made the people of Galicia dance, and with our arrangements and treatment, we intend to continue doing so.

16 Romance de Don Gaiferos (Traditional Romance)
William X, Duke of Aquitaine, is probably the protagonist of this romance, perhaps one of the oldest preserved in Galician. With Germanic origins, it belongs to the Carolingian cycle, was sung by the minstrels and subsequently by the blind, and came to our days thanks to them. Gaiferos de Mormaltán is the noble name of this figure, who arrived as a pilgrim at Compostela where he died in front of the Apostle St. James.

This is our version of a particular theme recovered and recorded for the first time by the musicologist from Ourense – D. Faustino Santalices – to whom we owe the legacy of many “cantigas” he recovered, as well as the revitalization of the hurdy-gurdy, an instrument that he studied, rebuilt and with which left the most interesting recordings on an LP made in 1949.

Pat Kilbride: Acoustic guitar on tracks III and VIII, voice on tracks III and IV.
Miro Casabella: Voice on track VII
Xocas Meijide: clarinet and bass clarinet on track VIII
Diana Navarro: Voices on track IX
Xulia Cea: Voice on track X
Choral “Canta Compaña” Voices on track X
Miguel Queixas, Miguel Cabana and Rubén Montes: bata drums on track X
Rubén Montes: Cajón on track XII
Nani García: Keyboards on tracks IX, X and XVThis C.D. was recorded at “Bruar” Studios at A Coruña.

Bieito Romero and Xabier Ferreiro were the artistic producers of this work, with the key collaboration of all group members.
Mixed at the “Bruar” Studios at A Coruña, by Xabier.

Technical recording and mixing:
Xabier Ferreiro
Technical assistants: Nicolás Vieira and Bruno Area
CD Art: Estefanía Domínguez Cagigao

Feel free to find out more info at their Official Site : www.luarnalubre.com