A girl upon the shore did ask a favour of the sea;
"Return my blue eyed sailor boy safely back to me.
Forgive me if I ask too much, I will not ask for more,
but I shall weep until he sleeps safe upon the shore."
For nearly 20 years, Newfoundland group Great Big Sea
have been creating acoustic Celtic folk-rock covers and interpretations of traditional
Newfoundland and Labrador sea shanties
, fishing and party songs
, which draw from the island's rich 500-year-old multicultural (Irish, English, Scottish and French) heritage. [more inside]
You might have heard Mike Oldfield playing during the Olympic opening
and wondered, "What! Why the heck would Danny Boyle
want the Exorcist theme
playing at the start of such a grand event!" Oldfield's kept a low profile for years, so you may not remember him as the man who literally launched Virgin Records
, one of only three artists to ever knock his #1 record
off the charts with another #1 record
(the other two being Bob Dylan and the Beatles). But those teenage successes were merely the start of an astonishing career, one full of pop music
and prog rock
and New Age
, film scores
and classical orchestrations
— not to mention a spot at the start of Kanye West's recent album
. His magnum opus, Amarok
, is an hour of astonishing sounds and shifting genres which must be heard to be believed. Too overwhelming? Well, there're [more inside]
Midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice is Belatane, when the dark half of the year ends and the light half begins. Some celebrate the spiritual
For some Beltane stirs more earthy observations
Information-age math finds code in ancient Scottish symbols.
"The ancestors of modern Scottish people left behind mysterious, carved stones that new research has just determined contain the written language
of the Picts
, an Iron Age society that existed in Scotland from 300 to 843. The highly stylized rock engravings, found on what are known as the Pictish Stones
, had once been thought to be rock art or tied to heraldry. The new study
, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, instead concludes that the engravings represent the long lost language of the Picts, a confederation of Celtic tribes that lived in modern-day eastern and northern Scotland."
has died. Liam
, last surviving member of the hugely popular Clancy Brothers,
strongly influenced Bob Dylan
but also became an interpreter
of Dylan's work.
Salsa in Kilts!
I was not aware of them until seeing them in the (excellent) movie Driving Lessons
. WOW! Meet Salsa Celtica
After the Romans left
Britain was divided into a number of Celtic kingdoms
that fought with each other and, increasingly, with the Germanic invaders
we know as "Anglo-Saxons." The most famous alleged defender of Celtic Britain, of course, is King Arthur
, but he's more myth than history. What catches my imagination is The Gododdin
, by Aneurin
), an epic lament for the band of men who gathered at Eiddyn (Edinburgh, main town of Gododdin
) around the year 600 and headed south for a last-ditch battle against the Saxons at Catraeth (probably Catterick
in northern Yorkshire), where they were wiped out. One contingent was from Elmet
(Elfed in the poem), a kingdom that had been holding the line against the invaders in what's now Yorkshire; once Elmet was conquered, there was no stopping them. And all of this history was basic to the poetry of David Jones
, one of the best unknown poets of the previous century, and important to one of the best known, Ted Hughes
with photos). "Men went to Catraeth, familiar with laughter. The old, the young, the strong, the weak."
(note: sound on intro) is a Belgian band founded by Jim Kline
and Mariusz Radwanski combining medieval, baroque, folk, celtic and sea chanty in a beautiful sound. While strolling down the Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence this afternoon, I chanced upon these two musicians playing dulcet tones in a duet. As I drew closer, I saw the instruments were nothing I'd encountered before: a nyckelharpa
and an arch guitar
. The sound was quite appealing
(also known as Boadicea) was the queen
of the Celtic Iceni
tribe in eastern Britain in 60 AD. As recorded by Tacitus
and Cassius Dio
, she led a brutal revolt
against the Romans and razed London
. There's a famous statue
of her at Westminster Bridge, and Masterpiece Theatre has produced a new historical drama about her, Warrior Queen
"The Druids of the ancient Celtic world have a startling kinship with the brahmins of the Hindu religion,"
according to popular historian Peter Berresford Ellis
. Another author examines the parallels between Celtic and Vedic culture in the article The Celtic Vedic Connection
, and a particular diety is analyzed in The Horned God in India and Europe
. This may not be very conservative scholarship, but I found it intriguing and fun to contemplate.
"Biggest flame war of all time: Danny Boy - sentimental Irish favorite, or stupid song decried by true Celts everywhere?"
A link to a discussion in another forum about how one prevents the banal from driving out the profound in online public-participation forums. (Their conclusion: ruthless and efficient moderation.)
A British archaeologist finds evidence that cannibalism still existed amongst the Celts as recently as two thousand years ago, during Roman Times.
One grisly find includes a femur which had been split lengthways in order to scrape the marrow out. Tastemungus mates :)
Having just made contact with another dimension, I thought this was worth a read.
It's small yet, and a bit New Agey-Crunchy for my tastes, but I'm convinced that if we could just enfold the shamanic experience with what's coming down the pike for information exhange, we could twist the world into a pretzel. Or whatever.