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The ancients believed that special times, such as the solstices and equinoxes and the four “cross-quarter festivals,” Beltaine, Samhain, Lughnasadh, and Imbolc, were moments in time when the veil between the worlds grew thin and humans could contact the other side.

On Circle of the Sun, Áine Minogue celebrates the evocative brilliance of betweenness with a musical feast in honor of these special moments of spiritual potential.  The song Máire Mhór reflects the ancient wonder of Samhain – the festival that we call Halloween today – the night when they received the wisdom of the ancestors.  Téir Abhaile Riú, is a lively, traditional song of Beltaine, the Celtic celebration of Spring, ripe with erotic and creative potential. And to fête harvest time, there is Ó Boro Braindí, Braindí, an evocative song in celebration of the grape.

Circle of the Sun celebrates the Celtic Wheel of the Year with a track for each month of the year.  Half the tracks are vocal and half instrumental.  This album is more upbeat than many of the other albums with lots of percussion, rhythms and cross rhythms.

This album tends to be livelier, more driving and percussive than the others, and ideal for a more upbeat gathering.


CELTIC WHEEL OF THE YEAR POETRY 

SPRING   

TO WELCOME IN THE SPRING
By Tommy Makem 

As I walked out this morning, the air was sweet and clean 

bushes all along the road were showing tips of green 

I leaned against an oak tree to hear if it would sing 

It's pulses throbbed and raced like mine  

To Welcome In The Spring 

There's music in the west wind that's blowing from the sea 

there's music in the lambs bleat; the droning of the bee 

there's music in the tree tops, the mountain streams all sing 

a symphony on earth and air  

To Welcome In The Spring 

  

THE SONG OF FIONN 

May-day, delightful time. How beautiful is the color. 

The blackbirds sing their full tune. Would that Laeg were here! 

The cuckoos call in constant strains. How welcome is the noble 

Brilliance of the changing season. On the margin of the branchy woods, 

The summer swallows skim the stream; swift horses seek the pool: 

The heather spreads her long hair out; pale bog-myrtle thrives; 

The sea is lulled to calm, flowers cover the earth. 


Untitled  
Translated by Caitlin Matthews 

Welcome to you, sun of the seasons;  

turning,
In your circuit of the high heavens;
 

Strong are your steps on the unfurled heights,
 

Glad Mother are you to the constellations. 

You sink down into the ocean of want,
 

Witout defeat and without scathe;
 

You rise up on the peaceful wave
 

Like a queen in her maidenhood's flower 

  

SUMMER 
 

MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Act 2, Scene 1

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:

There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,

Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;

And there the snakes throws here enamell'd skin

Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.

Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 2, Scene 1

A mermaid on a dolphin's back

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath

That the rude sea grew civil at her song

And certain stars shot madly from their sphere

To hear the sea-maid's music

Midsummer Night's Dream

Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams,

I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright.

 

THE HAYMAKER'S SONG
Anonymous

In the merry month of June,

In the prime time of the year;

Down in yonder meadows

There runs a river clear;

And many a little fish

Doth in that river play;

And many a lad, and many a lass,

Go abroad a-making hay

And when the bright day faded,

And the sun was going down,

There was a merry piper

Approached from the town;

He pulled out his pipe and tabor,

So sweetly he did play,

Which made all lay down their rakes,

And leave off making hay.

Then joining in a dance

They jig it o'er the green;

Though tired with their labour

No one less was seen.

But sporting like some fairies,

Their dance they did pursue,

In leading up, and casting off,

Till morning was in view.

 

THE FAIRY RING
By George Mason and John Earsden

Let us in a lover's round

Circle all this hallowed ground;

Softly, softly trip and go,the light-foot 

Fairies jet it so.

Forward then and back again,

Here and there and everywhere,

Winding to and fro,

Skipping high and louting low;

And, like lovers, hand in hand,

March around and make a stand.


THE SUN IS SHINING 
By Frances Hodgson Burnett 

The sun is shining 

That is the Magic. 

The flowers are growing- 

the roots are stirring. 

That is the Magic. 

Being alive is the Magic 

being strong is the Magic. 

The Magic is in me- 

it is in me. 

It’s in every one of us. 

From the Secret Garden 

AUTUMN 

UNTITLED
By J. Hazard Hartzell (Farmers Almanac) 

Through sunny days and yellow weeks,

With clouds that melt in tears,

The glory of the harvest speaks,

in all the silken ears.



UNTITLED
By Clinton Scollard

The dead (old) leaves fall like noiseless rain, 

The air is calm and warm and sweet; 

Upon the woodland and the plain 

The ghost of summer rests her feet 

 

AUTUMN FIRES 
By Robert Louis Stevenson 

In the other gardens 

And all up the vale, 

From the autumn bonfires 

See the smoke trail! 

Pleasant summer over 

And all the summer flowers, 

The red fire blazes, 

The grey smoke towers. 

Sing a song of seasons! 

Something bright in all! 

Flowers in the summer, 

Fires in the fall 

 

WINTER

WINTER
By Tommy Makem

WINTER, a sharp bitter day

the robin turns plump against the cold

the sun is week

silver faded from gold

he is late in his coming and short in his stay

Man, beast, bird and air all purging, all cleansing, 

earth already purified awaits the rite of spring

Her bridal gown a virgin snow and frosts in her hair

A snowdrop by the road today bowed gracefully and high upon the wing up in the sparkling nothingness, 

a lone bird began to sing

Can gentle spring be far away? It’s in every one of us.

Circle Of The Sun

Áine Minogue

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BILLBOARD MAGAZINE ...Celtic singer Áine Minogue is quickly outstripping any comparisons to Enya, but that's still a good place to start. Minogue's ethereal voice caresses her Gaelic lyrics like a breeze through Irish mists, but her sound is more organic, mixing her own Celtic harp with acoustic guitars, cellos, fiddles, flutes, and percussion from Irish bodhrans to Indian tablas. On "Máire Mhór," she gets earthy with some didgeridoo, funky plucked cello, and African djembe. ...Áine Minogue is close enough to her Celtic sources to be nourished by them, but not so close that they root her to the spot....

LA TIMES ....blends traditional sounds with a cross cultural blend of live and studio textures....a musically compelling album.....

SONGWRITER'S MONTHLY ...exquisite Celtic music that encompasses the old and the new in a jaunt through the seasons. Very highly recommended.....

LA TIMES
....blends traditional sounds with a cross cultural blend of live and studio textures....a musically compelling album.....

DENVER POST
....exotic rhythms behind her whispery soprano..most attractive....

NEWARK STAR LEDGER
...Minogue is a harpist and producer from County Tipperary, equally adept at shimmering new age or explosive percussion tracks.....

NAPRA REVIEW
...a super offering not just for Celtic fans, but for aficionados of ethereal female vocals as well....

DIRTY LINEN
...lively and percussive, while at the same time it opens doors to contemplation....an unusual combination that the Irish native handles well......

MISSISSIPPI PRESS
..it is the way each piece confounds expectations that gives this album its considerable charm....

IRISH EDITION
...her silky voice sensually envelops the melodies against a patchwork quilt of all that is appealing in Celtic music today.....if you like this music, you'll love this album.....

PATRIOT LEDGER, BOSTON... 
impressive....Minogue's singing is passionate, pure and respectful, ranging from mournful expressions to whispers...contemporary almost jazzy quality...lovely emotional instrumentals.....

DAILY SOUTHTOWN, CHICAGO ....takes on a meditative stillness that leaves dancing behind.......

The Record (Waterloo Region) Entertainment, Saturday Robert Reid Aine Minogue's "Circle of the Sun" (RCA/BMG) should be at the top of everybody's buying lists. Circle of the Sun is Minogue's second release since she emigrated to New England from her home in County Tipperary. It follows her superb debut "Between the Worlds." An accomplished harpist with a haunting voice, Minogue is one of the most exciting of Ireland's current generation of musicians. She combines a deep understanding of traditional Celtic music with a modern musical sensibility. Circle of the Sun consists of a blend of traditional and original songs and tunes that trace the emotional contours of the Celtic calendar. While a few tracks consist of such simple arrangements as harp with guitar, cello or fiddle, most resemble what can best be described as Celtic chamber music.

ALBUM CREDITS Áine Minogue: Vocals, harp, harmonies John Arimond: backing vocals Jeramie Hammond: backing vocals Seamus Egan: whistle Winnie Horan: fiddles Takaaki Masuko: percussion Alasdair Halliday: backing vocals Barry Phillips: tabla, cello Claudio Regazzi: guitar Ben Wittman: drums (brushed surdo, floor toms, surdo, djembe) Wesley Wirth: bass Mark Simos: guitar Daniel Orlansky: didjeridoo Arden String Quartet: Zioa Bologovsky- violin, Rohan Gregory - violin, Charae Krueger - cello, Louisa Sarkissian - viola

All tracks published by Little Miller Music (BMI) for Aine Minogue.

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  1. 1 Si Do Mhamo I 05:23 Info
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  2. 2 Gabhaim Molta Bride 03:19 Info
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  3. 3 The Butterfly 05:21 Info
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  4. 4 O Boro Braindi Braindi 03:53 Info
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  5. 5 Harvest Moon Jig 02:47 Info
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  6. 6 Teir Abhaile Riu 04:11 Info
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  7. 7 Maire Mhor 02:54 Info
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  8. 8 A Winter Story 03:25 Info
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  9. 9 Days of Emerald 03:47 Info
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  10. 10 A Mhuire 'S A Ri 03:03 Info
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  11. 11 Eleanor Plunkett 02:54 Info
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  12. 12 Planxty Burke 02:22 Info
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  13. 13 O Carolans Concerto 04:04 Info
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BIBLIOGRAPHY

CIRCLE OF THE SUN

Bord, Janet & Colin Bor Earth Rites, Fertility Practices in Pre-Industrial Britain Granada Publishing Limited, London, 1983

Burland, C. A.  Echoes of Magic: A Study of Seasonal Festivals through the Ages Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1972 

Campanelli , Pauline and Dan, Ancient Ways: Reclaiming Pagan Traditions, St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1991

Campanelli , Pauline and Dan, Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1989

Day, Brian Chronicle of Celtic Folk Customs Hamlyn, London, 2000

Frazer, James George The Golden Bough, A Study of Magic and Religion  Scribner, 1996 reprint edition

Freeman, Mara  Kindling the Celtic Spirit Harper San Francisco, 2000

Green, Marian A Calendar of Festivals: Traditional Celebrations, Songs, Seasonal Recipes & Things to Make Rockport, MA: Element Inc.,1991

Heinberg, Richard Celebrate the Solstice; Honoring the Earth's Seasonal Rhythms Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1993

Heilbron, John L The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals As Solar  Harvard University Press,1999 

Henes, Donna Celestially Auspicious Occasions; Seasons, Cycles & Celebrations New York, NY: Berkley Publishing Group, 1996

King, John Robert The Celtic Druids' Year: Seasonal Cycles of the Ancient Celts New York, NY: Blandford Press, 1996

Panati, Charles Sacred Origins of Profound Things: The Stories Behind The Rites and Rituals of The World's Religions New York, NY: Penguin Arkana, 1996

Rees, Alwyn & Brinley Celtic Heritage, Ancient tradition in Ireland and Wales Thames and Hudson, England, 1961

Sharkey, John  The Ancient Religion The Crossroad Publishing Company, NY, 1975

Thomas, Keith  Religion and the Decline of Magic Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1971

CIRCLE OF THE SUN REVIEWS

BILLBOARD MAGAZINE
...Celtic singer Áine Minogue is quickly outstripping any comparisons to Enya, but that's still a good place to start. Minogue's ethereal voice caresses her Gaelic lyrics like a breeze through Irish mists, but her sound is more organic, mixing her own Celtic harp with acoustic guitars, cellos, fiddles, flutes, and percussion from Irish bodhrans to Indian tablas. On "Máire Mhór," she gets earthy with some didgeridoo, funky plucked cello, and African djembe.  

...Áine Minogue is close enough to her Celtic sources to be nourished by them, but not so close that they root her to the spot...    

LA TIMES

...Blends traditional sounds with a cross cultural blend of live and studio textures....a musically compelling album...

TIME OUT, NEW YORK

...Each piece is a rich collaboration, with various musical voices, fiddle, bass, table, djembe, even didgeridoo - layered like jewels on glass...  

SONGWRITER'S MONTHLY

...Exquisite Celtic music that encompasses the old and the new in a jaunt through the seasons. Very highly recommended... 

DENVER POST

...Exotic rhythms behind her whispery soprano..most attractive....  

PROVIDENCE PHOENIX 

...Captures the sparkle of a sunny morn after a snowy eve. ...part of a record that blends Minogue's consummate instrumental skills with her ethereal vocals...    

NEWARK STAR LEDGER

...Minogue is a harpist and producer from County Tipperary, equally adept at shimmering new age or explosive percussion tracks...  

NAPRA REVIEW
...A super offering not just for Celtic fans, but for aficionados of ethereal female vocals as well...  

DIRTY LINEN

...Lively and percussive, while at the same time it opens doors to contemplation... an unusual combination that the Irish native handles well...

MISSISSIPPI PRESS

..It is the way each piece confounds expectations that gives this album its considerable charm...  

IRISH EDITION
...Her silky voice sensually envelops the melodies against a patchwork quilt of all that is appealing in Celtic music today... if you like this music, you'll love this album... 

PATRIOT LEDGER, BOSTON

...Impressive....Minogue's singing is passionate, pure and respectful, ranging from mournful expressions to whispers...contemporary almost jazzy quality...lovely emotional instrumentals...  

DAILY SOUTHTOWN, CHICAGO 
...Takes on a meditative stillness that leaves dancing behind... 

The Record (Waterloo Region) 
Entertainment, Saturday  
Robert Reid  

Aine Minogue's Circle of the Sun (RCA/BMG) should be at the top of everybody's buying lists. 

Circle of the Sun is Minogue's second release since she emigrated to New from her home in County Tipperary. It follows her superb debut Between the Worlds. 

An accomplished harpist with a haunting voice, Minogue is one of the most exciting of Ireland's current generation of musicians. She combines a deep understanding of traditional Celtic music with a modern musical sensibility. 

Circle of the Sun consists of a blend of traditional and original songs and tunes that trace the emotional contours of the Celtic calendar. While a few tracks consist of such simple arrangements as harp with guitar, cello or fiddle, most resemble what can best be described as Celtic chamber music.