The 17 Track CD includes:
It's really, really nice. I am also getting some repertoire ideas, maybe I'll steal 'em. I think y'all should sell loads of 'em once people get to hear it. It makes great listening on cold Vermont winter nights.
“I recently listened to a
self-titled CD of steel-string guitar duets and solos by the Borealis Guitar
Duo. The duo consists of Art Edelstein and Mike Fullerton. Art is an expert on
Celtic music, and has written the seminal book on Turlough O'Carolan, called
"Fair Melodies:Turlough O'Carolan - An Irish Harper". Mike is a
sensitive guitarist who offers an original tune and an Irish jig as solos and
adds tasty lines to Art's assertive approach in the duets.
“The CD contains some of the "greatest hits" of the Irish and Scottish genres - Carolan's "Sheebeg and Sheemore," "Captain O'Kane," and "Colonel John Irwin," as well as Scottish favorites like "The Sheep's Not for Shearing" and "Niel Gow's Lament on the Death of His Second Wife." The opening track, a Scottish reel called "Mill Brae," is a highlight of the CD.
“There is a distinctly waltz feel to this CD. Much of the music is in such strong 3/4 time that you may feel like getting up and squiring your lady or guy around the floor in response!
“Having myself just released a substantially unedited CD recorded at one sitting, I can relate to the spontaneity of this recording. If you want a refined, polished/sanitized CD, where every note seems to come from a digital sampler, then you should go elsewhere (and stay away from my recent release, too!). This CD is more like a live recording, where the boys (clearly having woodshedded together earlier) turned on the
recorder and had some musical fun together, with the mastering left to an engineer. If you want music that exudes the atmosphere of playing in your living room with friends, or at a club where the atmosphere is convivial and the drinks legal, then purchase and enjoy this CD.”
By Robert Resnik [09.01.10]
In addition to being a music columnist for the Times Argus, central Vermont musician Art Edelstein  is also an acoustic-guitar maven, and a self-taught authority on the life and music of Turlough Carolan. That late-17th-century Irish harper composed many beautiful pieces of music that have become folkie standards. Edelstein’s second CD, Borealis Guitar Duo , is a duet project with his East Calais neighbor, Mike Fullerton. The record offers a selection of 17 lovingly played Irish and Scottish harp pieces, waltzes and country dance music, arranged for two steel-string guitars.
It’s always interesting to hear “ancient” harp music played on steel, because the harps built hundreds of years ago in northwestern Europe were all steel strung, unlike the gut- and nylon-strung harps that are common today. Steel strings make each note ring and give it a longer sustain. The old harpers reportedly plucked those strings with long, curved fingernails that would have made the tone even sharper. So the sound on Borealis Guitar Duo is closer to that of the original harps, for which the music was composed.
Edelstein and Fullerton are meticulous guitarists and have chosen to record their snazzy instruments with a minimum of reverb and no additional accompaniment, so the glorious sound of the guitars is unfiltered.
Some of the playing seems a bit tentative, but on pieces such as opening track “Millbrae,” a Scottish reel, everything comes together and the duo just sails. Some of the most popular and common songs in the genre have been included — such as “George Brabazon” and “Sheebeg Sheemore.” But there’s enough variety on the musical menu that this is not just a collection of pretty, familiar music.
Staff Writer - Published: September 23, 2010
Guitar certainly isn’t often equated with Irish
traditional music, nor Scottish for that matter. But two local guitarists have
decided otherwise and created a most attractive argument for the use of the
Spanish-bred instrument in music of the British Isles.
The Borealis Duo – guitarists Art Edelstein and Mike Fullerton – have created their debut CD and its 16 tracks are attractive and attractively played. Whether the sound is authentic or not is questionable, but there is plenty of beautiful music.
The album’s biggest surprise is that its most attractive track is, of all things, Swedish. “Josephina’s Waltz,” composed by Roger Tollroth of the band Vassen for his niece’s baptism, it is a lively, warm and beautiful dance with a songful melody. Edelstein and Fullerton deliver it in its full joyful sound with accurate and expressive playing.
Edelstein and Fullerton...play well and with a real sense of ensemble. While not virtuosic, their playing is attractive throughout.
Edelstein has long been a champion of the blind Irish harper Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), perhaps the best-known Celtic traditional composer. Indeed, Edelstein has performed Carolan’s music on two previous self-produced CDs, the guitarist’s solo “The River Is Wide” and “Fair Melodies” with Tim Newcomb on fiddle.
Carolan looms large on this album and while the sound isn’t technically authentic, it is close, and it is attractive. “Captain O’Kane,” in particular, is a beautiful ballad, musical storytelling. The two guitarists use a broad palette of guitar colors to identify the separate parts. It’s very nice.
Another Carolan ballad, “Sheebeg and Sheemore,” is warm and quietly colorful. Although the ensemble isn’t perfect, it is quite attractive.
There is one original on the album, Fullerton’s “Lament of the Death of Ivers Wilder,” a hauntingly beautiful ballad in traditional Celtic style played sensitively by the composer solo.
Scottish traditional music also accounts for big chunk of the album. “Jock O’Hazeldean” is a simple but beautiful and songful ballad. Here, the ensemble is excellent. “Callum’s Road,” by Donald Shaw of the band Capercaille, is another attractive storytelling ballad and, despite a lot of guitar-shifting noises, quite nice. “Neil Gow’s Lament on the Death of His Second Wife” also proved to be warm and beautiful musical storytelling.
One weakness is some rhythmic stiffness in the dance music, almost as if the duo was playing for an actual dance rather than in a concert performance. There also little or no variations in repeats. Still, the playing is attractive throughout.
The Borealis Guitar Duo proves here that guitars can sound Irish.
771 Bayne Road
East Calais, VT 05650