The Gentle Side of Celtic Song


The National Celtic Folk Festival gets underway in Geelong today and among folk musicians it has attracted is Adelaide - based folk group, Loch'rien.

Loch'rien will not be playing at the festival, but some members of the group have travelled here to launch and sell their first CD, "Ancient Lands".

"The gentlest and most melodic Celtic sound around" is how Samela Harris of "The Adelaide Advertiser" describes "Ancient Lands".

And the music is hauntingly different to much of the loud pub music that many have come to identify as Celtic. Like our own local Loch Ard, Loch'rien is easy listening music. But where Loch Ard is largely traditional, the Adelaide group is more contemporary - although it blends bagpipes and Gaelic lyrics.

There is a haunting quality to many of the songs, and there will be many people who hear this group who will point to similarities with Capercaillie, who are playing here tonight, Clannad and maybe even Enya.

All of the tracks are new compositions by a very talented group of musicians.

Members are Australian born Gavin O'Loghlen on the bagpipes and keyboards, 17 year old violinist Stephanie Graeber, who is the current leader of the South Australian Schools Orchestra, singer songwriter Ann Quirk from Glasgow, singer songwriter and guitarist Andrew Tootell from Manchester and Anne Dormer, from Middlesex, on bass guitar.

The CD was produced by Locrian Records, a new company specialising primarily in ethnic folk music, using modal scales shared by a number of instruments including the bagpipes. Gavin O'Loghlen says the company blends the simplicity of acoustic folk with the frontiers of modern digitial technology.

For those who like their Celtic music to be passionate and haunting, intense and deep, and yet lilting and light, this CD will appeal.

Loch'rien is an original group which in its own way is expanding the horizons of Celtic music.

Daryl McLure - Editor in Chief - The Geelong Advertiser

What the other critics have said :

" The gentlest and most melodic Australian Celtic sound around"

Samela Harris - Arts Editor - The Adelaide Advertiser


" A fresh Celtic sound full of spirit and emotion"

Mike Harris - Encounter FM


" Absolutely fabulous - I sat beside the fire and wept"

Lorrainne Scott - Chief of the Mt Barker Caledonian Society


"A slick collection of Celtic/New Age/Folk/Pop music showing diverse influences"

Alan Musgrove - Folklife


"" Ancient Lands" is a celebration of Celtic heritage combined with modern technology""

The Weekender

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