An evening of Songs and Stories with Castlebay
Castlebay’s concerts treat an audience to a musical journey through time and across the Atlantic singing ancient ballads inspired by the rich heritage of Maine. Both exuberant and haunting vocals are supported with Julia Lane’s award-winning Celtic harp style, and Fred Gosbee’s expertise on 12-string guitar, fiddle and woodwinds. Frequently touring down the US east coast and to Ireland, Scotland and England the duo performs at arts centers, museums, festivals and schools. They often will present concerts highlighting a specific theme or region with songs and stories from their wealth of history and lore, and have created several multi-media productions based on their research.
Castlebay will present a concert of “Bygone Ballads of Maine.” British and Celtic-based traditional music came to Maine with the many waves of colonists who settle here. In the early 20th century, “songcatchers”, including Fanny Hardy Eckstorm of Brewer, ranged across the state from the coastal seafaring communities to the woodland logging camps in search of the vernacular songs of the people there. They made journals and ran a column in the Bangor Daily News as well as recording on various technologies such as wax cylinders or wire, preserving hundreds of songs many of which can be traced to ancient sources. Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee, of the folk duo Castlebay, have been exploring the archives of Maine Folklife Center in Orono, the Library of Congress, Harvard’s Houghton Library, the Helen Hartness Flanders collection in Vermont and others which house the fruits of the collectors’ labors. Their resulting transcriptions provide a wonderful spectrum of songs reflecting the sense and sensibilities of ordinary people; love and loss, tragedy and triumph. Castlebay interprets these songs with their own artistic skill making them attractive and available to a modern audience retaining historic integrity with commentary relevant to each song and its provenance.
Castlebay has produced over 24 albums and is currently in the process of recording the “bygone ballads” they are finding in the archives. The first in this series is “Bound Away, Seafaring Songs of Maine” released in July 2015. In addition, a companion songbook containing 160 songs from the collections titled “Songs of the Sea, Ships & Sailors” will be published in 2021. Castlebay Music / Julia Lane & Fred Gosbee