Lynn Saoirse – “Mervyn Pratt”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Let’s listen to some more Celtic harp today! I have a lovely little tune for you by an Irish harpist Lynn Saoirse who plays Celtic harp. It is called Mervyn Pratt. I did a little bit of research to learn who the title character was and found out that there was a Pratt family in Ireland who owned the Cabra Castle, which is now a hotel, and there were a few Mervyns born into this family. I really like the whole album from which this song comes – The Seas Are Deep – and Lynn Saoirse’s harp play is great!

Celia Briar – “Pretty Girl Milking A Cow”.

Today I have a beautiful Celtic harp piece for you, as I’ve been listening to a lot of Celtic harp lately. I mean, I always do, but recently it’s been more than I had done it in a long while.

Celia Briar is a harpist from New Zealand, plays Celtic harp. She used to tour a lot and have a lot of concerts in different countries, but I don’t know if she still does. She’s also collaborated with Irish flautist Bev Whelan. I’ve heard that she currently resides in the UK. This piece comes from her 1995 album which is all very beautiful, I couldn’t decide which piece to choose for this post, to the point that in the end I decided to choose at random. πŸ˜€ Hope you enjoy. πŸ™‚

Olivia Chaney – “False Bride”.

Hello people! πŸ™‚

I have another beautiful folk ballad for you today, and an English one as well. In any case, at least this version is English, the ballad itself apparently comes from Scotland. It is also known as “I Once Loved A Lass” and is told from a man’s perspective.

I know a few versions of this song, but I guess Olivia Chaney’s is my favourite, although I love Sandy Denny’s version too.

And, again, it strikes me how easy it seemed to be for people in the past centuries to die. You only needed an unrequited love, and then you could just lay down and die. I guess, looking at it objectively, it’s good that mankind has grown out of this strange ailment. πŸ˜‰ At the same time, as someone who has struggled with passive suicidal thoughts for most of my life, I have to admit that I often thought that this ability must have been really handy. I remember listening to “Annachie Gordon” for the first time as a tween or so, and I was so utterly amazed that one can just die in a matter of seconds solely because of love.

Emily Portman – “Two Sisters”.

Today I have a folk song for you, a beautiful English ballad. Well, this performance is English, but the song is actually known in many European countries, like a lot of folk ballads. I’ve heard different versions, both in terms of plot, melody and language. From English, to Scots, to Hungarian… But I think I am right to assume that it originated in the British Isles. Sometimes it’s known as “Cruel Sister”, but Emily Portman’s version is called “Two Sisters”. It’s a murder ballad – somehow I’ve posted a lot of those, well, I guess they must be really good. –

So, as I said, Emily Portman is English, and the song comes from her album titled “Glamoury”, which was made in cooperation with a harpist Rachel Newton (I haven’t heard her own music but from this album I think she must be a great harpist and I really like her harp play) and another singer – Lucy Farrell – I like that, since it’s said in the song that after the younger sister’s death, a harp was made of her breast bone by a minstrel, this song, in Emily’s version, actually contains harp. A lot of harp. The whole album contains quite a lot of harp, though I can be never satiated. Here goes, I hope you like it.

Aoife Scott – “Do MhuirnΓ­n Γ“” (My Darling).

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Today I have an amazing, beautiful Irish folk song for you. As far as I know, it’s title means “My Darling” in English, though I could be wrong about that. Aoife Scott is a young artist but her family environment was very folksy – she is the daughter of a famous Irish folk singer Frances Black – and thus the niece of Mary Black as well, they’re both quite acknowledged as vocalists and also used to sing in a family band that is quite a legend in Celtic music. Aoife’s cousin, RΓ³isin O’Reilly, is a singer as well, and if I get it right RΓ³isin also has a brother who is a musician.

I must say that I quite prefer Aoife’s music to her mum’s and aunt’s, though I appreciate that they are both very talented and have helped to make Celtic music more popular in the 20th century. But this song of Aoife is by far my most favourite. I just love the Celtic, melancholic feel of it. I have no idea about the lyrics other than understanding a couple words, and couldn’t find a translation, which is a shame, but I think the music alone and the sound of the Irish language are beautiful in their own way, even if you don’t know the lyrics.

Enya – “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Perhaps you remember that I was sharing a lot of Enya’s music last year around Christmas with you. I was sure I must have shared this song, but looks like I haven’t, so I think it’s the right time to do it now, since this is primarily an Advent hymn! And I think in Enya’s version it sounds so extremely beautiful. Both full of some silent, secret euphoria, as well as nostalgia. I hope you like it too. πŸ™‚

Kate Rusby – “Little Jack Frost”.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

So it’s Advent, and Christmas is coming, so we can listen to our favourite Christmas music again! This is one of my personal absolute winter classics. And Jack Frost is one of my favourite characters in European folklore. He has arrived here for good as it seems, so I am welcoming his with this lovely little song, hoping you will like it too. Kate Rusby is also one of my most favourite English folk singers, she’s really amazing! I love her voice and her accent, most people who know her seem to love her accent haha, and she does this song so very well. It just makes my brain melt. πŸ™‚

 

Meinir Gwilym – “Ar Hyd Y Nos” (All Through The Night).

Maybe you guys remember when I posted some Meinir Gwilym’s songs months ago? I guess it might have even been last year. Anyway. She has much more great music than that. So, as it is late evening here, I thought I’d share this sweet, beautiful lullaby, which you may or may not know, I guess it’s pretty popular and has had some English versions. I am a sucker for very beautiful, Celtic-themed lullabies, and this one makes my brain melt. I’m not including the lyrics since they are in the video.

Martin Simpson – “The Cruel Brother”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Today I decided to share another very interesting Child ballad with you. I know many versions and interpretations of it but for some reason I like Martin Simpson’s the most. Somehow it always makes me imagine what’s happening in it very vividly, unlike other versions of it. I hope you will find it very evocative as well. πŸ™‚

Ray Fisher – “Willie’s Lady” & Martin Carthy – “Willies Lady”.

For today I have for you a song in two versions. Firstly because I like them both, and secondly, because they’re both in different languages.Ray Fisher was Scottish, so her version is in Scots, as all the songs she sang, and Martin Carthy is English and his version is in English. Also, I have no idea about what the perception of Scots language is like in people whose first language is English, I don’t know how much you can understand of it, in my case I was able to understand more than I thought I would listening to it for the first time, I suppose both thanks to English and Swedish, as there are Scandinavian influences at all, but there were still big patches of the lyrics that I wouldn’t understand, and even had trouble understanding various bits and pieces when reading the lyrics, so eventually had to just look up what it is about, and then understanding of the song has become much easier. So, if you’re gonna have the same dilemma, Martin Carthy’s version is very much the same in terms of lyrics, only with a few differences, like that in his version Willie is a king, and it’s his wife who comes up with a plan of how to get rid of the spell that Willie’s mother has cast on her, while in Fisher’s version it’s Billy Blind who gives Willie that idea.

“Willie’s Lady” is a Child ballad, and I think I have said it on my blog before that I really love the collection of Child ballads!

 

So, here are the two versions of this song. πŸ™‚

Maire Brennan – “OrΓ³” (Oh”.

Hi people. πŸ™‚

Today, a song by Maire Brennan I want to share with you is a very lovely Gaelic lullaby. I love lullabies, I have a whole collection of them, and this one is among them. Not quite as brilliant and breathtaking as her sister’s “Song Of The Sandman” but very beautiful too. Here are the English lyrics.

 

Oh my little babe
Always stay by my side

Oh my darling
You give me hope, my darling

Sleep peacefully, sleep peacefully
Sleep peacefully, my sweet child…

Oh my little babe
Take my sure advice
My peaceful love

Oh my little babe
And a prayer from my heart
For the life in front of you

Sleep peacefully, sleep peacefully
Sleep peacefully, my sweet child…

Maire Brennan – “Misty-Eyed Adventures”.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

I really love this Maire Brennan’s song. It’s so gentle, but so atmospheric and dream-like. I always like all those journey motives in Enya’s music, and it is present in Maire’s as well, and very much so in this song! I hope you like it too. πŸ™‚

Maire Brennan – “The Mighty One”.

Here is another song by Maire Brennan, also about God. I think the sound of it is very powerful, and it has more of an ethnofolk feel. The chorus is in Irish, and here is what it means in English.

Β  All my blessings from my heart to you
Isn’t the view delightful?
My blessing from my heart to you
And glory be to God

Song of the day (25th September) – Maire Brennan – “Perfect Time”.

Hi people. πŸ™‚

I’ve recently realised that I’d never shared with you any of Maire Brennan’s music. Not that I love her so very much, but she’s quite an icon of Celtic music, and she does have some songs I like. Other than that, she’s Enya’s sister! I’m not very keen on the type of voice Maire has, but, as I said, some of her music is really good and she is also a harpist, though there’s no harp in the song I want to share with you now. I’d like to dedicate a few song of the day posts to my favourite songs of hers. If you have listened to some more famous Celtic music bands, you may remember Maire from Clannad (famous for “Robin, The Hooded Man” in the 80’s, for example). And Clannad has also loads of great music, but I won’t be sharing theirs now. Maire Brennan is also known as Maire ni Bhraonain, Moya Brennan or, in her earlier days, as Mary Brennan.

Maire was raised in a Catholic Irish family, but she’s now a member of evangelical church, and a lot of her songs are more or less religious. This one is as well. I think it sounds really good, though of course as you know I prefer Enya’s music far more. This video doesn’t have the best sound quality, don’t know how about visual, but there are so many versions of this song, I believe from different albums, that I had a hard time finding the one I like best and I found it in such a bit rubbish quality.

Celtic Woman – “Orinoco Flow”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Celtic Woman are one of my most favourite Irish/Celtic groups, yet I’ve only shared one song with you so far. I’ve recently seen that they released something new, including a newer version of “Orinoco Flow” that they also sang before, but I decided I like the older version more and will show it to you. It comes back from the times when they had their good old line-up, with Lisa Kelly, Meav and such, I liked them best at that time in the history of the band, though I still do like them a lot.

The song was originally song and composed by ENya and appeared on one of her earliest albums back in the eighties – “Watermark”. – If you know me and my blog at least a bit, you probably already know Enya has been one of my major music crushes over the years. Curiously however, “Orinoco Flow” is the only song of hers that I really, really don’t like, as much as I love all her other songs and compositions. It was played a lot and is still one of the most recognisable songs by Enya, I believe, and I knew it way before I started loving Enya and discovering her music. In fact, at the beginning I thought I disliked all of her music, it had to grow on me and it did very suddenly. But “Orinoco Flow”, despite my brave attempts to like it, remains the only song of Enya’s that I do not like, and almost hate. Why is that? I don’t even exactly know. πŸ˜€ Perhaps I have some bad associations with it that I don’t realise, which is very possible, in any case, for some reason it makes my sensory anxiety come up. Weird, given how relaxing Enya’s music is and how normally it’s very soothing to me. Anyway, I do like it by Celtic Woman, so maybe it depends on an arrangement or whatever. So, here it is. I hope you enjoy. πŸ™‚

Song of the day (14th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “The Lady Of Shalott”.

This song from Loreena MCKennit, as you can probably guess, tells the story of Elaine of Astolat, from the Arthurian legend. Well, moreover, it’s the musical adaptation of the whole poem “The Lady Of Shalott” by Alfred Tennyson. That’s how I’ve first heard this poem – sung by Loreena MCKennitt. – And thanks to this song, I’ve become interested in Arthurian legends, as part of my fascination with everything Celtic. Until then, I didn’t really know much about Arthurian legends. But now I find them very interesting. And this one is my favourite. So here is this long song. I really love the way she adapted this poem and made a lovely piece of music out of it.

Song of the day (13th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “Down By The Sally Gardens”.

Here is another song by Loreena MCKennitt that I love and want to share with you. Originally, it was a peoem written by William Butler Yeats – Irish 20th century poet and Nobel Prize winner (it was “Down By The Salley Gardens” in the original I believe). – Apparently, Yeats based some of it on a folk ballad “The Rambling Boys Of Pleasure”. It’s been recorded as a song by many artists though, and especially those making Celtic music. I think Loreena’s version is one of the best I know. b

Song of the day (12th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “Annachie Gordon”.

Hi hi hi lovely people! πŸ™‚

It feels like I haven’t written anything in quite a while again, so let’s first catch up on some music, as I haven’t posted any music for a particularly long time.

I’d like to show you a few songs of one of my very first favourite Celtic music singers – Loreena MCKennitt. – Alongside Enya, Aine Minogue and a few others, she was keeping me sane during a time that was particularly difficult emotionally in my life, and she was one of the first artists associated with Celtic but also generally folk music that I’ve started to listen to a lot, and one of the first harpists whose music I’ve heard. I really like her dramatic soprano, my friend Jacek from Helsinki loved her and he used to say her voice is chil inducing, it indeed is very very expressive. I love the wide range of inspirations Loreena uses in her music, she’s not only into Celtic music but also oriental music, she has adapted various poems or pieces of literary work into pieces of music or has written her own music inspired by literature, legends, myths, historical/legendary figures etc. It’s like her each album has a bit of a theme that is going on throughout the album. I like how self-sufficient she is. Apart from being a singer, songwriter, composer and harpist, she has also her own record label – Quinlan Road – and also plays a few other instruments other than harp, she’s her own manager and seems to like running the show just on her own. And I like her harp play so very much. She’s one of the better Celtic harpists out there in my opinion.

Loreena MCKennitt is from Canada, she has Irish and Scottish roots (and her father’s name was JACK! that explains everything, doesn’t it? πŸ˜‰ ) and she currently lives in Ontario.

The song I want to show you in this post is a ballad called “Annachie Gordon”. If I remember well, this is one of the balads in the collection of Child’s Ballads, and it is English. I like many contemporary versions of this piece but Loreena’s is the best, because of her vocals and because of the magnificent harp! It was also the first version of this song I’ve heard, and I immediately fell in love with it. The plot of the ballad is quite, um, cliche, and now as I’m older than when I discovered “Annachie Gordon” it’s hard for me to listen to it without my sarcastic brain commenting and criticising the storyline (I basically think looking at it from these days perspective, the heroine, Jeannie, makes an impression of someone quite manipulative, I understand her pain when she was faced with having to live being married to a man she didn’t love instead of her beloved Annachie, but the scene where she falls on her knees before her father and dies looks, well, yeah, manipulative, you start to wonder if she’s going to suddenly rise up as soon as everyone leaves her alone and run away with Annachie as far from lord Sulton and her family as possible. πŸ˜€ I know, I know, I’m crazy and overanalysing). I also think life would be so easy if we really could just switch off and die when life throws sh*t at us as in the case of Jeannie and Annachie. But well, it is a ballad. And still, it is a beautiful one. I remember being absolutely fascinated by it, and for some reason because of it I really loved the name Annachie, which, you must admit, is a very unusual name, I’ve never heard in any other context or on anyone other than Annachie Gordon. I’ve even named a character in one of my short stories Annachie after him. Though now my tastes have changed and I think it lacks masculinity and looks like a fancy elaboration of Anna in the style of Annalee or Annamae, but of the more kreativ kind. πŸ˜€ Well, I guess it was apparently recreated from some old feminine name actually. Anyway, here’s the song. Hope you’ll enjoy it too. πŸ™‚

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Jac-Yr-Oil”.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

I am still very much in love with Gwilym’s last album, Arenig, so thought I’d share something else from it with you, this time an instrumental, three-part piece. And, since I am a Jac(k)ophile, in line with the song of the day that I shared with you yesterday – by Jac Richards – this one has also to do with Jac, with its title being “Jac-Yr-Oil”. I have no idea where the title comes from or what Jac is doing in it, I tried doing some research but it hasn’t made me any wiser. In any case, the track is beautiful. Just as the previous one I showed you a month ago – “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd” – was haunting, emotional, intense and rather melancholic, “Jac-Yr-Oil” is positive, energetic, refreshing, uplifting and full of enthusiasm, which just shows in a nutshell a wide range of emotions one can feel listening to this album. I love this about it so so much!

As I said, it is a three-part music piece, consisting of three folk tunes, one is composed by Gwilym, the second comes from Anglesey’s 18th century fiddler, John Thomas, and the last is a re-arranged composition of Stephen Rees’ “2 Cardi 3”. Here it is. πŸ™‚

 

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd” (Gentle moon, colour of the day).

Oh my! I just couldn’t wait to share with you guys something from this album! I was talking about it some time last month, well I guess around the beginning of May, it was released on May 1st. But as you can see it took a while because it’s only available on the streaming services since yesterday so although I have the album since as soon as I got to know it was released, only now I can share something with you. In a way that’s actually good though because I could familiarise myself with the whole album, with my music crushes it always takes me loads of time to wholely satisfy my musical cravings when they release something new and I always want to know it thoroughly and from all the possible angles.

I am really so, so impressed with this album! I wrote about it on my blog already earlier so I won’t be repeating myself but it just made me fall into pieces the first time I listened to it, so fascinated, engrossed, bewitched and just full of emotions I was, and even though I listened to all the songs and the album as a whole for many times already it still has theΒ  power over me, and I’m listening to it right now as well. It’s always hard to pick something you think is the best or that you love the most from things of which you love all, but I wonder whether it’s not the best album of Gwilym so far in my ranking, or whether it would be if I had a ranking. πŸ˜€ I am just so happy that my current music crush is so artistically fertile and unlike all my previous music crushes I am actually able to thoroughly celebrate all the joys that come with an appearance of a new album. πŸ˜€

This new album is called “Arenig”, which is in reference to Arenig Fawr – a mountain in Snowdonia in North Wales, and also the title track of this album is a poem written and read by Gwilym’s great uncle – Euros Bowen – about this mountain, which is a really beautiful poem. It’s hard to believe for me in a way that this beautiful album is an effect of improvisation, but that’s apparently how it is. I know it’s often so that things come out much better when improvised in music, but it makes me think that they all – Gwilym and all the people who contributed to the album – must be remarkably skillful improvisers, which I think is fairly rare. Talking about the contributors, there is Patrick Rimes on violin, he plays in the Welsh folk band called Calan which I also like, brilliant harpist from Scotland but with Welsh roots and who also speaks Welsh Gwen MaIri (I love her harp skills πŸ˜‚ ), and they both also played on Gwilym’s first album “O Groth Y Ddaear”, and there is also Marit FΓ€lt, who plays viola, and, if I understood correctly, (I suppose I did given her Scandi-sounding name), she’s from Norway, so there’s even a little bit of a Nordic accent here! πŸ™‚

I had a real problem with what I am going to choose as the first piece from this album to share with you, I even thought maybe I’ll just link to the entire album and maybe write some extensive review or something but felt too shy to do such a grandiose thing as seriously publicly review one of my crushes’ album, I always write down my reviews of albums I love for myself and I relish in doing so but never published that anywhere. πŸ˜€ But after some deep thinking I came to the conclusion that the most beautiful piece on this album for me, regarding the melody, the performance and the lyrics is “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd”, which is a traditional song, though the second verse is known to be written by John Ceiriog Hughes. It’s incredibly evocative, magnetic and enchanting, and just don’t know how else to describe it adequately. πŸ˜€

The thing I really like about traditional music, one of many things, especially from Gwilym, and there are also a couple other Celtic people I can think of right now, is the words. I mean, when I was listening to this album before I read the lyrics and translations, I understood some bits and pieces, it wasn’t very much, but I could still thoroughly enjoy music because that’s how it is with folk music very often – even if it is in the most out there language you can still understand the language of music itself and connect with it almost as deeply as through the actual language. But when I read the lyrics, I realised that there are not only plenty of new, enticing, luscious, colourful, magical Welsh words for me to discover, (I didn’t even know that moon is lloer, I only knew the word lleuad for moon in Welsh but it seems like they have two! I now can’t stop wondering what’s the difference, will have to do some research after I write this post, I lthink loer sounds even better), but also a fair handful of English words in the translations that I didn’t know previously. I just love such discoveries! And all those linguistic findings also satisfied my synaesthesia very much, so it’s not only the music. The same was with the previous album “Detholiad O Hen Faledi I”, well actually there were even more new English words to me. That shows how sophisticated folk music can be at times, even if it might not always seem so. πŸ™‚

OK, end of my elaborate. Here’s the translation of the song, which I’ve taken from

Gwilym’s website,

and below is the song, although it’s on Spotify, so very sadly only those of you who have Spotify will be able to listen to it whole, I didn’t see it on Youtube or anywhere that would be a bit more inclusive.

 

Gentle moon the colour of day,

in pain and in sorrow, I’m in a sad daydream.

From splendid astonishment,

my heart is so weak I shan’t live much longer.

When I saw your face you wounded me like a sword,

I received an injury without realising it,

tonight I’m ready for my grave.

Oh good gentle goddess, hear this injured man,

save my life, lovely moon the colour of summer.

Some people’s interests lie in material things,

but on the purity of a fair moon

I gave my whole intentions, one and all.

If I could only have you, I would confidently proclaim

that I had more than enough wealth, pure girl.

Gentle moon the colour of day,

I see your light, you with a pleasing face.

From life to the grave, you are my queen,

fair warm farced one.

You are my fire, the inspiration to my song,

the heavens never did behold

through the light of the sun’s cycle,

such a wonderful sight.

I raise up my head, and look to the skies,

shine upon me, white moon the colour of snow.

Some hold the moon responsible

for pulling the threads and strings of the seas,

the ebb and flow of the tides in and out.

But you, my love, are responsible

for pulling the strings of my heart,

gentle moon the colour of day.