The Elements series of albums is now complete with Celtic Air - an album of instrumental breezy tunes and slow airs.
Eleven years ago the Elements series of Govannen albums began with Healing Waters, followed by Celtic Fire, and Celtic Earth - both COVR Award winners. After a slight diversion with Celtic Christmas, now at last the series is complete with Celtic Air.
It feels like the end of an era as these Element albums have always been really big productions and I doubt whether we will have the energy to do such an album again, so the band was very keen to end the cycle on a high and maintain our high standard.
Chris Conway started recording recorded the main bulk of the music in January 2016. In February recording sessions began with Govannen players Adele McMahon, Dan Britton, Roger Wilson, Neil Rabjohn. By good fortune Bridget McMahon flew over from Ireland for a weekend and she added her atmospheric vocals to the album as she has done on all the others. Chris Conway then added his final bits of recording - his "fairydust" - zithers, and other exotic instruments and he mixed and mastered the album which took a couple of weeks. One track had 43 streams of sound to mix.
The starting point was Irish slow airs of course, but then as recording progressed, and as the feeling grew that the cycle was coming to a close, there was a growing desire to round up tunes that Govannen hadn't recorded or played yet, but that were long time favourites.
As with the first album Healing Waters, Chris Conway arranged and produced the album, with of course, suggestions for the band.
Donal Lunny, Paul Winter, Alan Stivell, Davey Spillane, Moving Hearts, The Chieftans, Altan, Dan Ar Braz, David Crosby.
5, 7, 9, 11 – trad. Ireland
1, 6, 10 - by Chris Conway
2 – trad. Ireland/Brittany/Cornwall
3 - by Ruaidri Dáll Ó Catháin 1603
4 - by Chris Conway/trad. Brittany
8 - trad. Ireland/ trad Hebrides
trad. tunes arr. by Govannen
CCs Favourite track -Celtic Air
The continuous download album version has 2 bonus tracks.
Celtic Air, Land and Sea
The Parting Glass (vocal version)
1. Sea Air
The sea has a special connection to the Celtic lands and infuses the land, the culture, and the air.
2. The New Land – Hyp Noz Fest
A blend of Irish, Breton and Cornish tunes. The Irish tune is from a song about a man leaving Ireland for a new land and finding someone there from their homeland.
3. Give Me Your Hand
This Irish tune was written by blind harper Ruaidri Dáll Ó Catháin in 1603. He wrote it in Scotland after a disagreement with a Lady Eglington. He composed the tune for her when she apologized.
4. Open Air – Pachpi Kozh
Open Air is a Chris Conway original tune – he wrote it 25 years ago and had forgotten about it until walking round the park in a break when making this album. Pachpi Kozh is a traditional Breton dance tune.
5. The Close Of An Irish Day
This is the tune of a traditional Irish song that the McMahon's sisters' late father often used to sing. This version features them especially.
6. Celtic Air
A Chris Conway piece in two parts – an atmosheric breezy section going into a march with a Scottish feel to it. A big title track piece is expected now after the title tracks on the Celtic Fire and Celtic Earth albums.
7. Lament For Limerick
This Irish slow air focuses on Adele's violin playing and Dan's tasteful guitar.
8. Siobhan Ni Dhuibhir – Tha Mi Sgith
The first is a tune from a Donegal song also known in other Celtic lands as Suzie McGuire and Susan O'Dwyer. Tha Mi Sgith is from the Hebrides, and the tune is from a fairy song about a fairy who spies a girl cutting bracken. They fell in love but her family wewre against the match and locked her away.
9. She Moved Through The Fair – The Maids Of Mitchelstown
This favourute Irish tune played as a slow air is followed by a Irish reel.
Another Chris Conway original piece where, after the introduction, soloists on Irish whistle,
voice and violin pass the baton before a reel begins.
11. The Parting Glass
This song has been sung for hundreds of years at the end of Irish gatherings, concerts, sessions or farewells. It is played as a slow air, then as a march as Govannen depart into the distance.