Celtique Air

Celtique Air


Celtique Air features vocal / instrumental arrangements of traditional, modern and original music representing several countries. Languages used - Gaelic, English and French with harp, tin whistle, accordion and bodhran. Concerts, workshops, festivals and conferences.


Helen and Jane first joined forces as members of a larger Celtic folk group - Oran. "When Jane took up the harp and started being part of my Gaelic songs, I thought I had died and gone to heaven". That was 21 years ago and while they both continued to teach school and raise families they also found themselves accepting invitations to give recitals, present workshops and collaborate with other musians to create the tapestry that is the New Brunswick Celtic folk music scene. Eventually the invitations came from neighbouring provinces as well as the state of Maine. In 1996 they performed at the International Folk Harp Festival in Olympia, Washington.
Now that both are retired from their day jobs and their children have flown the proverbial coop, Celtique Air has new creative freedom. Helen, who has been teaching Gaelic language for many years, is developing a Gaelic course recorded on CD, including songs which reinforce pronunciation and cultural understanding. Her latest workshops have been in New Brunswick and Michigan.
Jane is composing songs and instrumentals and learning to use digital music production software so that virtual orchestras are now available to her. This new repertoire has been the motivation to add other musicians in some of their performances. Depending upon the venue, Celtique Air may also include violin, cello, mandolin, guitar and or percussion.
Helen is a native Gaelic speaker, born in Grand mère, Quebec, of a Scottish mother (Isle of Lewis) and a New Brunswick father who took to Gaelic like a fish to water. The kids spoke only Gaelic until grade one and it was Dad who taught them the old Gaelic songs, legends and poetry, while Mom instilled dance and customs. (The lyrics of Celtique Air's "Call of the Glens" were written by Helen's father). As she grew, Helen was involved in all things Scottish - dance, pipeband and, of course, singing. Her voice is a gentle, clear soprano with a warm vibrato. This natural vibrato has made its way into her performance of tin whistle as well. Helen's facility with languages resulted in a teaching career in the New Brunswick French Immersion programme. This experience contributed to Celtique Air's interest in Acadian traditional music. Helen is also very involved with directing five levels of choirs ages five to senior citizen age.
Jane Ogilvie began her musical life as a pianist, participating in music festivals and recitals throughout her early years. Her relationship with the accordion began by accident when the family was storm-stayed on the island of St. Pierre, off the coast of Newfoundland. To keep his daughters occupied, Dad bought them instruments and Jane was handed a small squeeze box. Jane went on to study music at Université de Moncton with piano as her major , but when she began teaching music in the schools, it was the portable accordion that she found most useful in the classroom. "Then one day, when I was listening to The Chieftains, I heard this instrument come in - it completely changed the feel of the piece. It became haunting and far away. Someone told me it was a harp and I knew I had to learn to play it." Harp is now her primary performance instrument. Jane's formal training has proven to be an asset to the duo in many ways, none the least of which is the ability to write arrangements and compositions which include the orchestral world.
Jane and Helen have each contributed to the CDs of several local groups, including Oran, Gary Silliker, Solstice and Eric LeBlanc. Their first Celtique Air CD, "Voice of the Leal", includes Gaelic repertoire as well as the music of Turlough O'Carolan and Robbie Burns. "Call of the Glens", to be launched October, 2008, will be their first full-length album and spans a wide range of styles, from acapella Gaelic songs to a medley of jigs and reels to original contemporary compositions. Fellow musicians, who often play with Celtique Air in concert, have generously contributed their talents to this project.
Celtique Air now looks forward to expanding their boundaries, artistically and geographically. Their hope is that they are able to pass along the delight they experience in performing and teaching this beautiful and infinitely diverse music.
Celtique Air is very pleased to be an integral part of Gaelstrumm. When a larger group is required for certain functions, then Gaelstrumm is usually the one they perform in.


Where Does Mother Go?

Written By: Jane Ogilvie

Where Does Mother Go?


Where does mother go and tell me how am I to know
When to stay behind and when to follow as she goes
Back into a time that's made its way into her mind
Tell me if you know, where does my mother go?

Verse One

This must be a place that can't be bound by time or space
Where logic can't reside, and what is obvious - denied
Where loved ones who are gone return and carry on
And a daughter who is grown is just another friend she's known


Verse Two

I remember well who stood me up each time I fell
Who took the time to be my endless source of sanity
How can a mind so bright just fade into the night
And why can I not be the light that she was for me?


Murmansk Run

Written By: Jane Ogilvie

In 1985 I got a call.
My family was invited, one and all.
Some heroes we would celebrate.
(Forty years is not so late.)
Peace medals for my father and his chums,
Who sailed The Murmansk Run.

My eldest son asked, "What's the medal for?"
I said,"For being brave in time of war".
"But he was in the navy, right? I mean did Granpop really fight?"
I said,"The fact we're here at all is luck.
These men were sitting ducks!"

So here's to the seamen, those heroes of the war
Who braved the North Atlantic to reach the Russian shore
And God rest the souls of the sailors who succumbed
With the 97 vessels lost to the Murmansk Run.

The Russians thought that Hitler was their friend
But Germany attacked them in the end
And when they needed war supplies, the Russians turned to the Allies
Well we were glad to have them back on side
Glad to save their hides!

The strategy was simpler than you'd think:
To send more ships than Germany could sink
And if just half of them arrived, that might be enough supplies
To help the Russian soldier stand his ground
And cut the monster down!


The Yanks, they built the freighter,"Liberty"
And everyday they churned out 2 or 3
With 80 freighters, a few Corvettes, armoured cruisers, and, don't forget,
Our fierce and fast destroyers. All these ships -
A convoy hard to miss!

Now came the job of moving all these ships
From Halifax to St. John's to Reykjavik
Then on through storms of ice and guns
Their missions numbered 41
And 97 ships were lost at sea. Those Grandads never would be.


Your Grandad sailed aboard The Iroquoi,
The finest fighting ship you ever saw!
With guns for fighting ships or planes, torpedoes fastened, crewmen trained
And, on the rails, depth charges set to go
For trouble from below.

And they knew there'd be trouble, that was sure.
For Hitler wanted Russia, and, what's more,
They knew the route our ships would take
And with their whole campaign at at stake
The Germans fired with everything they had.
They fired at your Grandad!

And so, in the end, Hitler wore his soldiers out
With the brutal Russian winter, combined with allied clout
And many will say that securing Russian ground
Is what gave us the advantage, what turned that war around


You Can Do This

Written By: Jane Ogilvie


Written by: Jane Ogilvie

Verse 1

You can do this.
Isn't that what people say?
Just hang in there - is another nice cliche.
For tomorrow will be brighter than today
We're behind you all the way
You can do this

Verse 2

Well that's fine.
I suppose it's often true.
Like the time we decided just us two
That together there is nothing we can't do
And I knew if I had you
I could do this

And my life is so much easier it seems
When I know there's someone waiting in the wings
If the fears and tears are shared
They're much easier to bear

Verse 3
Ah but now - things are different from before
All this silence
It's getting harder to ignore
And I sometimes wonder what I wake up for
No, I'm really not that sure why I do this

Now each day has just become a new ordeal
People say they know exactly how I feel
Do they know, do they comprehend
that this emptiness won't end

Verse 4

Because now, life is harder than before
And this silence - well it cannot be ignored
Fort my darling -you're not with me anymore
And I'm really not that sure I can do this


"Voice of the Leal" - a demo of 8 selections featuring harp, voice and tin whistle.
"Call of the Glens" to be launched this October.

Set List

Our typical set list would include both instrumental and vocal pieces in Gaelic, English and French, such as :

Star of the County Down - Irish
Far am bith mi fhin - Gaelic mouth music
Sonata Celtique - Instrumental ensemble (original)
Ah, si mon moine voulait dancer? -Acadian
Spancil Hill / Drumshambo Jig / Tenpenny Bit - Irish
The Log Drivers' Waltz - (cover) Wade Hemsworth
The Axemen - (cover) Douglas Carter
Loch Tay Boat Song - Scottish
Bridgit Cruise / Carolan's Receipt / Carolan's Draught - O'Carolan
Oidhche mhath leibh - Gaelic

A typical concert set would last about 60 minutes. Often required to do two sets.