Battlefield Band Album Release Party!


from L-R: Sean O’Donnell, Alasdair White, Ewen Henderson & Mike Katz

How It’s New York:  The release is at Swift Hibernian Lounge, one of New York’s East Village Irish bars, your typical “sessions on one night, hipsters the rest” kind of place.  I love it and once had a milestone birthday party there.
How It’s Scottish (Irish):   Battlefield Band have been going from strength to strength.  I saw them at Highline last winter with Mick Moloney and we were both blown away by their arrangements– fiddles in counterpoint in particular!  All the more impressive as fiddler Ewen Henderson had left his fiddle in a taxi and was playing a new one.  It was the third taxi he’d gotten into when two others couldn’t understand his Scottish accent (much harder for New Yorkers than most of the Irish ones).  Ewen ALSO plays the bagpipes.  There’s a combination you don’t see every day.  And– there will be a session after!
Swift of course is named for the 18th century Irish author who suggested famine be wiped out by eating babies in “A Modest Proposal.”  (OK, he also wrote Gulliver’s Travels). 

Where:  Swift Hibernian Lounge, 34 E. 4th Street between Lafayette and the Bowery (close subway stns Astor Pl;  8th Street:  Bleecker 
When:  7:30 – 9.  NO COVER CHARGE.  But come at 7 and meet the band!

Thanks to John Casey for sending this info to me!

This band has been around in various incarnations since 1969, making them one of the first of the Celtic Revival groups, up there with Silly Wizard, Tannahill Weavers, Clannad, Bothy Band.  But they’ve always pushed their sound and continued to grow.  The current line-up includes Sean O’Donnell from Derry on vocals and guitar; Ewen Henderson from Fort William, Scottish West Highlands on fiddle/bagpipes/whistles/piano/vocals; Alasdair White from the Isle of Lewis, in the OUter Hebrides, on fiddle/whistle/bouzouki/Highland and small pipes; Mike Katz from LA on Highland pipes/small pipes/whistles/bass guitar/guitar.
Alan Reid, who founded the band, left this past year– but the new line-up carries on the tradition brilliantly!

   The new album, Line-Up, was just released in July– but you’ll be able to buy it at Swift’s tonight!  Here’s some info from their website (I haven’t heard it myself yet, but will ge tyou a review here!):

The new Battlefield Band album ‘Line-up’ was released on the 18th July 2011
in CD & digital download formats.

CD – You can purchase the CD directly from Temple Records here
(shipped from Cleveland USA, or Temple, Scotland depending on your location)
and you should also be able to find it in all good record shops.

Digital Download – You can find the album as a digital download
in all the main outlets, including emusic, amazon & itunes.

‘…one of the great institutions of the Scottish music scene…. …slinky, attacking pieces, featuring the pipe playing of Mike Katz, or duelling fiddles from Alasdair White and newcomer Ewen Henderson… …songs include an exquisite, whistle-backed Scottish Gaelic ballad Mo Ghleannan Taobh Loch Liobhainn, and an unexpected Celtic Soul treatment of the Otis Redding favourite, That’s How Strong My Love Is…’
Line-up review, 4 out of 5 stars, The Guardian

Here’s a video of Ewen singing in Gaelic and then the band joining in!  Exciting stuff! 

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.