Cesair Album Release Party with special guest: Irfan: Cesair – Part 1
Helen van der Jagt
Cesair Album Release Party with special guest: Irfan: Irfan – Part 2
Helen van der Jagt
Cesair Album Release Party with special guest: Irfan: Irfan – Part 1
Helen van der Jagt
Cesair & Irfan – Oskar
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
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
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
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
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
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.
not only wrote this review, he also writes frequently about a range of topics that inspire him to do so on his blog
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!
CeltCast’s ONE YEAR anniversary!
Did you miss the special anniversary show yesterday? Don’t worry! We’ve published the texts right here. Enjoy! 🙂
That’s how -ONE YEAR AGO- CeltCast commenced broadcasting.
After many -MANY- hours of collecting, filtering, transferring and planning music, we finally pressed play.
Were you there? Did you listen in to hear those first tracks? We really had no clue how many of you would turn up, or rather tune in to listen to our selection. Of course, we had had great help from friends who helped inform the social network, or as we like to say, the community. We told people, who told people, who… well, you get the picture. 🙂
And then there was OMNIA. They helped out with our first competition (or give-away) and thereby fuelled the flames.
So, there we were: full speed ahead! Those first moments of actually being live, “in the air”, gave such a rush! Such a feeling of accomplishment, until…
It turned out, that so many of you had tuned in, that you all just crashed the server! 😀
Wow! Who would have thought!? A weird mixture of panic and euphoria held sway in my head. Luckily we managed to get CeltCast back up online in a matter of minutes. What a way to start the adventure!
And thus the party started! Our stream became robust and steady, the Facebook followers gathered, we found more outlets for the stream, like smartphone apps, and the website showed it’s first real content. Now, we had all sorts of ideas to put on there, but what-do-you-know? Our friends from Bastaard turned the game around and interviewed us before we could even do our very first report!
Then an old friend from across that big pond (namely Miles) sent us a wonderful report on FaerieCon East and pretty soon after, a continentally renowned photographer, called Kees Stravers, started sending in reports.
Kees turned out to have a facination with a very special and talented duo: Jyoti Verhoeff and Maya Fridman
Though not quite Folk, Celtic or Viking music, these ladies managed to establish a stronghold in a corner of CeltCast’s musical spectrum… Their captivating music and mesmerizing chants drew us in like hungry sailors to determined sirens.
A similarly moving musical experience followed soon after, when Arjan and I visited the Mid-Winter Fair in Archeon, a historically themed open air museum. Standing amidst a large gathering of wondering souls, who sat on the floor, Einar, known for his work at Wardruna, but these days also for his contributions to the hit-series “Vikings”, bridged the gap of centuries and took us way back in time, Using only a single instrument per song.
Travelling even further North, Kati Ran had collected new material for the then-upcoming new album of L.E.A.F. Her work made such an impression that we decided to create an extra internal platform which would enable us to focus even more on certain tracks. Hence, our “Monthly Marker” was born and the first ever was “Terveh” by L.E.A.F. Our current MM is of the now released very-same album.
Playing at L.E.A.F. that time was Philip Xander, who wanted to contribute to CeltCast by sharing his musical review of 2014. Feeling the need to share more on the developments of new albums, events and festivals, we created CC Chronicle, a feed for all relevant news.
We were expanding.
Through these couple of months, we had once again collected new music and were adding it to the stream. Thanks to Frauke, we could even expand our horizon way deep into Russia, where Random Reel invited her to celebrate their third anniversary.
Bands were also “discovering” US and started sending in their music, like Greenrose Fair from Finland and Cara from Germany did!
At CeltCast we absolutely love helping young bands spread their music across the globe, especially when they show such promise as Pyrolysis did, when they crashed Keltfest, by simply not needing a stage, but playing out on the field! We were proud to attend the release of their début album and delighted to see them play at Castlefest!
Meanwhile our team grew with Kees formally announcing his position, Lena joining in from Germany, and Iris supporting bands as our very own merch-babe. We were now at full strength, which was good timing, because the festival season had begun!
At Keltfest, we interviewed Pyrolysis and Mark van der Stelt, the man behind many festivals, including Castlefest, where this year, we were helping out our friends from Bastaard with their video-registration work. It was great fun and probably the most technologically advanced part of our work so far…
In musical terms, the most technologically advanced tracks we play are from Denmark. Like Jyoti and Maya, Euzen have conquered their own sweet spot in CeltCast’s spectrum. We simply can’t resist playing their work…
Castlefest feels like ‘home’ us. It gives us a chance to meet up with people we wouldn’t normally meet, like Kalin from Irfan, who came over, all the way from Bulgaria! We had a wonderful chat and were sò happy get our copy of their latest album “The Eternal Return”!
Castlefest is also a hotspot for long-awaited album releases. And so it was too for our friends of SeeD! We had a great competition leading up to the festival. We managed to round up all the crazy pagan band members and do the draw right there on the festival terrain! It was great fun and what was even funnier, was that the lucky winner, Mrs. Bea Versluis, was walking not too far from where her name was drawn! It was the fastest prize-delivery ever!
SeeD went on to give an amazing performance for a huge crowd. Way more people than the stage was intended for, but hey… have a listen…
Did you know that it was Robin Dekker of SeeD who actually designed our logo? We are so very grateful for his contribution!
Oh, and did you also know, that the lady he was handfasted to at Castlefest, Tjarda, is working hard on her musical carreer?
Now, releases parties are great, but with Elvya… we actually got involved when her work was still in progress. We we got the visit the awesome Orchus studio, run by Fieke van der Hurk, where so many albums we play have been recorded… and we even gave our two cents worth, commenting on the art-work Liesbeth was creating for her BIG project. What a ride, to be part, however small, of the creative process!
And it doesn’t stop there… If anything, we learned that our view of the world of Celtic, Folk and Viking music expands further with every new band we discover, every border we cross… Like you heard Mark van der Stelt first announce through CeltCast, that he thought the time had come to cross our Southern border, we too ventured into Belgium and went to Celtic Night Geluwe.
We finally got to meet with the lovely people of EMIAN (long overdue hugs!) and it soon became clear that this scene really has no borders, no boundaries…
Now… I could go on and on, like I hope CeltCast will… but we are already way past the one hour we planned. 🙂
So time to wrap it up!
Well, this special, that is… because we truly hope that this past year was only the first of many, many others to come!
We would like to thank ALL of you, bands, artists, listeners and volunteers, that helped made this dream come true. Together, as a community, we have proven that it can be done: a radio station with “our” music, without advertisement, sharing music that deserves to be heard across the globe!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
But now, as Arjan stated one year ago… enough with the talking. Time to get to what the station is all about: the music!