This CD is a wonderful collection of traditional Celtic sounds set to the ever-changing cycle of the Celtic calendar. The Uillean piece(track #10)played by young Northern Irish piper Patrick Davey is particularly haunting and will touch the souls of any Celts (and others) who listen to it! Apparently Will Millar (former leader of the Irish Rovers) travelled the length and breadth of Northern Ireland to record much of this CD, contending heroically with the sound of British army helicopters on patrol over remote farm houses along the Border, sudden eruptions of pneumatic road drilling in the midst of recording on quiet Ulster Sunday afternoons, and well-meaning but infuriating interruptions by ever-hospitable Irish mothers offering endless "wee cups o'tay" to their musician sons and guests in mid-recording! The result, blended with some superb piano playing by Phil Newns and electric guitar from David Gogo, both of Vancouver Island, Canada, is a veritable modern-era Celtic treasure! Slainte, Will!
Most of these lovely melodies were born on soft moonlit nights in the North Antrim countryside long ago. Millar sets these ancient Irish Aires in lushly ornamented arrangements, creating misty, pensive atmospheres. You'll hear penny whistles, Celtic harp, fiddle, harmonica, piano, and other stringed instruments of various tunings.
This recording by Will Millar and Friends contains some of the most beautiful versions of traditional Irish music avaialble on disk today. the sounds are robust yet deeply touching and often haunting, much better in my view than many of the "diddly-dee" stuff that passes for celtic music on CD these days! Many of these pieces come from the North Antrim area where Will grew up as a lad in Ireland before immigrating to North America. The range of emotion in this CD is qquite astounding. Definitely one of the best recordings of its type avaailaable, it deserves a very wide audience. Chacra are to be congratulated in producing this and Will's other two CDs in the "Celtic Trilogy", "Lark in the Clear Aire" and most recently, "Celtic Seasons of Enchantment". Another triumph, Will!
This delightful instrumental collection of Celtic Aires is played with an artful sensitivity and profound insight into the Celtic soul. Will's beautiful work will readily appeal to fans of the quieter moments on albums by the Chieftains. Performed on whistles, lute, mandolin, harp, piano, fiddle, violin, harmonica, guitar, acoustic bass and accordion, it is a quiet, lovely album for those meditative moments.
The Lark in the Clear Aire is an instrumental collection of melodic Celtic airs that provide wonderful imagery, creating stories without words, like only musician, storyteller, poet and writer Will Millar can. Millar on tin whistle and lude, a lute-like instrument, is joined by family and friends on harp, guitar, violin, bass and accordion, producing a full, rich palette of Celtic melodies. The Lark in the Clear Aire features many of the melodies Millar made famous while with The Irish Rovers, a group that brought Celtic-inspired music to a worldwide appreciation with hits like "The Unicorn" and "Wasn't that a Party." ~ MusD, All Music Guide
Will Millar, with the help of fellow musician and Grammy award winner Paul Horn, has created in the truest Celtic Music tradition a stunning fusion of music and history that draws upon memories of Ireland, old family tales, and historical records that tell of the devastation and mass emigration that lay in the wake of the Irish Potato Famine of the mid 1800's. Spirited jigs, reels, and melancholy ballads call out from a time never to be forgotten, as the boats left Ireland behind for a chance at a better life and a new beginning in Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand.