Celticsprite’s Blog

Suggested Albums: "Bare Foot Folk" – Ange Hardy – 2013
May 14, 2013, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Reviews, Suggested Albums

I am pleased to share with you this new album review from Ange Hardy…She is  a folk singing songwriting mum of two who loves all things creative, arty and musical. 
She performs in Somerset · http://www.angehardy.com 

This, her second studio album, was chosen as album of the week this coming week!

So don’t forget to listen all this week either online on http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcsomerset/on-air or on 95.5FM or 1566AM.

This is her own perspective of her new work. All rights reserved by the author.

I have been busy rehearsing for my studio sessions next week where I will be recording my new album “Bare Foot Folk” for release in late May 2013. It will have a mix of some of the songs written for writing challenges such as 50/90 and FAWM on it and also some songs written in the exploration of my ‘Folk Roots’ with a number of songs which have not yet left the kitchen table!
‘Bare Foot Folk’ will be a ‘true’ representation of me as an artist, my roots. It will be just me and my guitar with a warm layer of vocal harmonies so that I can recreate each song live with my looping machine when on tour. No tricks. No ‘fluff’ just me…a folk singer songwriter, sharing my story. I’ve pre-recorded a demo and it sounds beautiful, I’m really very excited to see how much more amazing it will sound once my technician Olly has had his hands in it 🙂
I am relying totally on pre-orders for the funding of this album, so if you think you will be buying a copy…please pre-order it now by clicking on the picture of the album cover above.
Ange x

Posted by Ange Hardy on March 6th 2013

>How to build a "Leprechaun Treasure Box"
March 3, 2011, 12:24 pm
Filed under: Faerie Lore, Reviews


St Patrick’s Day is coming! Why not to start a new St. Patrick’s Day tradition with your family by making a treasure box and leaving it out under the moon on the night before St. Patrick’s Day where a leprechaun might find it?… I would like to share with you this lovely post as featured on my partner site CelticRadio.net (All rights reserved by the authors)

Legend has it that if a Leprechaun comes across a decorated treasure box under the moon, he must fill it with gold, jewels or gifts. After filling the box with loot, the leprechaun then hides it in hopes that no one will find it on St. Patrick’s Day because if it is found on St. Patrick’s Day the treasure belongs to whoever found it and remains in our world. If the treasure is not found on St. Patrick’s Day, then the leprechaun may retrieve what is rightfully his.

The box should be small enough for a tiny leprechaun to reach over the sides in order to fill it. If it is too big, the leprechaun won’t be able to fill it with riches and it will remain empty. An empty tissue box, a shoe box or a small treasure box from the craft store are the perfect size for leprechauns to work with.

Bring out the glitter, paint, glue, buttons, ribbon, stickers and other craft supplies. Let your child decorate the box in whatever way he or she is inspired to do. The gaudier it is, the better to attract leprechauns. Allow to dry.

Just before bedtime, help your child find a spot where the moon will shine on the box over night. It could be a windowsill or on the front porch.

Overnight, while the child is asleep, a leprechaun will stumble across the box and fill it with treasure. (Hint, hint – this is where you come in.) Choose goodies such as chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, bubble solution, trading cards, a bag of marbles, costume jewelry and other little items your child enjoys. Next hide the box because, remember, leprechauns are tricky and they want to keep the treasure for themselves. Leave little clues in the form of a shamrock trail leading to the hiding spot or a riddle to solve.

Oona McOuat : "Honey and Holy Water"
November 16, 2010, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Reviews, Suggested Albums
I recently had the chance to discover this talented harpist and musician on the net. Besides her enlightened spirit, musical qualities and style… what conquered me most was her storytelling, as Oona states… “we are gathering all over the planet – the healers and rememberers, the wounded and the weavers. In halls and hovels, in backyards and on beaches, men and women are gathering to remember the power within and the mystery without. Together, we are weaving the beauty into form“.
You may have a granted access to the first chapter of her novel “The Remember” written in solitude on a cottage in Ireland on her official page. (To read a PDF preview of the first chapter just Click here.)

Let us take a brief bio quote from her Official Press :

Rooted in the earthy and the ethereal, Oona moves beyond the gentleness traditionally associated with the harp to create music that is timeless yet contemporary. With her band Dream Deep she bridges the primal and the beautiful with startling grace. Evocative lyrics and world instruments merge to create a sound that is soulful, moving and transcendent.

Songwriting re-emerged through a series of dreams. “Reconnecting with my muse was like awakening from a long winter’s sleep,” remembers Oona. And so began an intense period of creative development including studies in authentic movement, clowning and Butoh. She began to explore world music. In 1991, she was the featured female vocalist on Celso Machado’s Juno-nominated album TAIRA, singing in Portuguese and Yamomami. Then she followed the ancestral call and traveled to Scotland to discover her roots. From 1991 to 2005, she wintered on the Big Island of Hawaii, swimming and singing with wild dolphins and whales and exploring sound to new depths. She developed a music program based on singing and playing from the inside out, and became an inspired and dedicated teacher, expanding her work to include story, the mythic realms and environmental awareness and stewardship.

Oona and her band Dream Deep perform at arts centers, festivals and concert halls; her warm and heartfelt presence transform an ordinary performance into an extraordinary event.

The Album

Sweet and soulful, Oona McOuat’s (pronounced oo-na mick-kew-it) new album Honey and Holy Water flows with urgency and wonder.
Like the ocean is a stage for a dolphin’s song, Oona McOuat finds her voice and inspiration from the earth.

The Saltspring Island singer-songwriter and harpist found many of the songs on her new album, Honey and Holy Water, hiding in Hawaiian waters or hanging from tropical fruit trees. The Vancouver-born vagabond has been living on Saltspring for the last three years, but called Hawaii home for more than a decade.

Her day would start with a dip in the ocean, swimming with wild dolphins. “They honestly taught me so much about being alive,” McOuat said – they inspired her music and gave it purpose. “(They had) this absolute unconditional love that could only awaken in me a love for the ocean, as well as a love for wild creatures and a desire to protect and preserve their habitats.”

While her music isn’t traditionally Celtic, she said, “the Celts had a very strong affinity and relationship to the land and to nature. I feel like I’m resurrecting that in a contemporary sense.

She wrote the album’s first track, “Mystery,” after spending the day on the big island of Hawaii. Surrounded by huge cliffs lined with a black sand beach, she saw wild horses, just like in any good fairy tale.

My desire is to create a platform where there’s beautiful and enlivening and fun music (raising) funds and awareness for groups that are doing grassroots environmental work.”

From the fun and funky re-creation of the trad tune “Drowsy Maggie” to “The Wild Ones'” heartfelt plea for preservation, through the broken-open love song, “Where the Emptiness is Full”, this album navigates mystery and loss with purity and grace while encouraging us to cherish what might yet be saved.

Listen to song samples here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/oonamcouat

Listen to whole songs here: http://www.reverbnation.comww.reverbnation.com/oonamcouat

ReverbNation Acquires Mobile ‘Band App’ Developer Sound Around
November 9, 2010, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Reviews

ReverbNation Acquires Mobile ‘Band App’ Developer Sound Around

(Durham, NC – October 19th, 2010) ReverbNation, the leading Marketing and Promotion Platform for over 900,000 Musicians, Labels, Managers and Venues, has acquired Sound Around, a North Carolina mobile application development company focused on creating custom mobile applications for Bands and Musicians.

The acquisition will enable ReverbNation to extend its comprehensive set of tools for Bands and Musicians to include the creation of mobile applications for its user base. Details of the transaction are not being released.

“Sound Around has built a great platform for Artists to easily create custom mobile applications for their fans,” said Jed Carlson, co-founder and chief operating officer of ReverbNation. “We are excited to bring their technology and expertise into our company and look forward to providing mobile apps to our users in the near future.”

“In starting Sound Around, Scott and I set out to bring compelling and affordable mobile solutions to DIY Artists. This acquisition represents a significant leap in our ability to positively affect the music industry by allowing Artists to both acquire new fans and engage existing fans on a deeper level,” said Steve Klein, CEO of Sound Around. Added President of Sound Around, Scott Klein “We’re both very excited to be joining a fantastic team with an impressive appetite for building valuable industry tools.”

About ReverbNation:
ReverbNation is the leading online music marketing platform used by more than 900,000 Artists, Managers, Record Labels, and Venues to grow their reach, influence, and business across the internet. ReverbNation provides free and affordable solutions to individual Artists and the music industry professionals that support them in the areas of web promotion, fan relationship management, digital distribution, social media marketing, direct-to-fan e-commerce, fan behavior measurement, sentiment tracking, Web site hosting, and concert booking and promotion.

ReverbNation’s innovation is in developing technologies that integrate the wide array of distribution, marketing, and promotional functions used by the music industry into one comprehensive and easy-to-use business application – helping virtually any artist grow their revenues, and providing insight into how each marketing input contributes to overall outcomes. For more information, please visit ReverbNation.com and follow ReverbNation on Twitter: www.twitter.com/reverbnation.

ReverbNation Media Contact:
Jed Carlson

Andy Irvine : The "Abocourragh" Interview – Sept 2010
November 4, 2010, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Influential Musicians, Reviews, Suggested Albums

Interview previously published on the Manchester Wired, by Julian Fowler . All rights reserved by the author.

A barn on a County Fermanagh farm used for lambing and to store hay isn’t the first place you would expect a musician to launch their new album.But the venue made perfect sense to Irish singer and songwriter, Andy Irvine.

His career has spanned five decades, and as a member of the folk band Planxty he achieved widespread success in the 1970s alongside Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn.

Since then he has travelled the world, a troubadour of traditional music, playing the mandola, bouzouki and harmonica.

His new solo album, Abocurragh, reflects his globetrotting experiences.

It was made mainly in Dublin but a lot of people were recorded in Hungary, in Norway, Australia. The album had been around the world before it came out,” he said.

The album is named after a townland about eight miles from Enniskillen, although his home is actually in the adjoining townland, Ballysooragh.

I didn’t think Ballysooragh was a great name for an album,” Andy explained, “so Abocurragh looked much more attractive and there’s about three houses up there too.”

To launch his new album, he has returned to his home on County Fermanagh.

He has shunned the glitzy hotels and city-based celebrities and chosen instead to perform in a hay shed.

The idea for the “Silo Pit Session” came from Andy’s landlady Janie Crone who owns the farm with her husband John.

The family has been busy transforming the farmyard into Northern Ireland’s newest music venue.

She said: “We would normally round bale but we’ve actually square baled so seating is bales of hay.

“You can see we’ve just used bales of hay along the back of the silo pit and covered it in black stuff to try and make it look at least more like a stage.”

What will the acoustics be like in the barn which is more used to the sound of bleating lambs?

“It’s a tin roof so it has been very tinny but we’ve had some good advice,” said Mrs Crone.

“As soon as the hay came in, it acts like furnishings in a house so that kind of echo sound has gone so we’re hoping for the best. We just don’t need rain on the tin roof!”

The venue is perfect for Andy Irvine as it is a short walk from his house.

Sitting on bales of hay it will be very rural and it’s just next door to me, so if I get tired I can go and have a lie down between songs,” he added.

Several hundred people arrived for the gig and made themselves comfortable on the bales of hay.

It was an intimate performance of songs from the new album and from Andy Irvine’s 45 year musical career.

It may have been a bit cold, but the acoustics were excellent and, to Mrs Crone’s relief, there was no rain falling upon the tin roof.

Andy’s New Solo album out now!! September 2010

Album of the century!”
Well…my first solo album since 1999. Recorded in Dublin, Norway, Australia,
Hungary and Brittany between February 2009 and April 2010.
Thanks to all my friends who helped me record it.
Especially Dónal Lunny who worked so hard in the prduction of it,
let alone playing on every track bar one.
I hope it won’t be my last album of the century!!

Produced by Dónal Lunny
Musicians are :
Dónal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn, Máirtín O’Connor, Annbjørg Lien, Lillebjørn Nilsen,
Nikola Parov, Jacky Molard, Bruce Molsky, Rens van der Zalm, Rick Epping,
Graham Henderson, Paul Moore, Liam Bradley, Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton

Track list: (click titles for 30-sec samples)
1. Three Huntsmen MP3
2. Willy of Winsbury MP3
3. Emptyhanded MP3
4. The Close Shave / East at Glendart
5. James Magee
6. The Girl from Cushendun / The Love of my Life
7. The Spirit of Mother Jones MP3
8. Victory at Lawrence
9. The Demon Lover
1. Banks of Newfoundland
2. Oslo / Norwegian Mazurka

Suggested Albums: "Abocurragh" – Andy Irvine (2010)
November 4, 2010, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Influential Musicians, Reviews, Suggested Albums
It’s been 11 years since Andy Irvine last released a solo album. Not that he’s been idle: Patrick Street, Planxty and Mozaik have all triumphed on the back of his finely etched songs and layered mandola, guitar, bouzouki and harmonica. Abocurragh is a richly fermented reminder of the finesse Irvine wore so lightly, particularly with Planxty, whose ghost treads throughout this collection.

This might well be his best solo album to date and stands alongside classics such as his album with Paul Brady, the Planxty albums and his two recordings with Mozaik.

Andy Irvine’s longstanding journey through music has been well documented, from his early skiffle days to O’Donoghues pub, set in 1960s Dublin, and his through his work with Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Paul Brady and Patrick Street, not to mention countless other collaborations and four solo albums. This album, his fifth solo, has been a long time coming but when you consider the distractions; a widely publicised Planxty get-together, an incredible adventure with his world-folk ensemble Mozaik, regular Patrick Street sojourns and that endless trek around the world, you can excuse the delay.

Abocurragh (a reference to his residence outside Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh) is not just one man’s album; it is a gathering of great musicians and a dramatic journey for the listener. That journey somehow involves murder, confidence tricks, cannibalism, and the divil himself. But fear not, such macabre themes are offset with the loveliest of music, not to mention a brilliant wit.

Liam O’Flynn and Dónal Lunny weave richly arranged skeins of light through Irvine’s eclectic song choices, and Máirtín O’Connor adds the subtlest of patterns on box. Willie of Winsbury, revived from Irvine’s days with Sweeney’s Men, is a pitch-perfect reading of an epic saga laden with medieval drama (milk white steeds, prisoner kings, errant lovers, infinite riches). Irvine’s ageless voice alights on every twist and turn of the tale with an agility that folk interpreters would do well to note.

He’s in fine voice throughout, his mandola, bouzouki and harmonica are as virtuosic as ever and the song selection is superb. This is a wonderfully varied collection, moving from stirring union songs like his own epic “Victory At Lawrence” to the rustic whimsy of “The Girl Of Cushenden” and on to the vast and brooding re-telling of “The Demon Lover” complete with a time signature that defies analysis and a stunning arrangement (courtesy of the album’s producer, Donal Lunny, one suspects) involving strings and even an orchestral bass drum which still manage to complement, rather than drown, Andy’s own playing. – breathtaking! He has managed to break new ground yet again with this album, whilst still staying true to the music and the causes he believes in – a rare combination!

At the helm is producer Dónal Lunny, one of Andy’s longest running musical partners since Planxty. If anyone knows their way around the complex psyche of Irvine songs and arrangements it is Lunny and an album that has, for all intents and purposes, being brewing for a decade, it would seem almost inconceivable not to have this man at the controls pulling it altogether.

An Andy Irvine album wouldn’t be so without the inclusion of songs relating to political corruption and the socialist struggle for equality. There is a triumvirate of songs included here which very much relate to this side of the artist. “Emptyhanded”, written by Greek songwriter George Papavgeris, details the plight of poor Australian farmers battling droughts and unsympathetic banks. The line “My savings went to buy this land but all it’s good for is to bury me” evokes the pure sadness of the song, the pathos further enabled by the soft, elegiac arrangement. “The Spirit of Mother Jones” is an original song telling story of militant agitator Mary Harris who campaigned for the rights of American mining families from the late 19th century to her death in 1930. An American style folk song where Andy once again calls on the strength of spirit of his lifelong hero Woody Guthrie. “Victory at Lawrence”, another self-penned tune, is a tribute to the Lawrence Mills strike of 1912, “nearly a watershed in the social history of the USA” had it not been for the Depression of 1913, unemployment and the inability of Andy’s beloved Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) to motivate a strong enough union.

Some of the tracks on the album were long awaited to be released as they are part of his live repertiore for many years now, like “The close shave” or “The spirit of Mother Jones”. But there are also lots of new songs and a newly recorded “Willy of Winsbury” (Remember Sweeney’s Men?).

Undoubtedly “Never Tired of The Road”, Andy Irvine is back again and kicking scores!

Produced by Dónal Lunny
Musicians are :
Dónal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn, Máirtín O’Connor, Annbjørg Lien, Lillebjørn Nilsen,
Nikola Parov, Jacky Molard, Bruce Molsky, Rens van der Zalm, Rick Epping,
Graham Henderson, Paul Moore, Liam Bradley, Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton

Track list: (click titles for 30-sec samples)
1. Three Huntsmen MP3
2. Willy of Winsbury MP3
3. Emptyhanded MP3
4. The Close Shave / East at Glendart
5. James Magee
6. The Girl from Cushendun / The Love of my Life
7. The Spirit of Mother Jones MP3
8. Victory at Lawrence
9. The Demon Lover
1. Banks of Newfoundland
2. Oslo / Norwegian Mazurka

Andy will be performing some Gigs through Europe and back in Ireland fro December
Further info at www.andyirvine.com

Suggested Albums: Covalbú – "Mai" ("Mother")
July 19, 2010, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Reviews, Suggested Albums
“Mai” (“Mother”) is the debut album of the galician folk band COVALBLÚ , a mixture of folc, traditional music and fusion of styles, that is it COVALBLÚ who bursts onto the music scene today.
My harpist friend Clara Pino (ex-Sete Saias) is part of this group with this self-production, a recurrent phenomenon in the Galician Folc scene.

Songs sung with the voices of Clara and the cellist Abel Afonso in a modern musical concept that assumes, mostly, the authorship of songs, without neglecting traditional pieces, and a theme created for them by Rodrigo Romani ( former harpist of the Galician group “Milladoiro”).

COVALBLÚ arises in 2007 due to the interest of its five components for the traditional music of Galicia, and also as a result of the experience of its members in different former groups (Sete Saias, Faltriqueira, Fuxan os Ventos, Quempallou) and performances at major festivals such as those of Ortigueira or Lorient.

Recorded and mixed by Isaac Miller, produced by the same group, “Mai” is a masterpiece in the key of Folc. A true exercise in perfect balance for the musical benefit of the listener.

The five tools that make the group sound (Celtic harp, violin, classical guitar, cello and percussion), together with the two voices, are quite suitable for wrapping up the development of this proposal, layed upon basically on an acoustic basis.
In addition, music and art join forces in this work by the cover designed by renowned artist Xavier Maghallaes, which makes “Mother” a very complete musical work, with a rather interesting result.

Feel free to listen to some tracks from the album on their official website: