Celtaclysmic,Another great album from a group true to the origins of their name. They are a Melbourne-based ensemble that cause a violent musical storm wherever they perform.
With eclectic influences that are both contemporary and traditional, they combine effervescent original and trad tunes with diverse songs. All members of Celtaclysmic are highly skilled multi-instrumentalists which allows for thrilling and innovative arrangements.
The line-up includes: acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, whistle, cello, bodhran and vocals. Celtaclysmic has performed at a wide range of venues and festivals such as The National Folk Festival, Fleurieu Folk Festival, Portarlington Celtic Festival, Selby and Ringwood Folk Clubs, The Limerick Castle Hotel, Ruby’s Lounge, The Micawber Tavern and St Andrew’s Hotel, as well as many others. Celtaclysmic’s debut CD ‘A Cello Called Bucket’, recorded in 2008, is available to buy from Trad And Now and Burke’s Music, as well as at any gigs.
Celtaclysmic – A cello called bucket by Chris Spencer
An odd name for a CD, but it’s full of great toe-tapping jigs, reels and interesting songs. The CD alternates between sets of instrumental reels, jigs and songs featuring vocals. The instrumental songs highlight the use of a wide range of instruments, including the usual guitar, fiddle, whistles, banjo, mandolin, bodhran and of course, ‘Bucket’ the cello. Two sets of jigs and reels lead off the album and they quickly grabbed my attention and interest. The variety of instrumentation adds enormously to the enjoyment of the album. Perhaps, the best song on the album is track three “Master Builders”, written in a traditional folk manner that features the vocals of different members in different combinations. I am reminded of great folk bands such as Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention in the arrangement of the song and their use of vocals. While I’m in the mode for comparisons, another time I thought of the work of Mike Oldfield, particularly in their long instrumental “Swapping Set” that had different instruments taking it in turns to be highlighted during the song. I also appreciated the comments in the liner notes made by the band about the selection and background of each song. Another favourite is “Irish Molly” featuring the band’s arrangement skills and dynamic production; the song has the two female singers on lead vocals, background harmonies and varied time signatures. Originally written for music hall, the band has given the song a ‘traditional’ folk essence. It’s not until track eight “A Cello Called Bucket” that the cello gets its prominence and only then after a long whistle solo. The song brings the tempo down several notches to provide contrast to the jigs and reels. Then over its eight minute length, builds up to its crescendo. Another highlight is the traditional “Sovay” featuring the vocals of Rebecca Simpson that has a woman as the protagonist. The band is booked for the Maldon Folk Festival later this year – I’ll be at each of their performances.