Mithril: Tom Morley: fiddle, guitar, mandolin, Irish bouzouki Andra Bohnet: Irish flute, whistle, A fife, Celtic harp Ben Harper: guitar, bass guitar, Irish flute David Hughes: percussion, harmonium, melodica with Barbara Gabriel: cello In the summer of 2002, Tom and Andra created the first Mithril CD, Banish Misfortune, using studio overdubbing technology to play all the various instruments themselves to create the sound of a full band. However, requests to perform live soon started pouring in, and they realized that it was impossible for them to play their favorite tunes without assistance. Help arrived in the form of Ben Harper and David Hughes, who were fans before they were band members. The new four-piece Mithril made it's first appearances in January, 2003 - playing two standing-room-only concerts - and hasn't looked back since! We are very excited to bring you Winter's Day, a Celtic celebration of winter and the holiday season. Although many of the tunes on the CD are associated with Christmas, some evoke other, older traditions, which were present in the Celtic nations before the coming of Christianity. In any case, the music is everything you expect from us; exquisite heartfelt airs, high-energy jigs and reels that rock the house, and a few exotic surprises. We bet you'll listen to this CD all year 'round! Enjoy!!! 1 I Saw Three Ships/As I Sat on A Sunny Bank/The Gooding Carol (jigs) I Saw Three Ships is a standard Christmas tune, but we first heard it combined with the other two by fiddler Craig Duncan. 2 Winter's Day (air) We first heard this traditional air played by Jimmy Keane on an Aengus recording. Tom fell in love with it as a fiddle feature, and Andra's harp and David's harmonium add a luscious texture to the poignant tune. 3 Christmas Day Ida Moarnin'/Frost & Snow/The Piper in the Meadow Straying (jig/hornpipes) Christmas Day Ida Moarnin' is a great Scottish jig from the Shetland Islands that Andra learned from the playing of Chris Norman. Frost & Snow is found in O'Neill's Music of Ireland and The Piper in the Meadow is very reminiscent of Deck the Halls. 4 The Wishing Tree-Séamus McGuire (air) Séamus McGuire is a respected violin and viola player from County Sligo, Ireland who is classically trained but is also well known as a traditional fiddler. He wrote this lovely work that to us evokes the nostalgic side of the holiday season. We are thrilled to have cellist Barbara Gabriel adding her beautiful sound to this arrangement. 5 Galician Carol Galicia is the Celtic region of Spain and this tune certainly is full of Spanish charm with Andra's whistle and David's tambourine. It has been recorded by many artists. 6 Greensleeves/What Reel is This?/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (air/reels) The English Renaissance tune Greensleeves is always Andra's most frequent request on the harp. In this arrangement Tom's violin and Andra's flute are paired with Barb's soulful cello, demonstrating how exquisitely beautiful this tune can be in the hands of three classically trained musicians. But, this is a Celtic album, so Greensleeves morphs into a high-energy reel we're shamelessly calling What Reel is This? and combining with the traditional English carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Andra's fife adds a little sass to the final mix. 7 The Wexford Carol (air) This beautiful Irish traditional carol is a feature for Andra's flute. Beginning with the flute alone, her arrangement gradually incorporates a drone and ostinato figures in the harp, guitar, and mandolin that create a colorful but transparent texture to support the flute melody and the countermelodies in Tom's fiddle and Ben's flute. 8 Khanike Freylekhs-Adrianne Greenbaum And now for something completely different! We have always enjoyed the exotic so when we were compiling selections for this CD, we wanted to include a Hanukkah tune. We didn't know any, so Andra asked her friend, Adrianne Greenbaum, Klezmer flutist extrordanaire, for some suggestions of traditional tunes. Adrianne wasn't really crazy about any of the traditional repertoire, but confessed she had a freylekhs (dance tune) partially composed. We didn't have to prod too hard for her to finish it and send it down to us. Mazeltov! 9 Appalachian Set: I Wonder as I Wander/The Cherry Tree Carol/ Jesus Born in Bethn'y Another set of tunes from a different tradition but a very powerful one. Many Appalachian folk melodies have their roots in the Celtic lands. Andra has created a stark and chilling harp solo to open this set. I Wonder as I Wander was collected by John Jacob Niles. The Cherry Tree Carol appears in many versions in both England and the U.S. Jesus Born in Bethn'y was also collected by Niles. In this set we have tried to create the sound of a string band with lots of harp, guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. David gets to play the melodica, and towards the end, Andra's flute finally makes an appearance, 10 The Merry Christmas Jig/Masters in this Hall/All Around the Holly Tree (jigs) Merry Christmas is found in O'Neill's, Masters in this Hall is a French carol that happens to fit wonderfully into a jig rhythm, and All Around the Holly Tree is another traditional tune we learned from Jimmy Keane of Aengus. 11 The Cutty Wren/To Drive the Cold Winter Away The Cutty Wren is a Welsh tune dating from the 15th century. The ritual of hunting the wren on St. Stephen's Day (Dec. 26) was once widespread throughout Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man. The custom is referenced in Welsh manuscripts from the 14th century. To Drive the Cold Winter Away is an English carol from the 16th century that appears in Playford's English Dancing Master. 12 Christmas Eve Reel/New Christmas/The Gravel Walks (reels) We bring this CD to a conclusion with a rousing set of reels. Christmas Eve is a standard session tune and is also known as Tommy Coen's after the Galway fiddler. New Christmas is a traditional tune we learned from Jimmy Keane of Aengus, and The Gravel Walks is another great session tune. It really doesn't have anything to do with Christmas or winter except that if you live in a cold part of the world, you have to spread some gravel on the walk to keep from falling when it ices over.