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Crossing to Skellig

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Album Review

While most performers of Celtic music are content to repeat the glories of the past, Magical Strings strive to bring the tradition into the present and carry it into the future through their own original compositions. Philip and Pam Boulding composed five of the twelve tunes on Crossing to Skellig, including the buoyant "Fairy Dances from Magic Hill" with its celebratory harp, dulcimer and Irish whistle, and the classically-tinged "Song for My Mother" which features Pam on piano with a cello part arranged by Eugene Friesen but played by The Bouldings' fifteen year old son Brenin. Most ambitious is "Lament for the World" which opens with Pam playing mournful church-like chords on the harmonium which then recede into the background to provide drone support for, first, whistle, then wire-string celtic harp, uilleann pipes and dulcimer, as the tune builds up to offer hope for all the oppressed peoples of the world. Three lively Irish tunes are sprinkled through the album, as well as one Welsh medley, a Norwegian flute piece, and the melancholic Scottish-Irish medley, played on harmonium and whistle, that closes out the album. Produced by Michael O'Domhnaill of the group Nightnoise, whose partner Billy Oskay engineered and plays fiddle on one cut, Crossing to Skellig is named after a sixth-century Celtic Christian monastery perched atop a seven-hundred-foot rock pinnacle eight miles off the coast of Ireland, at the westernmost tip of the European continent. The spiritual inspiration that The Bouldings received when they visited this special place in 1989 is reflected in this poignant and moving album. ~ Backroads Music/Heartbeats, Rovi


Formed: 1978

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Classical, folk, jazz and Celtic music are blended into the atmospheric sounds of Seattle-based duo, Magical Strings. Although their arrangements center around Celtic harp and hammered dulcimer, Magical Strings makes their music come alive with the addition of a world-wide sampling of other instruments. Magical Strings represents the joint efforts of husband and wife, Philip and Pam Boulding. Since meeting when Pam was a student in a hammered dulcimer taught by Phillip in 1978, the Bouldings have...
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Crossing to Skellig, Magical Strings
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