Stonehenge

The Standing Stones:
Recordings



It's been a long wait, but we finally have a new CD out (2002)! Of course, we have been doing a few other things in the meanwhile, such as completely remodelling our house. Now that that's nearly done, we've been able to get back to recording again. I've totally redone this page to describe the new CD and also to be more compact.

The page contains information about our recordings, of which we now have two. This includes brief descriptions of each track for each CD, and some sound samples. Links are provided for additional information. Choose from the links below. I am still working on this page. There may be a few inconsistencies.


Sound Sample Format

In putting sound samples online, I'm trying to keep in mind people who don't have a high-speed Internet connection. I hate waiting for five minutes to get five seconds of music! Or worse, two hours to get four minutes of music. Therefore I've tried to keep the file size as small as possible. However, this will naturally affect the quality of the sound.

Triskell
In the samples that I did originally from our first CD, Where in this Wide World, I used WAV format. In order to keep the file size as low as possible, I used low sampling rates and 8-bit samples. In most cases I also sampled in mono. The end result sounded a lot like a 78-RPM record. Also, I understand that WAV format is not so easy to access on a Macintosh.

When I started doing samples for our second CD, I switched over to MP3 format, which is now commonly in use. It uses audio compression, so you can get much better sound quality for the same file size. You should be able to use this on any computer. It was so much better that I went back and did the first CD the same way as well.

You may think from what people say about it that MP3 is a standard format, but actually it is a whole family of formats. MP3 formats are compressed formats using irreversible compression that removes information from the original signal. To keep the file size as low as possible, I selected a very low bit rate, 16 Kbps. Near-CD quality would be 128 Kbps. I think 16 Kbps is about the same quality as an AM radio. It does sound a bit like you're listening through a length of concrete pipe, but the file size is quite small. (If you are interested, I used the free WAV to MP3 encoder from www.mthreedev.com. It is not without problems, but it works OK.) Unfortunately the MP3 encoder sometimes puts a funny noise at the end of the file, if you are encoding something that does not end in silence; this is present in some of these samples. Needless to say, this is not on the actual CD.

You should be able to hear the samples simply by clicking on the link. I tested it with three different browsers. Netscape Communicator 4.7 and Opera 5 both worked with no problem. Microsoft Explorer sometimes worked, and sometimes called up strange dialogue boxes that wanted to install unnecessary plugins and change all my preferences. (Of course, the setup you have on your computer isn't the same as what I have on mine, so you may get different results.)


Where in This Wide World CD cover

Where in this Wide World

Released: 1995
Catalogue number: HFM CD 2500

Engineered and produced by Chris Caswell, Caswell Mobile Recording.

Graphic design by Paul Kotapish (also known for playing in the band Open House). Photographs by Michael Robinson.

Description

Thanks to our friends at Harper's Garden, there are also other sound samples of this CD at their site. They are not the same as the ones listed below.


No. Title Origin Time Description Sound Sample
1 Bean Uí Mhurchú
Gort Rua
Sailor's Polka
Ire2:57 Irish polkas featuring Michael on accordion. MP3
57 KB, 28 s
2 The Bonny Light Horseman Ire6:48 Ulster song from the Napoleonic wars, sung by Vicki. MP3
173 KB, 88 s
3 The Butlers of Glen Avenue
The Roaring Barmaid
The Maids of Selma
Ire3:06 Jigs featuring Michael on tenor banjo and Vicki on cello. It's an unusual combination, but we like it. MP3
44 KB, 21 s
4 Máire Bruinneall Ire1:03 Humourous song in Irish. It would probably be even funnier if you knew the people involved. Anyway it has a nice tune.  
5 A Good Roll-up Cal3:35 Harp tune composed in memory of our friend Allan Madden. Transcription
MP3
66 KB, 33 s
6 Dúlaman na Binne Buí
Hìn Hìn Haradala
A Stór a Stór a Ghrá
Eilean nam Bothan
Ire
Scot
Ire
Scot
3:28 Mouth music (vocal dance music)  
7 Dynergh dhe Dus a Vretan Vyghan
(Welcome to the Bretons)
The Battle of Waterloo
Lasses Pisses Brandy

Corn
Scot
Scot
6:03 March celebrating a mutiny by Cornish and Breton troops, followed by a Scottish march and reel. Features Vicki on harp.  
8 The Ballad of Eureka Aust7:03 Song about Australia's first political uprising, sung by Michael. The flag flown at the Eureka Stockade was the fore-runner of the current Australian flag.  
9 The Mystery Reels Ire3:14 Tunes of unknown origin.  
10 The Leitrim Queen Ire6:08 Sad song about a girl who dies after losing a lawsuit, sung by Vicki. Really a lament for the downfall of the old Gaelic families. MP3
170 KB, 86 s
11 The Scart Slide
The Squirrel in the Tree
Arriving to St. John's
Ire
CpBr
Newf
3:24 Slides (single jigs). MP3
112 KB, 57 s
12 Newfoundland is a Wide Plantation Ire2:57 Bilingual song alternately praising and reviling British rule. Sung by Michael with spoken translation by Vicki.  
13 The Golden Eagle
The Poppy Leaf
Ire3:17 Hornpipes featuring Michael on tenor banjo.  
14 Fannuidh de Paor Ire2:42 Song in Irish by the noted harper Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin (Turlough O'Carolan).  
15 The Mice are at It Again Ire2:02 Humourous song on the topic of pest control, probably of music hall origin.  
16 The Juggling Bride
The Trip to Tsawwassen
Reelin Bridge
Cal3:36 Reels composed by Michael. Transcription
17 The Standing Stones Scot5:24 Our theme song, from the Orkney Islands. MP3
185 KB, 95 s
 Total 67:29 

Purchase CD


Pleasant Little Branch CD cover

An Craoibhín Aoibhinn
(The Pleasant Little Branch)

Released: 2002
Catalogue number: WWSV CD 02

Engineered and produced by Verlene Schermer, Karmalu Studios, San José, California.

Graphic design by Michael Robinson. Photographs by Michael Robinson, except tray card portrait by Leslie Currie.

  • Cover photo (Demonstration orchard, Guadalupe River Park, San José, California)
Description

No. Title Origin Time Description Sound Sample
1 Sculley's Reel
The King of the Fairies
US
Ire
2:43 The first tune is a straightened-out version of the second, a set dance with a more irregular structure. MP3
34 KB, 17 s
2 An Craoibhín Aoibhinn
(The Pleasant Little Branch)
Ire3:16 A beautiful song about some girls sitting under a tree deciding who to marry. MP3
63 KB, 32 s
3 The Braes o'Mar
Jenny Dang the Weaver
Scot2:51 Strathspey and reel, with traditional style cello accompaniment. MP3
89 KB, 46 s
4 Dunkeld Hermitage Bridge Scot4:22 Slow air composed by Niel Gow, played on wire-strung Gaelic harp. MP3
125 KB, 64 s
5 My Lagan Love Ire4:40 Vicki has been fascinated by this unusual song since childhood. The words are by Belfast poet and artist Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil, set to a tune collected in Donegal. MP3
96 KB, 49 s
6 Captain O'Kane Ire3:22 Tune by the noted harper Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin.  
7 Knickers of Corduroy Ire2:50 A humourous song about a missing migrant farm worker. Maybe he went missing on purpose? At any rate, his clothes are way behind the times. MP3
72 KB, 37 s
8 Arrane Ghelbey (Song of Dalbey)
Castlekelly
Man
Ire
3:28 Tunes played on wire-strung Gaelic harp, with baritone violin.  
9 Ainnir Dheas na gCiabhfholt Donn
(The Beautiful Lass with the Brown Hair)
Ire3:45 A rather philosophical song looking back to choices made in youth, with a built-in translation by Vicki. MP3
122 KB, 57 s
10 The Fairies' Hornpipe Ire2:40 A tune collected by Chicago police chief Francis O'Neill in the late 19th century.  
11 Puirt-a-Beul Scot3:16 Traditional mouth music, mostly learned by Vicki while studying with the noted Gaelic singer Catherine-Anne MacPhee.  
12 The Yellow Haired Laddie
Scotch Cap
Scot3:01 Tunes published in very early 17th and 18th century collections. MP3
36 KB, 18 s
13 Four Little Johnnycakes Aust2:49 A tribute to Australian cuisine, learned by Michael in childhood.  
14 Blodau'r Drain (The Flowers of the Thorn)
Ffarwel Ir Marian
Wal3:39 Waltzes from Wales  
15 Are You Sleeping Maggie? Scot5:02 A classic "night-visiting" song that Vicki learned in her youth.  
 Total 51:34  

Purchase CD



Celtic knotwork


(Actually, the only material from California is our original tunes. We only say that because that's where we live. At some point in the future we may record some traditional music from California.)



Hearth Go to The Standing Stones home page

Lighthouse Go to the Standing Stones Site Map (listing of the entire contents of this website)

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STANDING STONES is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a federal service mark. Unauthorized use of this mark for performing live or recorded music, or providing music-related information over the Internet, in interstate commerce in the United States, is prohibited. For full details on the activities covered by this mark, consult the US Patent and Trademark Office database.