Dannsair irish music
Irish Music, dannsair
Russ Doherty and Suzanne Duffy
welcome to dannsair

November, 2015

News Flash - New CD Caledonia - CD Release Party on December 3rd, 2015 at Dargan's

We hope you can spend some time with us this year at our CD release party (or any time for that matter). 5:30 - 6:30 free appetizers and meet the band (we can sign your CDs!), 6:30 - 8:30 we will be performing the CD and another hour of Irish music. Lots of wonderful new music for your enjoyment. It features new original songs, traditional instrumentals and even a few covers by artists like Kila, Dougie MacLean & Heidi Talbot. Some of the new tunes are very progressive, reminding us of the music we heard Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill play at this summer's music festivals in Ireland. Gwerzy by the Dublin-based Kila is an exciting Celtic Fusion song incorporating dynamic time changes. It is based on Cletic music played in Belgium. I Can't Get You Out of my Mind and Nothing Left to Lose, new original duets sung by Whitney Kaufman & Jay Galvin are reminiscent of the best folk tunes. We hope to see you there.

August, 2015

Just back from 3 weeks in Ireland. We spent a week in Dublin, a week at the Kilkenny Arts Festival, some time at the Bantry Bay Masters of Tradition Festival, then a few days in Dingle and Limerick. The highlights were many, lots of traditional music in the Temple Bar area of Dublin. Then the Marble City Sessions curated by Martin Hayes for the Kilkenny Arts Festival were incredible. Martin and Dennis performed with Brooklyn Rider (classical string quartet) and Jordi Saval (Renaissance Viol master) in beautiful venues. In Bantry, again curated by Martin, the festival featured them playing with the New York City Jazz musicians and modern dancer featured on last year's The Gloaming CD. We talked in both cities with Martin and Dennis about their love of including all these different World Musicians in their Irish Traditional Music performances. They love it, we loved it and it sounded great.

August, 2012

Breton is a success!

Our most recent CD, Breton, was released on St. Patrick's Day this year. We celebrated with two CD release parties at our two favorite local spots - Dargan's and The James Joyce. Breton's most frequently played song on Spotify is our cover of The Pogues' Love You Till the End, which features Brian Kinsella and Siobhan Doherty. Breton also features tunes by band members Jocelyn Tipple and Russ Doherty.

The band is still humming - we're currently working on new material for the next CD. We haven't decided yet if it will be an entirely new CD or a "best of," but either way it will include a few new tunes and songs.

August, 2011

Recording Next CD, Website Updates

We are currently in the studio working on our next CD, Breton, which should come out on St. Patrick's Day of 2012. We're all very excited about the new CD, which features new songs by Russ Doherty, Jocelyn Tipple, and Siobhan Doherty, as well as a few older songs from The Pogues (Love You Till The End) and the traditional Poor Wayfaring Stranger. We're also trying out new instruments and harmonies that we haven't experimented with before. Also, you may have noticed, but the website is being updated! Please enjoy browsing through our new Gallery, watching new videos, or perusing our Books, Sheet Music, and CDs available for purchase.

November, 2009

The Galway Train Released

Our new CD The Galway Train is finished. The Galway Train is a wonderful melange of songs and tunes featuring Siobhan Doherty, Andrea Arredondo & Serena Corr on vocals, with Emily Sommermann & Karl Burrelsmann on fiddles, Linda Holland on flute, Jocelyn Tipple on whistle, Kevin Kinsella & Nick Moore on percussion, Armand Renga on bass and Russ Doherty on guitar.

Helping to make this CD a standout amongst the five Dannsair CDs are original compositions by Linda Holland, Russ Doherty, and Russ & Siobhan Doherty. Other highlights are Emily Sommerman soloing on Banish Misfortune & Cuhullan's Lament; Jocelyn Tipple's gorgeous whistle solo on Kilkee Waves; Serena Corr's emotional vocals on Marrying The Sea; Armand Renga's bass solo on the reggae-influenced Tom Ward's Downfall; and the inspired percussion playing of Kevin Kinsella & Nick Moore.

April, 2007

A Masterclass at UCSB

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill - - - - - - - Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Hass

Russ and Leah spent the afternoon with Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Alasdair Fraser and Bruce Molsky. The 2 hour question and answer session with music was part of UCSB's Ethnomusicology seminars.We had a conversation and demonstration of regional differences in tunes like Rakish Paddy (Martin's East Clare introspective version vs Altan's Donegal 100 mph version), Flowers of Edinburgh (Alasdair Fraser's gorgeous west Scotland style vs Bruce Molsky's Appalachain barn dance version which has completely different timing and form, and features a notably stretched-out melody).

Alasdair Fraser demonstrated how he bowed the violin according to what the dancers were doing. He likened all his bowing styles to the various dances. While demonstrating a Strathspey two different ways (the long walking dance steps of one region vs the oingie-boingie hopping style of another region) he actually did the steps right in front of us. Martin said he would never think of Alasdair the same way again after watching him dance.

Dennis Cahill demonstrated how he uses his guitar to shift tonality in the subtlest ways. Sometimes he only plays 3 note chords, then he changes one note at a time, so the tonality slowly changes along with the melody. He reminded everyone that the chords are implicit in the melody as it is being played, so his job is more coloration, making the music darker (adding a 9th) or lighter (Maj7), thicker (playing all 6 strings) or thinner (playing only 3).

Leah and I were grateful to see a number of tunes played so beautifully and so emotionally, giving us quite a lift right before we do our next CD. Martin & Dennis graciously accepted copies of our current CD, Galicia, and they wished Leah & I well with the band. It was a great afternoon.

Highland, Heath & Holler Concert

The Highland, Heath & Holler concert that evening was wonderful also. The highlight of the concert was the decidedly forward-looking duo of Alasdair Fraser with Natalie Hass on cello. Doing the same sort of ground-breaking duets that Martin & Dennis popularized in the last decade, Alasdair explained how originally, Scottish music was played by a fiddle and cello duo. Unfortunately, the English & the Protestants got rid of the intruments at "Burning Parties." Alisdair is on a mission to revive the cello/fiddle duo which added a whole new dimension to traditional Scottish music and the evening.

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill were riveting, as usual. Opening with a whisper-to-a-scream set, from a slow air to banshee-sounding reels, they had the audience mesmerized. Then all 5 musicians played sets together, and they had the audience on their feet. Traditional music is alive, well and sonically growing in many exciting directions.

December, 2006

Galicia Released

Named after the Celtic region of Spain just north of Portugal, Galicia is home to a number of famous musicians, Julio Iglesias (the singer) and Carlos Nunez (the Celtic piper) being two of them. Kristen and I got to perform with Carlos Nunez and The Chieftains on their last swing through Santa Barbara at the Arlington Theater. I was inspired to write a melody reminiscent of Carlos' piping tunes, which became the tune that starts and ends the CD.

A very young Carlos Nunez showing his bagpipes to Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains.

Some of the other other sets on the CD include:

The Scandinavian sailing tunes New Rigged Ship - Full Rigged Ship. Karl heard a version of these tunes from the duo Aly Bain & Ale Moller that was very emotional and we've tried to recreate that.

Kristen starts us off on a couple of reel sets: The Sally Gardens - Over the Moor To Maggie - Trip to Durrow and Golden Keyboard - Cooley's Reel - Sheehan's Reel. A funny side note. The first time The Chieftains allowed us to perform with them we asked them to play the Sally Gardens set with us. When we started playing the tunes everything was going great. Then Paddy started Maggy in the Woods (a Kerry Polka) instead of Over the Moor To Maggie. Total confusion reigned until we all jumped into Trip to Durrow together. Even when there are 2,000 people in the audience and you are playing with The Chieftains it's just like the pub sessions, anything can happen.

Some of Russ' other compositions from his recent trip to Ireland are also featured including Waterloo Piper - Kathy and I heard a phenomenal piper playing in a pub down the street from the Butcher's Gate. I didn't know the tune, but an outline of the melody stayed in my brain. Karl then paired it with some tunes from his fiddle circle - Blackthorn Stick - Top Of Cork Road. The juxtaposition of the flute solo in the 1st tune and Karl starting off the next two is very pleasing.

The Dingle Dolphin is a slip jig composition triggered by watching Fungi (pronounced FOONGIE), the dolphin, jump around in Dingle Bay. That slip jig gets paired with two others: Kitty Come Down To Limerick and Humours of Whiskey. I got the first tune from Bridie and Owen while playing with them at Dolan's Pub in Limerick. Humours came from listening to John Doyle (guitar) and John Williams (button accordion).

Siobhan's Waltz was written for my daughter. It is in the style of a New England Barndance. Emily plays the flute melody very lovingly.

Till next time!

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