Music

Yn Chruinnaght’s CD ‘The Gathering’

Yn Chruinnaght’s CD ‘The Gathering’ is an exciting collection of Celtic music featuring twelve tracks donated by artists who have played at the festival over the years. The Gathering CD will raise vital funds for future events.

Those involved in the Manx music festival Yn Chruinnaght took a bold step with The Gathering. It is a compilation CD with 12 songs. These tracks were carefully selected and they all represent what is good, new and beautiful about the Yn Chruinnaght festival in the Isle of Man. Yn Chruinnaght (which also stands for the English word The Gathering)  was made up of tracks kindly donated by various artists who joined the festival throughout the years.

I have to be honest, it is hard to choose which is the best track. The Gathering is a CD that boasts wonderful tracks from bands that have been part of the festival through the years. From the enchanting hammer dulcimer of Cornish band Leski, to the perky accordion of Jamie Smith’s Mabon; everything in this album shines and enriches the soul.

The tracks and artists are:

Three spires/Tregajorran furry – Leski (Cornwall) Hammer dulcimer along with irresistible rhythm makes this the best choice as an opening track. Everything about Leski celebrates the beauty of Cornish music.

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Ah, que les femmes y sont betes d’obeir a leur mari – Trio Froger (Brittany) The tempo represents Breton dances. A trio of accordion, fiddle and lead vocals.

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Our ship did sail/If young men could swim – Sheear (Isle of Man) Meaning ‘West’, Sheear is an all girl band made up of musicians and singers who come together in between playing in other bands. Whistles, fiddles, piano, flute and vocals make this track a magical listening experience.

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Mae gen i fuwch – Never Mind The Bocs (Wales) The great thing about the Celtic language is that you don’t have to understand it, to appreciate the sound it makes. Such is the case of this Welsh track from this five-piece band. From Cajun to ceilidhs, via Blues and folk-rock, the contemporary approach of Never Mind The Bocs will charm lovers of Dougie McLean and Planxty.

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Just for Sean – Leo McCann (Scotland) What he can do with button box and tin whistle will find you tapping your feet and rocking your body. Leo has recorded over twenty albums. This track is an example of his fine musicianship distilled through years of playing in his own solo albums as well as other bands. Hands down! This is one of the great trad music I heard in ages.

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In with the bricks – Pipedown (Scotland) I wrote about them in my previous article and hearing this track proves my point that they are a force in the Scottish folk scene. In With the Bricks applies the skillful ease of poly-rhythms and the mellifluous sound of the small pipes.

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Kishtey ny yindyssyn – Staa (Isle of Man) A little bit on the groovy side with the infusion of reggae, bossa and vocal harmonies reminiscent of The Beach Boys, Staa will warm you to their music right away.

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Sumach – Scoot (Cornwall) Trad driven with hints of jazz and funk this Cornish band will enchant lovers of traditional Irish and Scottish music. The undeniable command of skill and technique are displayed in this wonderful track which is a duet between acoustic guitar and flute.

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Bonny broom – Imrama (Ireland) After thirteen years of playing, this track shows the refinement of this band. Influences of Planxty, Sweeney’s Men, The Bothy Band, and Steeleye Span are evident in their recordings.

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Kilmartin sky – Rachel Hair (Scotland) I became a fan of her music and I wrote about her band in my previous post. Rachel is the best Scotland has to offer in terms of harp playing. Delicate and haunting, this track celebrates the power of Celtic music through nuance and grace. A truly enriching and perky listening experience that made me tap my foot as the track gathers rhythm when it reaches the middle part.

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Derriere chez moi, ‘y a un etang – Chal ha Dichal, with vocals by Lors Landat (Brittany); The reason why I am crazy about Breton music is because of the energy and passion all Breton performers give when they sing or record albums. This track shines with so much positive energy that I end up smiling after.

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Fiddler’s despair – Jamie Smith’s Mabon (Wales) Well, introduction is not needed when you talk about this band. Energy and skill are consistent with their every track. Despite the title, Fiddler’s despair is a joy to listen to.

I think everyone who loves Celtic music should get this album. It only features the best and the brightest from the Celtic nations. The album features a beautiful photo by Dimitar Pentchev with a nice album artwork by Adam Rhodes. It also boasts an informative liner notes. I think liner notes are very important. Dave Rowles made a great arrangement in this compilation CD.

Special thanks to Laura Rowles for this wonderful treat.

You can buy the CD here: http://www.ynchruinnaght.com/cd/

Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival – 14-21 July 2012

2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Mona Douglas, the founder of Yn Chruinnaght Inter-Celtic Festival. Throughout her life Douglas was passionate about promoting and supporting Celtic culture, and she was respected throughout the Celtic world for this. Douglas had a vision of a Manx national festival, and this resulted in Yn Chruinnaght being started in 1977. However, unfortunately she did not live long enough to appreciate the huge success of her legacy.
Yn Chruinnaght aims to foster cultural relations between the Celtic nations, whilst also working to promote Manx culture, both on the Island and further abroad. The festival features performers from all of the Celtic countries in various venues throughout the Island. As well as music and dance performances, the festival also includes language events, lectures, workshops, art exhibitions, and fantastic sessions.
This year promises to be a particularly exciting festival, with the line-up so far including Scottish fiddle supergroup, Blazin’ Fiddles, mighty Breton band, Forzh Penaos, progressive Cornish group, Pentorr, and the extremely talented Rua Macmillan Trio. Manx bands that will be appearing include new Manx trio, Barrule, Strengyn, and Nish as Rish, who had the honour of winning the Trophée Loïc Raison at Lorient festival last year.
The festival offers much to keep visitors occupied throughout the week; however, there is still plenty of time to explore the beautiful Island. The Isle of Man boasts fantastic beaches, striking mountains, and picturesque glens, and has attractions to suit everyone.
For more information on the festival, see www.ynchruinnaght.com or email ynchruinnaght@manx.net
For more information about the Isle of Man, see www.visitisleofman.com

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