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Ensemble Galilei | The Flowers of the Forest

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Isaac Alderson Ryan McKasson Sue Richards

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United States - Maryland

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World: Celtic World: Swedish Folk Moods: Instrumental
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The Flowers of the Forest

by Ensemble Galilei

Brilliant arrangements of traditional Irish, Scottish, and Swedish tunes, Early music and new compositions performed by some of the finest musicians in the field. Fiddle, Uillean pipes, recorders and flutes, Celtic harp, viola da gamba, bodhran and banjo.
Genre: World: Celtic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Flowers of the Forest
2:59 $0.99
2. Rondeau
2:56 $0.99
3. The Barelye Break
2:36 $0.99
4. Fjarilen
4:13 $0.99
5. Of Darkness and Light
2:51 $0.99
6. MacDonald of the Isles
2:16 $0.99
7. A Stor Mo Chroi
7:10 $0.99
8. El Capitan
3:04 $0.99
9. Om Dagen Vid Mitt Arbete
2:46 $0.99
10. Farewell to Craigie Dhu
3:08 $0.99
11. Cape Clear
3:14 $0.99
12. Katie's Slip
4:20 $0.99
13. The Morris
3:01 $0.99
14. Lily's
2:28 $0.99
15. The Noble Gate
2:48 $0.99
16. The Wayfaring Stranger
3:20 $0.99
17. Grainne's Grace
3:51 $0.99
18. William Blake's Dead
3:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Sue Richards, Ginger Hildebrand, and I spent seven years of Fridays driving into Washington, D.C. to play for wounded warriors and their families. We started at Mologne House at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Peter Anderson, who was in charge, made sure we had a place to park right out front. Every week we walked in, set up our instruments, and started to play.

It seems an unlikely vision, three women sitting in a corner of the lobby, playing Celtic harp, viola da gamba, and fiddle and guitar, but there we were, outside the dining hall, playing. And talking. And listening.

At Mologne House, everyone had the same task – and it was healing. Some of the injuries were gaping wounds, some were missing limbs, some were traumatic brain injuries, and some were invisible. People were there for months. Some were there for years. It takes a while to complete twenty-eight surgeries and procedures. Nothing is easy.

If you haven’t spent a lot of time around Army guys (and most were Army) there are some things you need to know. They yell when they are mad. They are quick to smile. They have a wickedly dark sense of humor. They wear great tee shirts. One man, missing both legs from the knees down, was wearing a tee shirt that said, “Wounded Warrior, Some Assembly Required.” Another was wearing one of the ubiquitous shirts with the picture of a crown. Above the crown it said, “Stay calm” and below the crown it said, “And return fire.” I loved these gals and guys. They quickly became our people, and I hope that we became theirs.

In our work at Mologne House we inhabited a world where suffering stood side by side with hope, pain with laughter, rage with empathy. We came to know and love these extraordinary people and their families, and to deeply understand the sacrifices made by them. In the wide range of repertoire and instrumentation, I hear the voices and stories, the humanity and grace that was their journey. Just as the tune, The Flowers of the Forest was written in honor of the thousands of Scottish soldiers whose lives were lost in the Battle of Flodden fought on September 9, 1513, this CD stands as our tribute to the men and women who serve and have served, and their families.

I was talking with a total stranger today who said, “You play with Ryan McKasson? He’s one of the best Scottish fiddlers in the world!” I could easily have heard the same enthusiasm and awe had I said the names of Isaac Alderson, Jackie Moran, Sue Richards, Hanneke Cassel, or Kathryn Montoya – not in the context of Scottish fiddling, but for piping, or bodhran and banjo, or Celtic harp, fiddle (Hanneke really does transcend so many genres) or early winds.

I don’t think of Ensemble Galilei as a super-group of Celtic and Early music players. I think of us as old friends, not in the “I’m going to call you every day with news about my new puppy” but more in the “I’ve seen you in your pajamas in the hallway of that hotel in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, or Ogden, Utah” or any number of the cities and towns that we have performed in over the last two and a half decades. We have been together in some of the best of times, and have met up again on the road in some of the hardest times.

I remember when we first met Hanneke because we were in Mobile, Alabama on New Year’s Eve of the new millennium. I remember when we first played with Ryan because he was subbing for Hanneke in West Palm Beach, and he played the show even though he had spent the night in the emergency room before his flight, and showed up with his finger in a splint. He still rocked the house. Sue and I go back to 1987, and when Kathryn joined us on a tour in the Midwest in the fall of 2002, we had one rehearsal and she blew our socks off. Liz Knowles told us we had to meet Jackie Moran sometime in the mid-2000’s and thank God she did because he’s not only one of the finest Irish musicians that there is, he’s game for anything (and easily completed the “honey-do” list of a famous actor in LA on his day off – wiring, plumbing, he can do it all.) I don’t even know what to say about Isaac. From the first note of this recording, he says it all, himself.

We are not the same people that we were when we met. Ensemble Galilei is not the same group we were when we did our first concert in 1990. And while we have made many recordings through the years, this one is different. Each person’s gifts shine brightly. Each voice is clear and true. It is darkness, and it is light.

Carolyn Surrick, September 9, 2018



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