Brenda Hunter | Catching the Mooncoin

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World: Celtic Folk: Celtic Fusion Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Catching the Mooncoin

by Brenda Hunter

Unique arrangements of Irish traditional and old time folk music, showcasing her distinctive style on hammered dulcimer. Backing by Banshee in the Kitchen includes guitar, flute, whistle, bouzouki, accordion, and percussion.
Genre: World: Celtic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Mooncoin Set
4:12 $0.99
2. Maids of Mitchellstown
4:14 $0.99
3. Huntingtone Castle/King of the Fairies
5:56 $0.99
4. The Wedding Set
4:08 $0.99
5. Star of the County Down
3:52 $0.99
6. The French Cafe Set
5:10 $0.99
7. Rhythm of the Rain
4:10 $0.99
8. Her Mantle so Green
4:03 $0.99
9. Planxty Kelly
3:47 $0.99
10. Old Timey Set
3:07 $0.99
11. Ocean of Wisdom
4:45 $0.99
12. Alberta's Waltz
4:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Brenda Hunter plays hammered dulcimer with uncommon precision, flair, and beauty. Her skilful arrangements of traditional Irish and old time folk music reveal the eclectic influences of jazz, rock, and the classics. From haunting solo airs, to rocking reels with full band backing, her current album Catching the Mooncoin shows the breadth of Brenda's abilities. (She plays a pretty mean fiddle, too!) She is accompanied by her band, Banshee in the Kitchen, with tastefully chosen flute, accordion, whistle, guitar, and Irish bouzouki. Brenda is a recent National Champion on the hammered dulcimer, and is soon to publish a book of arrangements for the hammered dulcimer in Irish music, with Mel Bay Publications.

Brenda discovered the hammered dulcimer in 1993, and the world of traditional music soon after. Her musical training began in early childhood, while singing with her family. She went on to study piano, violin, saxophone, guitar and voice, completing her degree in music education. From rock to Renaissance, Celtic to classical, Brenda has played with a wide spectrum of ensembles.

Banshee in the Kitchen released its debut CD, If We Were Us, in January 2003. Brenda's two earlier CDs were recorded with flautist Cindy Angel: The Captive Maiden (1997) and Christmas Collage (1995) as the duo Briar Rose.

Brenda won the National Hammered Dulcimer Competition at Winfield, Kansas in 1996, and teaches regularly at the CTMS Summer Solstice Festival in Calabasas, California. She has also presented workshops at the Ozark Dulcimer Festival in Mt. View, AR, the Sawdust Festival in Bennington, Oklahoma, the Claremont Folk Festival, and the Harvest Festival in Dana Point, California. Brenda performs regularly throughout Central and Southern California as a soloist, and with Banshee in the Kitchen.



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Delightful CD
I ordered this CD because I heard some of it on NPR. It is beautiful, lilting music. Such a pleasure to listen to. I had several friends over the other night and played it while they were here. It put everyone in a happy mood.

Joe Ross, Bluegrass Now

A strong, synergistic Celtic offering that follows their inner muse
The full, ethereal sound of Brenda Hunter’s hammered dulcimer is always front and center on her beautiful solo debut album, “Catching the Mooncoin,” which also incorporates some new age sensibilities into the highly-arranged instrumentals. Hunter’s fiddle is a little less prominent in the mix. The full ensemble is very meticulous in their approach, and they play with exactitude and panache that fully capitalize on their individual talents. Besides Hunter, 1996 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, the proficient musicianship of Jill Egland (flute, accordion, whistle), Mary Tulin (6 and 12-string guitars, bouzouki), Michael Mercy (percussion), and Dave Ogden (bodhran) are also showcased. Unlike a rowdy Irish pub session where everyone beats out the melody until it’s pulp, this group shares their leads, and they incorporate counter-melodies, harmonies, fills, chordal arpeggios, dynamic rhythms and syncopation.

Whether it’s a reflective air (such as O’Carolan’s “Planxty Kelly”), bouncy jig or spirited reel, Hunter plays with a poignancy that elicits much emotion. With great finesse, the project opens with a medley of the Monahan and Mooncoin Jigs. Although Hunter’s instrument is outfitted with dampers, her dulcimer resonates for extended periods with a full palate of ancient tones at the end of some musical phrases. Her Nick Blanton compact hammered dulcimer has a fully-rounded, rich tone, and she likes that instrument for its “small size and big sound for ensemble playing.” I often hear The Bothy Band’s version of “Maids of Mitchelstown” on my local public radio station, and I must say that this group’s rendition and presentation of the tune is an aural delight.

When the accordion joins the act on “The French Café Set,” one might imagine themselves at a sidewalk restaurant in Paris on a cool, brisk fall day. A favorite waltz, “Valse des Jeunes Filles” (Waltz of the Little Girls) is one that my own trio, The Celtic Tradition, also enjoys performing. The band’s “Old-Timey Set” (Durang’s Hornpipe, Round the Horn, Dancing Bear) is given a fiery, uptempo treatment with some jazz licks but illustrates that the musicians would also be crowd-pleasers at contra dances and similar events. As I sit gazing from my window at the pouring rain on this winter day in Oregon, I had to chuckle, actually grin with glee, at their offering of the pop tune, “Rhythm of the Rain.” Perfect merriment for this soggy old Oregon duck!

Brenda, Jill, and Mary play as the trio, Banshee in the Kitchen. They released their debut album (“If We Were Us”) in January 2003, toured New York, recorded and produced the current release in June, and toured the Southwest in August. Hunter also released albums in 1995 and 1997, and she will soon publish a book of Irish hammered dulcimer music for Mel Bay Publications. The Bakersfield-based musicians give us a strong, synergistic Celtic offering that follows their inner muse. I look forward to hearing more from them as they continue to build their fan base and play larger venues and festivals. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)


Mood setting and Magical.
I heard this CD on Echoes one night. I ordered it the next day. (I don't believe I have ever done that before!) It is wonderful. It sets a mood that few artists are capable of invoking. This CD has magic...

Luke Sollitt

Music to marry by
My wife and I used this group, Banshee in the Kitchen, in our wedding. They played all of the music from this CD; we used "The Wedding Set" for the processional, and "Alberta's Waltz" for the recessional. The audience was enthralled by the music; this CD is what convinced us that Banshee in the Kitchen were the right group for our wedding, and now having done it, I would have had it no other way. Their sound is luminous and breathtaking.


Must Have album for Celtic music lovers
Must Have album for Celtic music lovers!

Ralph Reed

Fantastic Album
I heard exerpts from this album on NPR a few years ago and have been looking for it. CD Baby seems to have all the stuff I can't find. This album was wonderful. Just the right blend of Celtic, New Age, and just plain good listening.


My 16 year old daughter plays a flute, and heard a solo from this CD on the radio one night, and asked me to order it. She has had it for about 1 week and has learned Huntingtone Castle. She would like me to order her anoth CD from this group. Thank you,