Category Archives: CD Unveiled!

My friend Heather Dale has just unveiled the wonderful new online music home for all “bardic” artists,!

This site gathers recordings from “bardic” artists, performers of song, story, and poetry inspired by the ancient traditions and reinvented for modern audiences. As says, “Here you will discover some modern-day bardic artists who are creating or perpetuating works that reinforce the ideals of the Roman era, Dark Ages, Medieval era, and Renaissance.” So whether you’re in the market for Celtic-myth inspired songs, Viking-era stories, Medieval poems or Renaissance hammered dulcimer music, has it all!

Most all of my music is available for preview and purchase here. Please visit iBards: Home> SONG> Emily Holbert Kellam (Emer nic Aidan) to listen to preview tracks from “Waves on the Shore”, or download your own copy! Other recording projects I’ve been a part of can be found at the Ealdormere Bardic College page and Hector of the Black Height‘s page (you can see my Discography for a complete list of tracks I’ve been on).

I’m so excited for this new online venue. Check it out! And if you think your own recorded work (music, spoken word, or instrumental) is “bardic”, or if you know someone whose work would be a good fit, please see the How to Join iBards page to join in and expand the site.


CD Review: The Pagan Wheel

Waves on the Shore has its first web-review, over at music blog The Pagan Wheel. Many thanks to both Dave M. and to Shelly R. for the “electronic introduction”.

What is heard is Emily’s strong confident voice singing tales of battle or love, and love lost, as only one experienced in Bardic tradition can. To stand within a circle of peers and audience alike without accompaniment to sing a capella verses and tales one has written oneself is a true test of Bardic worth.

Read the full review here!

Pennsic War

What an amazing Pennsic War! More than 2 weeks out of the modern world, camping with friends new and old, days full of relaxation and nights full of campfires and songs… I had a great time!

On top of being just a fantastic vacation/event, it was truly awesome for my CD promotion/distribution. On Saturday, August 1st my encampment threw a huge CD release party & bardic circle. I think it exceeded everyone’s expectations!! (I had originally suggested a CD release circle because, in my foolishness, I though it would be more low-key that way.) The headcount was at nearly 150 people at one point in the evening, and I’m estimating more than 250 stopped by throughout the night — wow! My friend Justinian ended up acting as MC for the circle, lining up performances from singes, storytellers, and poets from around the Known World all night long. There were some real luminaries of the bardic arts attending that night, as well as people who stood to sing for the first time ever!

Perhaps the most surprising was that the party was covered in an article in the Pennsic Independent!! This was the first of 2 newspaper appearances for myself & “Waves on the Shore”. The second was a review that came out a few days later. I felt very flattered, as I was mentioned both in the context of WotS and also as a songwriter for the tracks on Heather Dale‘s “Green Knight”.*

All that “free advertising” in the paper certainly made great help to my CD sales! “Waves on Shore” was carried this year at two merchant booths, both Master Efenwealt Whystle‘s Camelot Treasures and Master John ap Wynn’s booth. At Camelot treasures I sold more than 1/4 my total initial run of CDs!! On the Wednesday of War Week I was a part of the “Marian of Heatherdale and Friends” concert, which was a tonne of fun and got my name out a bit more. I also made lots of one-on-one sales, from the generous folks in camp to kind bards around fires.

So now I’ve returned to the modern world, many CDs lighter and truly inspired to write new songs! My goals for the next few weeks (apart from tackling the post-Pennsic laundry mountain) include finguring out how many CDs to press in a 2nd run (eep!), how to get my music out further (podcasts, SCA/Bardic magazine reviews, etc. — suggestions welcome!) and getting online sales (disks & digital) up and running. What a grand adventure this is!!

*I’ll work to see if I can get the text for the article & review up on the site somewhere soon.

They’re Here!!

They’re her! They’re here!!

I picked up my CDs today! (All 100 of them, goodness!). I’m really pleased with how they came out: both the insert and the CD face look great, really professional and clean. The shrink-wrapping is another nice touch. Thanks, Sliverbirch!

Now that I have the box of disks this project feels truly “actualized”. It’s made me realize how much work goes into these things!

It’s also made me think about all the work ahead of me: if I’ve got them, I should sell them! All in good time though. Now I’ve got copies to give to friends, and Pennsic sales can wait for a week. For now, its enough that they’re here!!

Track List

I received and email today asking what songs would actually be on the album. I suppose that would be good information to give to people, wouldn’t it? It got me thinking I should perhaps put out the track list here, too!

Waves on the Shore track list:

1) The Bard
2) Come & Be Welcome
3) Foot to Ground
4) Soldier Boy
5) The Poachers’ Song
6) Roll On Up the Hill
7) Warharvest
8) Mourning Dove
9) For Your Honour
10) Arise Young Wolf
11) Northern Virtues
12) Dusk to Dawn/Mead & Wine
13) The Washer at the Ford
14) Waves on the Shore

I think I’ll also put up my lyrics on this site, too. As a “bardic-folk” songwriter, I love hearing other people singing songs I’ve created around their own campfires. I’ll either make a “Lyrics” page, or perhaps devote a blog post to each piece and write a bit about the song’s background as well as the lyrics.

Otherwise, the wait continues. Any day now, Silverbirch should be calling and the disks will be finished!

How this began

About a week ago I met my good friend Heather Dale for lunch. Heather is a phenomenal independent musician and truly lovely person, and I don’t get many opportunities to connect with her due to her very busy touring schedule. I was expecting Vietnamese pho soup and good conversation; I received much more!

Sometime around 2004 I had been coming in to Toronto to spend weekends with Heather, exploring the big city and occasionally recording some of the songs I had written. Both of us shared the hobby of doing medieval recreation in the SCA and a love of Celtic myths and music; I wrote songs to share around the campfire, and for Heather it had launched a full career as an indie artist. I’d had a lot of fun learning about the process of recording music (so very different from a capella live singing!), but never planned on pursuing my music professionally, so when her touring dramatically picked up I wasn’t too worried about my recordings not making it to CD. But I’d always remembered they were there, waiting in the wings as it were. Occasionally friends would ask, “Is your music every going to be on CD?” and I’d reply with a vague “maybe…”

Fast forward to a month or two ago, when Heather asked if she could cover a few of my songs on her latest album (The Green Knight, for release summer 2009). I was honoured, so of course agreed! It also brought those old recordings back to mind, and I asked her if she thought we’d be able to do anything with them. She was encouraging, but also said it might take a while. (Now I know she’s just got a good “poker face”!)

So there I was at lunch, a tiny cup of green tea in hand, when Heather presented me with a CD case, which had a mock-up of an album cover with my name on it and a 14 track listing on the back! Inside were 2 master audio disks: my very own album was complete!!

This is a really interesting snapshot of my songwriting and my voice at that period in time: since then I’ve written new things and my singing has changed over time. It’s been great to revisit that time for me, and I think it’s an album to be proud of. Now I have it in my hand, I have to take the next steps to get it duplicated and distributed!