About Kitty’s Return
Karen Light plays Concertina and Tin Whistle. Ray Caldwell plays, Uilleann Pipes, Tin Whistles, Cittern, Guitar, Small Pipes, Bodhran and Synthesizer.
Our CD "Kitty's Return" was made in memory and appreciation of the late Chris "Kitty" Langan and to fulfill his desire that his music be made available to others for their consideration and enjoyment. We have recorded many of his compositions, added some of his favourite tunes and a couple of new compositions for good measure. This was recorded in Ray's basement studio and is certainly not a professional recording. We're sure Chris would forgive the imperfections and appreciate our limitations. The main idea was to get the music recorded so people can learn the tunes by ear.
Our largest influence by far was our late friend and mentor Chris Langan. Chris "Kitty" Langan (1915-93) was an inspiration to a generation of younger Canadian musicians. Arriving in Canada in the mid-1950s, he brought with him rich connections to Irish music and language. An accomplished piper, in Ireland he was pipe-major of a well-known band based in Rush, Co. Dublin. As a teenager he was a competition step dancer and later he learned both whistle and uilleann pipes. One of his teachers was the now legendary Irish piper and pipe maker Leo Rowsome. During the mid-60s and early 70s, he founded and led The Toronto Gaelic Pipe Band and the Glenmor Pipe Band and taught dozens of pipers, many of whom today are accomplished professionals. In 1963, he recorded an influential album with Cape Breton fiddler Johnny Wilmot. This was many Canadians first exposure to the tin whistle as a 'serious' instrument. Commencing in the mid-70s and continuing throughout his life, Chris' focus became the visitors who flocked to him at home. He helped dozens of people learn Irish music, pipes and whistle and he built many sets of Irish pipes for these students. He also arranged and composed music to suit their needs. To keep connected to the Irish musical community, he made an annual pilgrimage to the Willie Clancy Festival in Co. Clare, Ireland, where he taught reedmaking and tin whistle and visited with old friends.
Karen Light joined North American Comhaltas (Irish Music Society) in 1978. She was a friend of Chris Langan and enjoyed many hours of sharing tunes and tea. In 1981, she went to Ireland to study the whistle with Mary Bergin at the Willie Clancy School . Shortly after that, Karen began teaching group whistle lessons before the bi-weekly Comhaltas sessions at the Tranzac. She is now playing concertina as well and continues to teach students in traditional Irish music. Karen was a member of the Toronto band Jigsaw and continues to play regularly at Comhaltis events and various sessions in the city. As a school teacher, she is having great success with her 6, 7 and 8 year old whistle students. She was recently inducted into the North American Comhaltas Hall of Fame.
Ray Caldwell was born in Dumbarton, Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1974. He learned to play guitar as a teen and performed locally in the Folk Clubs of the West of Scotland. He met Chris Langan, the Toronto pipe maker, in 1985 and at that time became one of Chris's Students on Uilleann Pipes. He also plays Cittern, Tin Whistle, Small Pipes and Bodhran. Ray Caldwell was born in Dumbarton, Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1974. He learned to play guitar as a teen and performed locally in the Folk Clubs of the West of Scotland. He met Chris Langan, the Toronto pipe maker, in 1985 and at that time became one of Chris's Students on Uilleann Pipes.He also plays Cittern, Tin Whistle and Bodhran. He has been teaching pipes and tin whistle for the last ten years in the Toronto and Brampton areas. One of his uilleann pipe students was Kelly Hood of the band "Spraoi". He has been associated with several local prominent musicians like Alan Frew, Sam Reid and Chris McNeill of "Glass Tiger" fame and Pat O'Gorman of "Rare Air" and Na Cabarfeidh". He has performed session work on several albums and commercials: Alannah Myles - "Ä•län•näh", Mychael & Jeff Danna - "A Celtic Tale", Gary William O'Hart - "Ninth Night Beyond Tara", Holborn Nature Recording - "Ireland, the Waters and the Wild", CBC/NFB Documentary - "The Caregivers". T.V. Commercials for: 1998 Canadian Open, Bank of Montreal; Closing of Maple Leaf Gardens; Ontario Tourism and several Radio Commercials. Recently he performed with The Toronto Orpheus Choir in a presentation of Scott MacMillan's "Celtic Mass for the Sea" at Convocation Hall. He has done session work for the band "House of Not". He performed regularly with Allison Lupton's band 'Learig' for several years and is currently a member of Aaron Soloman's band "Coole Park". He has recently been inducted into the North American Comhaltas (Traditional Irish Music Society) Hall of Fame. Ray has been practicing the Japanese Martial Art of Aikido for the past 10 years and currently holds the rank of 1st Kyu. His other hobbies include Yoga, Art Films and Macintosh computing. He is also an avid Conspiracy Theory buff.