Time to Sail – Éilís Kennedy

from the BBC Radio 2 Folk Web Site:

Kerry-born Éilís (say Aylish) Kennedy comes of an Irish family where both music and the Gaelic language were part of everyday life, a happy fact reflected in this debut album. Time To Sail was recorded in her home town of Dingle and features, apart from her own pure, natural voice, a ton of top Irish artists including Máire Breathnach (fiddle, viola), William Coulter (guitar), Virginia McKee (clarinet), Bruce Abraham (slide guitar) and Séamus Begley (vocal).

Subtle and lush arrangements woven around traditional songs in two languages are the order of the day. Most of the ten tracks have been round the block many a time but Kennedy reworks them with a freshness that belies any qualms of pastiche. The Factory Girl, bouncing along on Gregg Sheehan’s funky percussion, dives into two slide guitar and kalimba-drenched barn dances; gorgeous layers of cello and clarinet drive away any echoes of Sandy Denny in Crazy Man Michael and Who Knows Where The Time Goes; Black is the Colour’s characterful phrasing and spooky slide guitar/woodwind soundscape prevents it neatly from stepping on Cara Dillon’s justly acclaimed version. Of the less familiar material, two Gaelic songs in particular tug the heartstrings – Amhrán na Leabhar (The Song Of Books), an 18th century poet’s lament for the loss of a boatload of beloved books to the sea and a song of loves’ tribulations, Tá Mé ‘mo Shuí.

Crooked Road

Find Crooked Road at Gourd Music

Following up on the success of his previous recordings, Celtic Crossing and Celtic Sessions, William Coulter once again draws from the rich repertoire of airs and dances from Scotland and Ireland for The Crooked Road. Along with traditional works, Coulter has also selected a number of contemporary compositions for this recording, including a wonderful duet with concertina master Alistair Anderson on Anderson’s “Dog Leap Stairs.”

Coulter is joined on two tracks by virtuoso classical guitarist Benjamin Verdery. Together they perform the Sean Ó Riada classic, “Women of Ireland” and the beautiful Turlogh Ó Carolan air, “Eleanor Plunkett.”

Other guest artists include cellist Barry Phillips, Shelley Phillips on oboe and English horn, Lars Johannesson on flute, fiddler Deby Benton Grosjean, Neal Hellman on dulcimer, uilleann piper Todd Denman, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh on whistle and flute, and pianist Paul Machlis.

Celtic Sessions

Find this over at Gourd Music.

Following the success of The Road Home William Coulter joins a wealth of talented musicians for Celtic Sessions. This stunning disc features Martin Hayes and Alasdair Fraser on fiddle, Seamus Egan on flute and 4-string banjo, Todd Denman on uilleann pipes as well as his long time musical friends Barry and Shelley Phillips, Lars Johannesson, Paul Machlis, Theo Page and Neal Hellman.

“The sounds on this album are pristine; it is beautifully recorded, capturing a range of nuances and gentle moods that are rarely heard on recordings of Celtic music. The arrangements are mostly contemporary, the content traditional and above all else it is musically expressive in a way that helps to redefine the place of the guitar in Celtic Music.” – Martin Hayes

Celtic Crossing

Celtic Crossing is available from Gourd Records

Here I’m joined by Shelley and Barry Phillips, Irish fiddler extraordinaire Kevin Burke, and others. The tunes include beloved traditionals The Lark in the Morning, Si bheag, Si mhor, Banish Misfortune, Lagan Love, The Kesh Jig and Return to Fingal. You’ll also find unexpected treasures including the lullaby Einini*, Ay Linda Amiga from Celtic Spain, and the Victorian Marble Halls.


*Featured on the Narada Sampler Celtic Legacy.

I also published a book of arrangements for these tunes. It’s also available at Gourd Music.

Shaker Music

With Barry Phillips, Shelly Phillips, Mike Marshall, Robin Petrie, Lars Johannesson, Laurie Hart, Neal Hellman, and others. We made several collections of shaker music. The most famous of these tunes, Simple Gifts, was immortalized by Aaron Copland in Appalachian Spring.

Find them all over at Gourd Music



Orison

This record, from 1988, can be found over at Gourd Music
Five San Francisco Bay instrumentalists take the name Orison from the old-fashioned word for prayer or invocaiton (see Hamlet, III, i). They are: Barry Phillips, Shelley Phillips, William Coulter, Steve Coulter and Anne Cleveland, whose repertoire includes music from both the folk and classical traditions (The Butterfly*, Arran Boat Song, The Maids of Mitchelston, The Water Kilpie, Morgan Megan and more), along with original compositions. Their combinations of harp, guitar, cello, oboe, English horn, flute and percussion produce textures of etheral and poignant beauty.

the liner notes:

The Arran Boat Song comes from the Arran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, a traditional tune in a contemporary setting.

Pierre on the Mountain Playing the Hurdy Gurdy is a medley. The first tune in it is a French one we learned from Pierre Bensusan. It is followed by an Irish slip jig called Kid on the Mountain, originally in 9/8, our setting is in 7/8. Followed by an obscure French hurdy gurdy tune, the title of which is unknown to us.

Morning Rain is a solo steel string guitar piece composed with the help of digital delay. Dedicated by composer William Coulter to the weather.

The Dance of the Spirits of Water is from Holst’s opera The Perfect Fool. The Golden Goose is a slip jig from the composer’s ballet of the same name.

William Coulter composed Pastorale in 1986, inspired by the beauty of the Santa Cruz mountains.

The Water Kilpie, a Manx tune from the Isle of Man, tells the story of a water fairy. The Maids of Mitchelston is a slow Irish reel which we adapted from an arrangement by the Irish group the Bothy Band.

The Butterfly is an Irish slip jig played here in three different time signatures, 9/8, and altered 9/8 (2 + 2 + 2 + 3), and 11/8 (2 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 2). These rhythms are borrowed from Bulgarian folk music.

Morgan Megan is by Turlough O’Carolan, the blind harper and composer who lived in Ireland from 1670-1738 and dedicated many of his tunes to his patrons.

William Coulter composed Bob’s Room while visiting a good friend whose interior decor was particularly inspiring.

Celtic Voyage

A compilation album of mostly Gourd Music Artists.
from the website:

Some of today’s leading Celtic performers have contributed to this exciting collection of instrumental music from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales. This 15-track release, which features 6 new tracks and nine previously recorded compositions covers centuries of Gaelic history and scores of musical styles.

The musical mix includes the fiddling magic of such renowned artists as Alasdair Fraser, Martin Hayes, and Deby Benton Grosjean. Also featured are such noted musicians as Seamus Egan, Paul Machlis, and Kevin Burke as well as Gourd Music recording artists William Coulter, Barry and Shelley Phillips, Danny Carnahan and Robin Petrie, Martin Simpson, Kim Robertson, Orison, and Neal Hellman.
Celtic Voyage features exquisite airs such as Cití na gCumman, All Through the Night, Between Deighre and Breo, and The Quiet Land of Erin alongside such uptempo dance pieces as The Rose in the Heather/Tom Billy’s Jig, The Flowing Tide/The Gypsies/The Roaring Hornpipe, Sliabh Russel/Come West along the Road, St. Patrick’s Day/Over the Moor to Maggie, and Breton Dances. Also featured are a number of compositions by legendary harper Turlough O’Carolan, including The Faerie Queene, Separation of Body and Soul, and The Lament for Owen Roe O’Neil. Along with many longstanding favorites, Celtic Voyage delivers some rarely heard gems, among them, Chanter’s Tune, Rowing from Isla to Uist, and The Butterfly.

Tune List:

  1. Cití Na GCumman – William Coulter
  2. Breton Dances- Danny Carnahan & Robin Petrie
  3. All Through the Night- Kim Robertson
  4. Rose in the Heather/Tom Billy’s Jig- William Coulter
  5. The Faerie Queene – Shelly Phillips & Friends
  6. Rowing from Isla to Uist – Barry Phillips
  7. The Flowing Tide/The Gypsies/The Roaring Hornpipe – Deby Benton Grosjean
  8. Between Deighre and Breo – Barry Phillips, Martin Simpson & Shelly Phillips
  9. Quiet Land of Erin – Kim Robertson
  10. Sliabh Russel/Come West Along the Road – William Coulter
  11. Lament for Owen Roe O’Neil/Foggy Dew- Neal Hellman & Friends
  12. St. Patrick’s Day/Over the Moor to Maggie – William Coulter
  13. The Butterfly – Orison
  14. Separation of Body and Soul – Barry Phillips, Neal Hellman & Shelly Phillips
  15. Chanter’s Tune – Shelly Phillips & Friends