Two new Manx CDs were launched and thousands of festival-goers entertained by high calibre Manx acts at Europe’s largest Celtic festival in Lorient, Brittany, at the beginning of the month. The three acts demonstrated to the full the sheer variety and professionalism coming out of Manx traditional music circles in recent years: Scammylt, Caarjyn Cooidjagh Manx Gaelic choir and trumpet and organ duo Chronicles.
Katie Lawrence, Russell Cowin and Mike Reaney make up the fiddle-led trio, Scammylt, who chose the festival as a platform to launch their debut EP ‘Sheeynt’, performing to critical acclaim throughout the festival’s ten days. Scammylt infuse traditional and newer compositions in the Manx idiom with jazz, mainly due to Mike’s background as a jazz guitarist. Their good humour and natural warmth on stage won them many fans. Their CD will be available in the Island’s shops very soon.
A demo CD by Manx trumpet and organ duo, ‘Chronicles’, attracted the keen interest of Europe’s media. David Kilgallon and Russell Gilmour presented their exquisite arrangements of Manx and other music on trumpet and organ as well as cornetto (early wind instrument) and violin. Performing at an official VIP reception and in the Eglise Saint Louis, they impressed the festival’s president, who thought their musicality truly breathtaking. Audiences left gigs feeling uplifted and refreshed!
Ten singers from Manx Gaelic unaccompanied choir, Caarjyn Cooidjagh, presented traditional and more recently composed songs arranged by the choir’s director, Annie Kissack. As a more established group, they promoted their third CD, ‘Skellyn’, at the festival, and performed alongside Chronicles in the Eglise Saint Louis, in the large Espace Marine as well as in a wonderful disused underground water reservoir at Enclos du Port. With a ten second natural reverb or echo, the singers had to carefully select and sing material that would work in such an unusual acoustic, adding instrumental sets to bathe the listeners in sound. Caarjyn Cooidjagh were delighted to have been selected to appear on the festival’s official CD, Annie’s original song ‘Mish as y Keayn’ featuring alongside the likes of Sinead O’Connor, Clannad and Capercaillie.
As ever, Festival Interceltique de Lorient provided the perfect backdrop to promote Manx culture to a wider European market. As one Italian journalist remarked, the Isle of Man always presents something that is remarkable, something a little different – it is this sense of difference that gets us noticed!
Both new CD projects were funded by the Manx Heritage Foundation, an organisation which helps to support and promote Manx culture.
For more about the festival: www.festival-interceltique.com
To buy the CD online: http://keltiamusique.com/l-annee-des-asturies.html
To find out more about Manx music: www.manxmusic.com
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