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Celtic Journey
  • Artist: Mary Behan Miller
  • Label: CD Baby
  • UPC: 634479098918
  • Item #: SRD909891
  • Genre: International
  • Release Date: 3/8/2005
  • This product is a special order
  • Rank: 1000000000
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List Price: $11.98
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Description

Celtic Journey on CD

The title of this CD and many of the tracks describe a journey of both distance and time. Some of the earliest tunes on the CD are by the Irish Baroque composer Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). He was a blind Irish harper who traveled throughout Ireland performing and writing music for his patrons or their family members. George Brabazon and David and Elizabeth Power, whose daughter was Fanny Power, are examples of two of his compositions. These 'planxties' as O'Carolan called them, a term perhaps derived from the Irish word for plucking, are lively energetic pieces. The other O'Carolan composition on this CD, 'O'Carolan's Draught,' addresses the composer's appreciation of whiskey and not beer as is commonly assumed. O'Carolan wrote his music when the Penal Laws were at their height, a time of extreme oppression by the British. Over time, there were various revolts including the 1798 Rebellion, that is commemorated in the song The Minstrel Boy. The lyrics were written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) based on The Moreen, an old Irish aire. The uprising was ruthlessly suppressed by the British, who then imposed direct rule from London. Even in modern times Northern Ireland has been administered in this fashion. The deliberate impoverishment of the Irish resulted in squalid living conditions and their dependence on the potato for food. Repeated failures of the potato crop from 1845-1850 were due to the blight caused by Phytophthora infestan, and mass starvation loomed. The British response was largely ineffective and ultimately punitive. This resulted in the deaths of about a million Irish, forced evictions and the migration of another million. The song Skibbereen reflects the horror and suffering of this tragedy. It may be noted that England was the richest and most powerful nation in the world with a vast empire during this period. Emigration, primarily to America and Canada, continued unabated as many Irish sought a better life. CD tracks that recall this include Skibbereen, Leaving of Liverpool and An Irish Lullaby. Many of the Irish also ended up in Australia, but this was often a somewhat less voluntary departure, since the British used Australia as a penal colony from 1791-1853. By the First World War, the Irish again had become restless and revolted on Easter Monday in 1916. The British responded severely in suppressing the rebellion, but the seeds were sown for ousting the British from most of Ireland. After the war, fighting started anew. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) fought a guerilla war and the British responded with undisciplined former soldiers who came to be called the Black and Tans. After much fighting, however, the IRA prevailed and the British partitioned Ireland and retained parts of six counties in the North, which continues to be a source of serious conflict. The track The Boys of the Old Brigade commemorates this victory. Let us now turn to happier songs without a lot of historical significance. The Kerry Dance and Old Maid in the Garret certainly fit into this category. We can travel to Wales for two lullabies, Suo Gan and All Through the Night and then go to Scotland for Green Grow the Rushes 0. We can also go on a journey by sea with Drunken Sailor combined with South Australia. Finally, there is Danny Boy, a song whose lyrics were written by an Englishman who needed an accompanying melody. The tune Aire for Derry, from Ireland of course, was sent to him by a relative in the United States and the result was Danny Boy. Talk about a journey! Mary has also released another Celtic CD, 'The Fields of Athenry' that features the song of the same name by Pete St. John. Other selections include The Ash Grove, Molly Malone, and Farewell to Nova Scotia. Another release, 'American Pie', with the Don McLean song of the same title, also contains a variety of other American songs including Grandfather's Clock, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Sloop John B, Shenandoah and a medley of songs by George M. Cohan. The CD 'Amazing Grace', in a similar fashion, contains the track of the same name along with a number of other sacred favorites. Two of the most ancient songs are in Gregorian chant, The Magnificat and Salve Regina and date from medieval times. Other somewhat newer tracks include For the Beauty of the Earth, How Can I Keep from Singing and the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria. Holy Manna, sung in the style of the Sacred Harp tradition is another track on the CD. Simple Gifts can also be heard with several new verses provided. Mary also has two children's CDs, 'Kids' Songs and Lullabies' and 'Silly Stories in Song'. The first CD includes songs for both very young and somewhat older children. Lullabies include the famous composition by Brahms, Hush Little Baby, and Rock-a-Bye Baby. For older children, Bingo, Grandfather's Clock and The Crawdad Song can be heard along with other selections. For the other children's CD songs like Froggie Went a Courtin', Camptown Races, and Goober Peas may be heard along with other songs of similar frivolity. Additional tracks by Mary Behan Miller are also available on 'Keltic Visions', 'Some Keltic, Some Knot' and 'Keltic Beginnings' as a member of the group Keltic Kaleidoscope.