Gig Seeker Pro


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic


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



"The Blues and The Celts"

The Celtic music community is part of the backbone of the CKUA audience and when a regional Celtic act unveils a new recording project, there is usually reason to celebrate.

One of the best Celtic acts on the prairies recently exited the studio and this week Celtara unveiled a new album titled More Than One True Love.

Recorded at Rocky Mountain Sound in Calgary, the album is an impressive twelve-song set combining instrumentals and songs, some of the traditional variety and others composed by members of the quintet.

It is evident Celtara has become a unit where the members breathe in unison and are on the same page when it comes to navigating the musical journey that is taking place.

That said, Celtara flautist’s Tami Cooper laughs when talking about coming up with a banner from which to hang the material.

“More Than One True Love is actually a line from one of the songs on the disc and during the requisite arm-wrestling session to try and name the recording, it was our dear guitarist Andy Illig who gave a rather impromptu impassioned speech to us all. His reasons from wanting to name the disc as we did were that we all love to play music with one another, and we all have families that are so important to us, and that there are other interests that we love that also enrich us,” says Cooper, who once again chose Calgary’s Rocky Mountain Recording Studio to track the material.

With considerable help from engineer Rob Smith, Celtara recorded the material over the course of a few sessions live off the floor, which is no easy feat.

“I think we pulled it off well because we’ve matured enough as a band to have meet the challenge of recording this way. It was a huge amount of fun,” adds Cooper, who along with Illig, has bandmates in Bonnie Gregory (fiddle, harp & voice), Steven Bell (accordion, voice, piano), and Mark Arnison (bodhran, percussion).

“We have always been committed to operating as a collective, with the idea that five creative brains working together (and arm-wrestling!) will come up with a more interesting result than one leader and a bunch of side players.”

It’s a point of view that is hard to argue with in this case as Gregory is spinning some fine original material into the mix. Members of Celtara have an acute sense of what is a good fit for the unit from outside sources, and one need look no further than the inclusion of
Follow The Heron from the songbook of Scottish singer-songwriter Karine Polwart to back up that notion.

Sonically the disc presents a warm tone with well-defined and balanced mixes and the graphic art direction and layout of the package is stunning.

Celtara celebrates the release of More Than One True Love with a concert at Muttart Hall in Alberta College in downtown Edmonton on Saturday, January 22 and there was only one choice when it came time to pick a host for the evening.

So yes, you guessed it, Andy Donnelly host of CKUA’s immensely popular Celtic Show will be introducing the band and injecting his enthusiasm and humour into the proceedings as Celtara bring in 2011 with More Than One True Love. The disc will no doubt be getting its fair share of spins over the next few months on this network that knows how to properly support our finest regional roots musicians. - CKUA Radio Network

"Quick Hits (And Misses)"





Rating 3 1/2

The very idea of Celtic fusion can make the hackles rise at times, especially when instrumental facility overwhelms grit and soul; just ask anyone whose had to sort through similar jazz and bluegrass explorations. The five Edmonton members of Celtara have done their share of fusion in previous bands, but they're also adept at the real thing as well -just check out Bonnie Gregory's voice on Lord Cameron's Daughter, her fiddle work on the instrumental Yo Yo/Gaestebud, the accordion playing of Steven Bell and Tami Cooper's tasteful flute rippling throughout these 12 tightly arranged numbers. The balancing act of traditionalism and genre exploration is taut and at times even thrilling here, at least in part due to what appears to be a generous partnership. Mark Arnison holds down the percussion, and while he's clearly adept at both African and Irish instruments, there's never any point at which either djembe or bodhran threatens to take the song into feckless grooving, which is high praise indeed. Celtara's CD release party is Saturday at 8 p.m. at Muttart Hall, Alberta College, 10050 Macdonald Drive. Tickets are $15 at Tix on the Square, 780-420-1757, or at the door.

Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal
- Edmonton Journal


More Than One True Love - Released 2011 - Radio play on CKUA (top 30 - January/February 2011), CBC Radio One

Until The Morning Light - Released 2007 - Radio play on CKUA, CBC Radio



CELTARA is a collective of five accomplished musicians from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada wielding fiddle, harp, flute, accordion, piano, bouzouki, guitar, bodhran, djembe, and world percussion instruments to great effect. From flying-fingered foot-stomping jigs and reels, to beautiful ballads and richly textured and layered songs, Celtara brings infectious energy, engaging warmth and humour to concert halls, folk clubs, festivals, ceilidhs, community halls and house concerts, private events (and trains and riverboats!).