Radio Show – Episode 22 – Brigid – February 5, 2017

Today’s show honors Brigid, the Celtic goddess and the Irish Saint, with music related to lore surrounding this powerful figure of light in Celtic traditions. Brigid was a goddess of the hearth, the forge, and of poetic fire, a protector of women in childbirth, guardian of the land, and more. In addition to music from the Celtic lands, we’ll enjoy some ancient prayers and poetry to Brigid. We’ll also wander along the shores, stepping outside Celtic-inspired music to touch into neighboring soundscapes that continue Brigid’s threads in various ways.

12:02: La Lugh – Oiche fa Fheil Bride
12:05: Aine Minogue – Brigit’s Feast
12:07: Lisa Thiel – Song to Brighid
12:13: Shira Kammen – Lullaby Set
12:19: Laurie Riley and Bob McNally – The Jewel
12:21: Phil Cunningham – The House in Rose Valley
12:26: Moving Cloud Orchestra – The Hut on Staffin Island/ The Haggis/Paddy Ryan’s Dream
12:32: Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin – Gabhaim Molta Bride
12:34: Jane Valencia – Saint Brigit’s Hymn + Lore about St. Brighid
12:41: Sian James – Lloer Dirion
12:46: La Lugh – Brighid’s Kiss
12:49: Tina Malia – Heal This Land
12:54: Spookytree (Deb Knodel & Jane Valencia) – Lochaber No More
12:55: Jeff Beck – Women of Ireland

Listen to the latest episode here

Program notes forthcoming!

Radio Show – Encore: Selkie – October 17, 2016

Dear Listeners of Forest Halls Celtic,

Due to a variety of factors, I won’t be airing a new program today. Instead, in honor of the rains and the supposed storm that was going to cause so much mayhem and upheaval, and which is definitely dumping a lot of water onto our little corner of the world, I am re-airing one of my favorite episodes. Please enjoy Show 11, “Selkie.”

Please join me live on the 5th Sunday, October 30 – 12noon-1PM PST a special show in honor of the Celtic festival of Samhain and Halloween!


The legends of the Selkie – remarkable people who are seals in the sea and humans on land – are haunting, often sad, and strangely compelling. Today we take a deep dive into the music and magic of the Selkie with tales and songs arising from the coasts and islands of Scotland and Ireland, and the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as well as some contemporary expressions.

12:00: Spookytree – Lochaber No More
12:02: Carolyn Allan, Jenny Keldie, Phil Cunningham – The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry
12:05: Kim Robertson – The Selkie
12:08: Heather Dale – The Maiden and the Selkie
12:16: Jean Redpath – The Song Of The Seals
12:20: Patrick Ball – The Seal
12:23: Mason Daring and the Secret of Roan Inish – The Roan Inish Theme
12:25: Mason Daring and the Secret of Roan Inish – Fiona Explores
12:30: Seamus Byrne – Ocean Surf
12:37: Anne Roos – The Mermaid’s Tears
12:43: Mary McLaughlin – Sealwoman-Yundah
12:47: Knodel and Valencia – The Fisherman’s Song for Attracting Seals
12:55: Tori Amos – Selkie

Listen to the latest episode on demand


Program notes coming soon!

Radio Show – Episode 14 – Creative Fire – October 2, 2016

In this episode we enjoy the golden light of autumn as we sit with our “Creative Fire.” Here we’ll find tales, tunes, and songs filled with the fire of the poet’s initiation, the love of the land, the Otherworld, and flat out musical fun.

12:00: Spookytree (Deb Knodel & Jane Valencia) – Lochaber No More
12:02: Niamh Ni Charra – Cailleach An Airgid
12:05: Altan – Comb Your Hair And Curl It
12:09: Kathryn Tickell – Lads of Alnwick
12:14: Past Tense – Soundscape of Relaxing Nature Sounds
12:17: Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill – The Mountain Lark/Tom Doherty’s Reel
12:20: Mary Black – Song for Ireland
12:27: Padragin Ni Uallachain – The Incantation of Amergin
12:33: Jami Sieber – A World Behind the World
12:43: Past Tense – Soundscape of Relaxing Nature Sounds
12:46: Knodel and Valencia – Willafjord
12:49: Silly Wizard – Queen of Argyll
12:53: Sharlene Wallace and Kim Robertson – Comb Your Hair
12:56: Spookytree (Deb Knodel & Jane Valencia) – Lochaber No More
12:57: The Harp Twins (Camille and Kennerly) – White Wedding

Listen to the latest episode of Forest Halls Celtic on demand


Format: Track Title – artist (CD Title)

“Cailleach An Airgid” – Niamh Ní Charra (Súgach Sámh / Happy Out)
Translated as “The Hag with the Money,” this is a traditional sean-nós song from Connemara. Catch the video on Niamh’s site or on Youtube. A fun twist to what could be a harsh song about a young lad after an old woman’s money.

She is your granny, she is your granny
She’s your granny, the hag with the money …
Do you reckon he’d marry, do you reckon he’d marry
Do you reckon he’d marry the hag with the money?
I know he’ll not marry, I know he’ll not marry
‘Cause he’s too young and he’ll squander the money


We’ll soon have a wedding, we’ll soon have a wedding
We’ll soon have a wedding, by two in the village
We’ll soon have a wedding, we’ll soon have a wedding
Between Sean Seamais Mhoir and Maire Ni Chathasaigh

“Comb Your Hair And Curl It / Gweebarra Bridge” – Altan (25th Anniversary Celebration)
Irish folk group Altan plays a slip jig followed by a reel. Come Your Hair and Curl it? In Celtic music you can create a tune around just about anything!

 “Lads of Alnwick/Old as the Hills” – Kathryn Tickell 
I love the unison at the beginning of the set of Kathryn on the northumbrian pipes and Julian Sutton on the melodian, perfectly in tune.

“The Mountain Lark/Tom Doherty’s Reel” – Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill (NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert)
As the set progresses, maybe you can feel how these two musicians drop deeper and deeper into the music and into the sensory world it’s creating. It’s a place where, as a musician, where your jaw becomes slack and it’s just you and the music and your instrument, and the sound all around. You might even find yourself drooling, you’re so into it. Martin and Dennis don’t do that – drool that is, but in the video you get that sense of going deeper and deeper into the music – at least, that’s how I feel listening to it.

“Song for Ireland” – Mary Black (Song for Ireland)
For the last quarter-century, singer Mary Black has been a dominant presence in Irish music, both at home and abroad. She has shared stages, tv shows and recording studios with some of the most revered performers of her time. She has also played a frontline role in bringing Irish music, past and present, to an increasingly appreciative and ever-growing global audience. The San Francisco Chronicle has described her as “One of the best interpretative singers around”. To me, her “Song for Ireland” captures the creative fire that one’s place – the very land itself – can ignite in our hearts.

The phrase “the fire in the head” refers to a visionary experience or poetic inspiration of a consuming nature. It appeared in “The song of Amergin”, a mystical poem spoken by Amairgen Glanglun, a bard from Irish legend, as he first stepped foot upon the land of Ireland, on the shores of Kenmare Bay. We’ll hear now a setting of this poem to music by Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, including the poem spoken in Irish Gaelic.

“The Incantation of Amergin (Am Gaeth I M-Muir)” – Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin (Song of the Scribe)

Pádraigín has been recreating the ancient tradition of sung poetry by composing airs in the traditional style for early Irish poetry, medieval Irish poetry, Bardic poetry, traditional songs and new songs in Irish and poetry in Irish and English including works by leading Irish contemporary poets such as Ciarán Carson, Seamus Heaney, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Michael Hartnett, and also earlier works by W. B Yeats, Olav Hauge, Fearghal Óg Mac an Bháird, Fear Flátha Ó Gnímh, Eoghan Rua Mac an Bháird among others.

She is accompanied here by Helen Davies on harp.

“A World Behind the World” – Jami Sieber (Timeless)
“The Song of the Wandering Aengus” Poem by William Butler Yeats,
“The Tale of Taliesin” Text and retelling by Jen Delyth (Celtic Folk Soul: Art, Myth and Symbol)

Against the backdrop of Jami Sieber’s atmospheric composition for cello and voice, we take a deep dive into visionary and poetic fire with W. B. Yeat’s quintessential poem as well as by way of Jen Delyth’s commentary and tale of the transformation of the boy Gwion Bach into the legendary Welsh bard, Taliesin who lived in the sixth century.

Electric cellist, vocalist, and composer, Jami Sieber will be performing
Friday, Oct 14, 7:30 PM
Vashon High School Theater

Tickets are available at Vashon Intuitive Arts, Vashon Bookshop; online at Brown Paper Tickets
Sponsored by Woman’s Way Red Lodge.

“Willafjord” – Knodel & Valencia (Forest)
When Deb and I work up music together, we pull from any manner of inspirations. With this Shetland tune, were reminded of Harry Bellafonte’s “Jamaica Farewell.” That piece inspired our choices of a calypso style rhythms, and a “steel drum” sound and some strumming on our harps. We had the great pleasure of performing a trio version of this piece with Kim Robertson at the International Society of Folk Harpers & Craftsmen Conference held in Vermont in 1994. Kim is an absolutely inspiring, fun, and generous harper, and I count the experience of our working up “Willafjord” with her and us performing it as among the “highs” of my harp career. That conference in Vermont was memorable in other ways: At that time, I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my first child!

Deb Knodel, by the way, will be performing a house concert on Saturday, Oct. 15. at 6:30pm. If you’re in the Bay Area, do think about attending! Deb is a harper who possesses creative fire indeed. She has been working on some pretty blazing arrangements these past few years, and she is a just plain fun and friendly individual. You will definitely enjoy yourself if you attend. Email me if you want more information: fhceltic ‘at’

“Queen of Argyll” – Silly Wizard (Kiss the Tears Away)
One of my favorite songs from renowned Scottish band Silly Wizard

“Comb Your Hair” – Sharlene Wallace and Kim Robertson (Q & A)
Another version of “Comb Your Hair” by two harpers who know how to create and play some intricate and awesome arrangements. I’m always inspired by Kim, and Sharlene is fabulous too!

“Lochaber No More” – Spookytree
Thank you to you all for joining me in Forest Halls. A special thank you to my husband Andy Valencia for providing behind the scenes technical support. Our 29th anniversary is coming up,  and in honor of that I finish the show with a cover of a song we danced to at our wedding. This piece is decidedly not Celtic. It’s performed on pedal harp and electric harp by a pair of identical twins who have something like 75 videos of their covers of famous pieces, in which they dress alike (different costumes each time) and play with a flourish. This is Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, arranged and performed by the Harp Twins, Camille and Kennerly Kitt.

“White Wedding” (Billy Idol) – The Harp Twins – Camille and Kennerly
Fun harp stuff here, with pedal effects from the electric harp and soundboard drumming on the pedal harp.