Author Archives: celtadmin

Irdorath – Dreamcatcher (2015) Review

The last review I’m going to upload now is actually Irdorath‘s second album, Dreamcatcher, released in 2015. Why do I post this one last then and not second ?? Well, I want to end this introduction of Irdorath’s music with a bang and this, for me personally, is their best album, even though I am now comparing two great records with an A+ album. Dreamcatcher was released in 2015, after Piotr Marchenko (guitar, twelve string bouzouki), Anastacia Filipenko (violin, cello), and Alexandra Aleksiuk (Violin and cello) joined Irdorath in 2014. The record is the logical bridge between the medieval dance folk Irdorath played on Ad Astra and the fantasy power folk they played on their last album Wild. It is more easily accessible then Wild, an album that might be a bit too ‘powerful’ for some of our readers. It also ticks about every box you could tick for me personally, making Dreamcatcher one of the best records I heard in a loooong time, but let’s stop chatting about it, let’s just dive into Irdorath’s musical world one more time.
Where the CD Wild starts as a full-force hurricane that hits you without warning, the title song on Dreamcatcher starts much more gently. A lovely alternative pop-folk song. Cool mouth harp, percussion with a smooth groove, and a beautiful bouzouki riff building up to a very impressive instrumental start of the song. Lovely orchestra arrangements take you into this nice and catchy pop-folk ballad. A song that again proves that Irdorath knows how to write a good song. They are all catchy, well arranged, and just dotted with all the interesting twists, breaks, and influences that make good music truly stunning.

As Bas is slightly faster in rhythm, and again an interesting alternative acoustic folk-pop/rock song. I know I keep coming up with these weird descriptions in all the Irdorath reviews, but that is actually a compliment towards the band. They have such a unique own style. And it all blends together so naturally. A pagan folk hurdy-gurdy together with a slidgeridoo and a slightly Spanish sounding guitar to start the song? Sure, no problem. A bit of melodic rap to continue with? Yes, why not. A bit of an Arabic feel combined with a slidgeridoo? In the Irdorath world, sure, and the result is catchy as hell.

Tam Nikto is the first of two beautiful ballads, showcasing Nadezhda’s powerful voice for the first time but also Anastacia on cello. I love how those two blend together. the warmth and power of Nadezhda’s voice and the warmth of the cello. Such clever songwriting, such clever arranging, I really love this band in so many ways by now. I love, for instance, how they pick up the speed halfway through Tam Nikto and make this song into a real grand musical adventure. This is songwriting at its very best. Forget about labels and names and styles. This is just 6:00 minutes of beautiful, well-composed music everybody – and I do mean everybody – should hear.

The same goes for Kryly, the second stunning ballad on Dreamcatcher. I’ve been in love with this song since the first time I heard it. Even without knowing what it is about (my Belarussian is a bit rusty) I could just feel how much this song means to Nadezhda. The intent is just pouring out of her with every single note she hits. With the lyrics it gets even better for me. Nadezhda writes most of the lyrics for Irdorath and these must have been one very close to her heart. A song that so deserves to be a true classic pop song.

But, there are more classic moments on Dreamcatcher. Take tracks six and seven, simply called Wedding Theme 1 and Wedding Theme 2. Well…, these were actually composed by Vladimir and Nadezhda for their own wedding! A wedding that took place……, ON STAGE!!!
I hope you don’t mind I won’t tell you any more about these two songs than that. Just watch the video below. The intimate moment at two/third if the song says soo much more than anything I could write. (I didn’t even know you could kiss while playing bagpipe 🙂 )

After all this romance and all these ballads its time to pick up the pace a bit and get our dancing shoes on again. Tochka Otscheta is just he song for that. A lovely groovy Slidgeridoo takes you into this Omnia -meets-Arabian-nights type of song that is both a dancing song AND a ballad. It is also the first time you clearly hear Vladimir use his Mongolian throat singing skills, adding yet another dimension to Irdorath’s diverse musical world.

And there is still more. Byu. Josť. Budu that suddenly takes you into the world of Ball Noir. Especially that hurdy-gurdy ‘riff’ could easily have been written by Lies Sommer or Marco van Asperen. Nadezhda shines on vocals again here, but also Vladimir’s spoken vocals are something special. Just another highlight on a CD that already has so many. Again, the way they build up this song to its climax gives me goosebumps. Really, and not for the first time while listening to Irdorath’s music, I have to add.

Tango is a lovely way to end this CD. Another epic ballad, in English this time, building up to a lovely finale. What an A-M-A-ZING CD.
But I’m not finished yet. I have saved the best for the very, very last! I am not going to bother to write a full conclusion, because I think that conclusion is pretty obvious. Dreamcatcher is a stunning alternative pagan folk-rock CD that you just MUST have in your collection.
To finish it all off, I’m going to insert one final video in here. My favourite song on Dreamcatcher. My favourite song by Irdorath actually. Crank this up as loud as you dare and enjoy it! This is Irdorath! This is music everybody should hear! This is instant goosebumps on a disc! This is Dimna Juda! And I LOVE IT!!!!!


Editor: Sara
picture and video’s: Irdorath
Guest vocals on Dimna Juda: Alexandra Grachovskaja from the Belarusian Nu metal/punk/folk band BY CRY

A Review of Grumpy O’Sheep’s first album East of Talisker

France, a land with a huge folk scene. A land that gave us folk legends like Alan Stivell, Dan ar Braz, and Tri Yann. A land that hosts one of the biggest folk festivals: Le Festival Interceltique de Lorient. A land with a folk scene so interlocked in their culture that it even appears in mainstream music.
Sadly up till now, not that many French bands have reached the CeltCast headquarters, but luckily one has now, and what a special album it is! Grumpy O Sheep is a folk duo that mixes Irish folk, Spanish fury, and the French ‘joie de vivre’ together in a unique style. Their debut album East of Talisker will give you enough energy to last you a whole week. Want to know more? Just follow the link and you will!
Grumpy O Sheep – East of Talisker (2020) review

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Grumpy O Sheep – East of Talisker (2020) review

The first time I heard the band name ‘Grumpy O Sheep’ I immediately had pictures of some bearded, old Irish blokes in my head. I imagined a band which sound would come close to the Dubliners, rough and tough Irish folk music with a pint in the hand and a tear in the eye. When I heard the album for the first time I was convinced iI heard a Spanish band playing! I even wrote it down: ‘Cool that a Spanish band plays Irish music in this way. Cool that they call themselves Grumpy O Sheep, I love that sense of humor.’ But…, I was wrong again! First of all Grumpy O Sheep aren’t Spanish, they are French, and secondly, they are not a band, they are a duo.
Grumpy O Sheep 2 – CeltCast reviewer 0!
The biography of Grumpy O Sheep is short but sweet. They are Lu (violin) and Boss (guitar, flute) from the departement of Belfort ( a province in France near the Swiss/German border), who formed an Irish-Spanish folk duo in 2017. After doing a concert tour through France they started recording their first album East of Talisker, which came out in the spring of 2020. That is about it. Not that I mind. A review should be about the music anyway and trust me, there is a LOT to say about Grumpy O Sheep’s music. So let’s jump right in.

And ‘Jumping right in’ are the right words here. Opening track Say’s Gi features all the things that make Grumpy O Sheep’s sound so special. A perfect blend of Irish style violin taking the lead melody and a fiery Spanish style rhythm guitar, including the oh so familiar hand-slapping of the guitar body, taking care of the rhythm and beat. This is instant:’get in a good mood and start dancing‘ music. Say’s Gi is a compilation of three songs: Sight of Land, Humour of Castelfin and Temple House and they all marry so well together. The slight bit of Hall of the Mountain King woven in there as well is just the icing on the cake.

Say’s Gi is just a warm-up. There are way more good vibes to come! The flute and violin intro of Strawberries and Raddish instantly pushes the happy feel barometer up at least ten notches. Not to mention the way the rhythm guitar eventually crashes in for an instant party. So cool. This music just oozes out the cheer of Irish folk and the energy of Spanish acoustic music. And don’t forget the quirkiness of the French. That sudden wah-wah pedal on the Spanish guitar. I love that bit. I truly love it! Strawberries and Raddish is actually a compilation of the tunes Monaghan Jig and Drowsy maggie melted together. In their pure Irish form those tunes are already bursting with energy, add the Spanish rhythm to it and they become fountains of joie de vivre. That typical French joy of life.

With the third song Hunaman, the positive vibes go up one more time. Hunaman is a cover of the famous Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, and trust me, you have to be brave to take on such a song, and really skilled to pull it off. Well, Lu and Boss are both. As with most of Grumpy O Sheep songs, Lu takes the lead melody, – in the original song played by Rodrigo-, giving it a lovely, different, but equally catchy feel. And Boss is more than capable to take on Gabriela’s rhythm part. I love this version of the song; the use of the violin makes it just that wee bit more melodic; it sings just that wee bit more. Thumbs up guys.

East of Talisker is not only filled with fast-paced, energetic dance tunes though. Inisheer is the first calmer, balladesque song to balance it all out. The gentle fingerpicking guitar melody temporarily calms down the mood. Time for our first glass of wine in enjoyment of this wonderful music. The violin gives this song a real French feel. You can feel there is a real story hidden in these violin notes, memories of faraway places, of almost forgotten dreams. And Lu is bringing them all back again. A lovely song, reminiscent of the Dutch duo Wouter en de Draak.

With Sheeps Are Sailing we go deep into the Irish musical heritage. So cool to hear how you can make a violin sound French in one song, and then so clearly Irish in the next. It is as if it is speaking in a different dialect all of a sudden. The middle part of this song, with all its fun effects, makes me realize how well this CD is recorded. It is Fresh and modern, just like the music itself. Although you hear ‘only’ a violin and guitar, it is recorded in a way, which makes the music fill up the whole room. The sound engineer makes maximum use of the stereo spectrum and the microphones are placed so well that you can hear every single sound. Up to Boss’s fingers whizzing over the neck of his guitar, swiftly going from one note to the next. In my eyes the standard to reach when it comes to recording folk music is that of Fieke van der Hurk and the Dearworld studio. Well, the team recording East of Talisker nailed it. The album sounds equally good!

Gravel Walk, the song above, is proof of that. A tune so catchy it stays in your head for days, if you’re not careful, and the sound. That sound! Just listen to that guitar filling up your earphones. Making a lovely bed for that catchy-as-hell violin melody. And then that finger tipping against the violin body to keep up the beat!!! I just love this!! I just love the whole CD!!! I just love the energy oozing out of it even before I open the CD case!!!

If you want to bring home the fun of Irish music, the energy of Spanish guitar and the ‘Joie the Vivre’ of the French, done with the vibrancy, only two young really talented musicians can bring, free of spirit and not bothered by rules, then East of Talisker is the album to get. Grumpy O sheep is a duo of artists, of entertainers, theatre people, and street musicians bundled in one package, and I loved every note of it. Vive Grumpy O’ Sheep!


editor: Anna
picture: Grumpy O Sheep

PS. I couldn’t help it. I had to add just one more video, because it is so quirky, because it is so well played, and because it says so much about the attitude this duo has to their music and life in general. Enjoy!


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