Birken Tree


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SKU: 4324801014754594


Birken Tree, released in 2000, is the album where all the acoustic elements of Ionas approach really come together. Nick Smileys mandolin, bouzouki & bass, Bob Mitchells piping, Barbara Ryans singing and Bernard Argents fluting are all at their best. It continues Ionas pan-Celtic explorations, adding Appalachian and Asturian themes to the usual mix of Scottish, Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton. 1. Wrth Fynd Efo Deio y Dywyn/An Culyek Hos (While Going with Deio to Tywyn/The Mallard Duck) Welsh/Cornish 3:31 This song in Welsh is an enthusiastic young travelers diary, cataloging his experiences with one Deio, friend of Mr. Jones, en route to the town of Tywyn in Gwynedd, Wales. We combine it with a Cornish tune that reflects Breton origins. Not content with a single time signature, we play the above first as hornpipes then as jigs. Barbara: vocals, bodhrn; Bernard: doumbek, flute, D whistle; Bob: shuttle pipes; Nick: mandolin, bouzouki. 2. Came Ye Oer frae France/Duncan Johnsons/Butterfingers (P.M. Duncan MacLeod) Scottish 4:21 This fine auld Jacobite song satirizes the Hanoverian King George I, who reigned at the time when James Stuart, the Old Pretender, led the Highland rebellion against British rule, with rude references to his very ugly mistresses and scandalous proclivities. Bob carries on with a hornpipe and jig on the great pipes. Barbara: vocals, bodhrn, guitar in open tuning; Bernard: Eb flute, doumbek; Bob: Highland pipes; Nick: mandolin. 3. Fare You Well/Santn de Camadu Appalachian/Asturian 5:25 This stunning song from North Carolina was collected by John and Alan Lomax. It seems to have its roots in the time of the Napoleonic wars, but projects a distinct Appalachian flavor, reflecting the Scotch-Irish (yes-thats what they call it!) heritage of Barbaras Kentucky and Bobs Virginia forebears. We accompany the song, then lead with a dance tune from the Camadu area in Asturias, one of the Celtic regions of Northern Spain, that we learned from the group, Llan de Cubel. Barbara: vocals, guitar, tambourine; Bernard: flute; Bob: shuttle pipes; Nick: mandolin. 4. Quand jtais jeune dix-huit ans/Hanter dros (When I was young and eighteen/dances) Breton 5:48 Once again, we are indebted to the Monjarret family of the Morbihan district in Brittany, the Celtic province of France. Nolwenn taught Barbara this song from Morbihan–an hanter dro, or dance tune–with nonsense words in French dialect. We found two of the subsequent hanter dros in Poligs magnificently exhaustive collection of Breton tunes. As always, we encourage our audiences to join in the dances, taught to Bernard by Nolwenn as well… Barbara: lead vocals, tambourine, bouzouki, bodhrn; Bernard: vocals, Eb flute, Eb whistle, doumbek, bombarde; Bob: shakers, bombarde; Nick: vocals, mandolin, acoustic bass guitar, avocado. 5. Donald MacGillavry/Paddys Leather Britches Scottish 5:34 Back to the Jacobite rebellion and another satire, this one of one Donald MacGillavry, the symbol for the Scottish lairds who sold out to the English. Bob follows with a piping version of the song on the great pipes, then segus into the reel, Paddys Leather Britches, arranged for him by his brother, another great piper, Burt Mitchell. According to Bob, the aforementioned leather britches were once worn by excise men to test the strength of whisky: if they stuck to the liquor, poured on a bench, the whisky was strong enough–the britches, no doubt, reminiscent of the piper


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