Michele McLaughlin | A Celtic Dream

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New Age: New Age New Age: Celtic New Age Moods: Featuring Piano
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A Celtic Dream

by Michele McLaughlin

Beautiful, relaxing solo piano music.
Genre: New Age: New Age
Release Date: 

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1. Summer Solstice
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3:58 $0.99
2. Slainte
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2:17 $0.99
3. A Celtic Dream
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1:43 $0.99
4. Irish Rain
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6:21 $0.99
5. Across The Burren
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3:02 $0.99
6. Finn McCool
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2:41 $0.99
7. Lament
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4:08 $0.99
8. The North Sea
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9. The Druid\'s Prayer
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10. The Clurichaun
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1:21 $0.99
11. Glenveagh Castle
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12. Causeway Coastline
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13. For The Lambs
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14. From Where We Came
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15. Carrowkeel
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Michele McLaughlin is a New Age Pianist & Composer. Her solo piano music is haunting and contagious, relaxing and beautiful, peaceful and touching. Her music is enjoyed worldwide and can be heard on several online radio stations, including the #1 internet broadcast: Whisperings Solo Piano Radio. In addition, she can also be heard on Music Choice Soundscapes, the digital music station via local digital cable and satellite providers as well as several local, national and international radio stations. Enjoy!

To learn more about Michele McLaughlin and her music, please visit http://www.michelemclaughlin.com.

ALBUM
Being of Irish ancestry, and always having a deep love for and connection with all things Celtic and Irish, it has been a dream of mine to visit Ireland. That dream became a reality this year and the songs on this album tell the story of my love of Ireland and the magical experience I had there.

SONGS:
Summer Solstice - The ancient Celts worshiped the sun and built monuments and tombs to celebrate their faith in the Sun God. Examples would include Stonehenge in England, and Newgrange in Ireland. The Summer Solstice, or midsummer, is the longest day of the year and a day heavily celebrated by the Celts. This song tells the story of the Sun God's journey across the sky on the Summer Solstice, starting at sunrise, peaking at it's highest point, and then back down to sunset.

Slainte - Slainte, pronounced "slawn-cha", is the Gaelic word for "Good Health". It is typically said before a toast or a drink. This song is a happy little tribute to the Gaelic toast.

A Celtic Dream - Being mostly of Irish ancestry, I have always had a deep connection with and love for all things Celtic and Irish. It has been a dream of mine to visit Ireland and see where my ancestors came from. That dream came true in March 2008 and this song is about that dream and my amazing experience in Ireland.

Irish Rain - When we visited Ireland in March, it was still very cold and winter like there. It was very windy, and almost every day it rained or misted. The rain in Ireland, at least when we were there, is not a heavy rain, rather, more like a heavy mist, and I found it fascinating. This song is about the misty rain in Ireland and how peaceful I found it.

Across The Burren - On the west side of Ireland, in County Clare, there is an area of karst-landscape called "The Burren". This area is very rocky and beautiful. This song is about our drive, on a very sunny, but extremely windy and cold day, from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher, across the Burren landscape.

Finn McCool - In Irish legend, Finn McCool was a giant who dwelled on the Causeway Coastline in Northern Ireland. The Giants Causeway is an area of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns which were formed from a volcanic eruption about 60 million years ago. Legend tells that Finn McCool built the Giant's Causeway as a bridge between Scotland and Ireland so he could fight a Scottish giant who was harassing him. When the Scottish giant crossed the bridge to face Finn, Finn's wife dressed him up as a baby in a cradle and told the Scottish giant that Finn was not at home. The Scottish giant was so blown away by the size of the "baby" that he was afraid to find out how big Finn would be and decided not to fight him. He ran back to Scotland and destroyed the bridge that Finn built as he ran away so that Finn could not follow him. This song is about the exchange between the two giants, telling the story in a sort of dance like comedy, beginning with the Scottish giant harassing Finn, then sneaking across the bridge to fight Finn, seeing the enormous baby, and then running back to Scotland and destroying the bridge along the way.

Lament - Ireland was an amazing place to visit and I wish I would have had more time there. This song is about my sadness to say goodbye to Ireland and the wonderful experience I had there.

The North Sea - The ancient Celts used The North Sea as a means of travel between Scotland, England and Ireland, and the Nordic countries. This song is the story of an Irish man, in the days of ancient Vikings, traveling by ship across a turbulent and stormy North Sea after having been exploring Scandinavia, on his way home to see his love.

The Druid's Prayer - The Druids were the priests, scholars and teachers of the ancient Celts. This song is about a group of Druids, gathered together in prayer, in a grove of trees on a starry night under the light of the full moon.

The Clurichaun - The Clurichaun is a relative of the Leprachaun. He is mischievous and almost always drunk. He sneaks around at night, raiding wine cellars, and when he finds one he loves, he makes it his home, guarding the wine of the homeowner. If you treat him right, he will protect your wine celler forever, but if you make him mad, he will curse you and bad luck will come to you and your wine. This song is about the Clurichaun, sneaking around at night, drinking wine and causing mischief.

Glenveagh Castle - In Glenveagh National Park, there is a lake called Lough Veagh. On this lake sits Glenveagh Castle. It is very beautiful and peaceful there and this song is about our visit to Lough Veagh and Glenveagh Castle, and our long walk along the lake at sunset.

Causeway Coastline - The Causeway Coastline in Northern Ireland was my favorite part of Ireland. The water is deliciously blue, the landscape is unbelievably beautiful and green, and there is much to see... Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, the Giants Causeway, Bushmils Distillery, Dunluce Castle, etc. I loved this area of Ireland and this song is about the wondrous sites we encountered on our travels along the coastline.

For The Lambs - I have been reading a lot of books and articles lately on the issues surrounding factory farming in the United States, an unfortunate situation which has been greatly disturbing to me. When we were in Ireland, it was early spring and all of the sheep flocks we saw driving through the countryside had newborn lambs. They were completely free range, joyful and frolicking across the meadows and it was one of the happiest and sweetest things I saw in Ireland. I loved the cute little playful lambs and this song is for them.

From Where We Came - My ancestry is greatly Irish and some of the first McLaughlin's came from Donegal, Ireland. This song is dedicated to Ireland, my ancestors and their rich history.

Carrowkeel - In County Sligo, Ireland, there is a Neolithic passage tomb cemetery called Carrowkeel. These passage tombs date back to 5000-5500 BC, predating the Egyptian Pyramids. Carrowkeel is one of the biggest passage tomb cemeteries in Ireland, consisting of fourteen tombs in all. This song is about our visit to Carrowkeel on a very windy, rainy and cold day.


Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

A Pianistic Tour of Ireland
“A Celtic Dream” is pianist/composer Michele McLaughlin’s tenth album and was inspired by a recent trip to Ireland, the land of most of her family’s ancestors. Many of the pieces have an infectious energy and upbeat drive, while others are more subdued and reflective, creating a rich palette of moods and musical colors. In her notes about the individual pieces, McLaughlin tells the stories behind the music, giving a bit of history about the places she visited as well as aural illustrations for some of the Celtic legends (these notes are also on her page on CD Baby). The melodies of all of the pieces are excellent and very expressive, but McLaughlin’s left hand tends to get stuck into a repetitive pattern. This is an effective device from time to time, but can wear a little thin with too much usage. Most people won’t hear it, but my piano teacher’s ears get rather distracted by the repetition. Overall, this is McLaughlin’s strongest work to date.

“A Celtic Dream” begins with “Summer Solstice,“ a bright and sprightly piece that celebrates the longest day of the year and the sun’s journey through that day. Energetic and joyful, it sets the stage for the rest of the album. “Slainte” is a Gaelic toast to good health, and this little piece seems to celebrate just about anything and everything - a delightful confection. The title track slows down the pace to more of a ballad and is one of the more beautiful tracks on the CD. My favorite piece is “Irish Rain.” Here the repetitive left hand pattern mimics rain falling while the right illustrates the mist that comes with the rain. Mysterious and melancholy, it evokes feelings of longing as well as the chill that comes with a misty rain. “Lament” reminds me of David Nevue and how he often creates strong emotional feelings with utter simplicity in his musical lines. “The Clurichaun” is a lighthearted delight. The Clurichaun is related to The Leprechaun and runs around at night raiding wine cellars. When he finds one he loves, he stays and makes it his home, guarding the cellar forever. A mischievous elf, this piece is full of fun and energy. “For The Lambs” is a tribute to the spring lambs who were free to roam and play in the countryside of Ireland - sweet and joyful. “From Where We Came” is gorgeous and is dedicated to Ireland, McLaughlin’s ancestors, and their rich history. Melodic and very flowing, it’s a lovely tribute. “Carrowkeel” is about the largest passage tomb cemetery in Ireland that dates back to about 5000 BC. Very dark and dramatic, it’s a impressive closing for the album.

“A Celtic Dream” is quite a musical excursion and rekindles my desire to see Ireland myself. Good stuff!