Celtic foursome sport a mellifluous blend of vocal harmonies and instrumentation
Tra le Gael | Sailing Home to Glacier
Published: August 7, 2012
Kalispell's Celtic foursome Tra le Gael has been entertaining audiences with their blend of voices and instruments since 1999. The group shares 14 tunes and songs on their new CD, featuring a mix of traditional pieces and originals.
Members are: Karin Hilding on whistles, recorders and flute; Katy Meyers, Celtic folk harp and recorder; Barbara Calm on the hammered dulcimer, recorders, trombone and percussion; and the late Gary Morris on guitar, mandolin, whistle and trumpet. Together they sport a mellifluous blend of vocal harmonies and instrumentation that shows off their trademark sound.
They come out with the loping rhythm of Andrew Marcus's “Accordion Crimes” (how's that for a title), syncopated and light with whistle; this segues into the traditional “Bus Stop Reel.” The whistle stars again in the jazzy and bluesy “Windbroke,” by Michael McGoldrick, which leads into Morris's own “New 1,” with a rollicking rhythm all its own.
There's a pretty rendition of the traditional air, “Crested Hens,” and Morris gets to flex his husky baritone voice on several songs. One is the jumpy heel-clicker, “Take Her in Your Arms,” the gals contributing their tight harmonies.
In an abrupt departure from things Celtic, they do a cool a cappella version of Lead Belly's gospel number, “Sylvie,” replete with gospel “oohs,” and the finale covers several dance styles. It goes from “The Butterfly,” a slip jig, to a jig, “Banish Misfortune,” to a fast reel, “Drowsy Maggie,” with whiz-bang dulcimer and whistle, and horns, even!
The Montana PBS-TV music series “11th and Grant with Eric Funk” hosted the group in March, and Funk calls listening to Tra Le Gael “akin to breathing the clear mountain air in Montana with Ireland on your mind.” Clean and clear production boosts that image.
Visit them at Facebook/tralegael.
– Mariss McTucker, Lively Times