Rachel Newton – “One Hour More”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d really like to share with you this beautiful, melancholic piece from Scottish. Harpist and folk singer Rachel Newton. This is her original composition, from her 2016 album Here’s My heart, Come Take it. 

Llio Rhydderch – “Melangell”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you this beautiful and delightfully long piece played by Llio Rhydderch, the Welsh triple harp player whose music I really love and have shared on here many times. This is the title track from her album Melangell. Melangell is a Welsh feminine name said to originate from the Welsh words mêl meaning honey, and angell meaning angel. It’s the name of a Welsh early saint who is considered a patron saint of little creatures and whose feast day is on 27 May, her name can be also latinised as Monacella. I’ve actually once shared a song about her sung by Plu

Gwen Màiri – “Y Dydd Drwy’r Ffenest” (The Day Through the Window”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I want to share with you a beautiful piece from Gwen Màiri’s album Mentro (Venture), an amazing album from which I’ve already shared several tracks in the past. In case you don’t know, Gwen Màiri Yorke is a harpist and folk singer of both Scottish and Welsh heritage, who is both a Scottish Gaelic as well as Welsh native speaker. On this album, she is accompanied by Jordan Price Williams on cello, as well as Gwilym Bowen Rhys on several instruments, but in this particular piece we can hear him playing the mandolin. As far as I’m aware, this tune is Gwen’s original composition. 

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra – “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Continuing yesterday’s lullaby theme, today I’d also like to share with you a lullaby/nursery rhyme. I really like this orchestral arrangement of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, it makes it sound more interesting. It is performed by the Hobart-based Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the smallest of all the orchestras established by ABC. 

Sally Fletcher – “Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral”.

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to introduce you to another interesting harpist, who as far as I’m aware belongs more to what I call «relaxing harpist» camp, rather than folk or classical or something like that. Sally is also an organist, pianist and teacher. Still, the tune played by her that I want to share with you today is definitely a contemporary folk one. It is an Irish-American song that was written by James Roys Shannon and first performed by Chauncey Olcott, and later popularised again by Bing Crosby. 

Aine Minogue – “Dark Island”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you this pensive and relaxing piece by one of my favourite harpists – Aine Minogue – which she recorded together with other instrumentalists that she collaborates with. For those who are new to Aine’s music, she is an Irish Celtic harpist as well as singer and composer who was born in county Tipperary but currently resides in Boston. 

Sophie Zelmani – “Bright Eyes”.

   Hiya guys! 🙂 

   Yesterday we had a song about the fragility of life, and today’s song is also existential-themed, as it talks about death. The original version of this song, as most people will probably know, was recorded by Art Garfunkel In the 70’s, with the lyrics written by Mike Batt. I don’t really have any special feelings for this song as such (not even the fact that Declan Galbraith, one of my faza people, has covered it as well) but Sophie’s version is nice. I’ve introduced Sophie Zelmani to y’all a bit earlier this year, so if you read that post you know how I find her quite special, because even though her music never gives me any thrills or strong emotions or isn’t somehow breathtakingly beautiful, her voice is exceptionally soothing and calming to my brain, and I like her modest gentleness very much, and I like to listen to her when I’m having a migraine. So that’s why I thought she deserves more than just one of her songs being featured on here. 

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Y Ddeilen Dobaco” (The Tobacco Leaf).

   Hey people! 🙂 

    I thought I’d really like to share with you something from Gwilym’s latest  album, the second one in the Detholiad o Hen Faledi (Selection of Old Ballads) series, because so far I guess I’ve only shared one song from it on here, and it’s a really good album as I’ve already said so deserves some more attention on here. So I chose for today an interesting song from 19th century, in which the lyrical subject ponders on the transience and fragility of our earthly lives while smoking a pipe. It was written by poet Ebenezer Thomas, known under his bardic name of Eben Fardd (Bard Eben), and set to a traditional tune. The translation below comes from Gwilym’s website

  The tobacco leaf comes from afar,
be it good or ill to those who take it,
in the morning it is full of colour,
but in the afternoon it withers
and this shows us all
that we are not going to last here very long,
that we’re only people in clay pipes,
that’s what I think whilst smoking it

The white clay pipe, the colour of pure fine snow
that shines so bright as I see it.
when this falls, it quickly breaks,
and is cast away without a second thought,
and that’s how we are, though so bright at our dawn,
and all the good intentions we might have -
only a small strike will leave us broken on the floor,
I think all the while whilst smoking it.

The pipe, when used, obtains a bad colour,
the ash and the smoke blackens it.
to get it clean again,
one must put it in the fire to re-purify it.
and so are we with our black, cruel sins,
full of uncleanliness, inside and out,
until we are re-purified through spirit and grace,
I rightly think as I smoke it.

The sparks ascend to the heavens
to seek the element that’s there
and likewise the smoke rises,
we can clearly see it climbing.
and this clearly shows us all the while
that were are all but travellers, the wisest in the world -
let’s not place our desires in material things,
I always think whilst smoking it.

The ash and dottle stay on behind,
in a way that is to be remembered -
from the soil we came, loud is our noise,
to the soil we shall return again.
the earth to the earth, we’ll return on our way,
the ash to the ash, and the body like it was before.
our life disappears like smoke in the wind
I carry on thinking whilst smoking it.


Diana Rowan – “The Celtic Sonata: “The Star of Munster/Cremonea/Glenlivet”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I thought I’d share with you this lovely harp piece called The Celtic Sonata, as it consists of three movements, each of them being a traditional Celtic tune. The first one is a reel called The Star of Munster. The second – Cremonea, also known as Cremonia, which is the anglicised spelling of its Irish title Croí Muimhneach (Munster Heart) – is a tune composed by the blind Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan. The third one is called Glenlivet, and I’ve already shared a different version of it in the past, played by Kim Robertson

   Diana Rowan is a Celtic harpist and pianist from Dublin, but currently lives in the US, although she also travels a lot as she does a lot of concerts and gives lectures. 

Celtic Woman – “Wild Mountain Thyme”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I thought I’d share with you a song by the amazing supergroup Celtic Woman, which is an all-female folk band created and led by David Downes. I really like their music, and listened to them particularly much as a teenager when I was still rather new to the world of Celtic and folk music in general. This song comes from their latest album from last year called Postcards From Ireland, and the soloist here is Chloe Agnew, who is I believe one of the more recognisable and liked members of this group of all time, as she has been with Celtic Woman on and off since her teenage years. You can learn more about the song reading my earlier post where I shared a version of it sung by Órla Fallon, who, as it happens, was also part of Celtic Woman in the past. 

Cashmere Factory – “Love Bazaar”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I thought I’d share another song from Norway with you all. This time, it’s from an alternative indie group called Cashmere Factory. I don’t really know much about them and haven’t acquainted myself with more of their music so far, but heard that song for the first time last year and I’ve been liking it  a fair bit ever since. 

Paul Dooley – “Port an Deorai/An Phis Fluich”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I thought I’d share with you a medley of two traditional Irish tunes, both of which are slip jigs, played by Paul Dooley. Paul Dooley is a harpist and harp builder from county Clare, and he plays the harp like it used to be played historically, with the nice-sounding metal strings that make it sound less ethereal than what we are used to with the more modern Celtic harps and what most people associate with a harp, and they are plucked with long fingernails rather than fingers. 

   The first of those two slip jigs is called Port an Deorai, which seems to be more popularly known as The Exile’s, although like a lot of Celtic folk tunes it has been played and recorded under lots and lots of different names. Deora does mean exile (as in an exiled person) in Irish, and port means tune or jig so I guess it does literally mean something like The Exile’s Tune. But the second tune has even more titles under which it’s known, and its main title is quite odd. When I googled it, it says everywhere that while in English it is usually known as The Wife of Choice or O’Farrel’s Welcome to Limerick, the Irish name is said to be rather naughty and mean the Wet C**t. Indeed, the word fliuch (of which fluich is perhaps some regional variation or something) does mean wet according to my dictionary. But then it says that phis means pea, not c**t, and c**t is pit in Irish. Perhaps there are several words for that though, and maybe phis is a more colloquial, sort of idiomatic one? Whether it’s wet c**t or wet pea, it makes for a peculiar and eye-catching song title. 

Emelie Hollow- “Monster”.

   Hey guys! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you quite a cool song from Emelie Hollow’s album Half the Story released last year. Emelie is a fairly popular singer in her native Norway, though for those who are not Norwegian/aren’t especially interested in Norwegian music but are from Europe or listen to European pop she might be known because of her cooperation with Alan Walker and singing the song Lily. Emelie also has roots in New Zealand. She wrote this song together with Eirik Tillerli, also known as Tirelli, who has also produced it. 

 

Susanne Sundfør – “Walls”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have for you a song from a singer whom I personally find incredibly interesting. I have become more familiar with her music last month (very late when you consider that I’m generally very much into Norwegian music, in particular all things folk, electronic and indie, and that she is very famous in her home country and not unheard of abroad, she seems to have a loyal fan base in the UK as well from what I’ve noticed) and it made a huge impression and stirred up all kinds of feelings for me, to the point that I was seriously wondering if this is going to be my next faza and perhaps she’s actually been a minor one. I suppose if I came across her music earlier, as a goth teenager who was into people like Emilie Autumn, it could have gone further. These feelings were really quite ambivalent though, hence why it took me so long to make up my mind whether I want to feature something from her in my song of the day series. 😀 

   I’ve known for years that there’s a singer called Susanne Sundfør, ever since I started to take an interest in Norwegian music, and knew a couple of her songs thanks to Spotify, like Undercover or Kamikaze, which I didn’t have any stronger feelings for. I don’t really remember now what prompted me to look at her music more closely, but when I did, it had a very strong impact on me from the beginning. Initially, I got an impression that her music and me are a very good match, because, well, she’s done both folk and electronic music, and she knows how to do both well, she also draws from many other genres as a classically trained pianist and someone who, according to what I read about her, is into a lot of different music, so she’s versatile and you guys know I like versatile people, she’s a great songwriter and composer (most musicians I really like tend to be extremely good at one but comparatively mediocre at the other), clearly puts lots of emotion into what she’s doing so that it not only feels authentic but can be properly overwhelming at times, and has great vocal skills and a freakishly versatile voice. Then when I went deeper into her music, I had a sort of similar situation that I had with Fay Wildhagen some four years ago, or more specifically her album Borders, perhaps except for the fact that with Fay Wildhagen I didn’t really like her music at all initially. But every time I heard some song from this album, somehow it always ended up grabbing my attention, so one day I became a bit intrigued and gave that album a thorough listen, and then I realised two things, that it’s actually a lot better than I originally thought, and that at the same time it gives me the sensory creeps, y’know like I often get when some sounds just don’t agree with my brain too well for whatever reason and my system gets flooded with adrenaline when I hear it, and it feels like that auditory stimulus seethes with aggression specifically towards me, even if objectively it doesn’t sound aggressive or creepy at all and other people may just as well perceive it as totally neutral or perhaps even calming. And sometimes I freeze while hearing such a thing and then whenever I’m in silence or am not focused on anything specific and my mind just wanders aimlessly this sound or sequence of sounds or music or whatever scary stuff it is just keeps playing over and over in my brain. It’s a really weird sensation when something creeps me out while at the same time a part of my brain actually likes the sound of it and thinks it’s interesting. It happens to me quite regularly. With Fay Wildhagen though, unlike with Susanne Sundfør, I got over the initial heebiejeebies quite quickly, and once I did, I noticed to my delight that, actually, for whatever reason, I felt in her musical soundscape like a fish in the water and listened to that album over and over again for like half a year till finally I got actually quite bored with it. 

   With Susanne it was a bit more complicated. As soon as I dove deeper into her music, I liked it right away, but I noticed that a lot of her songs turn on my heebiejeebies at the same time. In a way though, it only multiplied the haunting effect that her music had on me. What added to that creepy impression was that a lot of her lyrics, particularly from her later albums (think the Brothel or Ten Love Songs) are also objectively very dark. Not just simply a bit gloomy dark, but some sound pretty darn suicidal to me, others are full of violence, or kind of apocalyptical in their vibe. It’s often difficult for me to look in an unbiased way at music which sparks such sensory reactions in me but I’d say that generally her music, even a lot of her very “normal” songs to put it a bit simplistically, have some sort of tens e atmosphere about them, as if there was constantly something hanging in the air or something lurking at the next turn, and additionally like I said lots and lots of emotions, so honestly after having a careful listen through her whole discography one Saturday I ended up feeling quite a bit fatigued mentally. 😀 It was all the worse for me really because the whole summer was quite abundant in sensory anxiety for me anyway, perhaps if we met at some different point it would have gone better. 😀 So then I went down a proper rabbit hole, trying to learn about Susanne and her music as much as I could, reading reviews and stuff like that, wanting to know whatever inspires her, and whether other people perceive her music any similarly at all to how I do or is it just my screwed brain’s filter through which I hear it. Well, it seems that I’m not alone, which, for once, makes me feel comforted in a way, but then on the other hand it has only confirmed for my brain that it was right to have turned my sensory alarms on. 

   I don’t think I’ll ever reach that stage with Susanne’s music that I had with Fay Wildhagen’s, despite the beginnings of these two stories being similar. I don’t think I’d even want it, to be totally honest. I’d say that to me her music is a bit like fire – it’s exciting, it can be beautiful, but you have to be careful around it, ‘cause it’s easy to come too close and not even notice that the flames have begun to lick your clothes till it starts hurting. But still, once you discover that there’s such a thing as fire, it’s really good to know that such a thing exists and it’s nice to light it up sometimes and sit next to it and enjoy its crackling, warmth and glow. 

   So that’s why in the end I thought I’d share with you something by Susanne, but I decided on something from her debut, self-titled album from 2007, when she was only 21. It is quite a folksy, singer-songwriter type album and feels more, hm, how do I put it…? stable? than her later releases, although you can feel those little embers scattered throughout the album, gently signalling that there is something more to it and more to come in the future that is bubbling under the surface. 

   Usually when I share music on here I opt for studio versions, but today I decided to share a live one with y’all, because it showcases  how Susanne sounds just as good live as she does on her albums. 

Jackie Oates – “Dream Angus”.

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Last night I couldn’t fall asleep till like 3 AM or so, and one of the songs that played on my Spotify was this one. I’ve always really liked it, because I generally really like Jackie Oates’ music – she’s been one of the first English folk singers that I started listening to when introducing myself to English folk and not just Irish and Scottish – and because I love lullabies and anything to do with dreams and folklore, but also because this song and especially its chorus reminds me so much of Emily of New Moon, and specifically her first novel A Seller of Dreams. I can’t think of this song without thinking of Emily and her novel, and I can’t think of Emily and her novel without hearing this tune in my brain. But yesterday, as I couldn’t sleep and heard this song, I thought how I’d really, seriously appreciate it if Angus was actually a thing. As you may know, practically the whole summer was really difficult for me sleep- and anxiety-wise, with loads of crappy sleep paralysis and scary dreams and stuff like that. So I thought how comforting it would be if you could just buy yourself a dream or two or five for the night ahead, so that you’d know in advance what dreams you’d be having and could fall asleep happily and peacefully. 

   I mentioned to you guys recently how my Mum is possibly getting herself an Apple Watch, and recently when WatchOS 9 came out I looked up its features for her as she was curious. I told her that there is some improvement to how you can track your sleep and she was like: “Oh, cool, it’ll be nice to look back at my dreams”. Obviously she was joking, but I thought that wow, I’d like it if one day we’d be able to do that, if Apple Watch had such a feature it would actually convince me to get it as well. 😀 I’m a very vivid dreamer, but sometimes when you have a lovely dream, the only thing you really remember upon waking is some sort of pleasant emotion, and it would have been nice to just open some app and have a look at what it was exactly what you dreamt about and always have it with you. Or if you wake up with heebiejeebies and don’t know what they’re about, you could also look back and see what the scary thing you dreamt of was and if it feels equally scary while you’re awake or perhaps just totally ridiculous and not worth fretting over. And even if they were scary in the waking world as well, I think that in many situations, looking back through your dream while being able to think rationally and clearly and being more in control of it could be a good way to desensitise yourself to it and make it feel less scary anyway, so it could even be a good therapeutic method perhaps. And so last night when I was listening to Dream Angus, I was suddenly all like: “What if one day we could have a virtual version of Angus?” Like, if you’d have a possibility to look back on your dreams, why not be able to buy dreams somehow, through App Store, Google Play or something? 😀 You’d have like a HUGE collections of dreams to choose from or could even design your very own dreams. I wonder though how these dreams would actually end up in our brains, any ideas, anyone? 

   As for Jackie Oates, I’ve already shared one song by her in the past – The Worthy Wood Carol on Christmas Eve one year – but I don’t think I’d introduced her properly then. Jackie is a singer and fiddle player who was born in Congleton in Cheshire, raised in Staffordshire, and now as far as I’m aware lives in Wallingford in Oxfordshire. This song comes from her 2013 album Lullabies, which s probably my favourite album by her. “Dream Angus” is a traditional Scottish tune, based on the myth of Angus or Aengus, Celtic god of love, dreams and poetic inspiration. Angus was son of Dagda and Boan who could shapeshift, and, just like in this song, he gave lovely, calm dreams to people. He is the equivalent of Mabon from Welsh mythology. In this song we can hear Jackie playing the viola, and she is accompanied by Belinda O’Hooley from O’Hooley and Tidow on piano and by a string section from Iceland. 

Nadia Birkenstock ft. Steve Hubback – “Brian Boru’s March”.

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Today, I’d like to share with you a traditional tune played by the German harpist Nadia Birkenstock whose music I’ve already shared several times on here. This time, she is accompanied by Welsh drummer and percussionist Steve Hubback. In the past I’ve also shared a version of this song performed by Alan Stivel and in that post you can learn more about its origins and who Brian Boru was, more recently I also shared a version by Clannad

Aine Minogue – “Arran Boat Song”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you this traditional air from the Scottish Highlands, in the beautiful harp arrangement by Aine Minogue. I’ve shared a few pieces by her already and mentioned how I really love her music and how it has helped me through some difficult times. Aine is originally from Ireland but lives in New England and is also a singer. 

Nansi Richards – “Rhydd Ddu” (Black Ford).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   A short folk tune from Nansi Richards – Welsh triple harp and Celtic harpist – today. The name of this piece refers to one of the footpaths on Snowdon which is called Rhydd Ddu.