The Ocean's many moods are best experienced while sailing. You seem more aware of mysterious islands emerging from fog, the vessel's foaming wake sparkling in sunlight and the roll and surge of the swell. Join us for a voyage in sound.
Julia Lane - Celtic Harp, Voice
Fred Gosbee - Violin, Viola, Woodwinds, 12-string Guitar, Concertina,Voice
Doreen Conboy- cello, bass
All selections Arranged and Produced by Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee
Recorded at Harper's Wood, Round Pond, Maine
Fred Gosbee -Recording and Mixing Engineer
Mastered at Klarity, Vassalboro, Maine
Bill Wheeler- Mastering Engineer
Special thanks to
Gary Coull, Klarity Media
Liz and Peter Workman
We are deeply grateful to Kristina for all her love and inspiration.
Notes on the Music
On a beach in western Scotland, Setting Sail for Iona, we hear sailors singing the Arran Boat Song. Further on our journey north, mist shrouds The Cuillins of Rhum. All are melodies of Hebridean boat songs. Legends abound in the Western Isles of The Water Kelpie (Isle of Mann) and the Mermaid Song (Scotland) which will lure the unwary to a watery doom.Fresh fish are a staple of coastal people and what better way to spend the day than to Mackerel Jig / Out on the Ocean! The first of these tunes was made by our friend Nick Apollonio, the second is traditional Irish. Far out in the north Atlantic lies the Isle of St Kilda now a bird sanctuary. The human residents of this remote community were removed in Victorian times. Songs like Eilan Mo Chridh (Isle of My Heart) might remind them of their homeland. The ocean has always been the cause of both connection and separation. My Love Across the Water is a part of our "Sang of the Solway"suite and tells of lovers separated by the Irish Sea. Weather changes rapidly on the water and the fog can mysteriously envelope everything, confounding all sense and logic- one feels Adrift. Out of the mist rises The Dark Island, a refuge. Back on shore, sailors dance to Sullivan's Fancy, inspired by Sir Arthur Sullivan's "Ruddigore", and the Muscongus Hornpipe, by an island near our home. Hornpipes were invented by British naval officers to keep their sailors fit. In the tavern,Three Sea Captains might be seen comparing charts and raising a glass or two. In the harbor, a ship leaves again. The crewsings the old chantey Shenandoah while onshore wives and sweethearts lament that The Water is Wide. These last two are traditional, American and Scottish respectively. They are favorites of Julia's parents and are played for them.
Julia Lane has loved, sung, researched and created folk music since childhood. Fascinated by the stories embodied in the folk songs she heard, she learned to sing the evocative melodies, making up her own songs for her own entertainment. As an adolescent, she studied music theory and took guitar lessons from a lutenist specializing in Elizabethan songs. In researching the sources of the music, the wealth of lore and history recorded in musical form rekindled her interest in the music of her childhood. She became active in madrigal and Renaissance music groups as well as performing as a soloist and providing music for a children's theater group. In addition, she was inspired by the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien and his sources. She composed her first melody for one of his "songs"when she was fifteen and has since completed ten more. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1974, her interest in English and Scottish folk music and lore led her to study in Oxford, England.
She is a self-taught player of the "clarsach" or Celtic folk harp which she began in 1989. As a result of her classic guitar training, she plays in the ancient method using her fingernails which gives a bright, clean sound. Her unique style has won three international competitions. Judge/harpist Kim Robertson praised her "innovative arrangements and energetic performance" and harpist Dennis Doyle declared "she really captured the spirit of the music." Julia Lane is also an exceptional vocalist,"one the Maine coast's foremost voices," whose voice has been called "lovely, vibrant," "reminiscent of Jean Redpath," and compared favorably with Loreena McKennitt, Triona ni Dhomnhaill, and Judy Collins.
In the past fifteen years, she has toured the Eastern U.S., Ireland, England and Scotland playing at festivals, folk clubs, and arts centers, as well as on radio and television. Julia has training in early childhood education and children's theatre and has taught history and social studies through folk music in both formal and informal settings. She is currently living in coastal Maine and raising three teenage children and a garden.
Using the vehicle of her expressive, award-winning Celtic harp playing and her silken vocals, Julia Lane now gives new voice to an ancient tradition. Creating original songs reminiscent of the traditional music of her Celtic ancestors, she captures the essential beauty of coastal Maine, her native state. Through the time-honored art of meaningful songwriting, Julia Lane expresses in her words and music our fundamental connection with wind and wave, sea and sky. Her songs are an authentic expression of an intimate experience with the elemental.
Ms. Lane feels the connection between the northeastern American continent and the Celtic lands to be very strong." The most obvious link of course is that of the immigrants who settled here in the last three centuries. I feel it goes deeper than that. Many of the landscapes are strikingly similar. People naturally resonate with their physical surroundings, and the spirituality of the ancient inhabitants of both areas have common themes- a reverence for our relationship with Nature and her cycles." Much of the traditional Celtic music reflects that reverence as do Lane's original compositions. Julia Lane's family has lived in Maine for 300 years and the heritage and history of her Maine ancestors has also proved a source of inspiration.
Fred Gosbee was born and grew up in rural central Maine and has collected and performed folk music for over thirty years. His grandparents moved to Maine from New Brunswick in the 1920's and as a child he heard his older relatives singing the old woodsmen's songs and playing fiddle and accordian. He dabbled in the viola as his arms were long enough to reach. During high school, he had training in standard band instruments becoming one of the best tuba players in the state. He had experience with a wide variety of performance groups including orchestras, marching bands,and church and school choirs.When an application to join the Navy band went awry, he entered the University of Maine where he studied folklore under Sandy Ives as well as engineering. Inspired by the folk music he heard, Fred took up the banjo and guitar. His interest in woodworking led him to begin designing and building guitars and a lute.
After college, Fred Gosbee moved to the coast and became a shipfitter at Bath Ironworks. He had always been drawn to the music of sailors and seamen, and it was here that he began writing his own songs. He became involved with local theater and musical organizations. Adding to his versatility as a vocalist, he sang with madrigal groups, oratorio, musical theater, Gilbert and Sullivan and barbershop groups. Combining his theatrical experience with his knowledge of folk music, he arranged, composed, and performed incidental music for a production of "A Spoon River Anthology." The resulting sound tapestry included 56 pieces of music with songs, instrumentals and new works for voices, guitars, banjo and fiddle performed live for each show. This production led to the formation of a performing folk trio, and back to the traditional music of his childhood. He also began performing his own songs, two of which were used in the WTBS-Atlanta/Turner Broadcasting Corp. series "Portrait of America" segment about Maine.
His works have since been recorded by other artists and have garnered him invitations to international music festivals including the International Festival of the Sea in England. With Castlebay, he has recorded five albums and has toured the East coast of the US and the British Isles. He currently performs with vocalist /Celtic harpist Julia Lane singing and playing classic and 12-string guitar, 5-string viola, and woodwinds. Together, they have composed a suite for quintet of folk instruments inspired by a tour of the Scottish island of Skye. They have been commissioned by the Galloway Scotland Arts council to compose a similar suite for that region. The duo also maintains a commitment to cultural education and provides folklore and music programs for schools, museum, libraries and Elderhostels. When he is not touring, Fred Gosbee engineers and produces recordings and designs and builds Celtic harps.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Setting Sail From Iona/arran Boat Song/the Cuillins of Rhum
2. The Water Kelpie/the Mermaid
3. Makerel Jig/out On the Ocean
4. Isle of St Kilda/eilean Mo Chridh
5. My Love Across the Water
7. The Dark Island
8. Sullivan's Fancy/muscongus Hornpipe
9. Three Sea Captains
10. Shenandoah/the Water Is Wide