Mike Gangloff is best known as a member of drone improvisers Pelt and Spiral Joy Band, as well as Appalachian old-time outfit The Black Twig Pickers. In March of last year he performed at one of Vicky Langan's Black Sun events in Cork, alongside David Colohan's Raising Holy Sparks, and the Cork Sacred Harp Singers, with which Langan is involved. The three musicians played a short piece togethe
r to close the show. The trio, now named
, reconvened to appear at Newcastle's Tusk Festival in October.
The material here is largely culled from the Sacred Harp tradition, with vocals backed by Gangloff and Langan's twin fiddles and
Colohan's harmonium and shruti box drones. On the Tusk recording, each member sings lead in turn (culminating in what may be Colohan's finest recorded vocal to
date). The unadorned, unaffected approach allows the musicians' characters, and the traditions that shaped them, to shine through. In this way the music effortlessly reunites the folk traditions of Ireland and the Southern United States, while being informed by the hillbilly drone of Henry Flynt. Songs that date from as far back as the 19th century are placed in an unusual yet sympathetic context, retaining their directness and emotional power.
This release consists of both the Cork and Newcastle sets, as well as a rehearsal prior to the latter, and so contains Meitheal
's entire recorded work to date.
Mike Gangloff - voice & fiddle
Vicky Langan - voice & fiddle
David Colohan - voice, harmonium & shruti box
1.1: Recorded by Sam Grant, October 6th 2012 at the Tusk Festival in The Star & Shadow, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.
2.1: Recorded March 8th 2012 at Black Sun in Plugd, Cork, Ireland during a solar storm.
2.2: Recorded October 6th 2012 during rehearsals for the Tusk set.
Artwork by David Colohan.
Pan illustration from 1920 songbook of "The Quaker Singer", David Bispham.
Thanks to Lee Etherington (Tusk), Sam Grant and Carapace.
Numbered edition of 100. Includes download code.