The first person we approached was Daygan Robinson of funky eastern folk fusion band Dragonsfly. Daygz and I had played together in Dragonsfly and at numerous tribal sessions round fires for years, from the UK festival scene to St Chartier a magical instrument makers festival in central France. He was an obvious choice and a wizard on the mandolin. Fortunately he said yes and has been a stalwart member ever since.
His love affair with the mandolin started at age nine when he “found one” in a car park in his home town, Liverpool. I’m still not sure whether this is a scouse euphemism ;), but the point is, he got hold of one and his been ripping up the fretboard ever since!
The next person we went after recruiting was tribal elder bagpipe/woodwind player and instrument maker Jonathan Shorland. I’d played in a trad style French/Breton dance outfit with him and hurdy gurdy player Cliff Stapleton of Blowzabella fame. He was also bonkers enough to say yes!
Jonathan cut his teeth playing with bands such as Fern Hill and spent a lot of time jetting around playing gigs all over Africa for the British Council. He, amongst others, was also responsible for delving into the Welsh library, finding a whole load of Welsh tunes that had been mouldering there for some centuries (presumably) and kicking of a Welsh folk music renaissance.
Not only was he busy resurrecting a whole tradition but he was also inventing and making new instruments to play these tunes on, inspired by the classic trad Breton combo of binou and bombard, an extremely high pitched set of bagpipes played with a rustic and similarly high pitched and very loud rustic oboe type instrument. Fortunately Jonathan’s trademark bagpipes and pastoral oboe combo brought things down an octave or so, making them a little easier on the ear! Bringing a distinctive “Brethonic” approach to playing these tunes created a new cultural hybrid that’s taken root and is flourishing amongst the hills of Wales and beyond to this day.
Of course, the next logical step for a Celtic-electronica fusion band is recruit and Estonian Fiddler/hurdy gurdy player/singer and luckily Jonathan happened to know one living in Wales called Silla Ilves. Unfortunately her involvement in the band was short lived but luckily she was with us for long enough to grace our album with her wonderful instrumentalism, and you can hear her singing a haunting Estonian lullaby on Black Isle on our first album, super special!
Next up was Torben Frank on keys, a dear brother and a whizz on the keys and guitar. His then partner Marianne Forelius joined us on flute for our first gig and the rehearsals leading up to it doubled up as a creche for their three kids 😀 (He has twice as many now). Listen out for his lush guitar intro on Daygan’s tune Double Dutch which closes our first album. With Torbz, Maz and the kids on board things were feeling very tribal and although they moved on to other things fairly quickly we have very fond memories of grooving together with them in the early days.
Having assembled the the most unlikely combination of musical misfits it fell to Ed to put on his producers hat and craft an album from all our noodlings. The result was our eponymously named first album, CELTECH, which he set about putting together with great gusto and endless patience and hard work!
With the departure of Sille from the band shortly after the completion of the first album, we felt the need to find another fiddler. Fortunately Jonathan knew a rugby playing vet from Devon called Liz Nabb and she fitted in perfectly!
To hear these awesome musicians in action check out Celtech’s eponymously titled first album. In fact, as a THANK YOU for being one of our subscribers, we’d like to give you Polynation, the first track off the album, for FREE, no strings attached. We recommend putting it on the car stereo, turning it up and going for a night drive through your favourite bit of wilderness, it works a treat! 😀
If you like the track, you might also consider checking out Celtech, our first album. It’s full of crazy Celtic/electronica/dub/world fusion, the perfect soundtrack to any adventurous road trip into the wild.
There are no comments yet, add one below.