Author Archives: Alex van der Jagt

My FaerieCon Weekend – Miles

Old friend of the Folk scene, and of CeltCast, Miles Batty went to Faeriecon East last weekend and wrote a great review, for us to share with you! Would you also like to be an occasional contributor? Write a concert, festival or album review and we might just publish it! 😀

– Tuesday the 11th of November 2014, Oregon.

Brief obligatory introduction:
I’m Miles, an occasional contributor to CeltCast – Community Radio, and I’d promised Alex, station co-founder, a review of FaerieCon and the concerts. So here you are!

FaerieCon In March of this year, 2014. I learned that Omnia was coming to FaerieCon East, a fantasy-themed convention on the east coast. I looked at our projected bank balance, then quickly ignored it. “It’s Omnia,” I told my girlfriend, “and Faun. And Woodland. And SJ Tucker. At the same event. We’re going!” And plans were made.

Red Dragon We arrived at the hotel at about noon on Friday, and I saw a few familiar faces, gave and received hugs, and checked into the room. Quick costume change, and off to join the burgeoning madness. I was carrying my red dragon arm puppet, who goes by the name of “N’Aflawen Ddraig Goch ap Machynlleth.” (If you’ve been studying your Welsh, you’ll know that that translates to “The Fierce Red Dragon from Machynlleth” – a real town, where I spent my childhood years.)

Fur The convention itself was remarkable. SO much talent! Costumes you’d only dream of, and spirits and enthusiasm and verve enough to make anyone believe in magic. Within an hour, I felt as if I was in a world of fantasy, and I was in love with every part of it. During the next three days, I took, or had taken, dozens of pictures. I must give credit to my friend Jeremy Durant, who took far better pictures of the concerts than I ever could. He’s the above fellow with the big horns, seemingly startled by a small dragon.

Fae We wandered about the hotel, visited the merchant’s halls, met more people, and waited with delighted anticipation for the first of three concerts of the weekend, SJ Tucker, opening for Faun.

Sooj SJ Tucker, if you don’t know her, is an American musician with an *unbelievable* voice. SJ, also known as “Sooj”, is friendly, articulate, talented beyond human reckoning, and a delight to listen to. You can experience her for yourself by going to her website. To give you an idea of her musical skill, go to the albums page and click on the Sirens album, and play the song Carousel. She throws herself effortlessly off a musical precipice and never loses her way. That was recorded in 2006. She’s even better now.

Sooj, along with her cellist Betsy Tinney and percussionist Ken Crampton, entertained for the better part of an hour, taking her audience through a mystical wonderland of magic, delight, whimsy, thunderstorms and alligators.

FAUN I Then after a brief intermission, FAUN took to the stage. Fog machines spilled clouds into the room and coloured lights and banners fluttered, turning the room into an enchanted landscape.

The crowd was very soon dancing to music that…. well, it’s Faun, you know their music. If you don’t, shame on you. Beautiful, ethereal, mystical, mediaeval, enchanting…. I joined in the dance, my feet often leaving the ground and my heartbeat at one with the captivating sound that carried us all away. Cello, lute, bhodran and hurdy gurdy and drums and voices and bells kept the magic alive for much of the evening.

FAUN II I was not alone in noticing that the crowd of 1200 people dancing to their music was making the light rig shake overhead, and the floor was bouncing, literally, beneath our feet. At one point I spun around and lost my balance, and crashed into some fellow who was likewise enjoying the music. I glanced up and apologized to the fellow I’d almost knocked over… Steve, from Omnia. “S’alright, mate,” he said easily, “It’s Faun.” What a way to meet the man for the first time!

It was close to midnight when Faun completed their third encore, and finally departed the stage. I joined the crowd spilling out of the ballroom, still lost in the enchantment of their music and not yet willing to return to the real world. But of course it was FaerieCon, the ‘real’ world was very far away. N’Aflawen and I called it a night by one o’clock, and I found my way to a soft world of orphic chorus.

Miles On Saturday morning I dressed in my satyr attire, with horns, ears, hooves and tail. I made my way to the merchants hall, where one table offered face painting. I became even more transformed into a satyr, and set about enjoying the day.

The doors to the Woodland and Omnia show were set to open at 8, and the line started forming at 6:30. By 7:45, the line snaked from the ballroom foyer, past the restaurant, through the lobby, and half a mile down the guest room hallways. So many people!! So many stunning costumes! More than once, as I walked the line meeting people, I heard voices musically lamenting their inability to speak human…

The doors opened at 8:15, and the crowd surged into the ballroom. Most of us, myself included, had never seen Woodland or Omnia perform live before, and we knew we were in for a very special evening. Sadly, we exceeded the room’s legal capacity, and the Fire Marshal order that nobody else be allowed in. So if you were one of the poor folk who left the ballroom to use the bathroom and found yourself unable to re-enter, that’s why.

Woodland Woodland took the stage at about 8:30, and gave the audience a wonderful taste of their talent and music. Primarily acoustic, with guitar, lute, cello, didgeridoo and drums, they wove a sonic veil of enchantment and mystery throughout the ballroom. Emilio and Kelly headline a wonderfully skilled, diverse musical band, well worth your time.

Omnia - Steve At 9:30, the lights dimmed again and the crowd became restless, knowing what was to follow. Omnia took to the stage soon after, and took the enthusiasm of the crowd to even higher levels. If you’ve heard that the band is ‘animated’, you’ve been misinformed. They are so much more than that. Steve and Jenny and Daphyd and new guitarist Satrya danced and cavorted and played and spun with such enthusiasm, I think poor Rob was the only one in the entire whole hotel still sitting down, and that only because he had to play his drums.

Omnia - Stenny Daphyd’s sliding didgeridoo often extended eight-ish feet over the crowd, or else swung wildly over Steve’s head as they cavorted and capered back and forth upon the stage, his booming bass a counterpoint to Steve’s unstoppable pennywhistle. Jenny danced between harp and bodhran and keyboard, like a beautiful sprite in love with the whole world. The music flowed, Omnia and their fans danced and sang, the ballroom itself was alive with the music… there was not a soul unchanged. Omnia’s music does that to people. During the performance of “We don’t speak human”, hearing a thousand people shout at the evils of industry and greed, is a magic to behold.

Omnia played until nearly midnight, returning for three encores. During the final song, Morrigan, Daphyd split his lip on the didgeridoo but continued to play, his mouth bloodied but his spirit unfettered.

Steve - Miles After the concert, still afloat on the wave of music, I chatted with friends awhile, then made my way to the bar to see if I could talk briefly with the band on behalf of CeltCast. I had my phone with me, of course, and tried to record a brief interview with Daphyd and Rob. (Daphyd’s lip was fine by then, and he was laughing about it.) Sadly the recording on my phone was a garbled mess of bar chatter, so no recorded interview. Sorry Alex!! For the record, Rob did say he thought the audience was dynamite, and that he really appreciates having all of the amenities of a hotel in one building. No hiking half a mile to pee. And Daphyd gave a very brief, humorous a capella soundbite for Celtcast, sadly lost in the garble.

I introduced myself to Steve as the man who crashed into him the previous night, and we took a quick selfie. After a day of cavorting and dancing, my facepaint was no longer as clear as it had been hours earlier… I told Steve our picture looked like “a terrorist and a convict”, and he enthusiastically agreed.

Micheál - Miles Micheál Ó Laoghaire from Ravengrove Radio recognized me from my days at Wyldwood. “Miles!” he called out. “Good to finally meet you!”

When the bar closed at 2 am, Steve and Jenny invited everyone back to their room to continue the party, myself included. As we made our way through the hotel, Jenny observed with amusement that only Americans call the ground floor of a hotel the ‘first floor’. “The first floor is above the ground floor, don’t they know that? It’s so silly.” Steve turned and spread his arms wide, a grin on his face. “You know who’s silly? Not only Americans. Everyone! All of us mutant monkeys. Humans, such a silly race.”

Up in the hotel room, I chatted with Micheal, Christen Marie and Steve, while Philip and Emilio, and Stephan and Oliver from Faun played an acoustic jam. (Personal note: I *really* like the hurdy gurdy sound. Oh yes.)

Steve commented as we were talking that he and Jenny had both been nursing a fever for a few days now, and he didn’t think the show was as high energy as it could have been. (Are you kidding?! If it was any higher energy they’d have had to replace the roof!)

By about 3 am I was struggling to maintain a vertical position, but the bands were still playing – Micheal says they played until 5 – but I bid farewell, blew Jenny a kiss, and stumbled back to my room.

Woodland Acoustic On Sunday, Woodland played an afternoon acoustic set in the ballroom, again carrying their audience on wings of music and fantasy. I sadly stayed for only half the set, because I had a long drive ahead of me.

Final goodbyes, a host of hugs and farewells and teary eyes, and even more pictures, and we stepped out of the world of Fairie and back into a chilly November day.

What. A. Weekend.

– Miles

The original post can be read at Miles’ blog: “The antlers made me do it
Pictures courtesy of Jeremy Durant

Maya & Hilversumse Orkest Vereniging – Kees

2014-11-09 Kees - Maya (750p)
We all know Maya Fridman from her collaboration with Jyoti Verhoeff, and the brilliant concert they gave at Paradiso Amsterdam where their new album Riven was presented. They were accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra Midden Holland and choir, resulting in a really wonderful and magical event. Jyoti and Maya also were finalists in the Grote Prijs van Nederland, the longest running pop music competition from The Netherlands aimed at recognizing new talents, where Maya won the prize of Best Musician.

Maya Fridman was born in Moscow and has been playing the cello from a very young age. She was soon recognized as a gifted child and was taken under the wings of the Foundation of Yuri Bashmet, a well known conductor and violinist who teaches at the Moscow Conservatory. In 2009 Maya graduated from the Schnittke Moscow State College of Music, where she had won many awards and obtained excellent grades during her music school and college years. Since 2010 she studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory, where she is currently working on her Masters.

Next to her collaboration with Jyoti that we know her from, Maya plays many different kinds of music. She also is a member of the jazz trio DINOSAUR, with which she toured Ireland last summer. She will be guest starring at the German folk band FAUN’s tour in 2015, and plays with them on six tracks of their new album Luna. She is working on a CD with a sonata by Schnittke, which is written in a unique style, combining serious and light music. But playing classical music is her speciality. By coincidence I found out she would be performing at a concert by the Hilversumse Orkest Vereniging, at the Morgensterkerk in Hilversum, so I just had to go and hear this performance.

The piece to be performed was Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor and it was really amazing to hear Maya play it. It is the most complicated piece I ever heard her play. It has very calm and meditative parts but it can suddenly switch to very agitated and back. It has three movements but they are played as one piece without breaks, lasting 22 minutes. It is very intense and Maya had to work very hard, but she pulled it off brilliantly. And she did it all by heart, she was the only one without the sheet music in front of her. The audience rewarded her with a thunderous applause when it was done.

To hear it played with a real orchestra was wonderful, there is no stereo set that can reproduce the sound of the real thing. There were no amplifiers or equipment like that, just a hall that was well made to sound good. The Morgensterkerk is a great location for concerts. And thanks to conductor Paul van der Reijden, the Hilversumse Orkest Vereniging really outdid themselves with this piece supporting Maya.

During the break afterwards I heard from one of the other guests, who knew the concerto very well, that Maya had added some small embellishments to the piece here and there, which made it even more beautiful, and that the conductor had masterfully guided the orchestra along with them.

It was well worth the trip and I hope I can hear Maya play again soon.

Of course I made some photo’s which you can find in this album.

– Kees

Technical note

imagesCA6NHYDR We have received word that some people are experiencing interruptions in the stream every 15 minutes.

After some research we discovered that this is a bug on several Apple devices that are running iOS 8.0.2 and/or using Apple TV 7.0. It has been around since May this year.

Apple became aware of this issue and have released updates (8.1 and 7.01) on the 20th of October, which apparently solve this problem.

So if you’re using one of these Apple devices, it might be best to update the software to ensure a continuous stream.

Down the rabbit hole

2014-11-05 Down the rabbit hole
When Alice went through the rabbit hole she entered a world where everything felt strange. This last week has felt something like that for us too. But there is more. In this strange wonderland some things appeared to be exactly opposite of what Alice was used to in her normal life. And now, that has also happened to CeltCast! 😀

We are all used to radio stations interviewing bands and artists. However, the first ever interview that CeltCast is involved in is an interview that the lovely people at Bastaard had with us!

For Dutch speakers, you can find the original article and interview at
For English speakers, we have translated the article and interview for you here.

A bit more than a week ago the new online radio station CeltCast went live. On CeltCast you will mostly hear Celtic, Viking, Folk and Folk inspired music. The station was founded by Alex and Arjan, but already has a bandscout as well.
CeltCast originates from the Netherlands, but it has an international focus. Primarily on Europe, but because of the non-stop music it has gained attention from all over the world. You can listen to CeltCast through their official website, ShoutCast and recently through TuneIn. So most devices should be able to play CeltCast!
In order to better introduce you to CeltCast we had a written interview with its founders which you can read below. What do you think about the start of a new radio station? What kind of music would you like to hear on a station like CeltCast? Let us know in the responses!

What is the goal with which CeltCast was founded?
Alex: The station was founded out of a love for music. I really wanted to give something back for what the musicians gave us (my family) over the past years. The joy at the festivals, on the road or at home, the energy to pick up tasks that I thought I wouldn’t have the stamina for, the dancing with my girls in front of the stage, in the living room and even in public, the emotional touching experiences, the depth and the humour! But the greatest gift is the interest that my daughters have developed in making music themselves. They play Celtic Harp, Piano and Harmonium, but are already looking at playing Bodhran and Guitar.
Music is something magical. It can touch you, or move you. It is this magic that I would love to share with as many people as possible, and I would like to present a large stage for that to the bands and artists.
Arjan: For me there is of course also that love of music, that I have felt since a very young age, that is a driving force behind me wanting make a contribution to the scene. Music influences all aspects of my life and I am very thankful to the musicians that make that possible. But besides that I also like to address the feeling of community that I feel within the folkscene. I think, we think, that we can use our radio station to amplify and expand this community, so that more music can be made and shared, and ultimately so that more people can enjoy it. That is also the thought behind the addition of “Community Radio” to the stations name.

What is the target audience for CeltCast?
We don’t really want to think in target audiences. At the festivals you see people from all corners of society come together to enjoy themselves. The music in our playlist has something primal, something touching. Something that people don’t get to hear in the “mainstream media” any more, but that immediately grabs you when you open up to it.
Everyone is very welcome: musicians, producers, organisers and listeners. If they just sneak a peak we hope that something “clicks” and that they choose to stay.

Is CeltCast aimed at the whole world, or more at European listeners?
We chose English as our primary language, in order to be accessible for the largest possible audience. Since our home base is in Europe it is logical that most of our listeners are European, but to say that we specifically aim at that would be wrong. We don’t say “around the clock, across the globe” for nothing. At this moment the Netherlands is clearly in the lead when speaking of where the listeners are from, followed by Germany, the UK and the US, but to our delight we even seem to be reaching people in far away lands like Ecuador, Japan, India and Australia. In that last country our scout, Bob, is currently working to find bands that are as yet unknown to us here in Europe.

What kind of music and bands will we hear on CeltCast?
Celtic, Viking, Folk and Folk inspired music is how we describe it. The concept of Folk of course encompasses a wide range of music including Nordfolk, Balkan Folk, Breton Folk and sometimes certain “Gypsy” music. But we can’t ignore music like EUZEN either. We mostly select the music by feel and we discuss it a lot amongst each other. The thing that connects it all is positive energy and that acoustic sound.
We play various big names from the festival world such as Rapalje, FAUN, Omnia, Cesair, Sowulo, Trolska Polska, Virelai, AmmA, Shantalla and Harmony Glen, but we also play the lesser known bands from a forgotten past, from remote areas or bands that are working hard to make a name for themselves. It’s great to receive responses and questions, because we see that listeners hear of bands like EMIAN, Instinkt, Lunasa, Tevenn and Sylvain Barou for the first time through our station, or maybe get acquainted with the old Clannad (1973!) or Mark Knopfler solo.

Through which channels can people listen to CeltCast?
We are working hard to offer several options. At the moment people can listen using the player on the website, the RadioJar plug-in on Facebook, and the TuneIn and RadioTuna apps for tablets and smartphones.

Is it all non-stop music or are there/will there be specific programmes?
Currently we play non-stop music, even without jingles, but we’re working on that. 😉
We have thought about specific shows and programs based on the time of day, but as a global station there’s never really an “evening” or other fixed time. We also want to keep an eye out if the audience actually wants it. Right now we are actually getting a lot of compliments on playing “nice alternating music”, so we’re focussing on the basics for now.

If there is going to be scheduled programming, will they be non-stop programmes with a certain theme or will there be hosted programmes? (Live or recorded)
Both options are possible, though it would mean we would really have to take the time to set up proper preparations. Because of the nature of the station, everything will have to be broadcast in English. For the near future it is most likely that we will present additional material, such as recorded interviews or reports, separate from the stream on the website. But who knows what the future, or help from the scene, might bring…

Do you view other similar stations as competition?
No. We sincerely believe that there is room for multiple stations, each with their own characteristics. It’s good that listeners have a choice to tune in to what they need at that time. The more, the better, I would say, so that the artists have the largest stage possible. In the mean time we’ll see about growing on our own strengths.

In what way will CeltCast differentiate itself from other similar stations?
We chose to create a stream with 100% music. No commercial breaks, no chit chat. We are able to do that because we chose to pay the royalties ourselves to BUMA/STEMRA and SENA (the Dutch copyright organisations). In this way we’re not dependant on a provider that wants to profit from us. We also consider involvement to be a core value for us. We want a “for the scene and by the scene” radio station. We want to invite and encourage everyone, both the listeners and the artists, to think along with us.

Does CeltCast need money to exist?
Absolutely! But we invest this ourselves, so that we are registered as “non-commercial”. We never know what the future holds, but for now we gladly pay for this, so that we have the freedom to decide everything ourselves.

Can listeners support CeltCast?
Well, not financially, but if you want to support us we’d be very happy! You can share the station with your friends. Write a nice report on a concert, an album or a festival and we might be able to publish that. You might have the guts to go interview a band. Go crazy with creativity on our logo if you want. All forms of artistic contributions are appreciated! We’re also always open for tips about new music and all sorts of good ideas.
With the subtitle of the station being “Community Radio” we want to indicate that this station is something for, as well as by, the listeners. By working together with bands, listeners and organisers we can grow as a whole.

What kind of activities can we expect from CeltCast in the near future?
We are currently working on expanding “our” repertoire and we’re making time for interviews, reviews and reports, but all the while new and huge ideas are forming in the backs of our minds. Ideas that we will be executing with the help of the community. So stay tuned… 🙂

Welcome new listeners!

20140815-001 - Logo's by Rosanne - Koffietafel We’re noticing an increase in the stream statistics today! 🙂

Welcome new listeners!!!

The other day someone sent us a picture of how they listen to CeltCast. That made us curious! How do you listen to our station?

Send us a picture of yourself enjoying the music!
And feel free to be creative! 🙂


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