Posts Tagged ‘Celtic’

Welsh Dream Pop on Echoes

May 15, 2014

The Welsh Band 9Bach has a new CD on Realworld Records.

TincianIt’s been a while since we’ve featured a Welsh band on Echoes. The last one I recall was Ceredwen, a beautifully produced project that released two albums in the late 1990s on the Real Music label. Ceredwen featured the compositions of Andrew Fryer with Renee Gray singing in Welsh. There’s been a few individual artists from Wales along the way, guitarist Gareth Pearson and synthesist Robert Fox among them, and I’m sure there are more but 9Bach is the first in a while. Although 9Bach’s Lisa Jen sings entirely in Welsh, this isn’t traditional music. It just uses traditional forms and modalities as a staging ground for broader compositional concerns. You can hear them on their second CD, Tincian which means a resonant sound. The name 9Bach, by the way, is pronounced the way it looks although it’s meaning is something vaguely like “little grandmother.” We’ll hear 9Bach and more tonight on Echoes.


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John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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Celtic in the Air.

March 17, 2014

A Celtic Echoes Soundscape for St. Patrick’s Day

GloamingAs I put together our Celtic Soundscape for St. Patrick’s Day, I recalled an article I wrote seven years ago called “Whither Celtic Music.”  At the time I was struck by the dearth of new Celtic music coming out.  In 2014, that still remains true.  Now, let me be clear. There is still a vital Celtic music community with lots of discs being released. However, not too much of it is in the Echoes vein. NadurIt’s quite a contrast to even 15 years ago, a few years after the Celtic Craze crescendoed with the 1996 arrival of Riverdance in America,  but when it was still so prevalent in the mass consciousness that we could produce our Celtic Pipeline April Fools piece and it was still relevant. Now, it would be like writing a disco parody. It seems like most of the Celtic musicians have either returned to more traditional roots, or gone dark. Clannad only just returned after a 15 year absence with their album Nádúr, Nightnoise disbanded and two of its principle members Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and  Johnny Cunningham, have passed.  Davy Spillane, the uilleann pipe virtuoso has fallen completely off the map, releasing his last album 10 years ago.  They are all among a long list of artists who populated our normal playlists and the special Celtic shows, but who have disappeared in one way or another. Sacred Spirit

Looking through my CD anthologies to prepare this show, it seemed like every other album was titled Celtic something.  Celtic Harpestry, Celtic Christmas, Celtic Odyssey.  But almost all of them date from the last millennium.  Even seven years ago when Hearts of Space records put out the seventh volume of their signature Celtic Twilight series, there was actually  little Celtic music on it. It’s heavily padded with gothic chants by the musically un-Celtic likes of Jocelyn Montgomery, Stellamara and Mark O’Connor.

There are great Irish artists out there, including Lúnasa, Flook and Kila, but more and more they are sounding a more traditional note and not the evocative Celtic fusion that brought the music to such prominence. Afro Celt Sound System kicked the music to a new level with possibly the last wrinkle in Celtic fusion, but they haven’t released anything in 4 years since their collection Capture: 1995-2010 (for which I wrote the liner notes.)

Journey so FarYet there might be some signs of new life in Celtic music.  Loreena McKennitt’s An Ancient Muse, her last album of original compositions, won Celtic Album of the Year in a New Age Reporter poll, but there is barely a Celtic mode, rhythm, melody or instrument on it. A great album, but the Celtic connection is tenuous. But in recent years McKennitt has returned to her Celtic roots with two albums of traditional songs, The Wind That Shakes the Barely and the live Troubadours of the Rhine. She recently released a compilation that has some of her early Celtic sounds on it.

Afro Celt Sound System’s Iarla O’Lionaird has a new project called The Gloaming taking a chamber approach to his sean nos singing and Afro Celt co-founder, Simon Emmerson works Celtic themes into his pan-global Fresh Handmade Sound Collective.  And then there are new Celts like Seti the First who are Irish but have barely a Celtic sound in their exotic music.

It’s not exactly a Celtic renaissance, but it’s not quite twilight yet.  Hear a different kind of Irish sound tonight on Celtic Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Mark-McGuire-Along-The-WayJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Mark McGuire’s Along the Way is our March CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

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An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

December 16, 2013

Christmas begins today with An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings
Moya Brennan
Jeff Johnson, Brian Dunning and Wendy Goodwin

Aisling Jarvis, Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra in Echoes Living Room

Aisling Jarvis, Moya Brennan, Cormac De Barra in Echoes Living Room

I don’t know how Celtic music came to signify winter, but  slow aires and Celtic harps seem to exemplify a quieter and more atmospheric side of the Winter season.  We’ve dipped into that sound on Sonic Seasonings several times over the years and we’re doing it again.

Last week we recorded our seasonal live performance show, recording two concerts in 24 hours on opposite coasts.  You can hear them tonight on an Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings.

IrishChristmasThis year we have two artists returning.  On Monday afternoon, December 9, with fresh fallen snow on the ground, Moya Brennan came to the Echoes living room with her long time partner, harpist Cormac De Barra and her daughter Aisling Jarvis.  In a testament to time, I first interviewed Moya backstage at the TLA Theater in Philadelphia in 1993 when she was pregnant with Aisling.  And at the time, Moya spelled her name Máire Ní Bhraonáin.

Moya is acclaimed as the singer of Clannad, the Irish band that was part of the Celtic renaissance that began in the 1970s.  That band reformed this year for the album, Nadur, but Moya has been solo for the last 15 years.  This past year she released the album, Affinity with Cormac De Barra under the banner of Voices & Harps.  She also re-released her album, An Irish Christmas with bonus tracks.  We’ll hear this trio in a weave of harp strings and heart-rending harmonies when they play live on An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings.

Jeff Johnson, Wendy Goodwin, Brian Dunning recording Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

Jeff Johnson, Wendy Goodwin, Brian Dunning recording Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

Immediately following Moya’s show in our southeastern Pennsylvania living room, Jeff Towne and I hopped on a flight to Seattle and the next day, December 10, we were in the home studio of keyboardist Jeff Johnson where he’d gathered his Celtic trio of flutist Brian Dunning and violinist Wendy Goodwin.
Jeff Johnson is a veteran of Celtic cross-over and devotional albums with dozens of CDs out on his own Ark Music label as well as Windham Hill and Hearts of Space Records.  Brian Dunning has been with him on many of those

Goodwin, Johnson, Dunning, Diliberto

Goodwin, Johnson, Dunning, Diliberto

recordings.  He has a connection to the early Celtic renaisance as a member of the band Nightnoise which included guitarist Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and his sister, singer and keyboardist Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill.  Mícheál, who died in 2006 had been a member of the legendary and influential Bothy Band.  They are joined by Portland-based violinist Wendy Goodwin who released her solo debut, Place of Refuge last year. Collectively, the trio released a gorgeous CD, of pastoral, ambient winter chamber works called Winterfold this past fall and it’s in the Echoes Top 25 for 2013
WinterfoldThe trio crammed into Johnson’s studio and played beautiful arrangements of music from this album and drew from tracks that have appeared on Johnson & Dunning’s A Quiet Knowing albums and a few Windham Hill collections.

So sit back tonight and enjoy the best Christmas music you’ll hear this year; a sound that will take you out of the shopping malls and into your heart on An Echoes Celtic Sonic Seasonings

John Diliberto (((echoes)))


FoundJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club now and you can put David Helping and Jon Jenkins’ Found under somebodies Christmas tree.  It’s our December  CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.



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Celtic Returns, Prog on the Side, Experiment into Ambient

September 5, 2013

NadurWe’ve got a lot of new music from old friends today on EchoesClannad, the legendary Irish band and one of the groups that launched the Celtic renaissance in the 1980s, returns with their first album in 15 years.  It’s called Nádúr,  Gaelic for nature, and it brings the core members of Clannad back together, including singer Moya Brennan, for those lush harmonies that have made songs like “Theme from Harry’s Game” so enduring.

Scenes from a trainJeff Greinke’s career isn’t as storied as Clannad’s, but he’s been releasing ambient and experimental recordings since the mid-1980s.  He has returned with an album that is his most accessible and also most beautiful.  Scenes from a Train is a gorgeous and subtle album of ambient chamber music with Greinke using live, mostly acoustic musicians.  It’s the last song of the night so stay up for it.  But even if you don’t it’s in heavy rotation so you’ll be hearing it a lot.

EndlessTapesEPColin Edwin returns to the show.  He’s the bassist for Porcupine Tree and we heard him extensively earlier this year on the album he recorded with Jon Durant, Burnt Belief.  On a new EP he teams up with Italian drummer/multi-instrumentalist Alesandro Pedretti.  If you liked Burnt Belief, you’ll like the dark, throbbing but melodic moves of this self-titled EP, Endless Tapes.

Final CallFinally, Kitaro returns with a new album, Final Call.  It’s an ominous title and when I got that as the subject line in a promotional email, I thought I had missed out on something.  Kitaro has retired from his thus far four volume Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai trek to make an album that contemplates the state of the world.  You’ll hear all the Kitaro signatures here, but the cut we]’ll play tonight is a little different.  Kitaro has always been lumped in with space music, but he’s rarely used that iconic sequencer sound of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze.  But he does on a track called “Traveler.”

That’s just part of the trip tonight, on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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Lúnasa Brings Celtic Sounds to Echoes Podcast

June 29, 2013

Hear our interview with Lúnasa in the Echoes Podcast

The Celtic crazed waned over a decade ago, but Celtic music,  like Country & Western and Jazz, never goes away.  Lúnasa are a generation removed from the first Celtic renaissance in the 1970s, but that’s the sound that infuses their take on traditional Irish music.  And like their influences, they expand that sound working with musicians like Natalie Merchant and the Radio and TV orchestra of Ireland.  I talked to them on spring tour of North America.

Lúnasa on Echoes

Lúnasa on Echoes


Kevin Crawford: I wasn’t aware of, like I’m serious, I had never heard of the Beatles.  There was no music of any other sort, only straight ahead traditional music in my house.

Hear our complete interview with Lúnasa in the Echoes Podcast.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

UNQOTSASign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club. With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Olivier Libauxs Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club and see what you’ve been missing.

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Ambient Celtic Music Echoes July CD of the Month.

July 1, 2011

Secret Garden’s Fionnuala Sherry Takes Tradition Ambient on Songs From Before

On her solo debut album, Fionnuala Sherry tackles the old chestnut melodies of her Irish home, but Songs from Before is far from a traditional album.  Instead, Sherry has reimagined these songs, pulling them out of an Irish mist, coaxing them slowly from the low-lying fog of a distant past.  “An Cuilfhíonn,” often know as “The Coolin’” sets the tone with a dark, brooding texture of storm clouds on the horizon. Ghost strings trail Sherry’s violin over a groove that’s part bodhran drum and part electronica loop.

“An Cuilfhíonn” signals that Songs from Before isn’t an album by Secret Garden, the Irish-Norwegian duo that Sherry also  plays in.  With Secret Garden, Sherry plays sweet solos over partner Rolf Lovland’s flocked velvet arrangements, but Songs from Before is something darker and more introspective.

Sherry left Lovland home for this project, but took up with another Norwegian, Kjetil Bjerkestrand.  He adds surreal and shadowed textures to these timeworn melodies.  On songs like “Our Wedding Day” (“She Moved Through the Faire.”) and “My Lagan Love” the familiar tunes sneak up on you, forming like imagined shapes in electronic clouds.

For the most part, Bjerkestrand avoids the clichés you might expect in this kind of cross-over.  He eschews hip-hop grooves and electronica glitch strategies in favor of subtly mutated sounds and hazy textures. When he isn’t conjuring atmospherics, he’ll be laying down “Riders on the Storm” piano and tremolo guitar, like on “The Norwegian Minstrel Boy.”  Only his own song, “The Crossing,” crosses fully over into lounge territory.

Another original composition on the album is Sherry’s “Song from Before.” It taps Balinese gamelan and Japanese koto sounds for its lilting pentatonic backing while Sherry plays a romantic melody across the top, alternating with Espen Leite’s nostalgic accordion.

Nostalgia tints much of the music on Songs from Before which isn’t surprising given the traditional source material. You don’t need the scratchy record sound effects on “The Last Rose” to tell you these are old tunes, but it creates a poignant  contrast with Bjerkestrand’s modern arrangements. “The Last Rose” combines minimalist percussion in a looped groove with pipa plucks for a sound that’s far from the Emerald Isles, yet Sherry’s violin playing never leaves tradition too far behind.

Sherry’s Songs from Before is a haunting album in every sense of that word.  It summons up spirits from a distant past, childhood memories of hearing these songs on her father’s knee, and yearning for a lost time, while also placing those sounds in the modern sonic landscapes of the 21st century.

Fionnuala Sherry’s Songs from Before is the Echoes CD of the Month for July.

You can hear it in a special Echoes show on Monday, July 11th.

 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

20 Icons of Echoes #4: Loreena McKennitt

January 14, 2010

Five Essential Loreena McKennitt CDs

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How much do Echoes listeners love Loreena McKennitt?
They voted not one, but two of her CDs into our list of 200 CDs for 20 Years of Echoes.  And they were #1 and #2.   Her Christmas CD, A Midwinter Night’s Dream, was voted as their number one disc of The Best of Echoes 2009.  Finally they made  Loreena McKennitt their fourth selection for 20 Icons of Echoes.  She began recording in 1985, but it was her 1991 album, The Visit that introduced her to Echoes. She’s been a major part of the show ever since with live performances and interviews and her music was one of the defining sounds of the world fusion played on the show.  We’ll be featuring Loreena McKennitt tonight 01/14/2010, on Echoes with a thorough profile and interview.  She’s only released seven studio albums in 25 years, along with three live recordings.  Here are the five that should be in your collection.

5 Essential Loreena McKennitt CDs

#1 The Mask and Mirror
Loreena McKennitt started out as a Celtic Diva, but she made a radical shift with The Mask and Mirror, a CD that explored Middle Eastern and Moroccan themes and had more dumbek than bodhran, more oud than harp.  In fact, her signature instrument barely appears on a CD that creates a darkly hued landscape of cinematic dimensions.  “The Mystics Dream”  with it’s gothic choirs and churning slow camel lurch has been a favorite in film trailers for years.  The Mask and Mirror is a nearly perfect album as McKennitt revels in the sensuality, mysticism and romance of her caravan journey.

#2 The Visit
This was the first Loreena McKennitt album I heard and I was immediately entranced by her mix of Celtic themes and Indian overtones.  The Visit is a turning point CD for McKennitt as she expanded on her Celtic themes and began finding a new, almost mythical sound.  “All Soul’s Night” is a dramatic rendering of Celtic myth and “The Lady of Shallott” revealed her penchant for the epic tale.  “Cymbeline” may be the most serene track she’s ever composed.

#3 The Book of Secrets
This was the follow up to The Mask and Mirror and it picks up on many of the same Middle Eastern themes.  Again there are epic stories like “The Highwayman”, gorgeous instrumentals like “La Serenissima” and on this album, the closest McKennitt has come to a hit, “The Mummer’s Dance.” A remix of the song got up to #18 on Billboard’s Hot 100. This is one of the more Celtic songs on the album, mixing hurdy gurdy with Middle Eastern percussion from Hossam Ramzy and the earthy bass of Danny Thompson.

#4 An Ancient Muse
It was nearly a decade between studio albums, but you’d never know they way McKennitt picked up the caravan exactly where she got off on The Book of Secrets with her mystical journey through Middle Eastern and northern Saharan cultures.  You’ll find the same kind of album opening incantation that she used on the previous two CDs,  calling out in a wordless voice across an echoing space, cleansing the air and the mind.   What follows is a lot like those albums as well, a pan-global excursion centered on Middle Eastern themes and instruments cast into a dramatic exotica.   Taken as a group, An Ancient Muse sounds like a bit of a retread, but on its own, it’s as compelling as any of McKennitt’s other CDs.

#5 Parallel Dreams
This is not Loreena at her most Celtic.  That would be her first CD, Elemental which is mostly traditional songs sung by Loreena and played on harp.  But Parallel Dreams is the album where she realized she was an artist and all that entails.  She wrote much of the music herself, including songs like “Huron Beltane Fire Dance” which presages the moods and grooves of “The Mystics Dream.”  Although not as elaborately produced as her later CDs, Parallel Dreams, shows McKennitt stretching the concept of Celtic music and getting read to move on to grander themes.  The other records are epic, but this may be her most charming outing.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

200 CDs for 20 Years of Echoes

20 Icons of Echoes

The Best of Echoes 2009

Anna Schaad’s Electronica Love Song

December 23, 2009

A Celtic Violinist, Electronica Tone Poem s and Jet Pilots.

You can hear an audio version of this Echoes Blog, with Anna Schaad‘s music

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On the surface, violinist Anna Schaad might seem like a New Age artist with Loreena McKennitt aspirations.  Her first three albums often found her in renaissance garb on the covers, with titles like “Raven in the Meadow,” “Roll in the Heather” and “The Journey.”  Given all that, you have to wonder what’s happening on a track called “Flyboy” with electronic drones and the cockpit chatter of pilots.

Anna Schaad:  Yes, there’s, you’re gonna hear the pilots up in the air talking, um, their navy talk in the background here. And a little bit of a, an F-16 or a ES6B Prowler.  Which is a very loud jet that flies, flies the friendly skies above us.

You’ll have to search long and hard to find a New Age or even modern instrumental album, that has any kind of imagery based in the military. It probably takes a musician married to a Navy pilot to pull that off, and Anna Schaad has done it on her latest album, Dream Within a Dream.  It’s a love song to her husband of 4 years, lieutenant commander Jeff Montgomery.

Anna Schaad: It was written last year when my husband, who’s a Navy pilot, was away for seven months.  We’d had deployments before.  I’ve been married to him now for four years.  But seven months was the biggest, longest time we’d been apart.  And when you’re apart from someone, boy, that’s a great time to especially as an artist.  Nothing like a little angst to fuel you creative process. And so, yeah, a lot of the songs are kind of a tribute to him.

Blonde and blue eyed, with a slight crook in her nose that gives her that sassy look of Ellen Barkin, Anna Schaad is dressed down in jeans and a pale pink sleeveless shirt.  She’s a Pacific Northwest girl born and bred and currently lives in Bellingham, north of Seattle. She started out as a classical musician, but got sidetracked by celtic music.

Anna Schaad: Learning Celtic made me break out of my classical, mode.  And I love the classical mode but it’s just different and it adds a whole another dimension to your playing.

Her first three albums are heavily Celtic-influenced, but she took another turn with her 2009 CD, Dream Within a Dream.

Anna Schaad: What happened was I heard the Buddha Bar series of ambient techno.  The really low down tempo techno that’s got lush sounds from around the world and lots of different components to it.  But very, very laid back but I got hooked on those hip hop rhythms and just the feel of it.  And I said, “That’s the direction I want to go.

Anna Schaad & Jeff Montgomery @ Echoes

Dream Within a Dream is a mix of electronica, world music, a touch of Celtic and lots of Anna Schaad’s violins.  She’s got a bunch of them, from electric to acoustic.

Anna Schaad:  I have a lot of them.  Yeah, there’s a lot of instruments under my bed. Don’t tell anybody [laughs].  That’s where I put ’em when I’m not using ’em.

When they aren’t under her bed, they’re stacked up into orchestras of strings on her albums.

Anna Schaad: On my, my last album before this, The Journey, it has pretty orchestral, in fact that’s the most, most orchestral of my first three ones.  And I did do that, by layering many violins.  Sort of like Enya layered many, many voices for her thing maybe, and I was frustrated with that cause it still doesn’t give you that symphonic sound.  So, combining that with really good orchestral synth patches is where, this gave me a more orchestral sound.

Although she wanted to get away from her classical background, it finds it’s way back in on tracks like “And Then She Flew.”

Anna Schaad:  Samuel Barber‘s “Adagio for Strings” is my, my number one string piece.   I used to listen to it on my parents’ record player every day after school and weep on the floor.  [laughs]  I guess I’m a little bit of a sap.  But that’s an incredible piece.  And, there is actually a little tribute to Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” in that song.

For Anna Schaad, every song is a story and her violins are the perfect storytellers.

Anna Schaad: Violin, for me, is a story telling instrument.  In fact I used to do a program called The Talking Fiddle. And I think that’s the gist of it really.   It’s a talking instrument.  It’s telling a story.  You think, just because it doesn’t have lyrics it doesn’t have a story.  But they do.

Perhaps apropos of that, her album title comes from one of the greatest storytellers ever, Edgar Allen Poe.  You can hear Anna Schaad’s stories on her latest CD, Dream Within a Dream.
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John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

New Celtic Christmas Music

December 17, 2008

Aine Minogue, Loreena McKennitt and Enya do a  Celtic Christmas

(You can hear an Audio Version of this blog with music excerpts from these albums.)

Celtic music and Christmas go together as well as Handel‘s Messiah and Christmas. If you want to tap into that contemplative, fireplace, snowflakes and Christmas tree mood, there’s nothing like a good Celtic aire to get you there.

enya-winter-cvrA new CD by the Irish Singer Enya is called  And Winter Came.  Surprisingly, it has only two carols on it, one of them being Enya’s Gaelic version of “Silent Night” which she’s recorded before. But instead of releasing an entire album of carols, she’s written original tunes for the season that drip in sentimentality wrapped in the velvet cocoon of her vocal choirs.

All the Enya hallmarks are here from the swooning choruses to the pizzicato synth strings. And there’s even another song in the tradition of “Orinoco Flow” called “Trains and Winter Rains”

A Midwinter Night\'s Dream Another Celtic Diva, Loreena McKennitt enters the Christmas fray with A Midwinter Night’s Dream. Much of it reprises music from her “A Winter Garden” EP from 1995 including original songs like “Snow.” Celtic sounds abound, but she also takes some traditional carols and spins them through her Moroccan mixer.

winter-cvrAine Minogue is an Irish harpist and singer. She touches a different side with a DVD called Winter: A Meditation. She takes songs from across her catalog that evoke the mystery of the winter season and marries them to beautiful slow mo nature scenes and vaguely ritualistic tableaus. Aine says that songs like “The Grove” draw a lot of inspiration from Druid myths, where it’s believed many Christmas traditions have their origins.

Aine Minogue: The groves were very precious and holy to the ancient Druids and it centers around the idea of creating a sacred space to invite in the other world, particularly at the power times of the year like the winter solstice.

Aine Minogue will be playing live on the Echoes Sonic Seasonings show along with Sumner McKane, Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter and Tim Farrell. Check your local station for times. This has been an Echo Location, soundings for new Christmas music.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echo Location: Solas and the Celtic Tradition

September 25, 2008

Celtic veterans Solas find new dimensions in a traditional sound when they play live on Echoes.

You can hear an Audio Version of this blog with music.

Music From The Show Celtic WomanThe Celtic boom of the Riverdance days are long over, leaving only the fructose sweetened foam of marketing campaigns like Celtic Woman. But real Celtic music continues to be played, and real Irish musicians continue to take their heritage and bring it forward into the 21st century. No one does it better    than Solas, the  band headed up by multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan.                                                                                                 
Seamus Egan had his day in the spotlight during the Celtic craze, scoring the soundtrack for The Brothers McMullen which included a hit he wrote for Sarah McLachlan, “I Will Remember You.” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
But he was making Celtic music long before that and has continued long after. Solas pushes the boundaries of Celtic music from the inside out. American born and Irish raised, Seamus Egan grew up playing traditional music, but with his band Solas, he’s always treated tradition with a modernist’s sensibility.

Seamus Egan: I think one of the reasons Irish music has stayed as, I don’t know, if not always on the air 24 hours a day but it’s always around because it’s a music that has allowed itself to evolve. But it’s been able to avoid ending up in a museum.

For Love and Laughter After some experiments with electronica and electric guitars, Solas has returned to their core sound on their latest CD, For Love and Laughter.   There’s not much in the way of electronics, except a hint of electic guitar. Otherwise, it’s virtuoso playing from multi-instrumentalist Egan, Mick McAuley on button accordion and guitar, Eamon McElholm on guitar and keyboards, and Winifred Horan playing violin. The album also marks the debut of their new singer from County Kilkenny, Mairead Phelan.

Even when they’re playing songs by Tom Waits or Bob Dylan, Solas somehow makes them Celtic.

Winifred Horan: The instrumentation definitely dictates that it’s Celtic, like the accordion, the whistle, the fiddle. Because even examining some of the breaks or the intros and the outros on some of the songs like, they wouldn’t be typically Celtic, I don’t think. Rhythmically they’re not what would be considered traditional. I think it’s definitely it’s more of the instrumentation that leads the listener to believe that it’s Cetlic.

Solas continue their new Celtic traditions on their latest CD, For Love and Laughter. We’ll hear them live on Echoes Monday, September 29.

You can also hear an Audio Version of this blog with music.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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