Thomas Loefke & friends - Departures
Early Travels to the Celtic Northwest    

Laika Records 3510247.2

"New Music for Celtic Harp" was recorded 1992 together with Ian Melrose and Peter Jack. Ian and I had been working together for years and the CD reflected very well the programme we were playing at the time.

The album "Norland Wind" followed 1994, released on the Irish label Celtic Heartbeat. With Ian and Peter, Kerstin Blodig and Clannad's Noel and Pádraig Duggan all the members of the later 1996 Norland Wind line up feature on the album.
Máire Breatnach who joined Norland Wind in 2000 is among the guest musicians along with Clannad keyboarder Ciarán Brennan and Kerstin`s Touchwood partner Cristina Crawley.

Both albums were produced and recorded by Mick Franke whose sudden unexpected death in April 2001 was a heavy blow to all of us.

The recordings were remastered by Jörg Surrey and I am happy that these tunes are now back out there for you to listen to and enjoy.

Thomas Loefke (October 2008)

1 Tór Mór* (Thomas Loefke, arr. Loefke, N. Duggan, Brennan, Melrose, Jakk)

feat. Máire Breatnach fiddle, Ian Melrose guitar, Noel Duggan guitar, Pádraig Duggan mandolin, Ciarán Brennan keyboard, Peter Jack bass

The 1994 version of my favourite tune inspired by a majestic rock on Tory Island off the North West coast of Ireland.

2 The Tipsy Elk*   (Thomas Loefke, arr. Blodig, Crawley, Melrose, Jakk, Franke)

feat. Kerstin Blodig vocals, Cristina Crawley vocals, Ian Melrose guitars, Peter Jack bass,
Mick Franke guitars

If you' re on Tory Island around 4 o'clock in the morning and you meet an elk, chances are you've just come from one of those wonderful, long ceilidh nights in the island's pub, where dancers whirl and the drink flows freely…  

3 An Early Morning* (Thomas Loefke, arr. N. Duggan, P. Duggan, Brennan, Melrose)

feat. Noel Duggan guitar, Pádraig Duggan mandolin, Ciarán Brennan keyboards

A night with friends nears its close, I open the door, a cool wind blows into my face and the sea smells better than ever. The sky is still grey, but the first rays of the sun are scattering on the horizon. I look forward to the new day...

4 The Blackbird°  (traditional, arr. Thomas Loefke, Ian Melrose, Peter Jakk)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar, Peter Jack bass

traditional Irish set dance

5 Rime on the Moor* (Thomas Loefke, arr. Brennan, N. Duggan, Kilduff)

feat. Ciarán Brennan keyboards, Noel Duggan guitar, Vinnie Kilduff whistle, Peter Jack bass

The Poisoned Glen: the low clouds lift, the sun reflects on the rime, filling the whole valley with light.

6 Milk and Honey at Merlin's° (Ian Vance Melrose)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar, Peter Jack bass, Joachim Luhrmann percussion

Ian's "Celtic Samba", dedicated to a highly underestimated drink which rescued Ian's voice and thereby a solo gig in Café Merlin in Stuttgart / Germany.

7 The Promenade* (traditional arr. Ian Vance Melrose)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar, Peter Jack bass

Ian's unusual version of these two well-known Irish slip jigs: "The Promenade" and "The Butterfly"

8 Dance for the Hedgehog's Feet* (Thomas Loefke, arr. Melrose)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar, low whistles, Peter Jack bass

I know why I gave this dance tune this strange name, you don't, and I'm afraid it will stay that way...

9 The Ladybird* (Ian Vance Melrose, arr. Melrose, Loefke, Jakk)

feat. Ian Melrose low whistle, tin whistle, Peter Jack bass

Ian wrote this beautiful tune for a ladybird he met on a walk in the countryside

10 Moose on the Loose*  (Thomas Loefke, arr. N. Duggan, P. Duggan, Melrose)

feat. Ian Melrose lead guitar, Noel Duggan guitar, Pádraig Duggan keyboard

A dance born out of the fact that a harp player will always be asked to be play "something more lively!"

11 Loch Ossian*  (Thomas Loefke, arr. Loefke, Melrose)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar

Composed after an evening of music and song with Christina and Jimmy Morgan, the retired stationmaster in Scotland's highest railway station "Corrour" on the West Highland Line.

12 Dingle Dolphin°  (Thomas Loefke, arr. Melrose)

feat. Ian Melrose guitars, low whistle, Peter Jack bass

Many years ago “Fungi", the now famous Dingle Dolphin, appeared in the bay of Dingle the small fishing port in the Southwest of Ireland. He has been living there ever since having a lot of fun with all the humans who come to visit him.

13 The Welcome Jig° (Ian Vance Melrose)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar, Peter Jack bodhrán

The majority of the compositions for the concert harp cannot be played on the Celtic harp due to its limited chromatic possibilities. This piece however is a veritable semitone orgy, probably unplayable on the concert harp, with guitar and Celtic harp dancing through various keys, spurred on by the bodhrán.

14 Ballerina° (Thomas Loefke, arr. Melrose, Jakk)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar, Peter Jack bass

A "pas de trois" for harp, guitar and bass, whose arcs and curves conjure up the graceful beauty of a young lady dancer.

15 Seoladh na nGamhain° (traditional, arr. Thomas Loefke)

"Driving home the cattle" – the melody of a 500 year old song, learned from Belfast singer Proinsias Ó h Amhluan.

bonus track:

The Promising Light (Thomas Loefke, arr. Melrose, Blodig)

feat. Ian Melrose guitar, low whistle, keyboards, Kerstin Blodig vocals, guitar

Coming back from a long walk through the white silent hills, the warm light of a bright window welcomes you back to your friends, to laughter, chat and a hot cup of tea.
This is an extended version of a track from the Norland Wind album "December Journey".

° from the album: Thomas Loefke feat. Ian Melrose and Peter Jakk
"New Music for Celtic Harp", produced by Mick Franke 1992, published by Edition Antenna/ Apefruit

* from the album: Thomas Loefke & friends - "Norland Wind"
produced by Mick Franke 1994, published by Edition Antenna/ Apefruit

bonus track from the album: Norland Wind - "December Journey",
produced by Mick Franke 1997, published by Edition Antenna/ Apefruit

Thomas Loefke Celtic harp


Ian Melrose guitar, low whistle

Peter Jack bass, bodhrán

Kerstin Blodig backing vocals, guitar

Máire Breatnach fiddle, viola

Noel Duggan guitar 

Pádraig Duggan mandolin

Ciarán Brennan keyboards

Cristina Crawley backing vocals

Vinnie Kilduff whistle

compilation produced by Thomas Loefke

all tracks remastered by Jörg Surrey

cover and artwork by Manfred Pollert

photography by Thomas Loefke

cover photo by Barry Sharp

copyright and phonorecorded 2008 by Laika-Records, Stavendamm 16, D-28195 Bremen

Thomas' harp made by Jan Muyllaert

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