Richard Koechli,
Blue Celtic Mystery
(Mara, 2004)

This album quotes Van Morrison's quip that Celtic music is blues for white people. Taking inspiration from the music of many Celtic lands, Richard Koechli decided to combine that music with the blues and he has produced a wonderful album in Blue Celtic Mystery.

He takes the myths of our lands and adds music that retains a hint of the ancient but is truly 21st century in style. He concocts new tales for our timeless times.

Opening with the strong "Gwydion," he then moves to a much more reflective instrumental called "Codiad yr Haul," or "Sunrise."

The album veers between the poetic and the epic. Over two tracks, sung in German, he recounts "Business with Gnomes" and "The Finale for the Gnomes." His mastery of the acoustic guitar is evident on "The Barde Taliesin," a marvelous instrumental piece.

My favourite track on offer here takes off from the traditional Celtic and brings us into Cajun country with "The Secret of the Old Cajun." It is sung in French and sounds all the better for it.

From the Cajuns of the Bayou he slips seamlessly back to Ireland and "Thuatha De Dannan," the mythical tribe of the distant past. The track conjures pictures of virgin forest, tramping feet and mystical awakenings. The varying rhythms are wonderful to hear and remind us of the Celtic influence on world musical sounds.

Over the course of 12 tracks, this album is a fine introduction to Celtic music for the novice and the veteran alike. The insert is packed with illustrations and background notes in three languages, and the lyrics translations are to be found on the website. This guy thinks of everything.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 20 August 2005

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