Arminta & Blaq Lily
Gig Seeker Pro

Arminta & Blaq Lily

Band World Celtic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Tommy Miller"

Being of Irish decent, I was warmed to the core when I listened to the Arminta CD, “Forged in the Fire” for the first time. This is traditional music with a nice modern flare to it. The traditional instruments on here sort of caught me off guard as I went through these songs initially. You’re not always expecting mandolin, you know? My grandmother would be proud though, as there is enough tin-whistle on this recording to make this Irishman want to dance a jig of sorts. Well, sure, I can’t really do a jig, but I’m 3rd or 4th generation. Give me a break.

Don’t get me wrong, this CD is not all traditional-sounding songs. There are plenty of good old fashioned, acoustic guitar-driven, rock type songs. But for my money I want to hear Arminta and her back-em-up singers belt out some songs from my grandfather’s homeland. Finally, I wanted to brag that I got a “limited edition” version of this disk that contains a DVD
- Indianapolis Music

"Connect Savannah"

Known as one of the most dynamic Celtic-folk-rock groups in the U.S. this female fronted Indianapolis quintet finds inspiration in artists as disparate as Led Zeppelin and the Cranberries. They are often compared to the Corrs, but their striking vocalist Arminta has an ethereal voice that at times recalls the great Loreena McKennit. With instrumentation that includes wooden recorders, tin whistles, Native American flutes, guitar, mandolin, bass and drums, they're capable of pulling off even the most traditional Irish folk, but have the capability and moxie to rock out as well. - Morris Multimedia Inc


Spirituality with rhythm. That is what comes to mind with listening to Arminta & Blaq Lily. This Celtic influenced band has the talent that will soar world-wide. Their talent can’t be categorized into pop or Celtic or rock, it is Arminta & Blaq Lily. Having the creative mind to come up with a style that will attract people from other genres is something that few bands can accomplish, but after listening to their four track demo, it has been done. Performing all over, Arminta & Blaq Lily are commonly compared to the Cranberries, which is true to some extent, but mostly they are in their own realm. Capturing Arminta’s true vocal talent along with tribal beats that mix up the common song is what sets Arminta & Blaq Lily apart from the rest and is what will make them memorable and addictive.

Stacie SkinnerContent Manager - Stacie SkinnerContent Manager


Audiences around Indianapolis and the Midwest know Arminta & Blaq Lily for playing Celtic-influenced original music, augmented by the occasional Cranberries cover and similar fare. That being said, the album art for "Dreamwalk" suggests a darker image for the band. Although the band's instrumentation is tailored to create music from the Isles, the band is approaching this album from a dark point of view that owes as much to new wave as it does to what is considered more traditional fare.
The first two tracks on the album ("Who" and "Winter Wind") are straight-ahead aggressive rockers at heart, augmented with keyboards and bells for a more dramatic flair. While it does contain elements associated with Celtic music, the emphasis here is on heavier guitars and driving rhythms. "Contaminated Gods" features intricate harp work over a lighter (but no less moving) rhythm part. It also carries hints of strings and pipes in the background, creating a more mystic atmosphere surrounding the songs. Lead singer Arminta weave translucent vocals on the mostly-acoustic song "Dreams," and it's a flavor that carries throughout their album. Arminta also picks up recorders and flutes on other songs, noticeably the dark and somewhat creepy "Can't Sleep." Other standout tracks include the Cranberries cover "Electric Blue" (the chant is printed in the liner notes, for those of use not literate in Latin) and the moving ballad "Immortal Beloved."
Actually, a lot of the songs on here remind me of Concrete Blonde, in instrumentation at least. While the backing tracks carry the same kind of slow swagger and heavier guitars featured on the L.A. band's albums (courtesy of bassist Creed, guitarist Mikel, and drummer Greg), Arminta's voice lends the music a chilly attraction that gives the band a distinctive identity. Arminta & Blaq Lily seems to be considering the issues of love, reality and perception from the removed eye of the artisan. This does not detract from the impact of the songs - it does make it a weighty affair, not given to easy background listening. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - it just means you won't be throwing your hands up in the air to Arminta & Blaq Lily at the next house party. It's an album given to setting an ambience that surrounds and envelops the music.
-- Ryan Williams - Ryan Williams

"CMAP Music International"

Arminta & Blaq Lily “Immortal Beloved”
As an A&R rep you cross paths with thousands of bands in the course of a year and Arminta & Blaq Lily is one I encountered earlier this year. While I had previously given their full album a once through listen they were not what I was looking for at the time so the were filed away. Usually this results in a band being forgotten but in the case of Arminta & Blaq Lily, I remembered them instantly on seeing the name. While the Celtic core of the music was forgotten the overall level of quality and competence of the musicians was clearly remembered. In reacquainting myself with them I am once again impressed with the overall consistent quality of all members of this band. Even though Arminta & Blaq Lily makes it appear to be easy playing songs that stretch and at times cross genre boundaries as wide as those that exist between Celtic, Rock and Gothic is not an easy task. This band uses all the tools available to it to produce an edgy Celtic Rock that at times hints of a Gothic root. Arminta’s vocals are haunting and pure with just a hint of Irish brogue in the accent. Her phrasing and annunciation is spot on there is not a single syllable that goes misunderstood and she has just enough of a natural vibrato to give her voice the depth to really drive home the emotion of her lyrics. The use of Keys, strings, guitars and at times a variety of flutes and recorders gives this band a well rounded and intriguing sound that will rouse the interest of fans of groups such as The Coors and Cranberries. If your not one for such traditional sounds though don’t think you have to count Arminta & Blaq Lily out. Simply give a listen to “Who” to see why they are drawing fans from the Gothic and Pop Punk / Grunge genres as well. “Who” makes a strong departure for the traditional Celtic rock sound and conjures up memories of Rocky Horror, The B-52s and The Eurythmics on a quest for Gothic Surf Rock.

----Bobby Bensley--------
CMAP Music International - Bobby Bensley


“This is a VERY original, yet traditionally-influenced group that is definitely going to, and has the potential, to make great waves in several different markets and genres. They are, in fact, poised to be a strong crossover artist. What makes Arminta & Blaq Lily unique is a combination of several factors: first, THAT VOICE. Vocalist Arminta has an amazing range and a deep, throaty quality that likens her to a cross between Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries and Stevie Nicks, the witchiest woman of them all. As you can imagine, the mix of these two artists is a potent and very strong voice, one that directs the flow and emotional commitment of the music; second, the neo-Celtic sound that is derived from narrative, grand, sweeping, raucous genre that is traditional Irish/Celtic music with modern rock touches that never comes off cheesy, or exploitive of the "fare thee well" attitude sometimes given the UK by American stereotypes; but coolest of all, there is finally a place for the wooden recorder in modern rock music. While that might seem comical and hard to place on the outset, this instrument carries a great deal of character and warmth when filling out the notes to maximum capactiy. And this music, while steeped in tradition, is all rock.” Heidi Drockleman - Heidi Drockleman

"Capitol Management Group"

The Haunting intricate melodies that list you into the etheral netherworld of the commercial king you remember.
Arminta will captivate your heart with her motion, her vocal, her desire to please you musically. It's a long way to the top of this music mountain & Arminta will fly there on her own inner strength. Sooo Spectacular! - Robert Metzgar

"Indianapolis Star"

Band unplugs

Arminta comfortably straddles acoustic divide
The evolution of Arminta seems to be complete.

It's the name of a singer and her band, which formed seven years ago as Blaq Lily. The group played modern rock on previous albums "Still Waters" and "Dream Walk," but new recording "Forged in the Fire" marks a move to an unplugged Celtic format that's more Chieftains than Cranberries.
Arminta, her guitar-playing husband Mikel Schwab and percussionist Greg Mrakich write the group's songs.
"We decided about a year ago to actually pick a direction," Arminta says. "Brooke McKinney, who's our mandolin player, came over and we started jamming with her. Then Greg came over and played djembe (a goblet-shape drum that's struck by hand). That's how we became totally focused on doing the acoustic stuff."
The band will celebrate the release of "Fire" Saturday at Radio Radio, 1119 E. Prospect St., and then tackle three more projects in its new style. First up is "Seven Miles to Scotland," which will feature renditions of traditional songs such as "The Blacksmith." Arminta also plans another disc of original work plus a Christmas collection.
Despite her distinctive given name and lyrical references to "Derby," "Derry" and an "emerald valley," Arminta has never visited Ireland or Scotland.
The 41-year-old grew up on a farm near West Lafayette.
Rural textures of banjo and mandolin permeate "Forged in the Fire," highlighting the common threads of Celtic and American folk music.
Chieftains leader Paddy Moloney calls this a "green grass-bluegrass" connection, but Arminta says she's never given it much thought.
"When we wrote 'Left My Home,' I didn't intend it to have a Neil Young feel," she says. "But it ended up that way, and I'm a big Neil Young fan."
One of the band's goals for 2006 is to be invited to play Merle Fest, a large celebration of acoustic music that's presented each year in Wilkesboro, N.C. The 18-year-old festival, designed as a tribute to guitarist Merle Watson, featured Arminta and Schwab in a duo configuration last year.
On June 17, Arminta will headline the world music stage at the 25th annual Taste of Tippecanoe in Lafayette.
After playing hundreds of shows in various settings, the group is at home in nightclubs or on the festival circuit.
"You definitely need to do more pop covers when you play a nightclub, because people want to dance," Arminta says. "Not that we don't like doing that. We put our own spin on every song we perform."
- Dave Lindquist

"Indianapolis Nuvo Newsweekly"

Arminta: going back to basics
Blaq Lily’s new sound goes all acoustic

Arminta and husband Mikel Schwab head up the five-person band Blaq Lily.
For Jennifer Arminta Schwab, better known as Arminta, lead singer for Blaq Lily, it seems that the big changes in her life have always been the result of catastrophe. Most significant was in 1992, when she was poised to break all the records for her class in women’s power lifting. A severe injury during an audition for American Gladiators put her out of sporting action permanently; her subsequent musical career has included broken bones, a busted arm that left her unable to play bass for some time, a flying ladder to the face. Not to mention the time in 2002 when the entire band quit at once.
And yet each of these crises has led to change. Her injuries ended her dream of a record-breaking powerlifting career and a shot at the Olympics, but brought her into music instead. The inability to play bass pushed her into the spotlight and helped her come into her own as a frontwoman. The current incarnation of Blaq Lily is musically tight and as stable as it’s ever been. (As of yet, nobody has really come up with a silver lining to the ladder to the face.)
It is the sum of these experiences that informed the songwriting process of Arminta’s sixth album, Forged in the Fire. Arminta and the newest incarnation of Blaq Lily will be performing at the CD release party at Radio Radio Jan. 14, with The Spares opening up. Admission is $10, and includes the CD and limited-edition live DVD (which, as Mikel points out, retail for $16.99, which makes the show a bargain right there in itself).
The near future promises to be busy, as they’re putting songs together for three new albums: a collection of traditionals entitled Seven Miles to Scotland, a Christmas album and a new album of originals tentatively titled American Celtic. (“Hopefully we’ll break that cycle [of lineup changes] by releasing a bunch of CDs close together,” Mikel noted.) They’ll also be headlining their yearly benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Feb. 28 at Radio Radio.
This album is being released under the Arminta name, but future releases will go under the name “Arminta and Blaq Lily.” The current incarnation of the group includes bassist Duncan Putnam, multitalented banjo/guitar/mandolin/bass player Brooke McKinney and drummer Greg Mrakich, whom Mikel praises as being able to replicate the sound of traditional Celtic drums so closely on his drum kit that even sound engineers are fooled.
NUVO: You’ve changed your style on this most recent album, backing off from the electronics. How would you describe your current sound?
Arminta: We call our musical style progressive Celtic. It’s very earthy, very focused musically. Before we were going two different directions … We just wanted to get more focused and go all acoustic and more Celtic. The only way we knew how to do that was get rid of the electric guitars.
Mikel: It was more alt-rock, but with kind of gothic overtones. The gothic is always there in some overtone. A lot of people associate gothic with Marilyn Manson, but I think of gothic as being like what you would hear in Lord of the Rings. We were going in an electric direction, I hesitate to say in a Cranberries style, but people would listen to obscure Cranberries songs and think it was us.
NUVO: Is there an overall theme to the album?
Mikel: All the songs have a common theme of journey, and different challenges in life, whether it’s starting over on a new life or dealing with the loss of a loved one. That’s why “forged in the fire” kind of describes what we’ve been through with the band. It’s very metaphorical. You can’t look at it and say there’s one experience that does it. You’re going through life’s storms, then you’re in the eye and it looks good, almost too good, and that’s the imagery we’ve got of a ship. We’ve got a lot of Celtic heritage, which is one of the reasons we’ve pursued that the way we have. Arminta’s name has been passed down for generations.
Arminta: “In the Wintertime” is, I think, the most hard, about not wanting to accept reality, and just wanting to give up. But there’s always hope. And there’s always someone there for you.
NUVO: The songs on Forged in the Fire sound very layered, very complex for a five-person band.
Mikel: It’s thick for five musicians. And it’s not like five musicians playing a bunch of overdubs. Many of those songs were cut live. It was like, bang, we did it without even a second take.
Arminta: I’m really excited about it. There’s a few songs on there in particular, every time I hear them, I think, ‘We wrote that!’ And I’m still excited about it. I’m still amazed.
NUVO: What’s it like performing in Indianapolis these days?
Mikel: We know everybody in the scene. There’s not a lot of venues here that cater to what we do. There are a few but not many. The same thing that’s lacking here is what’s lacking everywhere, which is commer - Paul Pogue


Forged in the Fire - Released January 06 - Receiving airplay on Celtimelt, Celtic Pub, Paddy Rock and Highlander radio.
Dream Walk - 3rd CD
Still Waters - 2nd CD
Blaq Lily - Self Titled - Acoustic duet - 1st CD

There are 6 Arminta songs available for download.

Currently Arminta is one of the most requested aritsts on & enjoys radio airplay on the WXIR 92.3 fm Hoosier Spotlight and the nationally syndicated City of Music Radio Hour along with various college and NPR radio stations throughout the Midwest.


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Ye got my Irish feet a stompin!"
Jimmy Holloway - Star Harbor Films

“They have been compared to the Cranberries and the Corrs, but this Indianapolis group is much more than that.”
Steve Hammer – Nuvo Newsweekly Magazine

Whether playing as a duet with Mikel, or backed by her band "Blaq Lily", and featuring flutes, acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin Arminta creates a new style of Celtic music by bringing elements of Dance, Traditional Irish, modern pop harmonies and tribal beats that mix to please a very broad demographic mix.

Mixing dance, music and a bit of comedy, Arminta brings a high energy fun performance to every show that will leave people wanting more and talking for weeks about all the fun they had!

In 1999, Arminta and husband/guitarist Mikel formed the band Blaq Lily, to back her dynamic vocals. Since then, Arminta and Blaq Lily have played over 700 live shows in all types venues through out the United States. Together, Arminta and Mikel have produced 5 independent CD projects with cuts that have received radio air play on specialty radio, college and commercial stations, as well as internet music stations. Their 4th album, Still Waters, was a 2002 finalist in the Just Plain Folks International song writing and album contest. Arminta's song "Lonely", from the same CD, recently received an award in Bill Board Magazine's world songwriting contest.

Arminta and Blaq Lily have sold CDs all over the world, won recognition for their songs on the national level and performed over 750 live shows throughout middle America since 1999.

Their latest release "Forged in the Fire" produced by Whitney Houston engineer George Strakis, this is carrying their music to a new level for 2006 with over 52,000 complete listens of selected songs on their my space music page since April 6 of 2006, their music is generating an exploding my space fan base that has grown by over 14,000 new fans in the same time frame

Everywhere they play the crowd response is tremendous. Combining, their own versions of traditional Irish tunes with dance steps and catchy award winning originals, their performance is electric.