Merry Celtic Christmas

4th Sunday of Advent. We’re getting there…

4th Sunday of Advent.  We're getting there...
Celtic Christmas

Celtic Winter – Magical Christmas. Thanks to Derek and Brandon Fiechter who composed the Celtic songs in this video.

Poesie: Blake’s Hear the Voice of the Bard

A Bard used to be much more than a mere wordsmith.

Hear the Voice of the Bard

Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who present, past, and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word,
That walked among the ancient trees,

Calling the lapsed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen, light renew!

‘O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass;
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass.

‘Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.’

~ William Blake

DSCN0053 - Edited.jpg

In medieval Gaelic and Welsh society, a bard was a professional poet, employed to compose eulogies for his lord. In other Indo-European societies, the same function was fulfilled by skalds, rhapsodes, minstrels and scops, among others.  A hereditary caste of professional poets in Proto-Indo-European society has been reconstructed by comparison of the position of poets in medieval Ireland and in ancient India in particular.  Bards were those who sang the songs recalling tribal history, family history and genealogies in Celtic societies.  The pre-Christian Celtic peoples maintained an intricate oral history committed to memory and transmitted by bards.


William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker.  Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered one of the most important poets and visual artists of the Romantic Age.

MUSIC: The Hills They Are Hollow

Good mandolin tune

The girls love this one, and while I suspect Damh the Bard played a bouzouki on this tune a mandolin works very well also.

One friend I used to play music with would ask:  “What gear ya got er in?”

It’s in the key of D.


The Hills They Are Hollow Lyrics

As I walk upon this green land,
This land that love,
I see figures of chalk,
Carved into the hillsides above.
Cerne Abbas a man so proud,
And the Long Man opens wide the gates of his world,
And invites you to step inside.

And the hills they are hollow and home to the Fey,
Who dance on Midsummer’s Eve,
Some people don’t understand when I say,
These are the things I believe.
These are the tings I believe.

There is an old circle of stones,
That stands on the moor,
Every moss-covered face,
Tells the secrets of ancient lore.
The Tors stand as guardians,
Witnesses to the Rites of Nature’s Gods,
Of Darkness and of Light.

Let’s sing of the mystery,
Of Sacred Land,
See the shapes in the corn,
Made by invisible hands,
Secrets of the Pagan Ways,
Lie all around,
Written upon the Earth,
In rock and Sacred Mound!

Cultured Wednesday: Alan Lee’s Pwyll

What is Pwyll looking at?

Here is Alan Lee‘s illustration of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, for your enjoyment:

alan lee the mabinogion pwyll prince of dyfed
Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed

If you have not read the First Branch of the Mabinogi, there is an online version of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, but in short, it is a story full of magic and love, battles and monsters, honor and betrayal, in other words, the ancient theme clothed anew.  Well worth your time, I dare say.

But even if you are quite uninterested in reading more than this post, the picture alone can conjure up a story, and thus we invite you to have a look at Alan Lee’s illustration, the scene, the foreground figure, the background figures, and let yourself be transported to another time and place.  Who is the man, and what is his standing in life?  Who are the men behind him?  Why might they be in this green world, half tamed and have wild, and what, dear Reader, might Pwyll be looking at?

Classical Sunday: Celtic Harp

Escape civilization for an hour.

Maybe not technically classical, but surely enjoyable harp music with lots of familiar melodies.  Escape civilization for an hour…

Painting: “The Madness Tristan” by Edward Burne-Jones

Celtic Harp – Traditional Melodies

01 – Scarborough Fair
02 – Greensleeves
03 – The Lamb´s Fold
04 – The Willow Tree
05 – Mary Young and Fair
06 – All Through the Night
07 – Drink to me Only With Thin Eyes
08 – The Rising of the Lark
09 – My Love is like a Red Red Rose
10 – The Queen´s Marsh
11 – Flowers of The Forest
12 – The Foggy Dew
13 – Gather Ye Rose Buds
14 – Harp of Gold
15 – Cornish Dance
16 – Teh Silkie
17 – The Last Rose of Summer
18 – The Minstrel Boy
19 – The Harp the Once Through Tara´s Hall
20 – Carolan´s Nightcap – Ode to Whiskey
21 – Leuan´s, The Blind Harpist´s Delight
22 – Scottish Love Song
23 – Eris Kay Love Lilt

Classical Sunday: The Baltimore Consort’s The Mad Buckgoat

Enjoy these ancient tunes of a Celtic nature.

Before you start debating if “classical” is properly applied here, consider this:

“Ireland is well-known for its rich musical heritage and its vast collection of ancient musical instruments spanning more than 3000 years from the Late Stone Age through to the Early Medieval Period (4200BC – 1000AD)”,

and read more about five of the most important ancient instruments that reflect the changes that evolved in Irish culture and civilization over thousands of years here.

The Baltimore Consort ‎– The Mad Buckgoat: Ancient Music Of Ireland

1 The Mad Buckgoat (Poc Air Buille) 1:41
2 Willie Winkle 3:07
3 Truagh (An Triúcha) 4:38
4 The Beggar (An Bockagh) 3:32
5 Bugga Fee Hoosa (Bogadh Faoi Shúsa 4:01
6 Girls, Have You Seen George? (A Chailíní, A’bhfaca Sibh Seóirse) 2:53
7 Toss The Feathers 1:09
8 The Fairy Dance: A Reel 1:20
9 The Pretty Maid Miling Her Cow (Cailín Deas Crúite Na Mbó) 6:30
10 The Fiddler’s Contemt 1:48
11 The Kerry Star: A Reel 1:07
12 The Goroum: A Reel 1:32
13 Wild Geese 6:29
14 Yonder, Westwards, Is The Road She Went (Súd É Siar An Ród A D’Imthigh Sí) 3:38
15 The Old Woman’s Hornpipe 1:29
16 Your Old Wig Is The Love Of My Heart (Gradh Mo Chroidhe Do Shean Wig) 2:34
17 Dwyer’s Hornpipe 2:41
18 Catty Magee (Caití Na GCuach) 1:52
19 Kitty Magee 1:39
20 Billy From Bruff 3:42
21 The Pigot Jig 2:48

Artwork – Daniel Maclise
Booklet Editor – Katherine A. Dory, Mary Anne Ballard
Cittern, Viol [Bass], Cittern [Bandora] – Mark Cudek
Design – Kimberly Smith Co.
Edited By – Brad Michel
Engineer – Craig D. Dory, Joseph F. Korgie
Executive Producer – Brian M. Levine
Flute, Whistle, Bagpipes, Bodhrán, Liner Notes – Chris Norman
Lute, Cittern [Bandora] – Ronn McFarlane
Producer [Post-session] – Ronn McFarlane
Producer [Session] – Julian Gray
Translated By – Donal O’Sullivan
Viol [Bass], Recorder – Larry Lipkis
Viol, Rebec – Mary Anne Ballard
Vocals – Custer LaRue

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