Joanna Mell | Songs and Stories

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United States - Pennsylvania

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World: Celtic Spoken Word: With Music Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Songs and Stories

by Joanna Mell

An enchanted journey through Ireland's magical past with an award-winning harper, singer and storyteller, who uses Neo-Celtic harp, wire-strung harp, and her soaring, crystal soprano voice to create an enchanting, unique experience for her audiences.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Southwind
4:13 $0.99
2. March of the King of Laois
1:36 $0.99
3. Turlough O'Carolan and the Gift of St. Bridget
18:44 $0.99
4. Bonny Portmore
4:20 $0.99
5. The Foggy Dew
5:23 $0.99
6. I Dreamed My Love
18:33 $0.99
7. Limerick Lament
3:03 $0.99
8. Fear a Bhata
5:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Joanna Mell is an award-winning harper, singer and storyteller, whose life work is recreating the bardic arts of ancient Ireland.

She possesses a beautiful, soaring soprano voice, which she uses to transport her listeners to the enchanted Celtic Isles.

She sings in both the ballad and Sean Nos styles.

She has won numerous first-place awards in Gaelic singing contests and feises on the East Coast, including second place in Sean Nos singing in the regional All-Ireland competition in New York.

Joanna is also an accomplished harper, being classically trained on concert harp, and also having studied the traditional Celtic harps (Neo-Celtic and wire-strung).

Joanna became interested in the ancient bardic tradition of telling stories to harp accompaniment after reading accounts of the ancient Irish harpers.

She now uses her voice not only to sing but to weave the spoken word with the entrancing sounds of the harp to produce a unique experience for her listeners.

Joanna's CD "Songs and Stories" has received outstanding reviews in major newspapers, such as "The Morning Call" of Bethlehem, Pa., and "The Irish Edition" of Philadelphia, Pa.

All you need for a virtual trip to ancient Ireland is Joanna's CD "Songs and Stories", a space lit only by firelight or candles, and a glass of your favorite beverage.

Joanna also tours extensively and conducts workshops on arranging music for the harp, as well as storytelling.



to write a review

Jamie O'brien, "the Irish Edition", Philadelphia, Pa

Joanna Mell meets with my full approval.
Joanna Mell is brave. It's one thing to go in front of a live audience with only your voice and harp and perform. To put that performance onto a recording takes a lot more. In her first cut, Joanna plunges into a beautiful version of "Southwind" - my attention is guaranteed. Her playing makes full use of the harp, allowing it to create accents and stresses, while providing a strong melody line. She appears to play two different instruments. The one featured on "Bonny Portmore" is my favorite, especially as this earthier sound brings out a similar response in her singing voice, more worldly and less ethereal. She naturally turns to O'Carolan, telling of his early life. I am tempted to draw comparisons with Patrick Ball, but I won't. Their approaches work in totally different ways. Joanna's melodious voice weaves a spell that does not become immersed in the harsher side of life of those times; she delves more into the supernatural and the beliefs of the folk in those days. Her spoken voice is as attractive as her singing.

Geoff Gehman, "the Morning Call", Bethlehem, Pa

Mell fulfills her goal of recreating a hearth-side performance in an 18th-centur
Harpist/singer/storyteller Joanna Mell, a staple at three Bethlehem staples (Musikfest, Celtic Fest, and Granny MacCarthy's Tea Room), offers a captivating Celtic chronicle on "Songs and Stories". She performs yearning ballads (Southwind) with sweet grace, haunted airs (The Foggy Dew) with tangible tang. Sandwiching stories of harp legend Turlough O'Carolan with his tunes, she weaves a colorful tapestry of his rise from awful to king musician for the queen of fairies. Mell's singing is ribboned, silky, hypnotic. Her soft, throaty speaking transforms stories into lullabies. Her program notes are revealing, as is a short review of Irish harping and harpooning (in 1603 Queen Elizabeth I ordered "Kill all the harpers, wherever found, and destroy their instruments"). More often than not, Mell fulfills her goal of recreating a hearth-side performance in an 18th century manor house.

Frank Mills, "brigit's Feast", Journal Of Celtic Spirituality

Delightfully enchanted, exquisitely performed.
"Delightfully enchanted, exquisitely performed" are the only words that can possibly describe this CD compilation from award-winning harper and storyteller Joanna Mell. This is my first experience in listening to Joanna Mell who has previously released three highly acclaimed albums. Songs and Stories, Ms. Mell notes, is an organic whole, "representing an evening with a Celtic bard, utilizing all the bardic arts." As I listened to Joanna Mell's refreshing, rapturous vocals - really tales - fitted to the lilting strains of the harp, it transported my heart and mind to ancient Ireland. I was so taken up with the music that I almost didn't even realize when the CD stopped playing; the music keeps playing over and over again in my head. That's the effect that Joanna Mell has on her listeners. There is no question about it; Ms. Mell has gone beyond the representation of an evening with a Celtic bard, she is the ancient filidh, the ancient poet and storyteller, in modern garb. It was the bard of old, whose music achieved the culture and lore of ancient Celtic society, and Songs and Stories is indeed "bardic". Ms. Mell, however, unlike the bard, but much to our delight, performs on both the Celtic and neo-Celtic harps while singing in English and Gaelic. To get the most out of the music, I would suggest that before you listen to Songs and Stories, you read the well-researched capsules of the Celtic lore behind each piece found in the jacket. And be sure to read the inside cover of the jacket first. Our readers who reside in or near Bucks County, Pennsylvania, can enjoy the pleasures of Joanna Mell's bard gift at Granny McCarthy's Tea Room in Bethlehem every Wednesday afternoon while sipping High Tea.