Childsplay’s Childsplay Live

cover art, Childsplay LiveBefore encountering the phenomenon that is Childsplay, the name meant little more than a pretty moniker for a Celtic band. Hearing Childsplay for the first time and finding out the meaning behind the story has been a fascinating experience. For those not familiar with Childsplay (and that included this reviewer until he heard this CD Childsplay Live and dug a little further) the best comparison would be that of an acoustic folk/roots music orchestra.

Childsplay is indeed a movable feast; the brainchild of instrument maker Bob Childs. Each of the musicians plays a violin made by Childs himself. In his workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Bob produces instruments with a deep, sweet, and dark sound whose quality has captured the interest of leading string performers through the United States and beyond.

Childsplay Live is the latest CD from the Childsplay camp. It is a wide-ranging and eclectic mix of Irish, American, and European music. Everything goes it seems — nothing is rendered invalid and the result is a unique cross pollination of varied sounds, styles and nuances. It would be easy to take the notion that Childsplay is a fiddle-based situation, as most of the membership plays fiddles made at Bob Childs workbench, but other reed, string and percussion instruments dwell in the household, and Molly Gawler and Joyce Anderson supply sweet vocal interludes on “The Maple’s Lament” and “Rambling Man.”

The group Childsplay includes over two-dozen musicians drawn from the folk, traditional, Celtic, and roots music communities whose mixed backgrounds and styles blend to form a cohesive whole. Getting such a large ensembles together is not an easy task but such is the respect shown to Bob Childs and his instruments. Childsplay Live offers an exhilarating chariot ride through a myriad of diverse musical styles displaying versatility, ensemble virtuosity, technical panache, and exuberance.

No’am Newmann reviewed another Childsplay album, The Great Waltz. Iain Nicholas Mackenzie reviewed Waiting for the Dawn, and Barb Truex reviewed a concert by Childsplay.

(Childsplay Music, 2002)

John O'Regan

John O'Regan, Senior Writer, is a broadcaster and freelance journalist from Limerick, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines such as Irish Music, Folk Roots, Rock 'N'Reel, The Living Tradition and Hot Press. He has also had articles and reviews published in the USA, Canada, Germany, Norway and Australia. John is one of the contributors to Clancy's Irish Music Radio.Com an internet Web site and Radio service devoted to Irish music. He contributed to The Companion to Irish Traditional Music (Cork University Press 1999). Through his broadcasting and journalistic work, John O'Regan has achieved a reputation as an authority on both Traditional and Contemporary music. He presents "Regan's Rambles" with Radio Galtee on Sundays from 7.30-9.30pm. John has appeared as a guest contributor on RTE Radio One, 2FM, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Derby, Downtown Radio (Northern Ireland), 98FM (Dublin), and Radio Kerry. He appeared as a guest contributor on the BBC Radio 4 Arts Show "Kaleidoscope" in October 1997 and on "De Groote Boodschaap" on VRT Radio 1in Brussels in September 1998. John O'Regan has written liner notes for albums by Irish and International artists. He wrote the liner notes for The Celtic Heartbeat Collection and A Winter's Tale released by Celtic Heartbeat. His most recent compilation album projects include A Magical Gathering -The Clannad Anthology for which he compiled the tracks and wrote both the liner notes and track notes featured in the 46 page colour booklet attached with the 34 track double CD compilation released in the US on April 16th 2002. John has also lectured on Music Journalism and Media Analysis to City &Guilds and N.C.V.A. Sound Technology /Sound Engineering students in Pulse Studios Dublin and Carrick On Shannon V.E.C. During July/August 2002 John led workshops on ‘developments in Irish Traditional Music’ at Cleveland Irish Festival in Cleveland Ohio and Peoria -‘Erin Feis’ in Peoria ,Illinois USA. For John, music is life and spreading its good vibes his vocation.

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