"Bottom of the Punch Bowl" Celtic/Baroque CD Release Concert February 25


Posted on February 17, 2016 by Keith Bohnet Keith Bohnet


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Mithril duo - Bottom of the Punch Bowl

Andra Bohnet, USA Professor of Flute and guest artist Tom Morley (violin) will be performing a live concert of their new duo CD "Bottom of the Punch Bowl" on Thursday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the USA Laidlaw Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. Copies of the new CD will be available for purchase at the concert.

Tickets for this Department of Music event will be sold at the door only.  Admission is $8 general and $5 for USA faculty & staff, USA students, youths under 18 and all senior citizens (cash or check only).  Persons needing more information about this event or in need of special accommodation may call (251) 460-7116 or (251) 460-6136.

About the CD "Bottom of the Punch Bowl" and the performers

The album features Tom and Andra's arrangements of "Celtic Baroque" compositions from the 1700s by Turlough O'Carolan, Neil Gow and James Oswald in intimate settings. "The timeless melodies from these composers were some of the first to catch our attention years ago," Andra says. "Tom and I are both classically trained; we’re symphony performers and also have our chamber ensemble, the Silverwood Quartet. Exploring the intersection between Celtic and classical music is great fun for us."

Andra Bohnet and Tom Morley, cofounders of the Celtic/World music band Mithril, return to their Celtic roots in more ways than one with this new release. This seventh album is the most unique of all the Mithril projects with an intoxicating mix of musical spirits from Ireland, Scotland and the Shetland Islands, the Isle of Man and Sweden, played on flutes, whistles, Celtic harp, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle, guitar and the Swedish nyckelharpa.

While the full Mithril band is alive and well, this new CD returns to the duo format featured on the first Mithril CD, Banish Misfortune, released in 2003. "This feels like we've come full circle back to where we started in Celtic music, with Andra and I playing almost every instrument on the tunes," Tom said. "But with Bottom of the Punch Bowl, we also get to explore the wider range of Celtic and World music; this album includes a set of Swedish traditional tunes, a tribute to the Bothy Band, and a multilayered arrangement of Scottish music featured in the soundtrack to Outlander, one of the most popular current cable TV series, which is bringing the Scottish culture and music of the 1700s to the attention of a whole new audience."

And as you can expect with any Mithril project, there are some surprises on Bottom of the Punch Bowl. Mobile Symphony principal cellist Barbara Gabriel plays on a few tracks, Ohio-based composer Bryan Joyce is featured on harpsichord on a classic Irish reel, and bodhran player Andy Kruspe of Huntsville (a part-time member of Mithril) adds his rhythmic flair to a few tracks.

Of course the addition of Swedish nyckelharpa will be a surprise to many listeners as well. "I fell in love with the instrument when I first heard it more than ten years ago on an album by the Swedish band, Vasen. I didn’t even know what it was at the time, but I was intrigued, and I knew I wanted to learn more about it."

But finding a nyckelharpa or even anyone familiar with the instrument was next to impossible on the Alabama Gulf Coast. "Then, a couple of years ago, Mithril played in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and through a series of coincidences, I met Earl Holzman, one of the finest nyckelharpa makers in the U.S., and I finally got to play the instrument, and then have him make one for me. I was hooked on its haunting sound and on the challenge it presented to this fiddle player, both in learning to play it and in incorporating it into our music. Fortunately, my band mates were accommodating, and now it’s become a part of the Mithril mix!"

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Tickets for this Department of Music event will be sold at the door only.  Admission is $8 general and $5 for USA faculty & staff, USA students, youths under 18 and all senior citizens (cash or check only).  Persons needing more information about this event or in need of special accommodation may call (251) 460-7116 or (251) 460-6136.

Need directions to Laidlaw?  Just go to Google Maps at www.maps.google.com and enter "USA Laidlaw Performing Arts Center."  We're actually on the corner of University Blvd. and USA Drive South.

Musical Arts Series Season Pass Holders may now reserve their place at concerts if they contact events coordinator Keith Bohnet by 5:00 p.m. the day previous to the event!  Call (251) 460-7116 or email kbohnet@southalabama.edu.  Please mention the amount of seats needed AND be sure you are planning on being in place at least 20 minutes in advance of the concert!  (Pass Holders only please!  Held seats not claimed within 20 minutes of the performance may be offered to other concert attendees.)

For information on how to join the Musical Arts Society, visit our website at www.southalabama.edu/music and click on "events and programs" to see everything you need to know about the Musical Arts Concert Series and USA's Musical Arts Society.

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