Author Archives: celtadmin

What I Did On My Trip To Elfia Arcen – Part 4/4

Until we meet again! Photo: Pauli Borodulin

Until we meet again! Photo: Pauli Borodulin

“What I Did On My Trip To Elfia Arcen”
by Niilo Sirola / Greenrose Faire

It’s now one week until Elfia Haarzuilens and it’s time to start putting my gear together, figuring out what to fit in the restricted amount of baggage I can take on the plane, let alone what clothing to pack. Instead, I find myself browsing the photos from Elfia Arcen last September and going through my notes and memories, as I seem to have promised to write a travel journal from the artist’s point of view for CeltCast. So what better way to prepare for what will surely be one more weekend to remember…
I’ll leave the description of the wonderful atmosphere, the sights, sounds and costumes to others, and instead try to give a glimpse into an ordinary – yet extraordinary – day in musician’s life.


Woke up before 8 AM to someone singing in the shower, same as the last day. The breakfast is a bit quieter than yesterday but it seems everyone made it through the night alone. We take the benefit of walking the route back to the castle in daylight for the first time, for there is a lot to look at on the way.

There is also finally some time to walk around the castle grounds and appreciate the different horticultural wonders gathered there. Again, with lot of the people dressed very elaborately as characters from popular culture, I amuse myself thinking someone must be trying to figure who I’m supposed to be dressed as. Hanna reports having been asked to pose for a photograph, but I face no such requests.

Turns out our today’s sets will be back to back, so we decide not to play the exact same show twice but shuffle in some extra songs. Couple of them we have not played in some while, so we have a quick run-through in the dressing room with air instruments. I try to ask around for Helena who was my main contact when arranging these gigs over email, but have not yet met in person and I even have no idea what she looks like.

As I sit down in the stage crew’s tent (and get offered coffee), a bare-foot girl says I look just like someone from the Vikings series (forgot who already). So that answered what I was wondering earlier. Clearly I’ll have to watch that show some day. She introduces herself as what sounds like Elfia to me, and as I can’t catch the proper spelling she conveniently has her CD with her with the name written on it (it’s Elvya). Her main instrument is hammered dulcimer and we swap CD’s (I ended up liking hers quite a lot).

CD Swap

The first show of Sunday starts with the full intro tape this time, so we have plenty of time to walk onto the stage. I drop the decorations on Pete’s desk on my way and have just enough time to put them back before my part starts. I notice the microphone on the harmonium has been fixed on place with gaffer tape this time. Somehow my bouzouki sounds really weird on the monitors today although everything should be the same as yesterday. During Feed the Flames I sneak behind Salla so that I can lean over her shoulder just as she sings ”stand behind my shoulder”. She’s amused but doesn’t miss a beat.

There is a 15 minute break between the sets and I go get another sandwich (they really like their boterham‘s don’t they) and manage to eat almost half of it before the show must go on again. We play maybe half of the songs of the first set again, but still many of the people watch the second set as well. There is one guy standing at the back with his hands crossed who’s been there for all for of our gigs, stone-faced but nodding his head very slightly. He came by the booth to buy all the three CDs after the last gig though. For this last gig, the stage sound is finally fine, and now I have already pretty good idea of how far my cable allows me to run on that stage and overall it’s the most relaxed of these gigs.

The breakdown after the show is more hectic than usual, because we have only about half an hour before we need to start towards the airport again. As we’re packing the last of the cases into the cars, Steef brings Helena to me and we finally get to shake hands. She said she managed to see part of our show and liked it very much, and maybe we should come again next year. I’m very much in agreement.

The drive back to the airport takes a bit more direct route than our arrival in the night, but still it is a close shave what with the returning of the rental cars, distributing our possessions again into the suitcases, so that the potential threats to the safe operation of the flying machinery such as bottles of water and dangerous-looking metal belt buckets don’t go into cabin bags etc, and then running with the instrument cases about couple of kilometres to the furthest corner of the terminal for the special baggage desk. Tomi, Hanna and Pauli are picked again for extra inspection at the security check.

The stopover is in Frankfurt this time but it is a shorter one than on the outgoing trip. Pauli has again shot hours and hours of video and previews some of it on his laptop.

By the time we reach Helsinki airport, everyone is pretty exhausted (how tiring can sitting for miles and miles be), but at least we are back in Finland with the benefits of having steady cell phone reception so we may once again call and text anyone should we feel like it.

It is close to midnight but there is still the two-hour drive back to Tampere, with the mandatory coffee and donut break in the middle. I’m home after 3 AM, wake up for work at 7:30, and might have thought it was all just a dream if it wasn’t for all the photos and videos of the festival that start to appear on the internet over the following days.

What a magical journey! And to top everything off, two weeks later I get an email from Helena asking if we would like to return already in April for Elfia Haarzuilens. It’s in the middle of preparing to that journey one week from now that I’m typing this diary from my notes and reliving the weekend… And I’d like to add one more point to my initial list of why Elfia gig is so important to us: it’s the all-around good spirits and friendliness of everyone we met and worked with on the journey, be it the stage crew or just a random Dutchman on the street giving us directions. Expecting to have just as excellent weekend in Haarzuilens, hope to see you there!


It’s festival time!


Bright sun, blue sky, green fields, and birds happily singing along, this can mean only one thing:


The first festival we will be attending is Elfia Haarzuilens.

This edition’s theme is “Time & Space”, so we’re looking forward to meeting astronaut André Kuipers ànd The Doctor in his TARDIS, as well as many other wonderful creatures in these magical lands! 🙂

And of course we will be meeting up with some amazing musicians! This will actually be the first time that we will see and meet the awesome Finnish band Greenrose Faire face to face. They are a group that we consider to be part of the station’s family!

But that’s not all!
There will also be some groups there that we have not yet worked with, like Accordzéâm, Unicorn, Love Street and many more. We’ll keep you posted on them. 😉

We have received a special dispensation from the organisations that work for artist rights in the Netherlands. We are now allowed to start broadcasting concerts for one hour every week! So that means that we will also be recording some of the shows at the festival, with the cooperation of the bands and Elfia! Exciting times!!!!

So who will we be meeting in the Kingdom of Elfia on the 23rd and 24th of April? If you see any of the CeltCasters, feel free to come and say hi, we always love a good hug! 😀

Happy Valentine!

Normally we don’t really “do” holidays like that as CeltCast, but this year we did get you all a gift! For all of your entertainment and enjoyment we present you:

A BRAND NEW PLAYER on our website!!!

Check out this new lay-out:
The track and artist information and the cover art, live, while the music plays.

And a neat new trick:
Click on the album cover to go directly to the iTunes page of the artist!

Alternative player

Streema pop-up player Unfortunately our player on our website, Radio Tuna, is letting us down a bit by not showing any track or artist information. This has happened before, but was then fixed quickly. This time around however it is taking quite a lot of time, and despite our best spamming efforts we can’t seem to get an estimate as to when this function may be up and running again.

So for now, if you want to listen to our station and find all of the track and artist information, we suggest you try this link:

This will take you to the website of Streema, and directly to our stream. The website does show ads, over which we obviously have no control, but they don’t interfere with the stream.

Another good way to listen to us is of course to use their app, which also shows all the relevant information.

Please know that we are looking into other players for the site and will find another permanent solution. We apologize for the inconvenience and promise to keep you updated on our efforts to resolve this.

Cesair & Irfan – Oskar

2015-11-20 Cesair & Irfan (Kees, 750p)
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, unfortunately we can’t be at every concert and we can’t review all of them. That is exactly why we got so excited when we saw this review of last Friday’s main event, the concert of Cesair combined with the Dutch album release concert of Irfan!

These two bands play a very deep style of music, heavily laden with emotion, and that is exactly how Oskar has reviewed it! His words will take you on a trip alongside the bands, through mystical times and epic tales, and they describe the sensation of the night perfectly!

Having experienced the wonder and amazement ourselves several times, it is awesome to read how someone else is moved by the music, especially someone as knowledgeable about the tales and meanings behind the songs as Oskar.

We are honoured that he offered his review for us to share with you and hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we have. Thank you again, Oskar!

Cesair and Irfan

Last Friday I did something I have not really done since I became father: I went out. The night before, I mobilized some of my dear dancing friends to attend a CD-release party with two music groups that create music that has become precious to me.


The first band is called Cesair. Their music is not very easy to classify. They tend to describe it as ‘epic’, because of the drama and the emotion they aim to transpose from a variety of ancient myths and legends. In 2013 they released their first album Dies, Nox et Omnia, which I think is one of the most advanced début albums I know of. The songs on it are very complexly composed, while still very symphonic and beautiful. The musicians are very talented and versatile, capable of playing multiple uncommon historical instruments as well as better known contemporary instruments. Their lead singer Monique van Deursen is able to flawlessly (as far as I can assess, of course) sing in a number of exotic languages, ranging from Swedish to Gaelic, to Arabic.

The themes of their music also dwell in my domain of interest. The Wanderings of Oisín, for example (though it was not played at the release party), is inspired upon W.B. Yeats’ recounting of the romantic Irish legend of Oisín through the fairy realm. I once wrote an essay on Yeats, because of his rich imagination and understanding of myth and magic. The song has a nice galloping cadans in it, which evokes the image of Oisín’s horse, that prevents the heroes’ feet from touching mortal soil.

A song that actually was played Friday was Ishtar. I especially like the hammered dulcimer in it, played by my friend Fieke van den Hurk. Cesair performed the song together with the other band Irfan. It is about Ishtar, the Akkadian goddess of both love and war (incidentally, I wrote my bachelor thesis on Ishtar and other goddesses with these combined attributes). The song is very sensual and evokes images of the sacred temple in ancient Babylon.

The following song was called Enuma Elish. It is the Babylonian creation story as we know it from clay tablets. The clip will speak for itself:

Cesair’s music is rich in beauty and evocation. And I think it deserves a bigger audience than it currently has. While the musicians were very sincerely grateful to the more-than-hundred people who came just to see them perform, I think many more people deserve to learn of their music. The music is very capable of moving the body, sometimes sensual, sometimes powerful. At times, it can also move the soul.

The following song is called Atiny Naya, it is an Arab ode to music. It was the final song played at the gig, together with Irfan. (I especially like the dropping of the beat at 2:18).


I have known the Bulgarian group Irfan for some years now, and I’ve always found their music very compelling. For reference, it is often compared with Dead Can Dance (but I do not know their music, save for the song that was covered by Irfan). Irfan’s music is, I think, less accessible than Cesair’s. Irfan’s music resonates on a deeper level, I think. Cesair’s music first moves the body, and spirit can follow, Irfan’s music touches the soul and the body may follow the motion. It is not too surprising that Irfan roots in Gnosticism.

Irfan’s performance is always very modest. The musicians seem stoic at times and they emanate much calmness (they seemed undisturbed by technical trouble). They always seem to be more in touch with their music than with the audience. But this never seems to matter, because when they play, the music is prevalent and takes the audience away. The music is very trance-like.

Irfan makes use of deep male vocals, sweeping female vocals, ethereal sound effects and traditional snare and wind instruments. I am very fond of their occidental and oriental sound. Most of their music is quite slow, though they also feature more sparkling and almost seductive songs.

The Golden Horn is one of the more lyrical songs. It is my personal favourite. (Unfortunately my car had broken down, so I depended on crappy public transport and had to leave during the performance of this ultimate dancing tune, only to find out that no bus would be leaving at that time…)

Irfan’s songs often bear a message. The Cave of Swimmers, for example is about the discovery of a cave in the Sahara, wherein swimming people were depicted. The song is about the ephemeral nature aspect of our physical existence. Not even seas remain. The message is that we therefore should not focus so much on our personal existence, but should have a wider gaze.

Another song played was The Eternal Return. A song with a loving esoteric message and this Eastern sound that I’m so fond of.

There are many more songs I would have liked to share, but I hope to have sparked curiosity. I really enjoyed dancing to the music of both groups. They are manifesting beauty, and are re-enchanting our world in their own way.

– Samhildánach (Oskar)

– Picture by: Kees Stravers

About the author:

Oskar not only wrote this review, he also writes frequently about a range of topics that inspire him to do so on his blog Samhildánach, named after the Celtic sun god Lugh (one of his many names).

There you can learn about his many faceted life: Oskar teaches philosophy of life at a high school, holds a master’s degree in Theology and Religious Studies, and is specialized in Western Esotericism and Mysticism, which as an elevator pitch, he usually describes as “anything that has to do with magic”. And his has (many) other creative outlets you can learn about!


Please support us through: iDeal or PayPal

Recent tracks

Loading ...