Long Distance Love
Cara's new album 'Long Distance Love' marks an important step in the band's whirlwind career. With the addition of two new band members, piper Ryan Murphy from Cork, Ireland, and singer/pianist Jeana Leslie from Scotland's Orkney Islands, Cara finally becomes a multi-national Celtic band. Ryan holds an impressive total of seven All-Ireland and two Oireachtas titles on the pipes, whereas Jeana won the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2008. Founding members Gudrun Walther (vocals, fiddle), Juergen Treyz (guitar, dobro) and Rolf Wagels (bodhrán), all from Germany, are well-known and respected musicians on the international Irish Music scene, and with the addition of the two talented young musicians that are Jeana and Ryan, Cara is one of the hottest acts around. Cara have been extensively touring in Europe and the USA for the past five years, and received an 'Irish Music Award' (USA) as 'Best New Irish Artist' in January 2010. On their seven tours through the USA, Cara have played the main stages at some of the biggest festivals for Irish Music, such as Milwaukee Irish Fest (2009), Kansas City Irish Fest (2009 and 2010), ICONS Festival (2007), Chicago Irish Fest (2008) and many more. Wherever they go, the audience loves them for their dry-witted yet warm-hearted stage presence and their songs and tunes. 'Cara' in Irish Gaelic means 'friend', and friends they are - but since the band was formed in 2003 by some friends who just loved to play music together, Cara has become an internationally acclaimed, successful enterprise, and they have every right to be proud. With the new line-up and the new CD they are taking it one step further and truly become a panceltic band with musical influences not only from Ireland, but also from Scotland, Brittany, the USA and Nova Scotia. The various cultural backgrounds of the individual members provide a rich repertoire to choose from, yet the common ground remains Irish Music and the band sound is firmly rooted in it. Cara has always been known for their original songs and tunes as well as for their artfully crafted arrangements of traditionals. Throw in the odd Cara-ized version of a wellknown song, some Southern or Eastern European flavour here and there, and you get an idea of the unique Cara sound that makes them stand out. The well-balanced mix of songs and tunes makes 'Long Distance Love' a varied album that should cover all the bases for any listener interested in Irish or Celtic music. The sleeve notes in English and German language are very informative and round off the overall impression of an album produced with great attention to every detail. Trademark of the band sound are the two female lead singers. Gudrun's silky alto and Jeana's sparkling soprano are equally expressive in their solos, but magnificent if they blend to become one sound. They sing in three languages: English, Scots and Gaelic. The tunes are fronted by Ryan's virtuoso uilleann pipes and Gudrun's lovely fiddle, but both play second instruments too, such as flute, whistles or button box, and Jeana adds her Scottish fiddling to some of the tune sets as well. Rhythmically, Juergen's energetic guitar playing and Rolf's tuneful bodhrán sound provide the backbone to the music, whereas the piano and guitar explore the depths of harmonical structures together. Dobro and Mandola, played by Juergen, are the icing on the cake and add another dimension to the arrangements. Like in the United States, Irish Music was brought to Germany by Irish immigrants and by the legendary bands in the seventies, such as Bothy Band, Planxty or De Dannan, to name but a few. They enthralled the German audiences, and Germany has been one of the most popular countries to tour in for Irish musicians over the last decades. Now, forty years later, there is a generation of young musicians, playing the music, inspired by those legendary musicians, steeped in a tradition that isn't theirs by birth but yet they add a new dimension to it and keep it fresh and exciting for audiences world wide. Cara is a great example for this. With their new, international line-up and the release of the new CD, the band has come full circle.