From their humble beginnings as a cover band, to developing their unique blend of genres, SYR set out to gather inspiration from Celtic Folk, Irish drinking songs, Scottish folk numbers and Gaelic Ballads, blending these timeless genres with a contemporary twist coming in the form of their rock music background. On their recent self-titled album, the band alternates personal lyricism to storytelling inspired by Celtic Myths and old folk tales, going for a very personal and relatable approach.
Hailing from Columbia, SC, the combo blends in different sounds and ideas, from guitar-oriented numbers to the beautiful colors of the fiddle leads. The band consists of brothers Jacob and Josh McCleery (drums and guitar), Emily Bracey (fiddle), Timothy Strevens (bass), and siblings, Kyle and Laurel MacCallum, (lead guitar/vocals and backup vocals).
One of the band’s most distinctive traits is definitely their ability to swing from upbeat numbers such as "Defiance" to touching and personal ballads the likes of Funeral Pyre, showcasing the band's most intimate side.
"I drove my father to drink" is a great example of the band's vivid and descriptive blend of storytelling: a lyrical approach with an almost autobiographical power that blends in really well with the tone of folk music and rock grit.
This young folk rock combo sounds mature and accomplished, as testified by diverse and emotionally powerful recordings where upbeat songs, folk ballads and rock stompers coexist. Roots run deep in South Carolina and so does musical talent earning a 5 star review from Celtic Radio!
1. Mo Gradh (moi rah) 2. Defiance 3. Albion 4. Funeral Pyre 5. Who Are You 6. Home 7. In The End 8. I Drove My Father To Drink
When anyone mentions witches, outside of Halloween, one place will usually come to the minds of most people - Salem. For some reason; perhaps because of the major publicity it has received over the years - through books, movies, and tourism, or perhaps because people need to remember what horror was brought about through sheer hysteria and gossip; Salem is the most talked about of all the worldwide witch trials.
In the summer of 1692 terror reigned in Salem, Massachusetts, USA. On the word of several young girls in the village, who were exhibiting strange behaviour that they said was brought on by witchcraft, many of the townsfolk were brought to the prison and tried on the charge of witchcraft. There was no-one exempt from the adolescents’ accusing fingers. Popular people, professional people, men, women and even children were brought before the court and interrogated.
First to be accused was Tituba, the Carib Indian slave belonging to Reverend Samuel Parris. Along with Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne were also arrested. Of these, only Tituba confessed to witchcraft - and remarkably, of the three, she was the only one to survive!
The youngest of the accused was four years old. Imagine the horror that little girl, Dorcas Good - daughter of Sarah Good, must have felt to be CHAINED to the wall of the rat-infested prison for almost 10 months before she was found not guilty - but not before she watched her mother convicted and taken to the gallows to be hung. In the period that her mother was imprisoned, her sibling also died - a child that Sarah was still nursing was taken to the prison with her but died before Sarah was hung.
In total 19 of those accused of witchcraft were hanged on Gallows Hill. 13 of the convicted were women, and 6 of them men. Giles Corey, also died as a result of the trials - he was pressed to death when refusing to plead guilty or otherwise. His wife was hanged for witchcraft 3 days after his death. Although prison records offer conflicting information, it is thought that as many as 13 other accused people died in prison during the witch trials. Between 100 and 200 people were arrested on charges of witchcraft - and two dogs executed.
Who was to blame for this gross miscarriage of justice, created by ignorance and fear? Perhaps it was the physician who could not identify what illness Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams (aged 9 and 11 respectively) had which caused them to have convulsions, trance-like states and other strange behaviour. His diagnosis was therefore to suggest that they were under Satan’s influence. Perhaps it was Tituba who created the “witch cake” that was made up of rye meal and urine from the sick girls and given to a dog to eat in the hope that the witch who had inflicted the girls would be identified. It was also Tituba who confessed to witchcraft and then gave evidence against Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and others. Perhaps it was the young girls themselves - not only Abigail and Elizabeth, but also Ann Putnum, Elizabeth Hubbard, Susannah Sheldon, Mercy Lewis and Mary Warren - who were guilty of mischievously accusing anyone who had crossed them? Perhaps it was the townspeople who allowed hysteria to override commonsense and set one neighbour up to accuse his/her neighbour of witchcraft because they did not conform to normal social standards or because the butter turned sour after one of the accused had visited . Perhaps it was the court that allowed hearsay and malicious gossip convict and kill innocent people. Perhaps it was the laws that covered the court and said the trials were “legal”. Whoever or whatever was to blame, the outcome was the same. Many innocent people were condemned to death - and their sentences carried out - whilst many others spent months in prison needlessly and never recovered from their experience.
In 1697 Samual Sewall, one of the judges in the witch trials publicly confessed to the wrong doing he had helped to escalate, and offered an apology to the relatives of those who had died. The matter has never been allowed to die however. In 1706 Ann Putnam apologised for her actions during the summer of 1692. In 1711, a bill was passed through the legislature that restored the names of those accused, and gave £600 in restitution to their heirs - this included money for those like Dorcas Good who never recovered from her ordeal and required to be looked after for the rest of her life. In 1957 the State of Massachusetts formally apologised, and in 1992, a memorial to the witch trials was dedicated in Salem - now renamed “Danvers”.
Those who died needlessly have not died quietly. Their memory lives on, not only in the minds of their generations of relatives that followed them, but also those who strive to prevent such an atrocity happening again.
“I am no witch. I am innocent. I know nothing of it.” Bridget Bishop, first of Salem’s accused to be hanged on June 10th 1692.
Reely Jiggered , 02 ABC Winners of the SoundWave Music Competition 2014, are bursting with talent, alive with creativity and live to perform. They are inspired by Celtic Folk music, intrigued by World beats and melodies and drawn to an interesting and unique fusion of funk, rock, pop and jazz taking folk music to new heights.
If you could cherry pick a keyword to define Reely Jiggered's blend of sound, I'd chose contamination. Their eclectic approach to Celtic Folk Music takes a detour to explore wildly diverse genres, including funk, rock, pop, jazz and world - going for a truly explosive and infectious feast of rhythms.
This is not merely "folk music", but an exciting sonic journey throughout the world's most popular folk tradition, showcasing them in all their diversity, while highlighting what they commonly share - the glue that keeps it all together.
Reely Jiggered's aptly titled studio effort, Kaleidoscope, is a colorful release were notes, melodies and textures are free to fly in the air like confetti and ribbons: picture a bunch of drunken Celts storming a Brazilian Carnival!
The band's song are complex, yet extremely direct, fun and relatable. 5 stars from Celtic Radio!
1. Warrior 2. Parting Glass 3. Diablo In Kilarrow 4. Cuban Brenda Cutting the Bracken 5. La Llorona 6. Folk Police 7. Kaleidoscope 8. John Anderson 9. Scarborough Fair 10. Clumsy Lover 11. La Llorona Carnival (Bonus Track)
The Gothard Sisters managed to stir quite a buzz surrounding their live performances and studio work. These young and talented ladies seem to get better and better every single time they hit the recording studio, as showcased by their latest effort, Mountain Rose.
This record showcases a more pure and traditional approach to folk music with Celtic roots at its core: the pair's third studio album features new original songs as well as inventive renditions of classic tracks and ballads. It's fascinating to hear how timeless and beloved evergreens the likes of Auld Lang Syne seamlessly blend in with The Gothard Sisters' own material, making for a really refreshing blend of old and new.
Celtic folk songs are a bit like old delta blues numbers. The songs are very simple, but they are like sponges, absorbing the personality of the performers who reinvent them, adapt them and make them their own in a very special way. This is exactly what's happening here with The Gothard Sisters.
This elegant production is all about highlighting the value and integrity of the performances, as the girls set out to embrace a very compelling blend of traditional sonic aesthetics and contemporary energy, almost getting into folk-rock territory.
The Mountain Rose does not have an easily life: unlike a meadow flower, it needs to hold on to a rock and seek out for life and nourishment in an environment that could turn out rather unforgiving. This stark and poetic image visually embodies the power of folk music and the way this duo is re-inventing classic songs according to their own sensibilities, helping them to remain alive and exciting for newcomers and long-time folk aficionados alike.
Like when old friends meet, Mountain Rose is a welcomed edition to the Gothard Sisters repertoire of music. They are truly set for even greater success as their brand of music, their undeniable talent, dancing, customs, unlimited energy and distinct look (three blonde sisters) are working in a perfect storm of Celtic bliss! We expect to be seeing these girls continue to climb the Mountain of musical success, but for now Mountain Rose earns 5 Stars from Celtic Radio!
1. Queen of Argyll 2. The Bandit 3. I Courted a Sailor 4. Cat in a Bush 5. The Boatman's Call 6. St. Anne's Reel 7. Grace O'malley 8. Mountain Rose Waltz 9. Auld Lang Syne 10. Chaos in La Casa 11. All Through the Night 12. It Was Beautiful
Rock music and traditional folk instruments might sound like a very awkward combination, but it has definitely been road-tested successfully.
After all, folk and rock are not-so-distant cousins who still share the same core and the same energy: it is all about people getting together and sharing an experience.
With such a mindset, Celtica embodies the sheer strength of a heavy metal band with the added sonic variety of a Celtic music ensemble. The combo sports a really exciting and interesting international line-up, boasting musicians hailing from Scotland, The United States and Austria.
Their energetic live shows and stage antics managed to leave a mark in the hearts and ears of the crowds of some of Europe's most important music festivals and US venues, while their recent studio effort "Legends and Visions" is a vibrant interpretation of folk music with all the grit and immediacy of heavy rock.
As they say, Celtica truly managed to deliver the "best of both worlds", in the studio, but particularly live on a stage, which is where this band truly shines.
“Legends and Visions” truly unfolds like an adventure - a quest underlined by poetic lyricism and a thirst for everything that's new and exciting. These songs are both touching and rowdy, much like the soul of a street busker who has seen a lot in his time and has quite a few stories to share through the songs he would play to the people passing by.
From frantic pipe leads to walls of guitars and relentless rhythm sessions, Celtica's Whiskey-fueled stomp just cannot leave a ballroom indifferent. With such a unique attitude and drive, I am not surprised by the fact that these lads are gaining momentum and their reputation keeps getting better, gig after gig. If you think “Legends and Visions” is engaging, just wait until you have the chance to catch these guys live, pouring their hearts out and shaking their bodies on a stage like a bunch of haunted pirates!
Celtica are somehow able to deliver a blend of imagery, poetry and energy that feels quite romantic, yet very real and dry at the same time: it’s not about escaping into a fantasy, but turning the fantasy into something to live by! 5 stars from Celtic Radio!
Legends and Visions
1. Legends and Visions 2. Starship Celtica 3. Alba's Shore 4. Whiskey in the Jar 5. The Druid's Prophecy 6. Celtic Dragon 7. Love U2! 8. Visitors I: Out There 9. Visitors II: Contact 10. Rolling With the Goblins 11. The Princess and the Piper 12. Excalibur 13. Beyond Avalon 14. The King's Tournament 15. One More! 16. Don't Stop Believin'