A Review of the CD
"Celtic Solstice"
by Paul Winter and Friends

"Celtic Solstice"
by Paul Winter and Friends

Copyright 1999
Earth Wind Music Productions
P.O. Box 72
Litchfield, CT 06759
ph: (800)-437-2281

Patrick Brady, Intercultural Niche Strategies
11 Broadway, Suite 1063
New York, NY 10004
ph: (212)-248-5900
fax: (212)-747-1820

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
send me an email message.

Recorded in the middle of the night mainly in New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Paul Winter and friends have produced an offering of mostly ethereal, liturgical-like, celtic-fused music--the kind that stops you from what you are doing, slows life down a bit, and compels attention to both the music and/or whatever the listener wishes to contemplate.

Uilleann piper Davy Spillane's "Dawnwalker" is the most emotionally-driven composition as Spillane's moving pipe work propels the listener with a feeling of soaring through the sky. Winter on soprano sax and Paul Halley on pipe organ enter after Spillane opens the piece but it is Spillane's play that carries this cut.

Vocalist Karan Casey, well-known for her work with Solas, is showcased in "Sweet Comeraghs," a sweet tune sung in Gaelic and backed by Winter on soprano sax and Halley on pipe organ and synthesizer. Casey also sings W.B. Yeats' poem put to music, "Golden Apples Of The Sun," with Halley's pipe organ providing the backdrop and Winters' soprano sax coming in towards the close.

"After The Fleadh/Running Through The Woods With Keetu" is the most lively cut, a percussion-driven danceable number with Joanie Madden featured on flute and flashes of Eileen Ivers on fiddle. Jamey Haddad's work on dijembe, shakers, Cooperman frame drum and Remo tar drum drives the rhythm of this piece.

The opening number "Triumph," is a sometimes jazzy-sounding but mostly somber composition, featuring the three main players on this release: Winter on soprano sax, Halley on pipe organ and Spillane on Uilleann pipes.

Featuring a slew of instruments, "O'Farrell's Welcome To Limerick," is a rhythmic slip-jig offering Jerry O'Sullivan on Uilleann pipes, Madden on whistle, Winter on soprano sax, Halley on piano and pipe organ, Carol Thompson on Celtic harp, Zan McLeoad on guitar, Bakithi Kumalo on bass, Austin McGrath on bodhran, and Haddad on percussion.

This is the kind of release you'll either love or hate. There isn't much, if any, middle ground here as critics will call it pretentious and slow--proponents will hail it as musicianship and interpretation at its finest. This is meditative music that can be enjoyed simply for itself or as a conducive framework for thought.

Winter on soprano sax, is assisted by Paul Halley on pipe organ and piano, Davy Spillane on uilleann pipes, Joanie Madden on whistle and flute, Eileen Ivers on fiddle, Karan Casey on vocals, Jerry O'Sullivan on pipes, Jamey Haddad on percussion, Bakithi Kumalo on base, Austin McGrath on bodhran, Zan McLeod on guitar, Carol Thompson on Celtic harp and Welsh triple harp.

Track List:

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