Erika Borsos | Gulf Coast of FL, USA | 12/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Awakening the spirits within the rocks and soil and sea and the ocean, this music speaks to the soul within us all and connects us to Nature and Timelessness. Based on traditional melodies, today's popular Celtic musicians and vocalists bring their personal influences and experience via instrument and voice, interpreting the music for modern times, yet maintaining a continuity of sound with the past which is undeniably beautiful. This DVD provides a glimpse into the world of Celtic music via interviews and performances by many of the best vocalists, both male and female, and modern Celtic bands who have graced the world stage
Interviews are conducted with the Chieftains, Old Blind Dogs, Karen Matheson of Capercaille, Mary Black, Maireade Ni Mhaoinaigh of Altan, Maire Brennan of Clannad, Loreena McKinnett, Seamus Egan, Dougie McLean, Natalie McMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, and John Allen Cameron, plus a few others. These performers demonstrate a wide range of Irish music and regional influence. The music originated in Ireland and Scotland and has passed around the world to Australia and Cape Breton, Canada wherever Irish and Scottish immigrants settled, usually during the 18th and 19th century. Explanations are given by the musicians and vocalists as to early influences on their music and how they developed their unique expressions and personal talent.
The Rankin sisters take the viewer to beautiful green Irish landscapes, seasides, mountains, and villages which form the backdrop to their discussions of this root music. The mysterious and magical qualities of Celtic music originates within the soul and life of the simple, everyday people of Ireland. The rhythmic patterns and repetition of sounds and phrases stirs up primal energy which connects anyone who listens to this eternal sound. The musicians and singers provide insights into the nature and origins of the magic called Celtic music. Mairde Ni Mhaoinaigh explains how in Donnegal where she grew up "twin fiddling" was popular, where two fiddlers would play, one playing an octave higher or lower than the other, providing a blended sound. It was considered rebellious to be playing the fiddle solo. She also tells us how northern Irish music which has an attack due to a staccato playing technique originated from the Scottish, where the northern Irish went to find work. The southerners have a more fluid sound.
John Allen Cameron explains the "caille" which is a house gathering or house party. Relatives and friends would gather in the kitchen, play on instruments, some would sing and others would step dance, however the spirit moved them. Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie McMaster are shown in films from 1992 where they performed in a contest in Cape Breton. Ashley MacIsaac describes himself as a "modern pagan on fire". He states his fiddle playing is "vulgar Celtic", highly energetic and emotionally charged.
Examples of modern choreographed Celtic dancing are shown, contrasted with a black and white film where step-dancing is demonstrated from the 1950s or early 1960s. There is a natural percussion created by dancing feet which sounds like a drum beating. It becomes clearly evident how Irish music connects people with their past. The music captures the harmony of the Irish people with the land, the sea and nature. Celtic music contains a strength and depth which stirs the soul. Often the lyrics are nostalgic and contain an expression of melancholy which moves the emotions of the singer and listener. This DVD is highly recommended. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]"
A Panorama of Talent
Montague Whitsel | Western Pennsylvania | 02/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though this program came out a few years ago, I recently re-acquired it on DVD, it was so good. When I first saw it, it had the effect of granting me a deeper access to the world of Celtic music. The narrators explicate the roots of the Celtic musical tradition as well as lead the viewer/listener through a wide variety of contemporary artists in the Celtic tradition. The program alludes to ancient Celtic mythology and the worldview of ancient Celtic peoples, as well as allowing you to hear how recent artists interpret their work and the tradition in which they stand. Excellent on DVD, too--the color and picture quality are very high. Beautifully filmed. I recommend this disc strongly!"
J. Peterson | custer, sd United States | 01/27/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"never get to see a complete performance-only brief clips---"interviews" are lengthy monologues that are not all that interesting"