Norland Wind,
From Shore to Shore:
Harp Music from the Celtic Northwest

(Laika, 2004)

On this brand new live CD, Norland Wind presents itself as the seven-piece band that toured Europe last year. The line-up is Thomas Loefke on Celtic harp, Kerstin Blodig on guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, bodhran and vocals, Maire Breatnach on fiddle, viola and vocals, Ian Melrose on guitar, low whistle and vocals, Noel Duggan on guitar and vocals, Padraig Duggan on mandolin, percussion and vocals, and Matthias Kiessling on keyboards. The recording quality by Jorg Surrey is outstanding and perfectly reflects the crystal-clear sound of the band's live performances.

Norland Wind got its start in 1994 when Loefke and "friends" recorded the CD Norland Wind (read Jo Morrison's excellent review) -- and without having heard that first CD, I'd say they took an enormous step forward on their musical journey. The music here is full of lightness and playful rhythms.

The three Irish band members have a great influence on the choice of songs and tunes, and thus their music sounds in the first place Irish. Melrose gives a superb Scottish touch and Blodig seems to be something like an all-Celtic force, writing and leading a song in the tradition of Scottish waulking songs, singing and arranging Irish songs and adding a traces here and there of her Scandinavian roots. Nevertheless, Loefke and Kiessling still give a nuance of German influence, most of all on tunes penned by Loefke.

The harp is omnipresent on the CD, but this is not really harp music in the pure sense; it's more something like a wonderful arrangement of string instruments and beautiful voices often supported by a whistle and percussion.

The CD sleeve provides plenty of information about the songs and tunes and includes the mostly Gaelic words to the songs. Those who do not speak Gaelic have to contend with the short description of each song's contents, another reason for me to sign up for a course in Gaelic.

From Shore to Shore is a fantastic live album full of Irish/Scottish/Celtic music, wonderful voices and excellent musicians. Loefke and his friends have left behind their Clannad-roots to create their own stunning and beautiful style.

- Rambles
written by Adolf Goriup
published 8 May 2004



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