In January, we received an email at CeltCast HQ from Volker Armbruster, the man behind bookoftunes. He told us about the album he released in October 2020, which features Irish and Celtic Folk music with film music elements. After some conversation, a physical copy of the album ‘New Found Trails’ was delivered and…. I instantly loved it! The tracks are all instrumental, and you can feel the ‘movies’ behind the tracks. Get ready to let yourself be enchanted by these special folk-inspired songs.
In the meantime, Volker released three other amazing singles ánd two Yule-tide songs. These are all magical as well! If you are not yet familiar with his work, we highly recommend that you have a listen to his songs after reading this! For the whole month of September, we are going to play the single ‘Ratatoskr’ five to six times a day on CeltCast Radio. It is a soundtrack song just waiting for a movie to be shot for it!
More about the single ‘Ratatoskr’ on Bandcamp >> A story about the greedy squirrel Ratatoskr living in the world-tree of Yggdrasil in Norse mythology. It always searches for bigger and better fruits, bringing itself and its friend Eikpyrnir in danger. <<
I’m longing for the next album, and I’m sure you’ll share my opinion once you hear Volker play.
Musical greetings, Ilona CeltCast
Jiggle The Old Bones by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer
It’s only February, but maybe you have noticed a little bit of spring in your step the last couple of days? It could very well be because with the new month, we also have chosen a new Monthly Marker, and hearing this track it is very hard to sit still and not let your mood be lifted! For a full month, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer will do just that, five to six times a day, with the single Jiggle The Old Bones of their latest album Sleep Deprivation.
Released in 2020, the album was designed to keep the road-weary musician awake and safe on the late-night drive home. Somehow, that feels quite fitting to our current situation: tired of it all, but thankfully we have the right music to keep us going, accompanying us on the trip towards the better days that are bound to return.
“So let’s dance. Feel the groove, and dance, let your body move and dance, put your cares away, safe away for another day and dance, … Jiggle the old bones!” (for sure we can do with the exercise)
2020m05 – Myrkur – Harpes Kraft
The Power of the Harp
New month, new monthly marker!
Many songs tell us about the magical beauty of harp play and the powers a skilled player can wield under the right circumstances. Previously I was captured myself by
which upon investigation turned out to be one of many renditions of the same tale that has been traveling throughout Europe, shapeshifting and scope-creeping, evolving in time to well-known versions like
The Twa Sisters,
The Bonnie Swans and
Harp of Death.
Now, once more I am mesmerized by a harp-related song (or should I say ‘sange’? ) and this time as well, I simply had to know what was behind the softly sang lyrics brought across by the tempting voice of none other than
Amalie Bruun, a.k.a
Though mostly known for her Metal albums, Amalie has been diving deeper and deeper into the richness of Scandinavian traditional songs and clearly she came up with some pure Danish gold. As early as January of 2018, some of you may have been lucky enough to witness performances of Myrkur having struck new ground, touring together with other great artists of our scene, like
Christopher Juul (
) and… you guessed it: Kati Rán. Fortunately her collaboration with Christopher did not end when the tour did. In fact, she stepped into his famous Lava Studios and recently proudly released her latest album Folkesange.
This work of art is a 100% match with our station’s format, which means we will be able to play each individual track and what’s more: we have chosen Harpens Kraft as our new Monthly Marker, meaning we will be playing it 5 to 6 times a day for the month of May!
And this brings me back to the story:
dates as far back as (at least) 1570 and is a ballade about Villemann and Magnhild. Whilst playing a game, the bride is clearly distraught and Villemann inquires about the reasons for her distress, offering up several possibilities, which all are refuted by Magnhild. Instead, she reveals a premonition that she will fall (to her death) into the river Blide, like her two sisters did before her. Although the lyrics of Harpens Kraft end here, the story does not. Despite Villemann’s reassurances promising her the protection of many of his men and the building of a very strong stone bridge, she is not comforted and as it turns out, rightfully so. When Magnhild crosses the bridge, her horse rears up on its hind legs and she falls off into the river. The moment Villemann hears of this, is where Myrkur picks up lamenting in the song Villemann og Magnhild, the Norwegian part of this tale, which is also part of the repertoire of bands like (amongst others)
After her fierce
singing, Amalie continues to tell how Villemann took his golden harp to enchant the troll that was holding Magnhild, by draining the power from his arm with his harp play. As is often the case with Nordic tales, the (here unsung) ending isn’t a happy one, as she doesn’t come back to life, but he can at least provide a proper burial.
The story of this tale actually doesn’t end here and so, I will finish with the beginning. In the variations that could be heard in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, the troll was the villain, yet in Iceland, there was none but fate itself. Something happened halfway on the Norwegian Sea and clues can be found exactly there: on the Shetland Islands, wherein
the Scandinavian versions were predated by a very similar song from the 14th century:
This song has a happier ending, the Celtic influences are clearly recognizable in the character of the Elven King and the clue to the last part of this trip, lies in the naming of the hero of it all: Villemann is called
King (or Sir) Orfeo.
This is where my wonderings went full circle for me:
was one of the first Balfolk bands I danced to, back when the scene was just sprouting in the Netherlands and it was the personal CD collection of Erica, the flutist of that very band, that laid the foundation for CeltCast’s musical arsenal not much later.
There’s even more to this story:
Let me offer you the chance to go even further back in time and have a listen to
King Orfeo, a rendition of the late 13th century version of the Westminster-Middlesex area. This version was introduced via Breton poets in Medieval times and it contains a mixture of Celtic mythology, such as the faeries, the Greek myth of Orpheus.
Yes, you read that correctly: this tale brings you all the way back to Greek mythology when in 438 B.C. Euripides wrote the first known version of this love story of
Orpheus and Eurydice
And that to me is the true power of the harp: this instrument once again welcomed me to travel far beyond the confinement of my home and through 25 centuries to show how we are all connected, supported by the tales that travel through time, preferably put to beautiful music.
A new year, a new day, and also a new month.
Helen van der Jagt
That means…a new Monthly Marker!
After having enjoyed ORO – Music from the wild, wild East’s Jovana Jovanke in December, we move up North to Sweden for January! Though not in any way a “happy song”, the beauty and emotion of Triakel‘s Häggsjön can not be denied! The song is a true story about a tragedy in Jamtland in the middle of the Scandinavian peninsula in 1883. Though we can obviously not play the video on the radio, we do recommend you watch this at least once, as it paints a very vivid emotional picture of the story.
Häggsjön will be played five to six times a day, all through the month of January.
2019m12 – ORO – Jovano Jovanke
Helen van der Jagt
These may be the darker days of the year, but that won’t stop us from shining a light on some amazing music. Last month we were honored to bring you a beautiful recording by
singing a gorgeous traditional, this month we would like to introduce you all to some other friends of the station that we made over these past years, the incredible musicians of
ORO – Music from the wild, wild East
Jovana, Jovanke is also a traditional, but this time one from the Macedonian region. As is so often the case with these beautiful old songs that have withstood the test of time, it is because the subject of the song is equally timeless, two young lovers separated from each other by dissapproving parents. It is this emotion, unattainable love, so well known by many, that is beautifully conveyed by the talented artists of ORO. We hope you will love this song just as much as the lovers in it love each other!
As usual, the Monthly Marker will be played five to six times a day, throughout the entire month, so there’s no reason to miss it 😉