The Twa Corbies


I've been reconnecting a bit with my roots in my one of my latest musical projects. With Irish musician Mahon MacCarthy, we've created a duo called 'Twa Corbies' to explore some Celtic folk narratives in soulful and fresh ways. Here is how it came about… 

It’s just a wee stroll from my front door: that notorious bastion of cultural resistance and last retreat for Freo bohemia:  the Fremantle Environment Resource Network (aka Fern). On Monday nights the doors are open to local tribe and blow-ins alike, regardless of one’s cash-flow status. You are ensured of a good feed (as long as you are content to graze only from the plant kingdom), and more often than not, witness a serendipitous collision of musical minds of unknown origins.  Musical technicalites are no barrier to the faithful. It was from those inauspicious origins that Twa Corbies was born. It was in the lush gardens, beside the hissing fire, amid the sobering grumble of Leach hwy that we met and began to craft our sound.

I’ve long had the desire to explore the oriental approach to Celtic music.  There’s a trail through the garden of old European music that meanders all the way to Persia. There are the drones, the frame drums, the dorian modes and Dionysian glissandos. And there is my need to express, without words, that all of this is mine.

The name 'Twa Corbies' is from a classic Scottish folk song in our repertoire which tells of two ravens discussing what they will have for breakfast. One tells the other that a freshly killed knight lies behind the dike, and they could strip his bones before he's discovered…

For me, the main difference about the Corbies’ music, in comparison to the Classical Indian music that I normally do, is the strong element of a lyrical narrative. The traditional songs all tell a story. I feel that they are story medicine as much as they are musical entities. They tell of the human experience, often with breathtaking beauty, and they remind us of the ancient river of emotion that we ride upon. Underneath this human costume of pain and pleasure is the heavenly perfection of harmony and rhythm, assuaging our suffering and carrying us home.

I’m pleased to be working on this project with a musician of equal curiosity and ingenuity. Mahon was born and raised in Ireland, steeped in the sounds of the Celtic Revival.  He is a daring multi-instrumentalist, singer and poet with a passion for Celtic art and the Gaelic language.  We’ve put together 2-3 hours of powerful songs in unique arrangements that I think resound with life, heart and spontaneity. I look forward to sharing this beautiful material with you. 


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