Celtic Solstice

Paul Winter and Friends

Released 1999

Run Time: 57 minutes 40 seconds

Produced by: Paul Winter, Dixon Van Winkle, and Davy Spillane

©℗1999 Earth Music Productions, LLC

Grammy-winning Celtic Solstice was born from the creative interplay of Irish and American musicians in a contemporary celebration of the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year within the magnificent space of the world’s largest gothic cathedral, New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

“A musical journeyman who has composed, recorded and performed authoritatively in genres ranging from bossa nova to new age, Paul Winter assembles a group of talented musicians to join him in a celebration of Celtic music – another style he has explored extensively over the years, … . Material ranges from new originals written by Winter, Spillane, Halley, Madden, and others to new arrangements of traditional Celtic tunes, including “Golden Apples of the Sun,” a musical adaptation of W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Song of Wandering Aengus.” A wonderfully produced and uplifting album.”

– Billboard – spotlight review


“From the opening notes of Winter’s soprano echoing in that reverberant space on “Triumph,” it’s clear this isn’t your typical contemporary Celtic album. Winter is joined by organist Paul Halley and Irish uilleann piper Davy Spillane, and it’s an impassioned, intuitive improvisation that swirls in echoing harmonies that lift to the cathedral’s ceiling. And that’s just the first track. Winter has put together a series of solos, trios, and larger ensemble pieces that work a similar magic. He’s joined by singer Karan Casey from the group Solas on the serene “Golden Apples of the Moon.” Tin whistle player and flutist Joanie Madden from Cherish the Ladies offers one of her loveliest compositions, “Running Through the Woods with Keetu,” named for Winter’s daughter. But Celtic Solstice isn’t all serene evocations of the Celtic Spirit. Riverdance fiddler Eileen Ivers, harpist Carol Thompson, and uilleann piper Jerry O’ Sullivan join a full ensemble of Irish, African, and South American percussion on “My Fair and Faithful Love/Blarney Pilgrim,” which slow-builds to a full Irish stomp. Paul Winter has tapped into the communal nature of Irish music. It’s the same spirit he takes from his jazz background. When he joins the pipes and whistles in dizzying improvisations or contemplative ruminations, there’s a sense of shared exploration that takes you with him.” – John Diliberto


Paul Winter | soprano saxophone

Davy Spillane | Uilleann pipes

Eileen Ivers | fiddle

Karan Casey | vocals

Joanie Madden | whistle and flute

Jerry O’Sullivan | pipes

Paul Halley | pipe organ

Jamey Haddad | percussion  

Zan McLeod | guitar

Carol Thompson | Celtic harp

Austin McGrath | bodhran

Bakithi Kumalo | bass

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