Tag Archives: Cliff de Booy

Oliver Satyr – Munin (2023)

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But what if it concerns a CD, are you allowed to do it then? A quite valid question when it comes to Munin, Oliver Satyr‘s first solo album, as its cover is actually a whole book. 60 pages of memories to be precise. Each memory connected to to the eleven songs Oliver selected for this album. Each memory illustrated with period pictures and some beautiful illustrations, making this album something really personal.

Folk Noir

But is is not only personal for Oliver Satyr. I have my own memories attached to some of the songs as well. One of the first pagan folk albums I bought was the EP Songs From Home by Folk Noir, a project Oliver formed in 2012 together with his then-partner Kati Rán. It is still one of my all time favourite folk albums.
Oliver and Kati share the same type of silky soft voice. Nourishing; caressing; poetic; warm. That fate brought those two voices together is a gift from the Norns I’m still grateful for. I am so glad one of the songs Kati and Oliver recorded together, The Road, has found its way on Munin. As did the Paris Paloma version of You Should Have Seen Me There. In my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful folk songs ever recorded. Soft, poetic and tender in every word sung, every guitar note played, it caresses my ears and calms my mind every single time I hear it. Especially the marimba rhythm flowing through the whole song, soothing me into a trance, only enhanced by Paris and Oliver’s whispered singing, their voices blending together just as well as Kati and Oliver’s did.

The official video clip of The Road performed by Folk Noir – 2012

The Ragged Wood and She Moves Through The Fair are the two other songs from that precious Folk Noir EP that found its way onto Munin. And I’m glad they did. They showcase Oliver Satyr as the poetic minstrel he is.


In 2020 Oliver made another album born out of love, this time with his current partner Gina Wetzel.

It, too, was a combination of a book and an album. The album, called Feengold, was a limited edition hardcover fairy tale book beautifully illustrated by Gina, containing an audio CD with songs, spoken fairy tales and poems, all spoken by Oliver himself. A true collector’s item.
Four songs of Feengold were selected for Munin: Der Wettersee, Mit Uti Gröna Lunden, Knivens Polska and Näktergal. The first two songs are in the same style as Folk Noir. Oliver has that magical ability to create poetry, not only with his voice but also with the music he plays. His arrangements are both subtle and calming, but also rich, warm and full, forming a blanket of sound that give his beautiful voice all the room it needs. The subtle samples and rhythms he puts under it give it a sort of acoustic ambient folk feel. It’s a sound I find truly mesmerizing. I cannot help but sink deeper and deeper into the songs until I become one with them. That’s the magic of Oliver Satyr’s music.

Der Wettersee by Oliver Satyr and Gina Wetzel, Illustrations by Gina Wetzel

Swedish Folk

Besides neofolk, Oliver also has a second love: Swedish folk. A love he explored to the fullest on long nights playing with Boris Koller, a nyckelharpa player and painter from Austria with whom he formed Kaunan.
Of course we can also find this love back on Munin. Knivens Polska, Näktergal and Polska Efter Lorn Anders are three short instrumental melodies that take us deep into the dark snow-rich Swedish forests where we can find our lone musicians around a winter’s campfire, playing to keep warm. Playing with a feeling of longing and intent that make me wonder if they aren’t half satyr, half troll themselves, forest creatures on their way to who knows where. Maybe the forest on the cover of the album? We will never know.

All in all Munin is just what Oliver promised it would be: a journey through his memories, written in music. But it also showcases the unique talents of one young musician who watched other bards play, sitting around the campfires of the German medieval markets many, many years ago. Well, he became just that. A minstrel, a poet, a fairy tale teller and an artist who embodies all that is beautiful about neofolk.

Munin is only availabe in the Faun webshop or at a Faun concert. Make sure you visit them this season to get hold of this beautiful album – it is well worth it.


Editor: Iris
CD cover photo: Gina Wetzel
Graphic design cover: Gabriel deVue (FB)

Oliver Satyr can be found here:

New Interview & Review: Furda – Bojany (2022)

This album has been turning its round in my CD player for about a year now, and it is still a firm favorite of mine.

Furda is a young band from Poland who easily mix Nordic folk with Middle European vibes. Who seamlessly blend ‘old’ traditional instruments with modern techniques and effects. Who manage to maintain an ‘antique’ sound while improvising most of their songs live on stage. Who have written some unique primordial troll-like songs that will definitely appeal to all those who love slightly dark Neo Folk music.

References I used in the review were Irfan, Fuimadane and SeeD. The band themselves are Influenced by Heilung (FB), OMNIA and Lorn. The outcome is one of the best debut albums I have heard in years.

Follow me here for an extensive review with-interview-sniplets, or here for a full interview with Boleslaw Ren Rygiel singer, percussion and wind instrument player with Furda, or go straight to their music in the links below and be just as enchanted as we at CeltCast are.


Furda can be found here:

Furda – Bojany (2022)

I seem to have known Ren (FB) for just as long as I’ve been part of the Alternative Folk scene. I first noticed his talents as he uploaded some snippets of him covering OMNIA songs on Flute. And he continued to do that. Sometimes a cover. Sometimes a doodle he played on a newly built flute, sometimes a sketch he recorded with some new studio equipment he acquired, a bit later also some videos of him working with fire. And every time I was amazed by his talent.

From those first ‘doodles’ on I encouraged Ren to do something with his talent. And boy, did he do just that. In June of last year a package from Poland fell on my doormat. In it was an album called Bojany by the band Furda, a collaboration between Ren and musician/instrument builder Jakub Podskarbi (FB), and it blew me away. Especially the quality and musicianship on it. This was quite some debut they recorded and it didn’t take long before a couple of their songs made it to my personal CeltCast reviewers delights Spotify list. Sadly for them I needed a break from reviewing at that time, so the album never got the attention it truly deserved. Time to make up for it now.

Let’s start by asking Ren (right hand side) how he met Jakub Podskarbi (on the left):
–’ I met Jakub, or cukier (sugar) as we call him, at a Polish folk festival some years ago. We both can’t remember anymore which festival it was.’ He laughs:
‘ Anyhow, Cukier was playing with his other band at this festival and in the evening we jammed with a group of musicians around a fire probably and that is how we met. After that I worked a while with a member of his other band
Sumana (FB), in the end Cukier became involved and that in a way was the start of Furda. Bojany is the first album we recorded together.’

The Album

Well, I’m happy they did as Furda’s music is interesting from the very first beat the recorded. Listening to it with headphones is almost mandatory.

The intro Wdech is an almost improvised percussion piece with added overtone flute. Beautifully mixed by Jakun and Ren, also beautifully mastered by Maurycy Zóltanski (FB).

It’s an intriguing combination of neo-folk with an almost Japanese percussion sauce poured over it. Really cool.

It also has an ‘old ‘ feel to it. As if this song was captured for centuries in the swamps of time and now is suddenly freed again. Like a bubble of methane popping out of the surface.

Title track Bojany

Title track Bojany has that same ‘old’ almost Neolithical feel to it. That feeling is ignited by the haunting sound of the suka biłgorajska: an ancient Polish string instrument, related to the violin but sound wise more similar to the nyckelharpa. It was extinct for a long time, but, like many old instruments in the neo folk scene, was rediscovered and makes its return here.

Ren: ‘Jakub is not only a musician but also an instrument maker who specialises in recreating or restoring old instruments. The instrument you mentioned, the suka biłgorajska is actually made by him. Our goal is to build all the instruments we use ourselves. We also try to achieve an ‘antique’ sound when we record our music, fitting with the instruments we play.

Back to the song itself. The deep throat singing, the almost crying duduk, and the before mentioned haunted suka biłgorajska sound make this such a gothic song. With a lovely build up by the way. It keeps growing. An overtone flute solo, a kid running around, (As if Alison Shaw, singer of the Cranes, rushes by). Another old instrument, the jouhikko, makes an appearance as well. You would also think you here some deep synthesizer bass sounds, but Ren tells me that are sounds created by putting the suka biłgorajska through some guitar effects.

–’ We love to do that, take the acoustic instruments and play with them with effects. Because we do it with guitar effects we can reproduce that sound live as well. It’s all part of the improvised live set we play.’


Furda made an official video to go with this song and in the accompanying text they explain what the song is about. [or so I thought]
– ‘For quite some time, the scarecrows have been disappearing from the fields. Locals thought this to be a mere prank pulled off by some kids, so one morning they decided to set up a trap for the mysterious jester. No one knows what really happened there, but since that day, all three volunteers, who wanted to catch the scarecrow thief, have not been able to utter a single word apart from B… bo… bo… bo… BOJANY!!!”

Ney Haro

The story, and the overall feel of the album, make me wonder if all the songs on Bojany are based on Polish Folklore. Ney Haro again has that dark feel. This music seems to slowly flow into your living room, caried by thick ‘shards’ of fog. Dark brown from the moors it arose from, black from the branches it past, Greenish wet from the lichen it touched, heavy from the myths it witnessed on its way. Or is it? Looking up the lyrics google translate ended up choosing Bengaly as the source of origin not Polish. I needed to ask Ren about that.

‘I’m afraid we fooled you on both parts Cliff. Jakub actually made up the story you mentioned. That story that Bojany was based on a Polish Folklore story. [thanks Ren, that takes care of about 5 questions on the subject I had lined up. ] So no, the songs aren’t directly related to any mythical folk tale. Although the village where I live – which is called Bojany is full of myths and ghost stories, so in a way we were influenced by that. Lisek for instance is based around a Polish nursery rhyme. But most of the stories we created ourselves, just like the story of Bojany.
For your question if there is Bengalese in there. Well no. All the lyrics are either in Polish or -and that goes for almost all of the songs on Bojany– in languages Jakub and me invented. This is something I already do for a long time, even before we started Furda. Almost all the times I wrote a song I would improvise word-like sounds that fitted well with the music , rather than them having a meaning. Its not something I do beforehand. Its more intuitive during the writing process. Only afterwards, transcribing the improvised words I’m singing I discovered that there are similarities in what I sing. That they become sort of an improvised language.’

Fooled again

Well, they got me fooled again it seems. But the song itself is a gem. the build up again is brilliant. It starts with something I can only describe as whispered Neolithical beat boxing. Or to put it differently, as if Gollum mysteriously cloned himself and all the Gollum’s decided to join in just for fun. And this is only the start. One by one elements are added. The suka biłgorajska bass effect sets the dark swamp mood. Gollums beat boxing sets the rhythm. Some humming, some shakers, a frame drum, a xaphoon, one after another shards of music drift into the song. There is no other word for it. And the vocals just finish it of. This is what an Neolithical soundscape should sounds like.

Mythical neo folk fun

An important thing about this whole album: it is fun. That is the really cool part about it all. Although the songs sound dark, like they come from some ancient deep dark Polish primordial wood, they don’t feel black. They have something fun and mischievous about them. Something troll-like.

A song that just screams ‘trollish-mischief’ is Lisek, the song Ren mentioned above. The wailing sound of the suka biłgorajska opening the song is pure genius. You could almost mistake it for the distant chant of a whale. Spooky yet unearthly beautiful. The repeated whispered vocals make this song increasingly eerie. Done like that, the lyrics become the heartbeat the of the song. The rhythm instead of the melody. Trust me, no kid will be soothed by this nursery rhyme. None at all.
Jakub and Ren love to play around with their vocals like this. They use the vocals as yet another instrument to add flavour to their sound. Characters manifest themselves trough their vocals. In this particular case it is as if Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars) joins the trolls for a midnight jam session. The Irish bouzouki riff under the vocal beat is catchy as hell. The soprano recorder and overtone flute solo are the finishing icing on the cake. A cake I gladly skip when the Jar Jar/troll choir picks up speed and ends in a maniacal spiral dance of some sort. This is not music this is a trap. And Furda are luring me in, deeper and deeper. Lisek is easily one of the best songs on Bojany.

Furdana is another of my favourites. Again it starts with a vocal beat indicating the rhythm, which continues throughout the song. The xaphoon -or Sax flute as it is called in Dutch- makes this ballad sound like a beautiful mix of the Nordic folk played by Fuimadane and the Eastern folk melodies we know from Irfan. Ren and Jakub truly created their own musical world. A world slightly dark, a bit gritty, a bit mischievous but with beautiful melodies. And I’m loving it.

Some background

Ren explains about the rhythmical build-up of most of the songs:
‘ We didn’t get together in the way a band normally would. Actually one day, while we were considering the possibility of maybe doing something together, Jakub just messaged me and said he had arranged a gig for us at a festival. We were due to play 2 weeks later. But we didn’t have a song let alone a set or anything. So we decided twe wanted a two men band, using a lot of our instruments. The only way to do that was using a technique called live looping. A technique were you play a certain melody live and then loop that on the spot, building up a song right there and then as you go. The first gig was a bit hard as we still were learning and we didn’t make it easy on ourselves as we wanted to build up complex songs with many instruments but only played by the two of us and the assistance of those loops. But nowadays it works really well and our live performances are characterized by a lot of improvisation over those loops creating the song base.
Back to that first concert. We met up at Jakubs house in the days before with a lot of instruments and we wrote some song sketches that we rehearsed once before going on stage with them. A rather stressful experience to be honest. After that we worked more on those song sketches and in the end figured out how we could make the whole idea work for us.’

I find it interesting that Ren describe your songs as Sketches, as I have a line in my notes that says: “The music seems to be build up like a painting. First the rhythm – quite often a vocal rhythm – is laid down as a sketch. Then the first melody is thrown down like the base colour of the painting. With that settled, the colours come one by one, brush strokes that add or subtract from the song, slowly but surely building it up to a lovely yet slightly weird piece of musical artwork.”

Exhaustion and carpentry; a very special recording session

The start-up of Furda as a band was a strange one, but the recording of Bojany also wasn’t without its own difficulties Ren explained:

–’ It was in the autumn of ’20/21 that we decided that we wanted to record an album. I live in a wooden house in the forest and we decided to record the album there, taking just two weeks’ time to do it and build a recording studio in my bedroom with Jakub sleeping there with me. Now I can tell you, recording an album in two weeks straight is fun but extremely tiring. . All though the creative part itself is really fun, we won’t do it like that again. As a speedrun like that, waking up, composing, recording, only interrupted by eating and sleeping is extremely exhausting. What made it even harder was that the walls in a wooden cabin are quite thin and my dad’s workshop is right next to my bedroom. And he is a carpenter. So we had to arrange our recording times around his working times to prevent all kinds of weird machine or hammering sounds getting on our sound recordings.’

SeeDish feel

This story reminds me so much of the story of SeeD’s first album. Just going out and recording it in the middle of a forest. In a way Furda and SeeD share this whole ‘forget-about-the-rules-we-just-do-it-like-we-feel’ attitude. They also share that mischievous element in their music. When we come to Zwiędły the similarities become even bigger. This song has something truly SeeDish about it, mixed with an Arabesque flavour for good measure. Ski’la Va is more Trolska Polska meets SeeD featuring Irfan yes I know, it sounds weird, but trust me, it is there whereas Skeya Rokha takes me to the early days of OMNIA especially the Irish Bouzouki part with Koen (SeeD) on lead vocals.
To be clear these are all just references to give you a sense of the musical diversity that makes up the musical world of Furda. Ren and Jakub let their musical imagination run loose and created a wonderful neo folk world of their own. A world that is unique, intriguing and truly theirs.


In this review I used parts of an interview I did with Ren. The whole interview can be found here.

The artwork is from the 1869 reproduction of ‘the drolatic dreams of Pantagruel’ by Louis Perron of Lyon.

Furda can be found here:

An interview with Bolesław Ren Rygiel,
playing Scarecrow with Furda

I have known Bolesław Ren Rygiel (FB) for a long time now. All the way back to 2012/2013 when I was involved with the World of OMNIA fan group. I first noticed Ren when he uploaded a cover version of an OMNIA song he played on flute. A very good version actually and from that moment on I always encouraged this young Polish musician to do something with his talent. That went on for about ten years and then, in 2022, a package fell through my letterbox from a new Polish neo folk duo called Furda (FB), and one of the members was Ren. That album, Bojany, has become a firm favourite in the de Booy household. I actually consider it to be one of the best debut albums I’ve heard since I’ve started listening to neo folk music, so it is high time I catch up with Ren and ask all about the CD Bojany and his band Furda.

So how did you and your fellow band member Jakub Podskarbi meet up?
– ‘We met at one of the Polish folk festivals but we are not sure anymore which one it was. Jakub (FB) was playing a gig at one of these festivals with his other band Sumana (FB).

Afterwards we just jammed around a fire and we met like that. From then on me and Jakub started to talk about maybe doing some project together.’

And that was the start of Furda?
– ‘Well that is sort of a funny story actually. As I said we were sort of talking talking about working together and at one point in 2021 Jakub just messaged me like: ‘Yo, we are playing a concert in two weeks or something.’ Ren continued laughingly: -‘ So he invited me to his house to talk things through and we decided we needed to make some material. We also decided we wanted to use live looping techniques so that we could use a lot of our instruments, just the two of us.’

I did notice you and Jakub use an impressive range of historic– and neo folk instruments. All sorts of recorders, a xaphoon, a Bulgarian kaval, a kalimba, a darbuka, and the kantele to name just a few.

– ‘Yes that is true. Besides being really active in the local neo folk scene. Jukab is also an instrument maker who specializes in creating some extinct or rare instruments such as the Polish traditional fiddle, the suka biłgorajska.

It is an instrument that had been extinct for over 150 years and now is the core of our sound essentially. The cool part of it is he made that suka biłgorajska himself .
Quite a lot of the instruments we use are either made or modified by us. At the moment I personally don’t really use many instruments I made myself but that is what I ‘m aiming for in the future. ‘

So you wanted to try and use all those instruments at that very first concert?
– ‘Yeah we thought it would be a fun idea to make something that was musically complex, using a lot of different instruments, but only with us two playing, so live looping was the way to go. We sat down at Jakubs house and jammed with a lot of different instruments and a looping effect.
We came up with a couple of song sketches that day that we then polished in if I am not mistaken one more rehearsal.’ Ren says with a smile. –’And yeah, then we played our first gig. Which was quite unsuccessful to be honest because we weren’t fully prepared for what we were hoping to achieve technically. So it was a rather stress full experience. After that we kept making music together. figuring out how to make the live looping concept we wanted work. How to be more consistent technically and how to make it a fun experience for everyone involved.’

That explains the way the songs on Bojany are build up. Did any of those first songs make it to your debut album?
– ‘Yes, most of the song sketches on Bojany come from that first rehearsal and that first gig we played. In the autumn of 2020 we decided we wanted to record an album. So Jakub came to stay at my home. I live in our family house, a nice wooden house my grandma build for us all in the forest. So we set up a studio in my bedroom and we just settled down for over two weeks and recorded every single day. We would wake up, eat breakfast and start recording We did for two weeks in a row. Every single day! Recording, recording, more recording, mixing, composing and recording again. I have to say, it were a rough couple of weeks.
Why? Well when you try to speedrun the recording of an album like that, day after day, and do it in one recording session it is very exhausting. It ended up being a very tiring experience. But a fun one none the less because it is a creative process and creative processes are fun. But , laughing, there were some obstacles on the road. For instance, as I said the studio was set up in my bedroom. Well my dad is a carpenter and his workshop is right next to my bedroom and there is essentially no walls and no doors between my bedroom and his workshop. So you can imagine there would be quite a few electric carpentry devices like saw blades and stuff , that made a lot of noises that we didn’t want on our recordings. So we had to organize a schedule that would work for both my dad and us as well. So yeah, it was difficult to pull it all off but luckily we did.’

You recorded and mixed the album together, did you also do the mastering yourself?
– ‘No, when we had the album somewhat ready we went to a friend of mine, Maurycy Żółtański (FB)(middle), who I used to go to school with. He now is a professional producer. He did the mastering for us and he gave the album a more Polish and a more sparky sound.’

The first video single you uploaded is of the title song Bojany. In the description under it you explain it is a local Polish folk tale collected in an unpublished book by Oskar Kolberg, a Polish ethnographer, folklorist, and composer. Are all the songs on the album based on Polish folkore?
At this point Ren starts to laugh out loud : – ‘I’m sorry Cliff, but actually Bojany is not based on polish folklore at all. The story that you refer to, was actually made up by Jakub, he improvised that post on the go. I think he just felt it was a fun way to introduce our music. Using a mystical story. So I’m afraid it is actually made up, although Oskar Kolberg was indeed a very renowned ethnologist and researcher of the polish folk culture and its mythology, so the story was certainly inspired by him.
So although most of the songs on Bojany are not directly based on Polish folklore, there is one exception: the song Lisek. That song is based around a well known Polish nursery rhyme. Other then that the songs on Bojany aren’t inspired by Polish folk tales as such, but it was recorded in the village of Bojany, the village where I live, and I have to say that Bojany in itself is a very interesting place. It is a very mystical area, with a lot of local folk tales. Lots of ghost stories actually and other things that are on the verge of the metaphysical. It is a place that is quite rich in those, shall I say weird forest myths and ghost stories. It would be safe to say this area definitely had some impact on us and the music we were making as we were recording it.’

Lisek taken from the album Bojany, released by Furda in 2022

When I was trying to translate the lyrics, the program I used found some Bengali in there. Did you really use Bengali lyrics on Bojany?
– ‘No there is no Bengali on the album, all the lyrics are either in Polish or -mostly- a made up language that me or Jakub created. That idea is something that goes back a long time, even before we started Furda. Whenever I would make a song I would quite often improvise some intuitive, made-up language, supposed to just match the song; the vibe or the feelings of that song.
It is not something that is really think through in that sense I don’t t usually write the made-up language lyrics out beforehand. Usually they come to me on the go and then transcribe them afterwards.
An interesting thing I noticed is that whenever I transcribe made up languages there seem to some similarities between them. Like some words that will come up often among these intuitive lyrics. Sometimes I try to piece it all together and create like a full on language created by me. I am not the only on in Furda doing that. Jakub created some intuitive phrases created as well, one example is the song Skeya Rokha.’

So Ney Haro and Skeya Rokha have ‘intuitive’ lyrics?
– ‘Yes Bojany, Ney Haro, Skeya Rokha, Ski’la va, Furdana they all have made-up lyrics although on Furdana there is not a lot of lyrics there beside ‘furdandandandandanda’ -laughs- which is just a twist on the bands name. Jakubs inspiration behind these ‘lyrics’ were the buddhist meditation chants, were they monks often use throat singing too. Those chants become very trans like because of the repeated phrases for a long period of time and we tried to recreate that in our own way.
We do have some polish lyrics as well. There is Lisek, which is based on this Polish nursery rhyme and then there is Zwiędły, which is written by me a couple of years back. These are the only two songs in polish on Bojany, but there is more to come on the next album.’

Oh cool! A new album! how far away is that?

– ‘The next album is quite far away actually. Jakub was very eager to play as many concerts as possible and if you play a lot of gigs you don’t have a lot of time to record new music, but we are planning to start recording some new songs. But we are not going to do it in one session again. We will do it one song at a time this time. Currently we have around four new songsketches for new album tracks that we perform live. With two of them we are almost done recording them.
I can already tell you these new songs will be a bit different. They are more acoustic driven. We want to go for a more live feel this time. The songs on our debut album Bojany are mostly quite slow paced and very atmospheric. When we play them live they become much more dynamic, more dancy. With the next album we want to go for this more dynamic more energetic approach as well. So the new album is gonna be a bit more wild then the first one. Do we already have a release date? No not yet. We hope to have the album out before next season if all goes well.’

Furda has its very own quite unique sound. Which bands would you say inspired you both?
– ‘ Our musical inspirations? For me that would obviously be OMNIA and quite certainly Heilung as well. We were both actually quite heavily inspired by Heilung at the beginning stages of Furda. Jakub’s main inspiration was an electronic music project called Lorn.
That’s where he took the idea for the deep bass sound that is present in a couple of our songs from. So in other words Furda is a mixture of a bit of ruff ambient sounds mixed with nice folky melodies and some electronic bass and percussion.
Something I didn’t mention before and maybe is not that obvious is that those very deep bass sounds like in the end of Skeya Rokha are actually not electronic sample or synthesizer sounds, It is actually the sound of the suka biłgorajska, put through a bunch of different guitar effects.

The fun part is we do try to use these ‘electronic’ sounds, especially in our live gigs, but we do it by manipulating the sounds of the different acoustic instruments we use with effects. That’s a big part of our sound it live gigs I would say, improvising and playing around with sounds.
With Furda what we just try to make music that stands out. It is somewhat rooted in folklore but what we go for is creating music that is open for interpretation. We don’t want to make music focused on a specific style or genre or cultural region or anything. So our music is a pretty crazy amalgamation of different ideas, cultural references and musical inspirations.
But we do try to make it feel a bit, ahm, ‘antique’. We do this with our choice of instruments and with the way we approach our music. It is pretty raw and played on a concert very improvised. When we play live we do have the general framework of how a song is supposed to go. However we do go for improvisation quite a lot. In my opinion this is the fun part of being a musician. That you get to create things and improvisation is just pure creation. We love doing it because it is just a lot of fun and makes every concert unique.’

Are the songs on Bojany also improvised then?
– ‘Well as I said most of the songsketches come from that first improvised jam session and are based on these improvised loops and song ideas we had. There is certainly some degree of improvising during recording. We normally don’t, you know, write our music, like – laughs – we don’t plan it out a lot. Usually we get a quick idea and we hop into recording and see what comes out. So our workflow is– laughing- very much impulse driven. We just have a crazy idea, we hop into the studio, work on it and see what happens.’

It sounds like fun is a big part of the band. I even saw you say you play ‘scarecrow’ with Furda according to your Facebook page?
– ‘Yes I do have ‘scarecrow with Furda’ written on my Facebook page and yes this band is certainly about having quite a lot of fun. We try to not take ourselves, and our music to serious. Everything with a little humor.
Obviously the scarecrow is a reverence to the Bojany video where we put on these crazy scarecrow costumes that Jakub made.’ He laughs: These costumes weren’t very comfortable to walk in actually. It was barely possible to move around in them but we were able to pull of the music video and survive for the day so all was good in the end.’

The official music video for Bojany by Furda

You already told us about that ‘first’ gig that didn’t go so well. What was your coolest gig then?
– ‘Then our first real gig as Furda comes to mind. It was in 2022 at Grajdół Festiwal, a very interesting Polish folk festival in the mountains.Very unusual actually as it is located on top of a mountain! It is pretty much impossible to get there as it is such a remote location. The only way really is by foot, climbing up this mountain. The organization have some very strong jeep-like trucks to stuf to the top of that mountain and they used those powerful Jeep trucks to get all our instruments and ger up there. Its a very nice festival organized by a very nice group of young competent people.

The atmosphere there was just amazing. It was one off the most magical festival experiences I had, maybe ever even, just because of how remote and wild this location is. So it was a great experience, although, the fun part is that we were scheduled to play around 24:00 at night, but as with almost every festival there were some delays in the program.
Now although I still uphold that the organization is very nice and capable, the delay was so severe we ended up playing four or five hours later! So we didn’t play at midnight but started when the sun was starting to come up. We had a hard time keeping our energy levels up till we could play the gig. Also the sound guy had a bit to much to drink and got lost in the woods so it was -laughs out loud- -an adventure. A very difficult but also really fun gig.
We played there again this year, on top of a different mountain, and this time it all went really smoothly. Definitely a magical festival to play at Grajdół Festiwal. If the CeltCast readers ever get the change they should go there.’

Furda can be found here:

Tir Nan Og – Sing, Ye Bastards (2020)

Dear reader, get yourself a comfy seat, a nice slice of Irish barmbrack, and a good glass of fine Irish whiskey, ’cause this review may take a while. Analysing Tir Nan Og‘s fifth album Sing, Ye Bastards! left me with five pages of notes and an instant urge to tell you all about it. For those of you who want to have dinner early, here is the short version: if you like good old Irish party folk with a cool stadium rock production, this is your CD. Get your best boots on, finish your Irish stew, make sure you get yourself to the nearest pub, and party it down till the break of dawn. (Or all the booze is gone, whichever comes first).
So, now that the warning is out, I can go all nerdy on this CD without feeling guilty about it. After their strong 2018 album From The Gallows, Matze (violin, nyckelharpa), Sarah (flute, vocals), Joggl (four-string electric bass), Robert (guitar, vocals), Andi (whistles, pipes, vocals) and Volker (drums, bodhrán) have released yet another hit album, full of weird hooks, cool riffs, and groovy breaks bound to give you the best evening you’ve had in a long time! Now I do realize that names like Matze, Joggl, and Volker don’t sound particularly Irish, and you would be right in that assumption. Tir Nan Og is a Bavarian band, but I didn’t really notice. “Cool Irish band,” it says in my first notes: “Is that female vocalist American?”.
No rest for the listener

Not surprising because Sing Ye Bastards! feels Irish from the very first note played. A fast, catchy violin riff starts it all, a first drum break follows within seconds, effortlessly flowing into a catchy verse with an added whistle for some bonus Irish cheer. The chorus is an instant sing-along affair that then flows into a short violin solo with groovy bass to keep your feet moving. Back is the drum break, some first epic female backing vocal, it’s all there…, and we are only 90 seconds in the song. Damn, this band is something else! They throw all their strengths at you, and almost all at once. Strong male and female vocals, more musical twists in one song than you would normally hear on a whole album, even a 10-second drum solo towards the end, and we are still only talking about the first song on the album! “God almighty, have mercy on our souls” the band sings. “God almighty, have mercy on our hearts” I say. This is something else!

The official video for Fear Gorta

For a wee moment, I think I will be able to catch my breath on the second song: Last Order. That thought only lasts for the slow acapella intro Tir Nan Og sing. After that the drums, bass, and bagpipes take control of my feet again, and of I whizzing go. Someone tell the devil and ‘mye’ wife that they’ll have to wait a while, pour me another pint, and let me dance!! This stuff is awesome! The only moments you are allowed to catch your breath are the moments of silence separating the songs from each other.

Ok! Hold on! Time to get out of the Maelstrom, to swallow a Green Pill, slow down, and get some sense out of myself.
Soooo, to say something sensible: Tir Nan Og plays a very catchy version of punky Irish folk-rock. Extremely catchy actually. The cool thing is that they do that mostly acoustically. No distorted guitars, no screaming vocals, no nothing of that. Just the power of good old acoustic instruments, strong vocals, a slick production, and some darned good songwriting. Let’s start with that last bit first as it is the stand-out thing in my opinion. Tir Nan Og have a knack for surprising you, every 20 seconds it seems. Twists, breaks, solos, harmonies, they play with it as if they were a prog band. Fear Gorta, Last Order, Maelstrom, the whole album is just full with them, making this a highly entertaining album.

Tir Nan Og, a steaming folk band

So what are we talking about style-wise? Again, Tir Nan Og go for variety. Fear Gorta and Last Order are steaming acoustic party punk-folk songs, Maelstrom reminds me of the latest Pyrolysis album, especially in the vocals. Highlight in this song is Matze’s furious violin solo. I’m pretty sure sparks were coming off his strings when he played that in the studio. What I also love are the harmonies. The three voices of Robert, Sarah and Andi fit nicely together giving the music even more power, but that violin solo…darn, that one is addictive!

The Wanderings Of Oisin gives a more poppy feel to Tir Nan Og’s folk-punk. The intro keeps reminding me of something, but I couldn’t tell you what it is. It doesn’t matter. Again the whole song is catchy as hell. Especially the flute melody Sarah treats us with. Another strong part of Tir Nan Og’s sound is Joggl’s bass playing, not only on this song but over the whole album. I love the groove he adds to the songs. It gives Tir Nan Og’s music even more power, and a lot more dance credibility. Getting back to The Wanderings of Oisin; the chorus at the very end of this song, featuring Sarah on vocals, is one of those many cool curveballs the band constantly throws at you, as is the surprising acapella end.

With the song Green Pill, the feel of the music starts to shift from acoustic punk-folk towards folk-rock, but still with a strong Irish flavour to it. Let’s call it a nice blend of German punk-rockers Donots and our own Harmony Glen. A special mention has to go to Sarah’s whistle solo halfway through the song and the violin finishing it all off weaving in another famous tune. [Editors note: That would be Cooley’s Reel]
We’ve Been Everywhere has that same rock anthem feel to it. A big part of that can be attributed to the production. Where the previous album, From The Gallows (2018), still had a rougher, more punky feel to it, the production of Sing, Ye bastard! is fuller, rounder; there are more layers in the vocals, more effects; the bass and drums have more ‘oomph’. it all adds up towards a strong stadium rock feel which I love. I also love the “weird” Al Yankovic rap-part Andi pulls out of the bag in this song, soon to be followed by what seems to be a guest appearance of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Go Andi, go Andi!!!

Strong Harmonies

One song further and we go Greek, combined with a fun bit of German Hoompha folk for good measure. There are many bands that say they have no limits when writing music. Tir Nan Og clearly wants to take that statement one step further! So Sláinthe is a mix of Greek, Irish, and German influences. Next song I Sold My Soul starts with a bagpipe riff that could easily have been written by The Sidh‘s Iain Alexander Marr. The song itself is a catchy Pyrolysis-type folk-rock anthem.

The second single: I sold My Soul

On Stone Cold Heart Sarah gets to show off her vocal talents. Both she and Robert have big voices that can easily hold their own against the powerhouse folk the band is playing. I’m just loving all of this, song after song. Every song has its own cool moment, its own cool twist. Listen to those driving drums in Stone Cold Heart. If you didn’t hear those folky whistles and violin tunes it could just as well be a drum fill by funk-rockers Living Colour. Especially when Joggl joins in on his electric bass to “funk” everything up even more; one of the few moments the band goes into a distorted overdrive. Sarah’s strong vocals finish this power ballad perfectly.

Sea of Sorrow is the first real moment of peace on Sing, Ye bastard!. An acoustic ballad that could easily be found on a Golden Earring album, with Robert taking on the role of George Kooymans. I’m loving Robert’s vocals throughout the whole album. Just like Sarah, he has the perfect voice for this band. Strong, powerful, with just the right amount of hoarseness, and capable of giving every song the colour it needs. May I also highlight the harmonies that brighten up the whole album? They pop up all over the place, but the most beautiful one has to be the ending of Sea Of Sorrow. Goosebumps.

The surpises keep on coming

Tir Nan Og are stíll not done surprising me. The Song Remains almost starts like a soundtrack, quickly flowing into something I can only describe as symphonic prog-folk with a touch of theatre in it. The call and response singing lines at 1:34 even remind me of Ayreon. Are there no limits to the things this band will include in their music?!?!?! Speaking of Ayreon, I could swear the flute solo following after that could have been played by Thijs van Leer (Focus), one of the prominent guest musicians on Ayreon’s The Electric Castle.

I think by now it’s clear Tir Nan Og are not ‘just’ a punky acoustic folk band. Nope, this is a full-grown folk-rock unit. Inventive in their songwriting, cheeky in every note they play, with a strong link to their Irish folk roots…

The final twist

Now we get to a fun moment. First I’ll let you read the original text I wrote to end this review: ‘…with a strong link to their folk roots. The Scrum /Harmony Glen-like power ballad O’Hanlan’s Last Words for instance gives you clear proof of that. What a band…WHAT A BAND!!
And this is the final twist the band threw at me, it is Robert writing me in response of the review: ‘O’Hanlon’s Last Words was actually performed by Harmony Glen as a guest track on this CD. (A cover of a song from our last CD).
That would explain why I thought it sounded a lot like Harmony Glen yes (blushes). And with all of you laughing it is time to round up this review.
It is high time for CeltCast to host their own St. Patrick’s day folk-rock concert. I say put Tir Nan Og top of the bill, co-headlining with Harmony Glen of course, and Pyrolysis as support act. Now that would be an evening! Can I already reserve my tickets!? Pretty please!?

Tir Nan Og performing live at Folk Am Neckar (2019)

– Cliff

Editor: Iris
Cover art: Santana Raus: Santichan illustration
pictures: Andi Fingas
Picture editing: Andre Freitag


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