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Rici’s Corner – Season 1

Season 1, november 2011 – may 2012:

  • 18th Nov. 2011 – Capercaillie. This episode is dedicated to the scottish band which became famous beyond the world of celtic music in 1995, when they recorded the soundtrack for the film “Rob Roy”. Karen Matheson, the band leader, is described by Sean Connery as having “a throat surely touched by the hand of God” and she is considered “the finest Gaelic singer alive today” by Billboard magazine. Enjoy a selection of the best Capercaillie song: from “Ailein Duinn” to “Nuair a chi thu caileag bhoidheach”, from “Heart of the Highland” to “Breisleach”.

  • 25th Nov. 2011 – The instruments of celtic music. When we think about celtic music, the first instruments which come to our minds are harp, fiddle, tin whistle and bagpipe. And we don’t have to forget a large number of percussions, among which bodhran is the most known. Let’s discover the most commonly played instruments of celtic music.

  • 2nd Dec. 2011 – Wolfstone. This scottish band plays Highland music often combined with rock. Live performances are the main feature of this breathtaking band. With traditional music, the band is also a source of original tunes and songs. Unique is the blend of electric and acoustic guitars, fiddle, pipes and pulsating percussions, all combined with a dynamic stage presence. Instrumental songs’ harmonies are fast and upbeat, and move listeners to start dancing.

  • 9th Dec. 2011 – Irish pubs and celtic drinking songs. Irish pub is a place where music, passion, love and fun merge, a place full of irish life. It’s a place like home fireside. Most pubs offer a vast range of beers, among which Guinness is the most known worldwide, but also whiskey has a leading role. The name whiskey comes from latin “acqua vitae”, in gaelic “uisge beatha”, meaning “water of life”, and in Ireland it has a lot of different names – stuff, craythur, poteen – everyone celebrated by a great number of drinking songs.

  • 16th Dec. 2011 – Mary Black. For the last 25 years, Mary Black has been a dominant presence in Irish music, both at home and abroad. “San Francisco Chronicle” has described her as “One of the best interpretative singers around”. Mary Black is well known for mixing genres, for combining traditional as well as contemporary material. She also appeared on the cover of the US music trade Bible “Billboard”, which described her as “a firm favorite to join the heavy-hitting ranks of such Irish artists as Enya, Sinéad O’Connor and Clannad’s Máire Brennan in the international marketplace.” They were right.

  • 23rd Dec. 2011 – Irish Christmas Traditions. Irish Christmas traditions. Ireland, like most countries, has a number of Christmas traditions that are all of its own. Let’s discover Irish Christmas traditions, with the accompaniment of typical Christmas songs. “Nollaig math duibh” from “Rici’s Corner”!

  • 6th Jan. 2012 – Album of the Month: Mary Black – Stories from the Steeples. The monthly appointment with “Album of the month” is dedicated to the latest release from Mary Black: “Stories from the Steeples”, which is, according to The Sunday Times, “a collection of elegant folk tales”. A little taste of a new album that demonstrates an artist in full command of her bewitching vocal prowess. “Stories From The Steeples” contains three duets and two stand-out tracks written by Mary’s son, Danny O’Reilly.

  • 13th Jan. 2012 – Loreena McKennitt. If we ask for the name of a celtic singer, the first one who comes to our minds is the canadian singer and composer Loreena Mc Kennitt. She’s without any doubt the icon of celtic music all over the world. In a recording career spanning nearly two decades, McKennitt’s “eclectic Celtic” music has won critical acclaim worldwide and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales awards in fifteen countries across four continents. She has sold more than 14 million records all over the world.

  • 20th Jan. 2012 – The legend of Una Bhan and Tomàs Laidir. This is a typical Irish love legend: the sweet story of the bitter outraged love between Una Bhan and Tomàs Laidir, a story about great love, honour and pride.

  • 27th Jan. 2012 – Secret Garden. The norwegian-irish duo “Secret Garden”, featuring the irish fiddler Fionnuala Sherry and the Norwegian composer/pianist Rolf Løvland, made history by winning the “Eurovision Song Contest” in 1995 for Norway’s second time with the composition “Nocturne”. This surprise victory  was the ultimate showcase that successfully launched their first album “Songs from a Secret Garden”. And their worldwide success continues: they begun touring around the world, Barbra Streisand requested their song “Heartstrings” for her wedding, their version of “You Raise Me Up” went on to be recorded in over 40 versions worldwide.

  • 3rd Feb. 2012 – Album of the Month: Celtic Woman – Believe. Internationally renowned for alluring stage productions and songs of heartwarming inspiration, Celtic Woman is the all-female singing sensation featuring the singers Chloë Agnew, Lisa Kelly and Lisa Lambe and the fiddler Máiréad Nesbitt. They perform classic Irish songs, timeless pop anthems and inspirational songs, under the distinct musical direction of the Emmy-nominated music producer David Downes. “Believe” is destined to reveal for Celtic Woman what will be a new chapter of musical enchantment to be enjoyed by the entire family.

  • 10th Feb. 2012 – The Irish harp tradition: Tourlough O’ Carolan. You can find the Irish harp represented everywhere: on the national emblem of the Republic of Ireland, on every official document, on coins. In particular, the harp represented on Irish moneys is the one which belonged to Brian Boru, the great Irish king, or Ard Rì, who tried to unify Irish counties against Viking invasions in the X century. In Gaelic, harp is called Clarsach. The ancient origins of the harp are misterious. Legend tells us that the first harp was owned by the god Dagda. The most famous Irish harper and composer is Turlough O’Carolan, considered the last bard of Ireland. Carolan  was never highly regarded as a performer: his gift was in musical composition and poetry.

  • 17th Feb. 2012 – Clannad. This family band from Gweedore, Donegal, in the north-west of Ireland, have given a unique voice to modern Irish music. They have combined a deep love of traditional strains with a bold approach to writing and recording. Their legacy is a hugely impressive collection of albums, touching on folk, rock, ambient, jazz and world music. Many of these records have featured lyrics in their native Gaelic tongue, while others have been performed in English. Either way, those vocals have plugged directly into the popular imagination. Clannad’s fame worldwide is increased by the soundracks they wrote for films and television series all over the world.

  • 24th Feb. 2012 – The Fairy Flag. The Fairy Flag, in Scottish Gaelic “Am Bratach Sìth” is an heirloom of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod. It is held in Dunvegan Castle along with other notable heirlooms, the Dunvegan Cup and Sir Rory Mor’s Horn. The Fairy Flag is known for the numerous fairy tales associated with it, most of which deal with its magical properties and mysterious origins. There are many stories regarding the origins of this most treasured relic of clan MacLeod: the flag is said to have originated as a gift from the Fairies or as a banner from the Holy Land.

  • 2nd Mar. 2012 – Album of the Month: The Chieftains – Voices of ages. The Chieftains, the world’s most celebrated traditional Irish band, mark their 50th anniversary with the release of “Voice of Ages”. This album features The Chieftains teaming with stars from the worlds of indie-rock (Bon Iver, The Decemberists, The Low Anthem), country and Americana (The Civil Wars, Pistol Annies, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers), Irish and Scottish folk (Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan, Paolo Nutini) and more. “With 50 years of glorious music behind us,” Paddy Moloney says, “I can think of nothing more exciting than to spend another 50 years collaborating with the best voices of the future.”

  • 9th Mar. 2012 – Niamh Parsons. Niamh Parsons’s gift for deep-rooted interpretation is unmatched in Celtic music. She’s been recently described as “One of the most beautiful and expressive voices in all of Ireland.” The “Irish Music Magazine” has written: “Niamh Parsons has the ability to climb into a song, take ownership and then sing it for the listener to experience–not simply hear.” Born in Dublin in a family of music lovers, is always on the lookout for songs that speak to her. She considers herself more a songstress than a singer—a carrier of tradition. Throughout her career, Niamh has performed with a wide variety of artists, and has appeared at nearly every prestigious folk festival on either side of the Atlantic. For the last 9 years, Niamh has been playing in a duet with the guitarist Graham Dunn, featuring her last four albums.

  • 16th Mar. 2012 – St. Patrick’s Day. The 17th of march is the celebration of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. In Ireland, it’s the most waited and celebrated day of the year. It’s the symbol of the Irish national identity.

  • 23rd Mar. 2012 – Cara Dillon. Cara Dillon comes from an area steeped in Irish traditional music. Since she was a schoolgirl she has sung and performed, and she can also play fiddle and whistles. At the age of 14 she won the All Ireland Singing Trophy at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. In 2001 she launched her career as a solo artist in the UK with the eponymous “Cara Dillon” album. Her vocal earned her comparisons to Kate Bush. About her, The Guardian wrote: “…her voice is a thing of wonder: a warm yet precise tool that locks into the expansive humanity at the heart of these ancient songs. In taking a step back to her roots, Dillon has made a creative great leap forward.”

  • 30th Mar. 2012 – The mysteries of Maggie Wall. Near Dunning, in Perthshire, you can spot beside the road an old stone cross almost 20 feet high. Roughly painted on the stone is the inscription explaining the reason for the building of the stone cross: ‘Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a Witch’. Who was Maggie Wall? And when over 4,000 women were executed in Scotland for witchcraft in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, why commemorate her alone?

  • 6th Apr. 2012 – Loreena McKennitt – Troubadours on the Rhine. Available from the 28th february 2012, “Troubadours on the Rhine” is quite different from the other recordings by Loreena, as she said herself. She said also that the experience was akin to an intimate house concert that she might have performed in her living room for a handful of friends. In these 9 tracks Loreena is accompanied only by her long standing musical companions: Brian Hughes at the guitars and Caroline Lavelle at the cello. During the promotional tour for “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” in 2010, the three performed an hour long concert in the studios of the German radio station SWR1: this was the origin of “Troubadours on the Rhine”, an album linked with a double knot to the 2012 “Celtic Footprints” Tour.

  • 13th Apr. 2012 – Enya. Enya is Ireland’s best-selling solo musician and is officially the country’s second-largest musical export after the band U2. Her work has earned her four Grammy awards and one Academy Award nomination. In 2007 Enya claimed to have sold 80 million albums. An American businessperson has coined the phrase “enyanomics” to explain Enya’s ability to sell millions of records without giving any live performances. A lot of her songs are featured in films and series like “The Lord of the Rings”, “Toys”, “Green Card”, “Far and away”, “The Age of Innocence”.

  • 20th Apr. 2012 – The Irish fiddle tradition. The fiddle is one of the most important musical instruments in in the traditional repertoire of Irish music. It’s identical to the violin, however it is played differently in widely-varying regional styles. In this episode we’re gonna deepen the history of Sligo fiddlers like Michael Coleman, of the Donegal fiddle tradition, of the fiddle style of Sliabh Luachra: just a little taste of the great and ancient Irish fiddle tradition and regional styles.

  • 27th Apr. 2012 – Caroline Lavelle. The music of Caroline Lavelle, according to the Los Angeles Times, emotes a “powerful moodiness,” what Lavelle herself described as “sort of a spiritual quality, kind of a lost soul out in the wilderness vibe.” She is heard with Loreena McKennitt on “The Book of Secrets” and remains a nature girl in every respect, even performing barefoot with her long hair flowing, playing an airy and delicate electric instrument that is carved from blonde wood. Caroline Lavelle’s personal style of electronic music reveals a unique talent. With a refreshing combination of her full, broad voice and classically trained instrumental skill she imparts a distinctive and free-spirited aura, adeptly charming audiences worldwide. Her talent is seen as a breath of fresh air on the concert stage as well as on street corners, and she performs in both venues with equal aplomb. Her ethereal chanting is compared by some to the sirens of Greek mythology or, more appropriately, to the Selkie creatures of Scottish lore.

  • 4th May 2012 – Album of the month: Alan Stivell – Emerald. The release of “Emerald” marks the emerald anniversary of Alan Stivell’s first album “Reflets”. which is at the origin of the revival of the Celtic harp in the 70s. But Alan also chose the name Emerald because he likes the greenish-blue colour of the stone, as he admitted. “Emerald” marks a return to Alan’s roots, with violin and folk rock music as found on “Chemins de Terre”, but it is also an album that is firmly anchored in the second decade of the 21st century, combining electronic and acoustic bagpipes with his latest electric and acoustic harp prototypes in original and eclectic arrangements.