Celtic Odyssey album cover

Celtic Odyssey

Carolan's Ramble to Cashel
Northern Lights

The music of blind harper Turlough O'Carolan blended the old Irish harp tradition with Italian Baroque influences. Here Steve Coulter and Harris Moore of Northern Lights duet on harp and hammered dulcimer on one of Carolan's best known tunes.

The Butterfly

Having heard the Bothy Band's stunning version of this piece, any other version, including this, has to be a let down. Orison plays in a measured, heavily-arranged style, more along classical/New Age lines than traditional. They also manage to play the tune in no less than three different time signatures. The sound is rich and polished, with lush accompaniement complete with shimmering cymbals and, though nicely done, for me it has completely lost the soul of the original.

Dónal Agus Mórag/The New-Rigged Ship

Altan is undoubtedly the most acclaimed traditional group to come on the scene in the past few years, and their gem is the voice of Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, heard here on a wedding song from Rathlin Island, off the North Coast of Ireland. Emphasizing the links between this region and Scotland, it is sung in a mix of Irish and Scots Gaelic, and is followed by a reel from the Shetland Islands, off Scotland.

Sound icon Calliope House/The Cowboy Jig
Alasdair Fraser & Paul Machlis

Alasdair Fraser was for several years national fiddle champion in Scotland, and it shows in this combination, with a wonderful sonorous sound and nimble articulation. This one is a real joy to listen to.

Sound icon Chuaigh Mé 'Na Rosann

Connie Dover of Kansas City based Scartaglen sings this traditional romance song in Irish. Her strong voice is more nasal than many traditional singers, but both the singing and backing are quite exquisite.

Trip to Skye
John Whelan & Eileen Ivers

New York-born Eileen Ivers is one of the top young fiddlers in Irish music today. She plays here a tune written by John Whelan (of Kips Bay Ceili Band fame), who accompanies her on accordion.

Are Ye Sleeping, Maggie?
Alasdair Fraser

Another great tune from Fraser, this time showing his abilities on a traditional slow air.

Tribute to Peadar O'Donnell (edit)
Moving Hearts

Moving Hearts was one of the best results of many attempts to fuse traditional celtic music with modern rock and jazz idioms. Founded by Planxty members Christy Moore and Donal Lunny, and including both traditional and rock musicians, the Hearts did create that relative rarity, a fusion that was more than the sum of it's parts. This track, from their all-instrumental The Storm, highlights Davy Spillane's powerful uilleann piping.

Siún Ní Dhuibhir

A beautiful song in Irish, of a young woman who is courted by a man who is more interested in her dowry than herself. The voices are those of sister and brother, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, and Micheál Ó Domhnaill, backed by brothers Johnny and Phil Cunningham, of Silly Wizard fame.

Alasdair Mhic Cholla Ghasda

This waulking song is a modern version of an old Scottish tradition, work songs which were sung to accompany the pulling of wool to make cloth. Capercaillie is a vigorous young Scottish group that straddle the borders of traditional and pop music; that mix doesn't always work, but here it proves very effective.

Puirt a Beul

No instrumentation in sight here, just the two voices of Mary MacMaster and Patsy Seddon, singing in harmony and counterpoint, three highly rhythmic segments of Scottish puirt a beul or mouth music.

Sound icon The York Reel/Dancing Feet
Gerald Trimble

It was only in the seventies that fretted instruments such as the mandolin and bouzouki came into Irish folk music, as rhythm instruments. In 1983, Gerald Trimble added cittern to the ranks of melody instuments, with his solo album on the ten-string cittern. This pair of reels, from the Scottish piping tradition, have been effectively recreated on the cittern.

Morghan Meaghan (edit)
Laurie Riley and Bob McNally

Back to another Carolan piece on harp and hammered dulicmer, this time by Laurie Riley and Bob McNally of Washington. Their playing is fine, though not exceptional.

Simon Wynberg

Probably the most derivative of the album this is a self-penned tune by Scottish guitarist Simon Wynberg, backed by uilleann piper Ian Goodfellow and orchestral strings. Rather more in the New Age than celtic traditions.


These albums should be widely available in record stores in North America (try under New Age if you don't see anything in Celtic). If you need more info, or can't find them locally, give Narada a call at 1-800-966-3699. You can also contact Narada by email to friends@narada.com. In Europe, Narada can be reached at PO Box 2301, 1200 CH Hilversum, Netherlands.

You can also order online, at a discount price from CD Universe.

* To the Narada page.
* To the Ceolas home page.

Gerard Manning