The Celtic Lute / McFarlane

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There are Celtic Music specialty radio shows and on-demand audio channels. Celtic Music albums are sold in health food and yoga stores. We know it when we hear it. Right? So, what is it? There’s a loose definition (or maybe tacit agreement) that Celtic Music is found in those European cultures where the Celtic tribes invaded. Aside from Ireland and Scotland, Wales qualifies, as does Brittany, the Galician part of Spain, the Isle of Man. If we focus just on the Gaelic language group and fine tune it to just Scotland and Ireland, we really know what we are hearing, right? Do we? While there is plentiful cross-pollination between these two nations and an ancient shared heritage, they are not the same place, and their music is not a single common recipe using slightly different ingredients. Irish stew is not haggis. There are differences grand and small, subtle and great. Distinct nations with different histories will evolve different artistic natures, and this is played out in a joyful noise in our Celtic lands. Ronn McFarlane’s heritage and lifelong interest in Scottish music allows us to walk first (as Neil Munro put it) “song-haunted over the Moors.”



For the latest album in his already rich discography, Ronn McFarlane takes us on a musical journey to Ireland and Scotland, highlighting both the vivacity and delicacy of the lute. The album is laid out with incredible care. You’ll hear the touching sadness in “The Lone Vale”, a traditional Scottish tune played with such a soft insistence you could fall into a melancholy trance. Then comes “Flee Over the Water,” another Scottish traditional tune, but with such a spirit of happiness and a sense of recovery, it seems to offer the courage to look up and out at the horizon. Irish tracks, like “The Monaghan Jig” and “The Kid on the Mountain” are irresistible.

And what a beautiful way to end the CD: “The Butterfly”, a traditional Irish piece that concludes the album, will make you fall hard for the magic of Ronn McFarlane’s lute.

– WCRB 99.5FM (Boston, MA)

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: DSL-92225

  • UPC: 053479222527

  • Label: Sono Luminus

  • Composer: James Oswald, Traditional, Turlough O'Carolan

  • Performer: Ronn McFarlane