Music is a tool that is used in every culture to bring people together as well as to tell stories of that culture. Personally it is something that inspires me with my writing and pulls me into the world of the songs. Last night was no exception of this. I had the pleasure of attending a House Concert in Baltimore featuring a husband and wife duo that played Celtic Music.
Not only does Castlebay play the music but Fred makes the instruments. That harp to the left he actually built for Julia. Not only do they play the music and build their instruments but they give you the history behind the music and the whole culture of what they're singing out. You all know how much I love history so I was in heaven last night. For example I learned more about the harp. Did you know that the body of the harp used to be carved out of one piece of wood and then the curved parts were branches? Also in the old days of Ireland next to the king the harp players held the most power. This was due to the power to bring people together with their songs. At one point the officials ordered harp players banished or even killed off do to their power.
This is amazing history that I knew nothing about and of course had to share with all my readers. Not only did we get the history of the harp but every song they sung was prefaced with the story behind it. The one that struck me the most was the story of a group of women that came over from Ireland to Boston. The women and children came separate from their husbands and the ship that held their husbands was lost at sea. These women were then stuck in this new place with no one to support them, but they survived. Julia couldn't find a song that was a tribute to them so what did she do? She wrote one herself!
There were other more upbeat songs (Julia referred to the last one I spoke about a a stereotypical gloomy Celtic song) such as a couple songs about lighthouses or taverns. Each song once again came with either Fred or Julia explaining why either they had written it or why someone else had written it. They even sang a song about Imbolc (which Brighid being my go to goddess is one of my favorite holidays) which was perfect since it's coming up in about three weeks. I purchased their Imbloc CD and am listening to it right now as I type this post.
So if you love Celtic music, poetry, stories of the "old country" as well as stories from their home of Maine then you have to visit their website and check Castlebay out: www.castlebay.net