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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cool music from the Isle of Man.

With all the political posting I've been doing lately, it's been quite awhile since I've had anything to say about traditional music, Irish or otherwise. That's going to change (for the moment at least) because I want to share some great music I heard for the first time earlier today.

The music comes from sisters Kirsty and Katie Lawrence, who hail from the Isle of Man — a Celtic land in the Irish Sea that's not part of the UK no matter what most people think. Man has its own indigenous tunes and musical style, but I can't say that I'd heard any Manx music before listening to some tracks from the Lawrences' self-released CD Tree Baatyn Beggey (or, in English, Three Little Boats).

Here's what Katie writes about the sisters' music and CD:

My main instruments are fiddle and keyboard/piano and Kirsty's instruments are 'cello and tin whistle. We've had a few small gigs in the past, but we can now lay claim to having played on the same stage as Snow Patrol and Alice Cooper. Fortunately, not at the same time (I didn't fancy the guillotine anyway).

The best way to describe our music is to say that it is traditional Manx music (and some Irish/Scottish), some of which has been jazzed up a little, particularly since I started playing keyboard more and also because Kirsty started playing 'cello more. We went through a Scandinavian stage, but at the moment, most of the music we play is Manx, Irish or Scottish and we also play a few of my tunes. This is reflected on the CD. We're not talking age old folk music, it's mainly instrumental with the odd song here and there. Kirsty does the singing...

There's a trio of tracks from the CD up on the Lawrence sisters' MySpace page here, and the sisters hit the mark two times out of three.

The weak track is 'Rosie and Andy's Mad Tune': While it's pleasant enough, it sounds too much like Eliza Carthy singing on a Kate Rusby out-take for my taste. But your mileage, as they say, might vary.

The other two tracks, though, just rock. Kirsty's cello playing on the slow Manx tune 'Graih Foalsey' is exquisite, and the sisters tear through a set of Irish tunes (Master Crowley's/Lough Mountain/Bunker Hill) with a drive and authority I'd sure love to have in my own playing. Katie's fiddling is particularly tasty.

Currently, the CD is available only by contacting the sisters via their MySpace page or emailing them at yessir_1980 AT hotmail.com. I know that when I get a job and have money to spend on music, I'm certainly gettign a copy of the Lawrences' CD for myself.

More:  Before I forget, I discovered that Manx Radio has a very nice weekly folk program, which you can listen to here [WindowsMedia].

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:01 AM | Get permalink




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