The Website for Fans of the Afro Celt Sound System










 

Special thanks to Afro Celts' fan discographer Don for his substantial contributions to this Discography section. If you're aware of any other discography information, please send us an e-mail at afroceltsfan@yahoo.com.

 

VOLUME 5: ANATOMIC

 

Tracks

 

When I Still Needed You
My Secret Bliss
Mojave
Sene´ (Working the Land)
Anatomic
Beautiful Rain
Mother
Dhol Dogs
Drake

 

 

 

 

Release Date:  October 3, 2005 (UK)/October 4, 2005 (US)
Length:
Format: CD


Notes: Full of beautiful melodies, unique instrumentation, and the top-notch musicianship fans expect, Anatomic marks the Afro Celt Sound System's ten-year anniversary with power and style.  The band's first album of completely new songs since 2003's Seed (the remix project Pod was released in 2004), Anatomic contains enough of the band's signature sound to satisfy longtime fans while at the same time embracing more traditional song structures, English-language vocals, and what might be described as a "pan-global music" approach. 

 

In the past, the band has employed the talents of several rock artists (Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Sinead OConnor, Mundy) to flesh out its songs, but the majority of Anatomic's guests come from the "world music" genre.  It is surprising, then, to discover that the new album rivals even Further in Time as the band's most accessible, "pop-oriented" effort to date.  "Beautiful Rain" finds vocalist Iarla O'Lionaird singing entirely in English, amidst a backdrop of atmospheric keyboards, acoustic guitar and percussion. Iarla also trades English vocals in a duet with Dorothee Munyaneza (singing in Kinyarwanda) on "Mother" and Sevara Nazarkhan (singing in Uzbeki) on "My Secret Bliss."  The latter track is another example of Anatomic's mainstream appeal despite the Uzbeki language barrier and  the traditional harp and acoustic guitar, the song is enhanced by keyboard programming and a distinctly European vibe that are perfectly suited for radio play.

 

Fans of the band's distinctly African and Celtic elements as well as the epic, extended soundscapes in which they are contained will love Anatomic and appreciate the forays into more conventional song craft. The album's emotional and musical high point, "Mojave," is the Afro Celt Sound System at its absolute best.  A concert favorite for several years, "Mojave" unfolds slowly with a spiritual, Gaelic invocation courtesy of Iarla.  About three minutes later, the signature programming of Simon Emmerson, Martin Russell and Mass emerges, followed closely by a beautiful duet between Irish whistle and uilleann pipes courtesy of James McNally and Emer Mayock, respectively.  The massive percussion of Johnny Kalsi and N'Faly Kouyate take "Mojave" into full flight, and just as the song appears to be winding down, James swoops in again (near the eight-minute mark) with a top-line flute melody that pushes it into the stratosphere.

 

When it comes to the band's African element, three tracks, in particular, are deserving of attention. "Sene´ (Working the Land)" combines an agrarian lyric honoring those that farm and work the land (sung in Malinke by N'Faly, who also plays kora) with keyboards and modern production reminiscent of Youssou N'Dour's later work.  Rwandan singer Dorothee Munyaneza, who duets with Iarla on "Mother," also contributes vocals to the album's epic opening track, "When I Still Needed You." Like all of the band's best work, "When I Still Needed You" unfolds slowly, adding layers of keyboards, guitar, percussion, hurdy-gurdy (courtesy of Nigel Eaton which hasn't been featured this prominently since "Release") and, eventually, Dorothee's compelling vocals.  Fans might recall that the band first worked with Dorothee Munyaneza, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, while composing music for the film Hotel Rwanda.  While their collaboration on the soundtrack, "Mama Arira," was limited by the abbreviated nature of film scores, "When I Still Needed You" and "Mother" are both stunning triumphs.

 

The remaining songs on Anatomic are diverse and top-notch.  The instrumental title track finds the band members taking memorable turns on whistles, pipes, fiddle, percussion (Johnny's dhol drums make a powerful appearance) and guitar (Simon brings the funk with some quirky electric guitar riffs).  Meanwhile, "Dhol Dogs," despite its title, is not so much a showcase for percussion as it is for Simon's guitar and what sounds like an Asian flute over a Euro-dance groove.  "Drake" makes for a fitting conclusion to the album, as well as to the Afro Celt Sound System's first ten years as a band.  Like "Mojave," this song has appeared in the band's live repertoire for years (under the title "Mandrake") but makes its album debut here.  Featuring Iarla's Gaelic vocals and taking a mellow, acoustic approach similar to Volume 3's "Onwards" for much of its duration, the song suddenly shifts gears near its conclusion to incorporate spicy electronic sounds and "drum-n-bass" flourishes.

Anatomic proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Afro Celt Sound System is still one of the most innovative, talented and creative acts on the world stage.  Here's to another ten years and beyond!

 

Please also check out our Articles page for our track by track review of Anatomic and our Lyrics page for the lyrics to most of the songs.

 

Anatomic Related Singles

 

Anatomic Radio Edit Sampler [PROMO]

 

1. When I Still Needed You (Edit)
2. My Secret Bliss (Edit)
3. Anatomic (Edit)

 

FORMAT: CD
NOTES: This US-only EP features three songs from Volume 5, edited down for radio play.  The tune that suffers most is "When I Still Needed You," the running time of which has been cut almost in half.  Faring much better is "My Secret Bliss," which comes off surprisingly well as a 3 1/2 minute radio single.

 

Sene (TransGlobal Underground Remix)

 

FORMAT: MP3
NOTES: The acclaimed world fusion act TransGlobal Underground remixed this track from "Anatomic" in 2005.  It was not released as a single, but it is available as a free MP3 download from
www.realworldrecords.com/afrocelts.

 

SEED


Tracks


Cyberia
Seed
Nevermore
The Other Side
Ayub’s Song
As You Were
Rise
Rise Above It
Deep Channel
All Remains
Green (Nevermore Instrumental)

 

Original Release Date:  March 24, 2003 (UK)/March 24, 2003 (US)
Length:  66 min, 56 sec
Format:  CD


Notes: For their fourth album, the band dropped the “Sound System” from its name and became known simply as Afro Celts.  In interviews, Simon explained that the collective had evolved into a true band, and as such the “Sound System” moniker – which implies DJs and samples to the exclusion of musicians and instruments – no longer applied.  Still, reviewers’ suggestions that the band had “gone acoustic” or that it had lost its interest in keyboards and beats were wildly overblown.  To be sure, there is great emphasis on song craft and diverse instrumentation on Seed, but the programmed beats and ambient textures that marked the band’s earlier efforts have not been eliminated altogether.  Even the largely acoustic “Ayub’s Song/As You Were” contains keyboard playing by Simon. 

 

In keeping with the “band” feel, Seed places a heavier emphasis on live bass (both acoustic and electric) and gives Johnny’s, N’Faly’s and Moussa’s percussion greater prominence in the mixThe band lineup for Seed includes Simon Emmerson, James McNally, Iarla O’Lionaird (whose vocals are given much greater prominence than on the band’s previous efforts), Martin Russell, N’Faly Kouyate, Myrdhin, Mass, Johnny Kalsi, Moussa Sissokho, and Emer Mayock.  When it came to enlisting the help of guest musicians, the band clearly felt that it was no longer necessary to rely on the “big names” that had graced their prior album.  But while the guest collaborators on Seed aren’t as well known as they were on Volume 3, they are no less effective in adding new flavors to the music.  Canadian flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook adds an enticing gypsy feel to the opening track “Cyberia,” while Martin Hayes and Eileen Ivers bring their renowned fiddling talents to select tracks.  The album’s centerpiece is “Rise/Rise Above It,” a slow building 13-minute epic.  The opening features an ambient Gaelic invocation courtesy of Iarla, and the remainder of the song is sung in English by Irish singer Mundy (whose vocal delivery style sounds remarkably similar to U2’s Bono).

 

The songs on Seed were perfectly suited to a live performance setting, and the band appeared at various European festivals and embarked on another well-received tour of North America.  Prior to the tour, the band had begun work on a new album, tentatively titled Pod, that featured remixes of existing tracks in addition to some new material.

About Seed, music critic Tad Hendrickson wrote: “The change sounds radical, but it's really just a refinement in their working relationship and songwriting skill. Consequently, Seed holds together more strongly as an album. The songs are more consistently crafted and sonically rich here, with different voices and instruments coming to the fore, but never outshining the greater whole. Highlights include the blues slide guitar-driven title track, the… acoustic and Irish jig-inspired "Ayub's Song/As You Were," and the Radiohead-influenced "All Remains."

 

Seed [JAPAN BONUS TRACK]


Cyberia
Seed
Nevermore
The Other Side
Ayub’s Song/As You Were
Rise
Rise Above It
Deep Channel
All Remains
Green (Nevermore Instrumental)
Bonus Track: Johnny at Sea


Format: CD

Notes: The Japanese edition of Seed contains a bonus track, “Johnny at Sea,” that is not available on any other Afro Celts release (although a “Monitor Mix” of the song was posted on the band’s Web site and Simon has suggested that the song might also be included on the forthcoming remix album).  “Johnny at Sea” is a percussion-heavy track that also features punchy African vocals, an accordion, and electronic textures.

 

Seed Related Singles

 

Rise Above It [PROMO]


Rise Above It (Radio Remix/Edit)
Rise Above It (Album Version)
Format:  CD (US)


Notes: This two-track promo CD features the album version of “Rise Above It” (9:56) along with a new remix/edit (3:56) of the track.  Rather than building slowly, as the album version does, the remix comes on hard and fast with loud chanting, finger-blistering acoustic guitar, and an aggressive drum program.  The remix offers an interesting take on the song, but most would agree that there’s just no way to gracefully cut down a 10-minute song (13 minutes if you include Iarla’s “Rise” intro) into a 4-minute radio hit.

 

VOLUME 3: FURTHER IN TIME


Tracks


North
North 2
When You’re Falling
Colossus
Lagan
Shadowman
Life Begin Again
Further in Time
Go On Through
Persistence of Memory
The Silken Whip
Onwards

 

Original Release Date: June 18, 2001 (UK)/ June 19, 2001 (US)
Length:  70 min, 42 sec
Format:  CD/Double vinyl LP (UK only)


Notes: Volume 3: Further in Time brought the Afro Celt Sound System a Grammy nomination, maximum exposure and a remarkable degree of commercial success, particularly for a “world music act.”  The album itself found the group highlighting elements of its first two projects while at the same time placing a greater emphasis on songwriting.  The result combines cinematic, ambient epics (“North/North 2”), fan-pleasing Celtic/African jams (“Colossus”), and radio-friendly pop hooks (“When You’re Falling”). The African element of the Afro Celt Sound System’s music is showcased to great effect on Volume 3, particularly on the punchy, rap-tinged “Shadowman” and the beautiful album closer, “Onwards” (featuring the vocals of N’Faly Kouyate).  The depth and richness of Iarla O’Lionaird vocals are showcased on “Lagan” and “Persistence of Memory”, and James McNally’s Irish whistle work on “The Silken Whip” is beyond beautiful.

 

The formal band lineup for Volume 3 included Simon Emmerson, James McNally, Iarla O’Lionaird, Martin Russell, N’Faly Kouyate, Demba Barry, Johnny Kalsi, Moussa Sissokho, uilleann piper Emer Mayock, and newcomer Mass.  The list of contributing guest musicians included some very big names, including Peter Gabriel (who sang vocals and played keyboards on the hit single “When You’re Falling”), former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant (who provided lead vocals for “Life Begin Again,” which was also released as a promotional single in the US), Pina Kollars (an Austrian folk singer who later released a solo album on Realworld), and Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Ciaran Tourish (members of the traditional Irish super group Altan).  Adding further “star power” to the endeavor, British producer Stephen Hague (New Order, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys) co-produced several tracks alongside Simon, Martin, and James.

 

Volume 3 made big waves in the United States, where it was promoted by a well-received tour (unfortunately, many of the tour dates were cancelled in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks).  The Afro Celt Sound System performed on stage with Peter Gabriel at WOMAD USA 2001, and also made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.  Volume 3 included an updated version of the Noodle interactive musical game that originally appeared on Volume 2.  The enhanced track on the CD contained a special version of “Colossus,” which could be remixed using the 2nd generation Noodle program available on the band’s web site.

 

VOLUME 3: FURTHER IN TIME [BORDERS BONUS CD]

 

Disc 1: Track list same as above.


Bonus Disc

 

Eireann (Mass Remix)
Mandrake (Live)

Format: CD (US only)
Notes: Initial pressings of Volume 3 were bundled with a bonus disc, available exclusively at Borders books and music stores in the United States.  The bonus disc included two tracks not available elsewhere: “Eireann (Mass Remix)” and “Mandrake (Live).”  The first track was an aggressive, beat-heavy remix of “Eireann” (which originally appeared on Volume 2), by new band member/programmer Mass.  The second song is an acoustic track, featuring vocals by Iarla, recorded live on March 19, 2000 in Los Angeles for 89.9 KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” radio program hosted by Nic Harcourt.

 

Volume 3 Related Singles


When You’re Falling


When You’re Falling (Short Radio Edit)
When You’re Falling (Wren and Morley Mix)
When You’re Falling (Album Version)
When You’re Falling (Enhanced Track – Music Video)
Format:  CD (UK/Europe only)


Notes: The “Short Radio Edit” on this CD is just that – a radio-friendly version of the album track that simply eliminates certain musical phrases and then fades out early.  As such, the bass-heavy “Wren and Morley” mix is the only song on this CD that will genuinely appeal to those who already own the album.  The enhanced music video is definitely worth watching.  It features cutting edge special effects, along with a cameo appearance by Peter Gabriel, playing the part of an airline pilot.

 

When You’re Falling [PROMO]


When You’re Falling (Short Radio Edit)
When You’re Falling (Long Radio Edit)
Format: CD single (UK only)


Notes: Unlike the “radio edits” for the singles from Volume 1, which were actually remixes, the edits on this CD really are just edits (shorter versions of the album track).

 

When You’re Falling [PROMO]


When You’re Falling (Short Radio Edit)
When You’re Falling (Long Radio Edit)
When You’re Falling (Album Version)
Call-Out Hook

Format:  CD single (US only)


Notes: Again, this promo single features the full album mix along with two shortened versions of the same song.  The “call out hook” is apparently a pre-produced statement promoting Further in Time.

 

Life Begin Again [PROMO]


Life Begin Again (Radio Edit)
Life Begin Again (Album Version)
Format: CD single (US only)


Notes: The popularity of Robert Plant on AOR (Album Oriented Rock) stations in the United States led to the release of this track as a promotional single from Volume 3.  It contains the full album version as well as an edit of the same track.

 

Onwards (Ski Oakenfull Remix)

 

FORMAT: MP3
NOTES: This track from "Volume 3" was remixed by DJ Ski Oakenfull for a planned CD/vinyl single.  The project was never released, but the remix can be heard as a streaming audio track at www.realworldrecords.com/afrocelts.

 

 

VOLUME 2: RELEASE

 

Tracks


Release
Lovers of Light
Eireann
Urban Aire
Big Cat
Even in My Dreams
Amber
Hypnotica
Riding the Waves
I Think Of…
Release It (Instrumental)

 

 

Original Release Date: April 26, 1999 (UK)/May 18, 1999 (US)
Length: 64 min, 03 sec
Format: CD

 

Notes: As recording of the follow-up to the Afro Celt Sound System’s groundbreaking debut album was set to commence in 1997, tragedy struck.  Jo Bruce, who played keyboards on Volume 1 and who was an active member of the Afro Celts’ core group, died suddenly and unexpectedly of an asthma attack.  The loss of their dear friend and trusted collaborator hit the remaining members of the group very hard; and for a time it appeared that a second Afro Celt Sound System album might not materialize.

 

However, a breakthrough came when the band collaborated with Irish singer Sinead O’Connor, who co-wrote the title track “Release” with the band and who also provided vocals for the song.  The English-language lyrics seem to be written from the perspective of Jo Bruce himself, as he asks his band mates not to grieve his loss, but to celebrate his “release” from the shackles of earthly existence.  The remainder of the album grew out of this cathartic experience, and found the band experimenting with more traditionally-structured songs and verses in addition to writing the extended ambient and dance numbers for which it had become known on Volume 1.

 

By the time Volume 2 was released, the Afro Celt Sound System had evolved into a proper band, comprised of Simon Emmerson, James McNally, Iarla O’Lionaird, Martin Russell, N’Faly Kouyate, Myrdhin, and Moussa Sissokho.  In addition to Sinead O’Connor, guests on the album included uilleann pipers Ronan Browne and Michael McGoldrick, and Dhol Foundation leader Johnny Kalsi (who would soon become an “official” member of the band himself).

 

Volume 2: Release was an enhanced CD that contained the first-generation of Noodle, a “musical toy” developed by Realworld Multimedia.  By inserting the CD into their computers, users could manipulate various onscreen graphics to “remix” their own version of the song “Whirl-Y-Reel 1” from Volume 1.

 

VOLUME 2: RELEASE [JAPANESE BONUS TRACKS]

 

Tracks

 

Release
Lovers of Light
Eireann
Urban Aire
Big Cat
Even in My Dreams
Amber
Hypnotica
Riding the Waves
I Think Of…
Release It (Instrumental)
Whirl-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix – Radio Edit)
Inion (Remix Edit)

 

Format:  CD

Notes:  This Japan-only release features two bonus tracks, both of which can also be found on the European Whirl-Y-Reel CD single.


Release [Record Company Promo/Pre-release]

 

CD1: Album Unmastered/Unsequenced

 

Release (Edited Master)
Lovers of Light
Eireann
Big Cat (Edited Master)
Rons (Even in My Dreams)
Urban Aire
Amber
Hypnotica
Riding the Waves
I Think Of…
Release (Instrumental)


CD2: Album Mixes

 

Ancestors (Edited Master)
Ron `98
Eireann
Amber
I Remember
Hypnotica
Big Cat (Realworld Mix)

 

Format: CD
Length:  69 min 41 sec (CD1)/48 min 23 sec (CD2)


Notes: This set is one of the most interesting (and elusive) in the Afro Celts’ catalogue.  Whereas “promotional copy” albums (in their finished form) are typically sent to radio stations, record stores, and the press prior to release, this 2-CD set does not follow that pattern.  Rather, it is comprised of early, unfinished mixes of songs from the album.  As such, it was probably designed to generate “buzz” about the forthcoming album among record company executives and select industry insiders, but was not intended to be heard by the general public. 

 

Still, the album is noteworthy for Afro Celts fans because it gives an interesting glimpse of Release as a work in progress.  The first disc consists of rough, unmastered (except where noted) mixes of the songs from Release.  The running order differs from that found on the final album and several of the songs are notably longer.  The second disc contains mastered mixes of seven of the songs from Release (although, contrary to the title, several of these are not the final album versions), and is much better in terms of sound quality than disc one. 

 

Several of the songs differ significantly from those found on the commercial version of Release (“Even in My Dreams” is identified by the working titles “Rons (Even in My Dreams)” and “Ron `98,” while “I Think Of…” is listed on Disc 2 as “I Remember”).  The title track, “Release,” (titled “Ancestors” on Disc 2) contains an extended introduction and runs almost a minute longer than the album version.  The two most noteworthy tracks on this collection are the epic “Realworld Mix” of “Big Cat,” which runs nearly two minutes longer (9:20) than the version found on Release (7:47); and “Amber,” which contains an additional instrumental section and a third verse sung in Gaelic by Iarla.

 

Volume 2: Release [PROMO]

 

CD1
1. Release (Radio Edit)

 

CD2
(Full "Volume 2: Release" album)

 

FORMAT: 2xCD
NOTES: In the US, some promotional copies of the "Release" album included a second disc featuring the radio edit of the title track, "Release."  A sticker on the jewel case notified DJs that the radio edit was included.

 

Volume 2 Related Singles

 

Release

 

Release (Album Edit)
Release (Rollo Remix/Radio Edit)
Release (Nu Yorican Soul Mix)
Release (Enhanced Track – Music Video)

 

Format:  CD single (UK/Europe only)
Notes:  Clearly, Virgin and Realworld went to great lengths to promote Volume 2, as evidenced by the many different singles and related remixes of the song “Release” that were made available.  This European CD single, probably the most common of the bunch, contains an album edit, two remixes, and an enhanced track featuring the music video for the song.

 

Release Remixes

 

Release (Radio Edit)
Release (Masters at Work Main Mix)
Release (Rollo Remix)
Release (Bi-Polar Remix)
Release (Nu-Yorican Soul Mix)
Release (Nu-Yorican Instrumental)
Release (Keyapella)
Release (Masters at Work Dub 1)
Release (Masters at Work Instrumental)
Release (Masters at Work Bonus Beats)

 

Format:  CD single (US only)
Notes: This US-only CD single is unique in that it is one of the few Realworld releases to be marketed exclusively to the United States.  It contains several mixes that are not available on the European CD single.  While the “Radio Edit,” the “Masters at Work Main Mix,” the “Rollo Remix” and the “Bi-Polar Remix” are all genuine “remixes” of  “Release,” the remainder of the tracks are contain mostly house beats that retain little of the original song.  In reality, these tracks should not have been released under the Afro Celt Sound System name, as they are not really performed by the band.  It might be more accurate to classify them as dance tunes in which the DJs and remixers sample an occasional sound from an Afro Celt Sound System song.
 
Release
 
Release (Rollo Mix)
Release (Masters at Work Main Mix)
Release (Masters at Work Dub 1)
Format:  12” vinyl single (UK/Europe only)
 
Release (Masters at Work Remixes)

 

Release (Nu Yorican Soul Mix)
Release (Nu Yorican Instrumental)
Release (Masters at Work Dub)
Format:  12” vinyl single (UK/Europe only)

 

Release 1


Release (Rollo Remix)
Release (Masters at Work Bonus Beats)
Release (Masters at Work Main Mix)
Release (Masters at Work Dub 1)
Format:  12” vinyl single (US only)

Notes: Some promotional copies of this single were packaged with “Release 2” (see below).

 

Release 2

 

Release (Masters at Work Main Vox)
Release (Nu Yorican Soul Mix)
Release (Rollo + Sister Bliss Mix)
Release (Masters at Work Bonus Beats)

Format:  12” vinyl single (US only)

Notes: Some promotional copies of this single were packaged with “Release 1” (see above).

 

Release [PROMO]

 

Release (Rollo Remix)
Release (Bi-Polar Remix)
Format:  12” vinyl single (UK/Europe only)
 
Release [DJ PROMO]

 

Release (Masters at Work Main Mix)
Release (Nu Yorican Soul Main Mix)
Release (Masters at Work Dub 1)
Release (Nu Yorican Beats)
Release (Masters at Work Dub 2)
Release (Nu Yorican Instrumental)

Format:  2"x12” vinyl single (UK/Europe only)

 

Volume 2: Release EP [PROMO]

 

1. Release (Single Edit)
2. Lovers of Light

 

FORMAT: CD
NOTES: This EU promo comes in a card sleeve and features slightly-altered artwork for the full Volume 2 album.  However, like the French Volume 1 promo, it is actually just a CD single.  (There are numerous commercial and promo singles for the song "Release," of course.  However, this EP is unique in that it reads "Volume 2: Release" on the cover as opposed to simply Release.")

 

Release (MAW Mixes)

 

CD1

 

1. Main Vox
2. Inst
3. Bonus Beats
4. Key Appella
5. Dub
6. Main Vox Up
7. Dub Inst
8. Radio Edit

 

CD2

 

1. Nu Yorican Soul Mix
2. Nu Yorican Instrumental
3. Nu Yorican Vox Up
4. Nu Yorican Beats

 

FORMAT: 2xCD
NOTES: This promotional 2-CD set compiles ALL of the remixes for "Release" done by Masters at Work, some of which are not available elsewhere.  The purpose of this set is not exactly clear.  It may be a simply a test pressing (the audio balance is questionable at times), or it may have been intended for distribution to DJs for club play.

 

Release [PROMO]

 

1. Rollo Remix (Radio Edit)
2. Album Edit
3. Nu Yorican Soul Mix
4. Masters at Work Main Mix

 

FORMAT: CD
NOTES: This EU-only promo has a different track listing than the commercial EU single, although the cover art is essentially the same.

 

VOLUME 1: SOUND MAGIC

 

Tracks


Part a Saor/Free
Part b News from Nowhere
Whirl-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals mix)
Inion/Daughter
Part a Sure-As-Not
Part b Sure-As-Knot (Jungle Segue)
Nil Cead Againn Dul Abhaile/We Cannot Go Home
Dark Moon, High Tide (including Farewell to Eireann)
Whirl-Y-Reel 2 (Folk Police mix)
House of the Ancestors
Part a Eistigh Liomsa Sealad/Listen to Me
Part b Saor Reprise

 

Original Release Date:  July 15, 1996 (UK)/September 24, 1996 (US)
Length: 65 min, 51 sec
Format: CD


Notes:  Volume 1: Sound Magic helped define the "world fusion" genre upon its release in 1996.  It became one of Realworld’s biggest-selling albums, earning a great deal of critical acclaim for its mix of traditional Celtic and African musical styles with ambient and techno flourishes.  The inspiration for the project came from a number of sources, including the spirit of free-form musical experimentation that characterized the “Recording Week” projects at Peter Gabriel’s Realworld Studios in Bath; the psychedelic, neo-Celtic artwork by Jamie Reed that eventually graced the cover; and producer Simon Emmerson’s collaboration with Celtic musicians while producing Baaba Maal’s Firin’ In Fouta album.

 

Unlike subsequent ACSS releases, Vol. 1 did not distinguish between “band members” and “guest musicians.”  Rather, each participant was considered a member of the group, under Emmerson’s careful and loving production.  Familiar names (who would later become members of the “band” proper) included not only Emmerson on guitars, keyboards and programming, but also James McNally on whistles, bodhran, and accordion; Iaral O’Lionaird on vocals; Myrdhin on Celtic harp; and Jo Bruce and Martin Russell on keyboards and programming.  Other participants included the Edinburgh-based “acid croft” band Shooglenifty (playing a variety of instruments on both versions of “Whirl-Y-Reel”) and Realworld mainstay Ayub Ogada on vocals and nyatiti (Ogada would later reappear on the band’s fourth album, Seed).

 

About Volume 1, All Music Guide critic Tim Sheridan wrote: “The outcome is a sort of hip-hop jig and reel, like the Chieftains meet the Chemical Brothers.  Masamba Diop's masterful talking drum creates an exotic pulse under Myrdhin's fine Celtic harp, and it sounds like a party at some global crossroads.  Indeed, the most fascinating aspect of the project is the very real sense that a common language can be found between any cultures, no matter how divergent they may seem. This effort is worth a listen just for its audacity alone.”

 

Volume 1 Related Singles

 

Sure-As-Not

 

Sure-As-Not (Radio Mix)
Sure-As-Not (Full Whack Dub)
Sure-As-Not (Original Version)
Inion (Remix Edit)

 

Format:  CD single (UK/Europe only)
Notes:  Inexplicably, Realworld released two singles for Vol. 1 that were extremely similar in both look and content.  The first (catalog RWSCD4) was Sure-As-Not.  It is noteworthy for the 3 ½-minute pop “Radio Mix” of the song that features female backing vocals and other elements not heard on the album version.  Also included is a dub version of the “Full Whack Remix.”  This dub version has appeared on several other releases, but the “Full Whack Remix” itself can be found only on the Whirl-Y-Reel 12” single (see below).  The CD also contains an edited remix of “Inion” (the full-length remix of which is also only available on the Whirl-Y-Reel 12” single).  One final note: the “Original Version” of “Sure As Not” (9:36) differs slightly from the version found on the album (9:56).  It fades out more quickly and as a result is about 20 seconds shorter than the album version.

 

Whirl-Y-Reel

 

Whirl-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix ­– Radio Edit)
Sure-As-Not (Full Whack Main Mix)
Inion (Remix)

 

Format: 12” vinyl (UK/Europe only)

Notes:  This hard-to-find 12” single is noteworthy because it contains two tracks not available on CD, or on any other ACSS release, for that matter: “Sure-As-Not (Full Whack Main Mix)” and “Inion (Remix).”  However, a dub version of the “Full Whack Mix” and an edit of the “Inion” remix can be found on the Whirl-Y-Reel and Sure-As-Not CD singles (see above and below).  This vinyl single also includes the “Beard and Sandals Mix – Radio Edit” of “Whirl-Y-Reel 1” (see below for a description).

 

Whirl-Y-Reel  

 

Whirl-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix – Radio Edit)
Sure-As-Not (Radio Mix)
Inion (Remix Edit)
Sure-As-Not (Full Whack Dub)

 

Format:  CD single (UK/Europe only)
Notes:  This CD single (catalog RWSCD5) has exactly the same cover art – and almost the same track listing – as the Sure-As-Not CD single.  Despite its name, the “Beard and Sandals Mix – Radio Edit” of “Whirl-Y-Reel 1” is more than simply an edit.  It is a unique mix that combines elements of both the “Beard and Sandals” and “Folk Police” mixes from Volume 1, along with a heavier dose of acoustic guitar (particularly in the middle section).  Most fans agree that the shortened, radio-friendly mixes of “Whirl-Y-Reel” and “Sure-As-Knot” are inferior to the album versions in that they take the slow-building grandeur of those songs (which run over seven and nine minutes, respectively) and condense them down into 3½ minutes.

 

Volume 1: Sound Magic EP [PROMO]

 

1. Sure-As-Not (Full Whack Dub)
2. Inion (Remix Edit)

 

FORMAT: CD

NOTES: This French-only promo comes in a card sleeve featuring the artwork for Volume 1 overlaid with a printed label reading "Afro Celt Sound System Volume 1: Sound Magic."  Despite the fact that this looks like a promo for the full album, the CD actually contains two non-album tracks, "Inion (Remix/Edit)" and "Sure As Not (Full Whack Dub)," both of which can be found on commercially-released singles from the Volume 1 era.

 

Pod

 

Tracks

 

Disc 1 Audio


Rise Above - remix by Simon Emmerson, James McNally and Mass
Johnny At Sea - mix by Martin Russell and Mass
Persistence of Memory - remix by Rae and Christian
Further In Time - remix by Mass
Full Moon Low Tide - remix by DJ Toshio
Release - remix by Rollo and Sister Bliss
Release It - Masters At Work segue/DJ edit
Whirly 3 - remix by Simon Emmerson, James McNally and Mass      
Riding the Skies - remix by Simon Emmerson and Mass
Eireann - remix by Mass
Release - remix by Bipolar
When You're Falling - remix by Wren and Morley
Lagan - remix by Simon Emmerson, James McNally and Mass


Release Date:  May 4, 2004 (US)
Length:  70 minutes
Format:  CD
Notes: A combination of primarily new mixes done by Simon, James, Martin and Mass and a few rare previously-released remixes, the Afro Celts long-awaited Pod was released on May 4, 2004 in the U.S.   Pod was released under the Afro Celt Sound System name, rather than the current band name of the Afro Celts. The majority of the brand new tracks on Pod were remixed by the Afro Celt band members themselves.

 

The album's centerpiece is the stunning and majestic "Whirly 3," which takes elements of the original tunes from Vol. 1 and introduces many completely new musical passages that provide the track with a rich and expansive feeling of grandeur.  "Whirly 3," like several other cuts on Pod, has a surprisingly organic feel to it, thanks in no small part to the live bass and drums worked into the mix.  Other tracks mixed by band members include a funky remix of "Rise Above It" with a beautiful cinematic string arrangement, a new mix of "Johnny at Sea" with a very cool and infectious groove (the original version is only available on the Japanese version of Seed), and the ethereal and foreboding Afro Celts mix of "Lagan" that closes the album.  DJ Toshio turns in a beat-heavy remix of Vol. 1's "Dark Moon, High Tide" (renamed "Full Moon Low Tide" for Pod, it includes samples and phrases of several other songs from Vol. 1).  Simon and Mass also take Vol. 2's "Riding the Waves" and transform it into an acoustic/electric jam renamed "Riding the Skies."  Mass's remix of "Further In Time" is an irresistible, percussion heavy and hard-driving dance track.  Previously released material on Pod includes the Rae & Christian ambient remix of "Persistence of Memory," the Wren and Morley remix of "When Youre Falling," and the Bi-Polar remix of "Release," as well as Mass's remix of "Eireann," which appeared on a US-only bonus CD and on Simon's Celtic Soundclash compilation.

 

About Pod, music journalist and producer Phil Meadley said: "When you receive a multimedia package the likes of Pod, the concept of a remix album moves on to another level. Not only is Pod a personal collection of some of the very best remixes over the Afro Celt Sound System's amazing ten year career, it also showcases previously unreleased material, and reinvents old classics with a driving new rhythm section that represents where the 'live' Afro Celt sound is now."

 

Disc 2 Bonus DVD


Persistence of Memory - Music video
When You're Falling - Music video
WOMAD 2001 - Live
North - 5.1 Surround sound and music video

 

Release Date:  May 4, 2004 (US)
Length: Approx. 25 minutes
Format:  DVD


Notes:   The bonus DVD accompanying Pod includes four tracks: the music videos for "Persistence of Memory" and "When Youre Falling," live video footage of the band's performance at WOMAD Seattle in 2001, and a new Martin Russell mix of Vol. 3's "North" in 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound, accompanied by visual imagery that Simon says will make the Afro Celts "psychedelic demi-gods". We agree. The "Persistence of Memory" video features the Rae & Christian remix and stunning visual imagery as a lone traveler journeys around the world.  Although there is nothing that can approach the feeling of a live Afro Celt show, the WOMAD 2001 footage provides a glimpse of the virtuoso musicianship, high energy and great vibes of a live show as the Afro Celts' perform "Shadowman", "Lagan" and "Colossus".  Care should be taken when watching the "North" video and be prepared for a mind altering experience.  Timothy Leary would be proud.

 

Soundtracks

 

Magic and Mayhem [Video Game]

 

1. Celtic I [Urban Aire] (1:47)
2. Celtic II [Release] (6:33)
3. Celtic III (2:05)
4. Celtic IV (6:13)
5. Greek I (2:00)
6. Greek II (5:16)
7. Greek III [Eistigh Liomsa Sealad/Listen to Me] (2:04)
8. Greek IV (2:20)
9. Medieval I [Eistigh Liomsa Sealad/Listen to Me] (2:33)
10. Medieval II [Sure As Not] (3:38)
11. Medieval III (2:39)
12. Medieval IV (0:42)

 

FORMAT: CD-ROM
NOTES: This is not an ACSS album, although it does contain official Afro Celts music not found anywhere else.  "Magic and Mayhem" is a fantasy/mythological computer game produced by Virgin Interactive in 1999.  ACSS was asked to provide the soundtrack for the game, and the music composed by the band is included on the CD-ROM as twelve separate audio tracks (these can be copied from the game disc onto a hard drive, MP3 player, or CD very easily).  There are no official titles for the songs; the "Celtic," "Greek" and "Medieval" titles simply correspond to the three environments players encounter during the game.  While a few of the songs are simply brief, atmospheric pieces, there are several gems that ACSS fans will not want to miss, including a beautiful duet between Celtic harp and Uilleann pipes ("Greek II"), an ambient, Peter Gabriel-esque melody ("Celtic IV"), and alternate, previously unreleased instrumental versions of tracks from Volumes 1 and 2.  The game's instruction manual also includes an essay by Simon explaining how the music was composed.

 

Hotel Rwanda: Music from the Film

 

1. Mama Ararira (Medley) - Afro Celt Sound System
2. Mwali We! - Dorothee and Ben Munyaneza
3. Million Voices - Wyclef Jean
4. Interhamwe Attack - Rupert Gregson-Williams
5. Nobody Cares - Deborah Cox
6. Umqombothi (African Beer) - Yvonne Chaka Chaka
7. The Road to Exile - Afro Celt Sound System
8. Whispered Song - Traditional
9. Finale - Andrea Guerra
10. Ambush - Rupert Gregson-Williams
11. Ne Me Laisse Pas Seule Ici (Don't Leave Me Here By Myself - Tilly Kay
12. Mwari Sigaramahoro - Isonga
13. Olugendo Lw'e Bulaya - Bernard Kabanda
14. Children Found - Andrea Guerra
15. Icyibo - Dorothee and Faith Munyaneza

 

FORMAT: CD
NOTES: While existing ACSS songs have been used in movie soundtracks in the past, "Hotel Rwanda" marks the first project for which the band was asked to compose new, original music for the score.  Martin Russell handled the majority of composing and arranging for this project.  Two tracks, both of which are edited from longer pieces, made it onto the final soundtrack album: "Mama Ararira (Part One)/Mama Ararira We! (Part Two)/Yariz'Empeka (Part Three)" (track one, composed by the band in collaboration with Andrea Guerra and Dorothee Munyaneza) and "The Road To Exile" (track seven).  Several other pieces composed by the band for the film remain unreleased as of this writing.


 
REAL WORLD COMPILATIONS

 

Real World Records has released numerous “various artist” compilation albums over the years, many of which have featured the Afro Celts.  The following is a list of these compilations by title, with a note indicating which Afro Celt track was included.

 

Realworld Notes #2 - Track: Inion


Realworld Notes #3 - Track: Sure as Not (Full Whack Dub)


Realworld Notes #7 - Track: Eireann


Realworld Notes #9 - Track: Release (Bi-Polar Remix)


Realworld Notes #11 - Track: Samradh Samradh (Live)

NOTE: This song is credited on the CD as being performed by Iarla and James; however, it is generally considered a “band” track and may have been recorded at the same live session at which “Mandrake” (from the Borders bonus CD) was recorded.


Realworld Notes #12 - Track: When You’re Falling (Short Radio Edit)


Realworld Notes #13 - Track: Persistence of Memory (Rae and Christian 7” Remix)
NOTE: This song is previously unreleased, but may show up on the forthcoming remix album.


Realworld Notes #15 - Track: Wulaba
NOTE: This was the working title for the song “Seed.”  It is the same version of the song that is found on the album.


Realworld Notes #16 - Track: Lagan (Afro Celts Remix)


Bliss - Track: Inion


11 out of 10 (UK/Europe only) - Track: Inion


10 out of 10 (US only) - Track: Inion


One Spirit, Many Voices (Barnes and Noble Booksellers sampler CD) - Track: Persistence of Memory


North West South East: Starbucks Celebrates WOMAD USA 2000 - Track: Big Cat


World Music: Starbucks Celebrates the World of Music, Arts, and Dance - Track: Eireann


WOMAD: Starbucks World Music Vol. 1 - Track: Whirl-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix)


A Year In The Real World - Track: Shadowman


A Window OnThe Real World - Tracks: Edited snippets from Volume 2: Release.  There are no full songs on this CD.


Die Wusten Afrikas: Die Real World Music Zur Diashow (Germany only) - Track: Eireann


Music Express Sounds 34 (EU only) - Track: Release (single edit)

Note: This cover-mount CD for issue 34 of Music Express magazine was dedicated exclusively to Real World artists.


WOMADness (available only at WOMAD festivals and at womadshop.com) - Track: Go on Through (edit)


Real World Sampler 1996 (EU only) - Track: Sure-As-Not (edit)
Note: This version is unique to this release and ends at around the 5:55 mark eliminating the Jungle Seque section on Volume 1.


Real World Sampler 1997 (EU only) - Track: Whirly-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix)


Survival Sounds 34 (available exclusively through Real World/WOMAD) - Track: Whirly-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix)


World Music: Beats and Bliss (Australia and Asia only) - Track: Hypnotica
Note: This 2 disc set also contains Iarla O'Lionaird's "An Buachaill Caol Dubh/The Dark Slender Boy" from his first album, The Seven Steps to Mercy. 

 

MISCELLANEOUS COMPILATIONS

 

Various Artists/Africanize  (Gut Records, 2001) - Track: Shadowman


Howard Shore, Various Artists/Gangs of New York soundtrack (Interscope Records, 2002) - Track: Dark Moon High Tide


Mark Snow, Various Artists/La Femme Nikita: Music from the Television Series (TVT, 1998) - Track: Inion


Robert Plant/Sixty Six to Timbuktu (Atlantic Records, 2003) - Track: Life Begin Again


Various Artists/Hear the Year 2002 (PROMO) (EMI Music, 2002) - Track: When You’re Falling


Various Artists/Crash Course in Music (PROMO) (Virgin Records, 1999) - Track: Lovers of Light


Various Artists/African Xpress (Narada, 2003) - Track: Further in Time


Various Artists/Earth Dance 2000 (Higher Octave Music, 2000) - Track: Riding the Waves (Mark Sinclair Remix)


Various Artists/Buddha Beats (Bar de Lune, 2001) - Track: Even in my Dreams


Various Artists/Best of Buddha (Bar de Lune, 2002) - Track: Even in my Dreams


Billy Corgan, Mike Garson, Various Artists/Stigmata soundtrack (Virgin Records, 1999) - Track: Release (Edit)


Various Artists/Pure Moods IV (Virgin Records, 2002) - Track: When You’re Falling


Various Artists/Journeys (Virgin Records, 2000) - Track: Amber


Various Artists/Global Transmissions, Vol. 1 (Narada, 2000) - Track: Whirl Y Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix)


Various Artists/Geisha Lounge  (Virgin, 2002) - Track: Inion


Ian Banks/Personal Effects (EMI, 1999) - Track: Dark Moon, High Tide


Various Artists/Live Flesh Motion Picture Soundtrack  (RCA, 1998) - Track: Whirl Y Reel 2 (Folk Police Mix)


Various Artists/The Kharma Trilogy [Box Set] (Bar De Lune, 2002) - Track: Even in My Dreams


Various Artists/Extreme IMAX Motion Picture Soundtrack  (Rykodisc, 1999) - Track: Sure-As-Not


Various Artists/Instrumental Moods (Virgin, 1998) - Track: Sure-As-Not (Edit)


Various Artists/Mind the Gap, Vol. 16 (Gonzo Circus, 1998) - Track: Sure-As-Not (Edit)


Various Artists/Moods Box Set [Box Set]  (Virgin, 1999) - Track: Sure-As-Not (Edit)


Various Artists/Jungle 2 Jungle Original Soundtrack (Disney, 1997) - Track: Whirl-Y-Reel 1 (Beard and Sandals Mix ­– Radio Edit)


Various Artists/Celtic Soundclash Vol. 1 (Acoustic Soundclash, 1999) - Tracks: Eireann (Mass Remix) and Release (Rollo Remix)


Ethnomixicology/ The Outernationalists (Six Degree Records, 2004) - Track: Deep Channel


OTHER/BOOTLEGS

Please note that the remixes listed below are not the music of the Afro Celts, but rather are remixes done by other people and are the subject of a dispute regarding whether the release of the remixes was authorized and the use of the ACSS name in connection with the remixesAs with any music, we suggest that you listen to it before you buy it.  Until the dispute is resolved, we do not recommend purchasing this music.

 
Inion/Riding the Waves


Inion (Mark Sinclair and Larry Lush Remix)
Riding the Waves (Mark Sinclair Remix)

 

Format: 12” vinyl single (Pendragon Records)
Notes:  Please read the information above regarding a dispute over whether this release was sanctioned by the band. “Riding the Waves (Mark Sinclair Remix)” also appears on the Earth Dance 2000 compilation.


Other Remixes

 

Afro Celt Sound System/Inion (Mark Sinclair and Larry Lush Remix)
Afro Celt Sound System/Riding the Waves (Mark Sinclair Remix)
Hyperborea/Conlach (Mark Sinclair Remix)


Format: CD single (Pendragon Records)

Notes: Please read the information above regarding a dispute over whether this release was sanctioned by the band. “Riding the Waves (Mark Sinclair Remix)” also appears on the Earth Dance 2000 compilation.  The third track on this CD is performed by a band called Hyperborea, not by the Afro Celts.

 

SOLO WORKS BY AFRO CELT BAND MEMBERS

 

James McNally - Everybreath


Available on Windham Hill Records and RCA

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iarla O'Lionaird


Invisible Fields - Real World Records

 


 

The Seven Steps to Mercy - Real World Records

 


 

I Could Read The Sky - Real World Records

 

Simon Emmerson and Phil Meadley (The Outernationalists) - Ethnomixicology, Six Degrees Records


 

Martin Russell and Simon Emmerson - Bosta Soundtrack


 

Emer Mayock -  Emer's CDs are available at www.emermayock.com


 

Johnny Kalsi and the Dhol Foundation


drum-believable - Released by TDF


 

Big Drum : Small World - Available on Shakti Records


 

N'Faly Kouyate and Dunyakan - Kora Grooves


 

Mairead Nesbitt - Mairead's CDs are available at www.maireadnesbitt.com

 

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