Rachel Newton – “Skye Air”.

For today, I decided to share with you a deliciously long, beautiful and a bit melancholic solo harp piece performed by Scottish harpist Rachel Newton, whose music I’ve already shared with you before. I only recently heard this particular piece but I’m totally in love with it and I think many other people may find it very interesting and pleasant. πŸ™‚

 

Song of the day (26th November) – Enya – “Caribbean Blue”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

I think this is my favourite out of Enya’s more popular songs. I have so many positive feelings and associations related to it. This song was meant to be very daydream-y, and it feels right away, which is why I’ve always used it for some bigger daydreaming, relaxing visualisations and stuff. It has really helped me through so many situations and it is so relaxing and nourishing for the imagination.

As always in Enya’s case, when this song was created, the music came first, and then, when Enya’s lyricist – Roma Ryan – heard it, it made her think of the Caribbean, hence the title. It’s not as popular as Orinoco Flow, Only Time or May It Be, but people who aren’t Enya geeks yet at the same time know some more of her music than just these three songs, will typically remember hearing Caribbean Blue somewhere and able to tell that it’s Enya, or will even be well acquainted with it if they either have a bit of liking for Enya or generally 80’s music that is not necessarily disco. In Europe, it can also be heard in radio stations which play some light pop or a bit older stuff, here in Poland for example an oldies station called Radio Plus plays it regularly. So maybe you have also heard Caribbean Blue before, even if you are not a crazy Enya fan? In any case, if you are an escapist, I reckon you’ll like it even if you haven’t heard it before.

Lynn Saoirse – “Separation Of Soul And Body”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

I shared one track from this great Irish harpist with you before, but I thought I’d love to share another one, when I was listening to her music last night. This is absolutely one of my most favourite pieces by her, and I think it’s very deep and moving. The harmony of this piece strongly reminds me of another, New England-based, Irish harpist – Aine Minogue – whom I love and whose music had helped me through a very difficult time.

 

Kim Robertson – “Glenlivet”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Today I have another Celtic harp piece for you! It is performed by great Celtic harpist from Wisconsin – Kim Robertson – who was actually classically trained in orchestral harp but decided to focus on Celtic harp and has really released a lot of albums. Glenlivet is a place in Scotland, which may be known to some because of the whisky distillery that is there and produced The Glenlivet whisky. Here’s the beautiful piece.

Bendith – “Dinas” (City).

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Today I’d like to show you another piece from the beautiful project which was a result of collaboration of two, seemingly very distinct, Welsh band – alt-folk/psychedelic folk Plu (which consists of my most recent faza object Gwilym Bowen Rhys and his two sisters, Marged and Elan), and Carwyn Ellis from indie Colorama. – I wrote about that earlier because I shared with you two pieces from their collective album already. The project is called Bendith (which means blessing in Welsh) and this is also the title of the album. The album is very strongly inspired by Carwyn Ellis’ (who initiated the whole idea) fond childhood memories.

I love how this particular piece is so very atmospheric and evocative, and so rich and simply incredibly beautiful. It’s definitely one of my favourites from this album and I think there’s something totally captivating about it.

Celia Briar – “Eleanor Plunkett”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Not long ago, I shared with you a harp piece performed by Sue Richards and composed by Irish national bard and composer who was also a harper – Turlough O’Carolan. – Today, I’m sharing another tune that was composed by him and that is one of his most popular compositions, very frequently played by harpers and harpists. The version I chose to share with you is by Celia Briar, whose music I’ve also shared with you quite a few times before. From what I’ve read, it used to be a song with Irish Gaelic lyrics, which are now unknown. O’Carolan wrote this song in praise of Eleanor Plunkett from Robertstown in co. Meath.

Jess Ward – “Cowrie Love”.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Today I’d like to introduce to you a singer and harpist who is very new to me. I only heard her for the first time on Blas Folk Radio Cymru a couple days ago and I really liked her. For now, I don’t know any more of her music, but I am definitely going to check it out. I think both her vocals and harp play are really nice. I didn’t know what cowrie meant when first hearing this song, so just in case you don’t either, that’s how sea snails are called.

Song of the day (15th November) – The Harriet Earis Trio (Kitchen Devils).

Just a couple days ago, I shared with you guys a very interesting piece by this group called Cadair Idris. Later I thought that actually, this whole project is so quirky (and obviously I’m all for quirky on here) and there’s so much to like about their music that I’d like to share something else from them, especially that I’ve been sharing a lot of harp music lately and catching up on that I hadn’t done that a lot in the previous years of this bllog. So the piece I chose now is called Kitchen Devils. It is much more experimental than jazzy, and I really do like experimental music. It’s so fun and quirky and there’s no boundaries. Here, you really see it. Well, I do. I’ve never heard something similar I guess. It’s such a genuine blend of folk and electronica, it tastes really good to my synaesthetic, auditory-gustatory brain. More exactly it tastes a bit minty and lemony (or maybe limey?) at the same time. The dance beat made me think how cool it would be if harp was used in some kinds of club music. Instead of vocals or keyboards? It wouldn’t need to be folksy at all. I’ll have to look around if someone has ever come up with such an idea and did it. πŸ˜€ Or maybe the final result wouldn’t be cool at all and very different to what I imagine, and instead it would turn out to be a total harp profanity. For now, let’s enjoy this quirky piece. πŸ™‚

Song of the day (14th November) – Celia Briar – “Farewell To Craigie Dhu”.

Here’s another lovely harp-driven tune for you guys, from a harpist whose music I shared with you before. This composition sounds contemporary to me, and turns out that that’s what it is. It was composed by Scottish folk singer songwriter Dougie MacLean, and the Craigie Dhu in the title was a place (property) where he lived. I think moving houses, especially such that are dear enough to you that you feel like capturing them in music, is a very stressful and unsettling thing but this farewell doesn’t sound all that sad at all, it sounds very hopeful, don’t you think? So if you need a bit of hope for the future in your life, maybe you can find it in here.

Song of the day (13th November) – Georgia Ruth – “Brychni” (Freckles).

A couple days ago, I had an absolutely lovely dream. I don’t remember much of it now as it has faded but I remembered a fair bit after I woke up and it was so happy. As you may know, I always sleep with the music from Spotify or some radio station playing quietly in the background as that helps me with the sensory anxiety and is generally fun. I also like having a soundscape to my dreams, haha. And when I woke up from that happy dream, this song by Georgia Ruth was playing. And since then, it’s been stuck in my brain and brainworming me. Which I have no problem with.

I shared some music from Georgia Ruth earlier as I really like her music, but in case you don’t know, she is a Welsh singer, harpist, and even has her own evening show on BBC Radio Cymru. So here’s this beautiful piece.

Song of the day (10th November) – The Harriet Earis Trio – “Cadair Idris” (Idris’ Chair).

Hey people! πŸ™‚

This is a very new group for me, which I first heard on Blas Folk Radio Cymru and thought their music was very interesting. The Harriet Earis Trio, consisting of Harriet Earis on Celtic harp, Andy “Val” Coughlan on double bass and Sam Christie on drums makes a sort of jazz-folk fusion. Harriet Earis is a young harpist from England who currently lives in Aberystwyth and has studied Irish, Scottish and Welsh harp, so in her music she draws from the Celtic harp tradition of all of these countries, but also goes beyond the tradition. I am generally not a jazz person, although you may know that thanks to my faza on Cornelis Vreeswijk I’ve become more flexible in this regard and I do like some jazz now, thanks to Cornelis), but still this is far from being my favourite genre and even jazz with a very prominent harp doesn’t always convince me, for example I don’t really feel harpist Dorothy Ashby’s music. But I like what this trio is making, I really do! I like how spontaneous and unconventional it all is and the whole idea of Celtic jazz has a little bit of a quirky feel which I love.

This particular piece is called Cadair Idris which is the name of a mountain in Wales. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in northern Wales, on the territory of former county Meirionydd/Merionethshire which is part of Gwynedd these days, near the town of Dolgellau. It is a popular place with hikers. Its name means Idris’ Chair and refers to Idris Gawr (Idris the Giant) a medieval prince of Meirionydd, who won a battle with the Irish on this mountain.

Gwenan Gibbard – “CΓ’n Y Lleisoniaid/CΓ’n Y Droell Bach” (Song of the Lleisons/Song of the Little Spinning Wheel).

Today I’d like to share with you a set of two harp songs by my most favourite Welsh harpist – Gwenan Gibbard. She is from Llyn Peninsula in north Wales, and apart from being a harpist, she’s also a singer, and a Welsh language native in whose life music has always played a huge part since her early childhood.

Sadly I have no idea about who composed these songs, whether it’s Gwenan herself or whether they are traditional, but since I cannot find any info I think it’s safe to assume that they’re traditional. The first song is called Song of the Lleisons in English – Lleison is simply a Welsh surname. I’m curious who they were. I really like this composition as it is so melancholic and so very beautiful. And the other is Song of The Little Spinning Wheel, which has a much more happy, upbeat feel which is also why I like it a lot. I don’t know which one I like more. Do you have a favourite?

Song of the day (8th November) – Sue Richards – “Clergy’s Lamentation”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

So I’ve shared a lot of harp music – especially Celtic harp music – with you lately, but as far as I can remember I haven’t shared anything at all from the rich legacy of the most famous Celtic harpist ever – Turlough O’Carollan. – It’s quite funny that people always associate harp, be it classical or Celtic or any other, primarily with women, and these days it’s mainly women playing this instrument and seems very unusual when it’s otherwise, while the most famous Irish Celtic harper was male. Turlough O’Carolan was born in late 17th century, and was a harper, composer and also a singer. He is regarded as Ireland’s national composer. At the age of eighteen he was blinded by smallpox. He spent most of his life journeying through the country on horseback, composing and playing his music.

A lot of contemporary harpists play his tunes, and this piece is no exception. I am sharing it with you performed by Sue Richards – Celtic harpist from North Carolina – but I’ve heard quite a few other versions. In Sue Richards’ version, there are also other instruments as you’ll be able to hear, which makes it feel nicely richer.

Song of the day (6th November) – Ailie Robertson – “Glimmer”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

I had already shared one piece by this great Scottish harpist on here. This one comes from just the same album. It has a more reflective vibe, and I find it very relaxing. Hope you’ll find it enjoyable. πŸ™‚

This track is not available on YouTube, so I’ll embed it from Spotify and for those of you who do not have Spotify but use some other music streaming service, I’ll include a link to Songwhip that you can follow and find it on your streaming platform of choice.

Enya – “Diamonds On The Water”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Today I want to share with you another song by Enya. It comes from her last album – Dark Sky Island – which as a whole was largely inspired by her various journeys, but this song is one of these by her that are particularly focused on nature, and Enya drew the inspiration from one of her walks, when she saw the sun, and how it it looked like there were diamonds on the water. So like she says herself, it’s a very “visual” song. I think it’s a very reflective and mindful piece and may appeal to a lot of people because of this.

Bendith – “Lliwiau” (Colours).

Hey guys! πŸ™‚

Today I have a very beautiful song for you from an album which is a result of collaboration between two quite distinctively different Welsh bands – Colorama (which is more like alternative rock with some psychedelic and indie stuff as well as folk motives thrown in there) and Plu (which is classified as alt-folk or psychedelic folk). They called this project, as well as the album that came out of it, Bendith, which means blessing in English. The album focuses on pleasant childhood memories and so generally feels rather nostalgic, more specifically it evolves around Carwyn Ellis’ (the leader of Colorama and the initiator of this collaboration) fond childhood memories of Carmarthenshire. Plu is one of the bands where Gwilym Bowen Rhys – the object of my most recent major faza as you may know – is involved as a singer, guitarist and other stringed instruments player. I love Plu so this album is very special to me, even though it’s not exactly what you’d expect from your typical Plu album. I shared one song from this album in the past and a few others from Plu. I think, despite it came out in February, it’s a great listen for autumn. And I wonder whether they’ll be doing something more together. This song is one of my favourites from this album because it sounds very much like the sound of Plu. It just has a great feel to it.

Maire Brennan – “Doon Well”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Today I have another instrumental harp piece for you which really speaks to me. This time though, unlike yesterday, it’s Celtic, not classical, and harp-dominated rather than solo. I’ve shared this artist’s music with you before but more as a singer. It’s Maire/Moya/Mary Brennan/ni Bhraonain – Enya’s older sister and the lead singer of Clannad (the people behind “Robin, the hooded man” for example” who is a soloist as well. – But besides being a singer she’s also a harpist. I am not always the biggest fan of her singiing to be honest, just because I sort of don’t really like the hue of her voice but there absolutely are songs with her vocals that I truly love, but I much more prefer her as a harpist. And this instrumental piece from one of her solo albums is particularly emotive in my opinion.

Enya – “Only Time”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

I’d like to share another song by Enya with you today. An incredibly popular one. So popular, in fact, that it doesn’t even have as much of that special Enya feel to me as most of her music does. In a way I’m glad that her music isn’t totally obscure, that at least a lot of people know who she is, that you don’t have to be some real quirky individual to come across her music and enjoy its beauty and that it can speak to many people. But sometimes I feel like it really sucks that she’s so popular. Because as someone who’s had a faza on Enya and her music and has a special and very strong connection to it, it doesn’t sit right with me to know that people often listen to her music randomly without thinking much about it, call it new age when even Enya herself says it’s not, just because it reminds them of new age music, that some of her music is played in any of your average light pop radio stations often squeezed in between some rather mediocre tracks, and her most popular singles are often made into totally cringeworthy and sacrilegious – in my humble opinion – remixes which make my brain shrink and indeed, at least in my perception, ironically make her music have more of a feel akin to these sort of new age/pop/ethno fusion projects like Enigma, Era or Deep Forest. Yeah, I know I’m weird, but I can’t help the way I think about this. πŸ˜€ I just find it a bit yucky simply because I have a very personal relationship with her music and it feels like a prophany but I realise it’s just me. And, oh yeah, there’s that one song, only one single song by Enya that I dislike, to be more exact I actually hate it, not for any other reason than just because it doesn’t sit right with my brain and causes me sensory anxiety – so paradoxical given that her any other music has exactly the opposite effect, I don’t know why that is and I wish I liked this song, I really tried, but I just do not and trying to like it only makes it worse. – This song is Orinoco Flow, the single from her 80’s album Watermark, which got insanely popular and appears to be her most well known song. Such an irony.

With this song, Only Time, there is an awful, pop-y, cringey remix which as far as I remember was the first song by Enya that I’ve ever heard (no wonder that my first impressions of her music were very negative and I used to think I dislike her music in general, only later a friend convinced me and infected me with the faza on her ). You could hear this cringey remix in some stations here and I guess even more often than the original song.

So, after I’ve realised how much I actually love Enya, I never really had big feelings for Only Time just because it’s so normal, so popular, so overheard. I did like the original version but just not quite like her lesser known music. I still don’t have huge love for this song like I do for example for Dreams Are More Precious, but I try not to be unfair and disqualify it just because it’s popular. After all, it’s still very good and became popular for a reason.

I guess Enya is much less popular and known in America than in Europe, but this song is probably quite well known to American people as well, since it was used as a tribute to 9/11 victims, and in connection with that events the lyrics take on an entirely new meaning. So is the case in our current, weird times.

Sian James – “Aderyn Bach Syw” (Little Laden Bird).

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Today I have something very short and sweet for you – a Welsh nursery rhyme. I find this little tune quite interesting – as a lot of nursery rhymes are, even if they don’t seem to be at a first glance. – I’ve always believed that since nursery rhymes are generally for children, and we put so much pressure on teaching kids all sorts of things even through literature or music that is made especially for them, that they’d have some kind of a moral. But if this one has a moral indeed, it seems quite hilarious to me. People complain so much that times have changed a lot and how so many children now are overweight or even obese. Well, perhaps it’s nursery rhymes like this, emphasising the role of our bellies that are at fault. πŸ˜€ Perhaps it was just made for the fussy kids… Well yeah, sometimes music provokes strange thoughts in my brain. πŸ˜€

I like how stoical this bird is and accepting of the possibility that we may die just absolutely any time. Reminds me of how Sofi was little, and when you asked her what she was going to do tomorrow, for example, she’d say “I don’t know, maybe I will die”. No, Sofi wasn’t suicidal or depressed, I can assure you of that. She would always say that in a happy/neutral tone, like the most natural thing in the world. Since our family is Christian and my Mum has a very similar mentality, she was simply taught that you just never know what will happen but whatever will, it was surely meant to happen, and even if it seems a bad thing, something good will likely come out of it for someone at some point. This, rather than making her nervous and worried about the future as some would perhaps expect, made her a very spontaneous girl who never plans anything too far in advance and prefers to live in the now. Which has its good and bad sides, obviously, but that’s just what Sofi’s like, and this bird reminds me of her. The part about the belly also reminds me of Sofi when she was little, because there was such a time when, whenever she would introduce herself she would say something like this: “My name is Zofia, I like to dance, draw and eat”. She doesn’t remember that but she still loves to eat more than an average person and even though she eats a lot, it doesn’t show as she’s very thin, and, because she knows about that thing she used to say from what we’ve told her, sometimes now that’s what she tells people on purpose when she doesn’t know what else to say about herself: “I’m Sofi and I like to eat”. πŸ˜€

Perhaps then, the actual moral of this nursery rhyme is accepting whatever happens to you, even if it’s death, and being aware of the fact that it may be just about anything, but while you’re alive, doing things that will keep you alive and that you find pleasant at the same time. Very simple, but perhaps not necessarily as obvious life truth as we may be tempted to think.

I used to wonder why there’s a bird in this nursery rhyme, but Welsh nursery rhymes and lullabies generally seem to be full of animals (which is, after all, not a distinctly Welsh trait at all), moreover I’ve heard about similarly nonsensical nursery rhymes from other countries where an animal is asked where it’s been or where it’s going and its answers have nothing to do with what animals of its species actually do/eat etc. The word for little bird in Welsh is aderyn, and I’ve seen somewhere that it could also mean a boy (don’t know how accurate it actually is though as I’ve never heard it in such use and am not sure how credible the source is) so perhaps it could be a boy, not a bird, but each and every mention of this song that I found in English says bird, so it’s much safer to assume that it is actually a bird.

Okay, now I’ll let you formm your own opinion on this song, here is the translation, and the song itself is below.

β€žWhere are you going, little laden bird?”

β€œI’m going to the market, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do in the market, little laden bird?”

β€œGo and get salt, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do with the salt, little laden bird?”

β€œPut it in the soup, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do with the soup, little laden bird?”

β€œPut it in my belly, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do with the belly, little laden bird?”

β€œIf it weren’t for my belly, I wouldn’t be alie.

Enya – “Shepherd Moons”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Yesterday, after having wild dreams featuring The Loxian Gate by Enya and sharing the afore mentioned song on here, I’ve started to listen to all of her albums chronologically and still hasn’t finished, and it feels like my faza on her has renewed a bit. Recently I had a bit of a refreshment of my faza on Cornelis – as I was working on another translation of his another song, the results of which were very mixed – and now it’s Enya. It’s very good, as I still don’t have an official, new, major faza, and faza on Gwilym has faded into the background so I do need something to keep me going. It’s a very regular pattern with Enya though. My faza on her never was particularly intense, no huge peaks or other such, but it’s always been very enriching, satisfying and just making my life feel better. And every year since she stopped being my major faza, when it gets autumnal, or more wintry, the faza will always come back and I’ll be listening to her music all the time and reading about her and just feeling very strongly about her music. I guess this time of year is just very right for listening to Enya and I also know I’m not the only one Enya fan who experiences a similar phenomenon.

So today I’m sharing with you another beautiful, space-themed piece which has always been very close to my brain and heart. I like Enya’s wordless, soothing and kind of magical vocals on this, and the keys – don’t they sound like they’re laughing? To me they do. πŸ˜€ They sound as if they were laughing quietly about something that only they know and as if they just were very happy in a quiet, calm way. – Shepherd Moons is one of the most special albums by Enya to me, maybe not necessarily the most favourite, but I just have so many significant memories with this, it’s helped me with so many upheavals in life, and this particular track, as well as Caribbean Blue and a few others on this album I find great for any kind of relaxing visualisation as they are very nourishing for the imagination.

The album, as well as its title track, got its name from the shepherd moons of Saturn – Pandora and Prometeus – which was Roma Ryan’s idea.