Andra Bohnet and Tom Morley, cofounders of the Celtic/World music band Mithril, return to their Celtic roots in more ways than one with this new release, Bottom of the Punch Bowl. Their seventh album is most unique of all the Mithril projects with an intoxicating mix of musical spirits from Ireland, Scotland and the Shetland Islands, the Isle of Man and Sweden, played on flutes, whistles, Celtic harp, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle, guitar and the Swedish nyckelharpa.
The album features Tom and Andra’s arrangements of “Celtic Baroque” compositions from the 1700s by Turlough O’Carolan, Neil Gow and James Oswald in intimate settings. “The timeless melodies from these composers were some of the first to catch our attention years ago,” Andra said. “Tom and I are both classically trained; we’re symphony performers and also have a chamber ensemble, the Silverwood Quartet. So exploring the intersection between Celtic and classical music is great fun for us.“
While the full Mithril band is alive and well, this new CD returns to the duo format featured on the first Mithril CD, Banish Misfortune, released in 2003. “This feels like we’ve come full circle back to where we started in Celtic music, with Andra and I playing almost every instrument on the tunes,” Tom said. “But with Bottom of the Punch Bowl, we also get to explore the wider range of Celtic and World music; this album includes a set of Swedish traditional tunes, a tribute to the Bothy Band, and a multilayered arrangement of Scottish music featured in the soundtrack to Outlander, one of the most popular current cable series, which is bringing the Scottish culture and music of the 1700s to the attention of a whole new audience.”
And as you can expect with any Mithril project, there are some surprises on Bottom of the Punch Bowl. Mobile Symphony principal cellist Barbara Gabriel adds some beautiful bass lines, Ohio-based composer Bryan Joyce is featured on harpsichord on a classic Irish reel, and bodhrán player Andy Kruspe of Huntsville (a part-time member of Mithril) adds his rhythmic flair..
Of course the addition of Swedish nyckelharpa will be a surprise to many listeners as well. “I fell in love with the instrument when I first heard it more than ten years ago on an album by the Swedish band, Vasën. I didn’t even know what it was at the time, but I was intrigued, and I knew I wanted to learn more about it.”
But finding a nyckleharpa or even anyone familiar with the instrument was next to impossible on the Alabama Gulf Coast. “Then, a couple of years ago, Mithril played in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and through a series of coincidences, I met Earl Holzman, one of the finest nyckelharpa makers in the U.S., and I finally got to play the instrument, and then have him make one for me. I was hooked on its haunting sound and on the challenge it presented to this fiddle player, both in learning to play it and in incorporating it into our music. Fortunately, my band mates were accommodating, and now it’s become a part of the Mithril mix!”
Mithril, the Celtic/World music quartet based in Mobile, AL celebrates nearly a decade together with the release of their 6th CD, Along the Road. The group started as a duo, with Andra Bohnet on Irish flute, whistle and Celtic harp, and Tom Morley playing fiddle, mandolin, octave mandolin and guitar. Throughout 2000-2002 they fueled their Irish Trad obsession and performed as often as possible, collecting the tunes that they would take into the studio for the first Mithril album, Banish Misfortune (released in late 2002). That album featured Bohnet and Morley playing most every instrument, thanks to the magic of studio overdubbing. But to perform those tracks live, they realized the band would need a few more members! After a number of false starts with a variety of players, Ben Harper came in as guitarist and original percussionist David Hughes took over the rhythm duties until his departure in late 2011.
The new album features Bohnet, Morley and Harper playing their usual instruments, along with two new masters of rhythm, Sam Gaston (on a wide assortment of ‘world’ percussion) and Andy Kruspe (on bodhran, the traditional Irish frame drum).
During a recent interview, Morley was asked about how the band has changed over their years together. “I only had to think for a minute before I knew the answer,” he said. “We’ve changed a lot, yet we really haven’t changed at all. We’ve played from one end of the country to the other, for intimate groups and gymnasiums full of school children, by ourselves and fronting 60-piece orchestras for audiences of thousands, every way we could think of to share our love of Celtic music with our fans. So I know we’ve become seasoned performers and have honed our craft as well as any musicians could. But the original vision of the band hasn’t changed in the least. We’ve always loved Celtic music in all its forms–energetic jigs and reels, slow and beautiful airs and tunes, from the simplest instrumentation to the most complex arrangements, all mixed together with exotic melodies and high-energy rhythms from around the world. That’s the formula we started with on the very first Mithril album and have continued refining right up to this latest release as well.”
With ten years working a formula from their original vision. Mithril’s Along the Road is a high-octane Celtic/World Music blend!
Ships are Sailing-
Hector the Hero-
Merrily Kiss the Quaker’s Wife-
Two Breton Tunes-
Fingerdance- This tune was originally written and recorded by guitarist Billy McLaughlin a long time friend of Ben’s. In 2010 Mithril was invited to play a show with Billy and we decided to Mithril-ize Fingerdance. It was a thrill for all of us to combine our version with his version of the song onstage (especially for Ben).
Harry Potter’s Favorite Jigs- The movie “Deathly Hallow’s Part 1” features a wedding scene were everyone dances the night away to these two jigs, just before the Death Eaters come in and spoil the evening.
Celtic Silk Road (revisited)- This set was on the first Mithril CD “Banish Misfortune” and has been a staple of the live show ever since. This time we’ve added a few of our friends to make closer to the version we now play in our orchestra show.
The Big Single Reel Set- Seven Reels, different keys, fast tempos, who could ask for anything more?
1. The Rocking Chairs Set: I'll Buy Boots for Maggie/The Chair on Western Drive/Hide and Seek with Helen
2. Josefin's Waltz
3. The Green Hills of Tyrol/The 30 Year Jig
4. Music for a Found Harmonium
5. Archibald McDonald of Keppoch/The Jug of Punch
6. Earl's Chair/Temperance Reel/Swinging on a Gate
7. The Mountains of Pomeroy
8. Calliope House/The Cowboy Jig
9. Captain O'Kane (The Wounded Hussar)
10. Chicken Fingers in the Chapel: Hold the Candle while I Shave the Chicken's Lips/Wrapped around Your Finger/Heaton Chapel
11. Lord of the Rings Set
13. Tangled Up in Blue/John Ward's Jigs
14. Ashokan Farewell
15. The American Set: Soldier's Joy/St. Anne's Reel/Redhaired Boy/Kitchen Girl
1. Sparky at the Wheel2. The Little Lady3. The Otter's Holt/Star of Munster
4. The Ale Is Dear/The Road to Kerrigoarch/The Boarding House Jig
5. Trip to Skye/Brenda Stubbert's/Hunter's Purse/Tommy Peoples
6. The Good Natured Man/The H.O.F.
7. Da Slockit Light/The Jig of Slurs
8. Dunmore Lasses/Castle Kelly
9. The Cliffs of Moher/Norwegian Wood
10. Rachra Polka Set: The Rushy Mountain/The Newmarket/The Cullane
11. Return to Roan Inish: Fiona/Banks of Lough Gowna/Fergal O'gara's
12. Traditional Gaelic Melody
13. Dans an Dro/Bartok/Nacedonian Tune
14. The Poet of Tolstoy Park (Henry Stuart's Theme)
15. Crabs in the Skillet/The Dusty Windowsill/The Return Home
1. Little Beggarman/Drowsie Maggie/Cooley's Reel
2. The Turning of the Season
3. Bugga Fee Hoosa/Girls Have You Seen George?/Toss the Feathers/The Fairy Dance
4. Genevieve's Waltz
5. Quebec Reels: Reel de Chicoutimi/Reel St. Jean/Reel Eboulement/
6. Roan Inish Set: Theme from Roan Inish/The Mist Covered Mountain/The Butterfly/The Musical Priest/Over the Moor to Maggie/The Bucks of Oranmore
7. Wild Geese/Empty Pockets
8. American Set: Soldier's Joy/St. Anne's Reel/The Redhaired Boy/The Kitchen Girl
9. Brigid O'Malley
10. Lord of the Rings Set: Concerning Hobbits/in Dreams/Bilbo's Birthday Party
11. Danse De Mardi Gras
12. Merrily Kiss the Quaker's Wife/A Fig for a Kiss/The Choice Wife
13. Kashmir/Bacchanale/Tam Lin
14. Blarney Pilgrim/John Ryan's Polka
1. I Saw Three Ships/As I Sat on a Sunny Bank/The Gooding Carol
2. Winter's Day
3. Christmas Day Ida Moarnin'/Frost & Snow/The Piper in the Meadow Straying
4. The Wishing Tree
5. Galician Carol
6. Greensleeves/What Reel is This?/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
7. The Wexford Carol
8. Khanike Freylekhs
9. Appalachian Set: I Wonder as I Wander/The Cherry Tree Carol/Jesus Born in Bethany
10. The Merry Christmas Jig/Masters in this Hall/All Around the Holly Tree
11. The Cutty Wren/To Drive the Cold Winter Away
12. Christmas Eve Reel/New Christmas/The Gravel Walks
1. Bugga Fee Hoosa/Girls Have You Seen George?/Toss the Feathers/The Fairy King
2. Inis Oirr/Inishere
3. The Cat's Meow
4. Boys of the Lough/Jenny Picking Cockles/Julia Delaney
5. Crested Hens
6. Garret Barry's/Geese in the Bog/Banish Misfortune
7. Carrickfergus/Sidhe Beag & Sidhe Mor
8. Two North Highland Country Dances
9. The Celtic Silk Road: The Camel's Hump/Sufi Melody/Purgatory Chasm
10. Paddy on a Handcar/The Eel Pot/Lanningan's Ball
11. Kilkenny Bridge
12. Reel of Tulloch
The Silverwood Quartet comes full circle in their exploration of Celtic music with the release of A Celtic Mosaic. When the group first formed, flutist/Celtic harpist Andra Bohnet brought in some arrangements for the group to play of music by Turloch O’Carolan. It was the first time anyone in the quartet had heard of O’Carolan or paid much attention to Irish music in general, but it planted a seed of interest that took root. Over the years, Silverwood continued to find, commission, and create its own arrangements, developing a rich repertoire of Irish and Celtic-flavored music. We’re pleased to present chamber music versions of these lovely tunes and we hope you enjoy these musical bits and pieces that comprise our Celtic mosaic.
1. Morning Gallop - Carl Hession
2. Glenveigh Castle - Seamus McGuire
3. Queen of the Scals - Neil Martin
4. The Walls of Dun Formna - John Mock
5. Star of the County Down - traditional, arr. A. Bohnet
6. The Ash Grove - traditional, arr. B. DeVan
7. Green Fields: The Lovely Girl/The Cow That Ate the Blanket/The Lark in the Strand/Hide 'n' Seek with Helen/A Chair at Western Drive - traditional/David Hughes, arr. D. Hughes and Silverwood
8. Mná na hÉireann (Women of Ireland) - Seán O’Riada, arr. A. Bohnet
9. Theme from Ballykissangel - Shaun Davey, arr. A. Bohnet
10. Lord of the Rings Suite: Concerning Hobbits/In Dreams/May It Be - Howard Shore/F.R. Walsh, Howard Shore/Enya, Nicky Ryan, Roma Ryan, arr. A. Bohnet
11. Molly on the Shore (British Folk-Music Settings No.1) - Percy Grainger
Tribute to Loreena McKennitt:
12. La Serinissima - Loreena McKennitt, arr. A. Bohnet
13. Never-ending Road (Amhrán Duit) - Loreena McKennitt, arr. A. Bohnet
14. Santiago - traditional, arr. A. Bohnet
15. Over the Sea to Skye - traditional, arr. C. Gruselle
16. Crossing the Briney - Ricky Skaggs, arr. Jim Gray
17. Ashokan Farewell - Jay Ungar, arr. A. Bohnet
18. Riverdance - Bill Whelan, arr. A. Bohnet
One of the missions of the Silverwood Quartet has always been to expand the chamber music idiom to encompass a variety of other musical styles. We had performed and recorded a few rock tunes before, but this project was been different in its scope in that we not only wanted to play the tunes, but to really capture the “essence” of what makes them tick in their original versions.
Whenever we get a new arrangement in any style, even ones we write for ourselves, we constantly tweaked things as we rehearsed. In the case of the tunes on this CD, we all sat together with the arrangements and listened to the recordings by the original bands. Then we collectively figured out how to get more of the unique elements of the original version into our various parts. Sometimes, we abandoned the chart entirely, playing and creating on the fly. This product is a result of the four of us working together and coming up with creative ideas on how to make four acoustic musicians sound like our favorite rock bands. We hope you think it worked as well as we do. Rock on!
3. Bourée - J.S Bach/Ian Anderson, arr. Bohnet
4. Stairway to Heaven - Jimmy Page/Robert Plant, arr. Silverwood
5. Classical Gas - Mason Williams, arr. Tobias/Silverwood
6. Can't Get it Out of My Head - Jeff Lynne, arr. Tobias/Silverwood
7. Eleanor Rigby - John Lennon/Paul McCartney, arr. Bohnet
8. Paint it Black/Jumpin' Jack Flash/Satisfaction - Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, arr. Tobias/Silverwood
9. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes - Stephen Stills, arr. Tobias/Silverwood
10. Within You Without You - George Harrison, arr. Bohnet
11. Aqualung/Living in the Past/Thick as a Brick/The Whistler - Ian Anderson, arr. Wilkinson/Bohnet
12. California Girls - Brian Wilson, arr. Tobias/Silverwood
13. Nights in White Satin - Justin Hayward, arr. Tobias/Bohnet
14. Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney, arr. Bohnet
15. Roundabout - Jon Anderson/Steve Howe, arr. Clark
Musicians both look forward to, and dread, the holiday season because we often play the same pieces over and over and they wear thin. So when Silverwood decided to make this holiday album we wanted to include things that were not only were a departure from the standard fare, but also to create something that could be played all year long! This has proven to be the case in that we have had over 5 million plays of the Vivaldi on Spotify. Enjoy!
1. Gaudete! - Piae Cantiones 1582, arr. Bohnet
2. The Wishing Tree - Séamus McGuire, arr. Bohnet
Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 “Christmas” - Arcangelo Corelli, arr. Silverwood
8. Largo: Pastorale ad libitum
9. Gesù Bambino - Pietro Yon, arr. Bohnet
10. March of the Dreolin - traditional, arr. Bohnet
11. The Mummer’s Dance - Loreena McKinnett, arr. Bohnet
12. Taladh Chriosda - traditional Hebrides, arr. Bohnet
Concerto in f minor, Op. 8, No. 4 “Winter” - Antonio Vivaldi, arr. Bohnet
13. Allegro non molto
16. To Drive the Cold Winter Away - 16th. C English, arr. Bohnet
Hear Ye Newes Today - Brian Joyce
17. I. Gloucester Wassail/Puer Natus in Bethlehem
18. II. Rio, Rio, Chiu
19. III. Kyngesmarche
20: IV. Gabriel Fram Heven-King
21. V. The Wexford Carol
22. VI. Masters in This Hall
Bonus Tracks: Newly recorded versions of Silverwood favorites
23. Veni Emmanuel - traditional, arr. Bohnet
24. Greensleeves - traditional, arr. Bohnet
25. Jesus Ahatonhia - traditional Huron, arr. Bohnet
26. Noel Nouvelet/Le Sommeil de l’enfant Jesus/The Kings Travel East - traditional, arr. Bohnet
Trebuchet, the faculty woodwind trio from the University of South Alabama until 2021, was comprised of Drs. Andra Bohnet (flutes), Rebecca Mindock (double reeds), and Kip Franklin (clarinets). The ensemble worked to broaden the range of music for wind trio by commissioning new works, arranging existing repertoire, and capitalizing on their comfort with doubling within their instrument families to open up more possibilities and create more variety of tone color. Their CD, Perpetuum Mobile, recorded in collaboration with their former pianist colleague Dr. Jasmin Arakawa, contains works from recent commissions to Renaissance consort music.
This is a recording of the original work by Brian Joyce, which incorporates many of Robert Burns’ (1759-1796) tunes and lyrics. The performers include the Silverwood Quartet, oboist Rebecca Mindock, percussionist Laura Noah, soprano Joanie Brittingham, and tenor Thomas Rowell along with Brian Joyce on the harpsichord. The work consists of 11 songs alternated with instrumental works and tells a story of courtship and the passage of time. “The music combines many things (that) I personally enjoy,” Joyce said,“Eighteenth-century classicism — Burns was a contemporary of Mozart — Celtic music, Baroque, Renaissance and even Medieval textures and sonorities, plus a healthy dose of more modern compositional techniques such as shifting meters, polytonality and non-tertian harmony. “I believe the songs and dances hold together quite nicely and will make for a fine evening’s entertainment.”
Andra’s solo CD is an exploration of the music of John Clinton (1809-1864) played on seven of the flutes manufactured under his name. There is some great music here, both classical and Irish, and it’s fun, and the flutes sound great, too! You can read all about it at www.clintonfluteproject.com
for Minak Khangston - Tibetian Ritual Healing Chants
In its own way, Minak Khangtsen represents the unbreakable spirit of Tibetan Buddhism. Minak Khangtsen, one of the groups that makes up Drepung Monastery, is famous for having great teachers and abbots; it also gave birth to the head of the yellow hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
For more than 500 years, since its establishment in 1416 a.d., Drepung Monastery in Tibet was the largest monastery in the world with more than 7,000 monks. But beginning in 1959, the monastery was systematically destroyed by the invading Chinese Communist armies. Its artwork was destroyed, and most of its teachers and students, young and old, were killed or imprisoned. Only one monk from the Minak Khangtsen group was able to escape this brutal holocaust. From many to just one, but it was enough. Minak Khangtsen was reborn in India.
For a time Geshe Dorjee, a monk in this tradition, was in Fairhope, AL, and in 2001, when two of his colleagues came to visit, their chanting was recorded. Andra did some instrumentals and arrangements for the Silverwood Quartet to enhance this recording. Unfortunately, this CD is no longer available but Andra put it on SoundCloud if you are curious.