A blend of old traditions with modern originality from Charmas on 'Stark Raving Celtic'

Santa Cruz folk band Charmas are back with a new album called “Stark Raving Celtic” which they say “pumps passion you can feel into Scotland's swarthy battle music and Ireland's lyrical melodies.”

The band originally just set out to record their best stage music from the years 2013-2017, but once the band started inviting contributions from its past members, theme show guests, and local musician friends, the project grew far beyond everyone's expectations. They say it is “A unique combination of traditional Irish and Scottish ballads, high-energy Celtic rock sets, and modern Celtic fusion, with the finished recording involving 20 professional musicians, all residing in California, but with musical roots scattered around the globe.” Some of the album's tracks spotlight individual singers, while others convey the collaborative musical power that Charmas' full band delivers during live performances.

Featured musicians include Dublin-borne tenor Richard Dwyer (vocalist for Charmas' Valentine's Rebellion Comedy Singalongs, and leader of his own band The Luckless Pedestrians), belting out traditional Irish song The Auld Triangle with twin-tenor Phil Johnston's howling harmonies which we include below.

Emerging starlet Lee Corbie Wells (half of San Francisco's touring duo Moonshine Jelly) sings The Dreaming Tree, a true-life ballad about hard luck causing a Scottish Alaskan woman to end up sleeping beneath a tree overhanging the Pacific Ocean. This beautiful song will soon accompany a YouTube video, including an original bagpipe tune composed for its ending.  

Polyrhythmic trance tune Memories in the Wind foreshadows Charmas' transition from playing traditional and modern Celtic music to becoming a topnotch World Music band.

AmeriCeltic wrote, in its newsletter album review, that The Highland Games Song, composed for Scottish Heavy Athletes, and juiced-up with Great Highland Bagpipes and marching drums, "...ought to be an anthem for Scottish Games everywhere."

Another individual showpiece is tenor vocalist Philip Johnston's American-folk version of traditional Irish song She Moved Through The Fair. An instrumental version of this well-loved song will be published separately, to feature the simple dialogue between Elise MacGregor Ferrell's bluesy fiddling and Phil's expressive guitar.

Two more power sets which summoned all of Charmas' original instrumentalists, including co-founder Matt Johnson playing tenor banjo and pennywhistle, are two of the band's earliest Irish tune sets, fondly renamed Pancakes at Midnight and The Meeting Of Old Friends.

Altogether, Stark Raving Celtic's unique blend of old traditions with modern originality delivers a long-lasting appeal for all ages and types of Celtic music fans.

For more information visit www.charmasband.com or download from CDBaby.com

If you are an Irish radio broadcaster you can download a free digital copy from our Download Centre. Contact us for details.

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