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ClassicsOnline Home » WHITE, Andrew: The Heart of the Celtic Guitar
The Heart of the Celtic Guitar by Andrew White is an artfully crafted tapestry of beautiful melodies and superb improvisations, where the subtle dialogue with other instruments evokes a tranquil visual impression.
Andrew White is an inveterate traveler, and many of the tracks on this album, 'Dingle Bay Dream', 'Greenstone Waters', 'Saint Patrick's Day Parade', 'Karekare', 'Journey', are scenic in nature, reflecting the places that he has called home over the years, and has been inspired by.
"I've often wondered where the strong Celtic folk sense in my music comes from," Andrew says, " there are some tunes that emerge almost as if gift wrapped. They essentially arise as I write them, almost totally complete. It's the most exciting thing for me as a musician when that happens. Some of my music arises out of the different guitar tunings I use; unusual chord shapes become the basis, the beginning of a piece.
"A piece like Saint Patrick's Day Parade had its beginnings in London when I was living there, and then when I went to the United States, all the memories and experiences of living in London started to flow out through my music."
The track 'Karekare' describes the lonely beauty of one of the beaches west of Auckland, New Zealand, where the Academy award winning movie The Piano was filmed. The track Greenstone Waters was also inspired by New Zealand's spectacular coastline.
Throughout The Heart of the Celtic Guitar, Andrew White demonstrates his polished technique and emotionally compelling melodies. Guest musicians include Matthew Arnold on violin, Lynnelle Moran on Irish whistle and flute, Ben Robertson on bass, Raja Sharma on matka, a native percussion instrument, Naird nominee and fellow White Cloud recording artist Michael Atkinson plays keyboards and is the album's arranger. The exquisite vocals of Kavisha Mazzella on the track Greenstone Waters is one of the highlights of an album of beautiful resonant music.
Andrew White is one of that rare breed of musician-composers that has perfect articulation, coupled with an elegance of melodic line that makes him one of the outstanding contemporary folk guitarists of our time. The Heart Of The Celtic Guitar reflects the strong inner impulse that is the very heart of Andrew White's exquisite music.
Andrew White's melodic acoustic guitar style has a transparent clarity of sound and a hauntingly emotional quality. His music on this album creates a refreshing sense of introspection and purity, with his intimate guitar melodies lightly coloured with keyboards and acoustic bass to create an unique sense of tranquility and beauty.
A part of Andrew White is drawn to a life of meditation and introspection. He likes to spend as much time as he can in the beauty of the alpine lake areas on New Zealand's South Island. The spectacular scenery has been an inspiration for much of his music, and he blends his Celtic themes with his contemporary acoustic style into an uniquely sensitive musical whole that encapsulates a deep sense of beauty.
Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Andrew's interest in music developed from the age of eight, the same year that he began to study at boarding school. The school's quietest place was the piano room, and he liked it the best.
"I'd sneak away and lock myself in the piano room," he says, "then I could sit at the piano, make sounds and disappear into another world."
At the age of ten, he began to teach himself guitar. The fingerstyle techniques of Bert Jansch, John Renbourne and Ralph McTell were all early strong influences on the formation of Andrew's guitar style.
Music and travel have become all consuming elements in Andrew White's life. Shortly after moving to the Southern Hemisphere from Britain, he began to travel across Australia to India and eventually throughout Europe, playing and studying guitar as he travelled.
In1989, Narada Records asked Andrew to collaborate with David Arkenstone on a new album, and he spent ten months in the U.S.A. recording 'Islands' with David. 'Islands' was released by Narada Equinox, and reached number six in the Billboard New Age charts.
In New Zealand, Andrew White is well known for his work with his acoustic electric band The Rainmen. Andrew and his band have performed as support for national tours of Seals and Crofts, Tom Paxton, Jerry Harrison of The Talking Heads, Ottmar Liebert and Taj Mahal. His band is an excellent showcase for some of Andrew's more energetic compositions, but he admits that it cannot convey the intimacy and purity that is the essence of much of the music he likes to write and play.
"To me, music is divine, and the best music happens when a person is absorbed and lost in it, almost as if someone else is playing it. I tend to approach my life in the same way; I don't live according to a plan, but to a melody."
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WHITE, Andrew: The Heart of the Celtic Guitar