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Govannen - Celtic Fire
 
Govannen Celtic Fire


Chris Conway -
low & tin whistles, keyboards, acoustic & electric 9 string guitars, kalimba, theremin, zither, hammer dulcimer, percussion, vocals
Dan Britton -
bodhran, acoustic & electric guitars, percussion, banjo, vocals
Adele McMahon - violin, vocals
Bridgett McMahon - vocals
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



govannen cd celtic fire back



 
1
Queen of the May - The Congress
2
Celtic Fire
3
The Kesh - Morrisons Jig
4
Spancil Hill
5
Colliers Reel
6
Debhair the Dancer - The Kid on the Mountain
7
Weaving a Spell
8
Wheelans Jig - Coolies Reel
9
Thunderhead
10 The Gathering
11 Cunla
12 Bobby Caseys - The Rising Tide
13 Dakar To Dublin - Mickey The Moulder - Stan Chapman's Jig
14 Ritual of the Celtic Fire


Govannen
Jigs, reels and new music from the hugely talented Govannen band.
Blazing fiddle, Irish whistles, bodhran and percussion plus a host of exotic instruments feature on an album that will warm your heart and make your feet want to move.


background
The last Govannen studio album Healing Waters focussed on mixing Celtic tunes with atmospheric music to evoke the Chalice Well at Glastonbury. On Celtic Fire the plan was to make an upbeat rhythmic instrumental album of Celtic music, while keeping some sound connections with Healing Waters.

As a starting point, they used their arrangements of the Irish jigs and reels from the Govannen live repertoire. They also threw in some new tunes to widen their set and added some Chris Conway originals. The aim was to keep the freshness of a live sound but have the advantages of layering sounds that the studio brings.

Chris had done some preproduction in the spring, but the main recording took place during a very busy summer of concerts, weddings, and ceilidhs for Govannen. Sometimes someone would come into the studio straight after a concert. This meant they were pretty sharp in the studio and work progressed quickly.

Bridget (who had to leave the band when she left the UK) flew in from Ireland and gave some great atmospheric vocal performances. Neil had played a few concerts with the band, and came at the end with his cajon drum to help stoke up the percussion.

So - a few bits of Conway production magic and Celtic Fire was born - another aspect of the Govannen sound. Catch them at a concert sometime. They kick up a storm.

The band were really happy with how Celtic Fire turned out. It has a live upbeat feel, but with enough variety to not jig & reel you to death, and with enough atmispheric touches to appeal to those who enjoyed Healing Waters.



 

influences
Alan Stivell, Donal Lunny, Planxty, Moving Hearts, Gwerz, Dan Ar Braz

trivia
Winner of the COVR Award for best World Music album 2010



Live versions of some of the tracks on Celtic Fire can be heard on Live - Sniff The Pony

Thunderhead title was a play on it being the name of a big wave, and also was reflecting Dan's hangover when he recorded it.

A vocal version of Cunla appears on Bridget McMahon's Celtic Woman album.

Bridget was by now living in Ireland and had to fly over for her recording sessions.

Shortly after this release Neil Rabjohn became a permanent member of the band.


On iTunes and some download distributors the album tracks are in the right order but the track titles are all jumbled up. This has been corrected on Amazon and Spotify.

CC's favourite track -The Gathering

track by track

1. Queen of the May - The Congress - (traditional)
These set of tunes is a big feature of Govannen's live sets. A favourite part is when they break out into a Latin section in The Congress. For this recording they also added a small ska section too.

Chris Conway - keyboards, percussion, samples
Dan Britton - acoustic guitar, bodhran
Adele McMahon - violin
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



2. Celtic Fire - (Chris Conway)
This anthem by Chris has something of a Scottish feel to it. It is probably inspired by his regular trips to Edinburgh, though he confesses that he wrote the tune in New York. It's a catchy tune - after hearing it everyone in the studio kept whistling or humming it. In the middle is a little tune he calls The Detour.

Chris Conway - tin & low whistles, acoustic 9 string guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals
Dan Britton - bodhran, vocals
Adele McMahon - violin, vocals



3. The Kesh - Morrison's Jig - (traditional)
The Kesh was another inspiration for the previous track so it made sense to run them together. These two jigs have been long favourites of the band - Morrison's - also known as Port Uí Mhuirgheasa, was the first Irish tune Chris ever learned and Chris & Dan recorded it in their band The Storm Thieves some 14 years ago.

Chris Conway - tin & low whistles, acoustic 9 string guitar, keyboards, percussion
Dan Britton - bodhran
Adele McMahon - violin
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



4. Spancil Hill - (traditional)
This old favourite theme has been given a new twist in this arrangement by Chris with a jazzy lilt and some beautiful atmospheric harmonies from Bridget.

Chris Conway - low & tin whistles, acoustic 9 string guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals
Dan Britton - bodhran, vocals
Adele McMahon - violin, vocals
Bridget McMahon - vocals
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



5. Colliers Reel - (traditional)
Colliers is a new tune to the band but not to Adele who pulled this out of her head in the studio. Such a clever twisting and turning tune, it really only needed a little percussion as backing to set it off.

Dan Britton - bodhran
Adele McMahon - violin
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



6. Debhair the Dancer - The Kid on the Mountain - (traditional)
Debhair the Dancer has been a favourite if Chris's for years and he has been wanting to introduce it to the band for a long time. The Kid on the Mountain is a popular but demanding slip jig that always keeps the listener guessing.

Chris Conway - tin whistles, acoustic 9 string guitar, percussion
Dan Britton - bodhran, percussion
Adele McMahon - violin
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



7. Weaving a Spell - (Chris Conway)
This Conway concoction has been over 2 years in the making. He started with the hammer dulcimer given to him as a present and added some zither to it. Every few months he'd add another layer or two, eventually adding Govannen into the mix. It grew into this unique magical gem.

Chris Conway - kalimba, zither, hammer dulcimer, bamboo flute, theremin, keyboards, percussion, vocals
Dan Britton - bodhran, vocals
Adele McMahon - violin, vocals
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum

8. Wheelans Jig - Coolies Reel - (traditional)
These tunes are a big favourite of the band's in their live concerts and often gets people up and dancing. Bridget's ethereal voice floats over the band stunningly here.

Chris Conway - keyboards, percussion
Dan Britton - acoustic & electric guitars, bodhran
Adele McMahon - violin
Bridget McMahon - vocals
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



9. Thunderhead - (Dan Britton)
Amazingly Dan recorded this bodhran once, then went and recorded it a second time - almost identical. The clicks are rimshots on the drum with the wooden beater. A thunderhead is a big wave in surfing-speak and not related to a recent hangover Dan had. (honest)

Dan Britton - bodhrans



10. The Gathering - (Chris Conway)
This unusual piece in two parts popped into Christo's head soon after he woke one morning. He rushed into the studio and recorded it quickly before he forgot it. Breakfast had to wait.

Chris Conway - tin whistles, electric 9string guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals
Adele McMahon - vocals
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



11. Cúnla - (traditional)
This piece is a favourite of Dan's knowing well the Planxty and Chieftans versions, and was his request for a new tune for Govannen to learn. It is known as a song too in English and Gaelic, Cúnla being a boys name.

Chris Conway - keyboards, handclaps
Dan Britton - bodhran, percussion, handclaps
Adele McMahon violin
Neil Rabjohn - cajon drum



12. Bobby Caseys - The Rising Tide - (traditional - Chris Conway)
Christo has been playing Bobby Casey's as a feature for his low D whistle for sometime, he recorded it as part of his Earth Rising suite on his songs album of the same name. On this arrangement he added a little tune of his own, The Rising Tide in double time.

Chris Conway - low & tin whistles, keyboards, electric 9 string guitar, percussion, vocals
Adele McMahon - violin
Bridget McMahon - vocals



13. Dakar to Dublin - Mickey the Moulder - Stan Chapmans Jig -
(Chris Conway - traditional - traditional)
Dakar To Dublin is an overlapping set of riffs with an African feel plus Native American sounding chants which frames the 2 jigs. Africa and Ireland also came together on his album with percussionist Chris Puleston, The Healing Drum, on a piece called An Irishman in Africa.

Chris Conway - tin & twin whistles, keyboards, percussion, vocals
Dan Britton - acoustic guitar, bodhran, percussion, banjo, vocals
Adele McMahon - violin, vocals



14. Ritual of the Celtic Fire - (Chris Conway)
A ritual of celebration as the Celtic Fire anthem returns, as does the thunder. The feeling of celebration was genuine as it was the last piece to be recorded on Govannen's last day in the studio.

Chris Conway - vocals, tin & low whistles, handclaps
Dan Britton - bodhran, vocals, handclaps
Adele McMahon - violin, handclaps
Bridget McMahon - vocals, handclaps

Produced by Chris Conway
COVR
Winner of the COVR Award for best World Music album 2010


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also available from
Amazon.co.uk
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downloads
Govannen - Celtic Fire
(track titles are mixed up on iTunes)
Amazon.co.uk



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