Once upon a time....
well - not that long ago. In October 2010 there was an "Irish Week" in a small venue in Munich. A presentation of pictures of Irish musicians,
live music, Irish movies,... Nadia Birkenstock was one of the invited musicians and we decided, not only to have a harp concert, but to add
something for the kids. So, Nadia and me had the first reading of Irish fairy tales. Nadia with a great feeling for the music to be played with
the selected stories.
And the kids? They felt 'enchanted' by it (and, not to forget: the parents too). After one of the live music sessions, we met Mick Fitzgerald and Gabriele Haefs. We needed not that much alcoholic beveredges to decide: Let us create a Fairy Tale CD together. Just to make the spirit of this memorable fairy tale session in Munich available for all the people who missed it. And that's, how it started...
And here is, what we made out of it. We hope you will enjoy it. And do not forget: There is a German/franconian version available now "Der verzauberte See"!
Mick Fitzgerald of Dublin, Ireland, receives GMA's Award of Merit for his children's recording, The Enchanted Lake; Irish Legends, Stories and Harp Music, and as vocalist. The stories on this album were chosen and edited by Gabriele Haefs and features Nadia Birkenstock on harp. Recently Fitzgerald published his solo CD, Streetwise, and is working with Haefs on a book with stories about Irish music.
Watch a video:
At first sight it is amazing to see these stories called "Fairy Tales", since we, after 150
years with the 1857.edition of the KHM, would rather call them place-lore, legends or some such
thing. We are told where the action is set, the persons involved have names, the storyteller,
Thomas Crofton Croker, involves himself and passes his verdict on the persons and their behaviour,
or gives us informations about the time and the place. But the "Irish Elves' Tales", as they are
called in German, were published in German as early as in 1826, at a time, when the brothers Grimm
had not formulated their categories and definitions for the various types of oral traditions.
Without Thomas Crofton Croker and the brothers Grimm we might not have had the chance, to produce this CD.
That's why we should honour the ol' folks, and show our deep respect in a decent manner. They deserve it - we all
have their stories in our hearts.
Thomas Crofton Croker, who published his books as T. Crofton Croker (but we could not find out if he did not like the name Thomas)
had no genuine Irish background. His father was a British soldier, Major Croker of the 38th Foot Regiment, and young Thomas was born
in Cork in 1798 in Buckingham Square - it' is hard to imagine anything more English. Even in boyhood he took an interest in everything
that was ancient - archeology, antique furniture and pictures, old books, oral traditions ...
The Grimm brothers, Jacob (born in 1785) and Wilhelm (born in 1786) must be among the most famous Germans
of all times. Some scholars claim that their collection of fairytales is the most translated German book of all - and that
means that the fairytales have to compete with heavyweights such as Marx' "Capital" and the writings of Martin Luther.
The brothers were introduced to collecting by Clemens von Brentano and Achim von Arnim, those who two wanted to publish prose,
after the success of their song collection "Des Knaben Wunderhorn" ("The Youth's Magic Horn"). But we all know what happened then: the
Grimms caught the bug and in 1812 the first edition of their Fairy Tales ...
Nadia Birkenstock was born in Solingen in the north west of Germany. She started playing the piano
at five and grew up listening to lots of classical music. Thanks to a scholarship, she received
her first vocal training in the USA (Westover School, Connecticut) and afterwards studied voice at
the Music Conservatory of Düsseldorf in Germany.
She taught herself to play the Celtic Harp at 16 and attended masterclasses with Kim Robertson (USA), Bill Taylor (Scotland) and others. During her vocal studies she created her first solo performance program for Celtic harp and voice, creating her own harp arrangements from the very beginning.
Today Nadia is one of the leading German folk harpists and tours internationally. She also frequently plays for the Irish Embassies in Cologne, Munich and Frankfurt.
In 2001 her first solo album "Emerald Isles" was released, followed by "Wandering between the Worlds" (2003), "Winter Tales" (LAIKA 2006), "Les Berceuses de Coline" ("Grandir Nature" 2007) and her songwriting debut "Strange New Land" (LAIKA 2008). Nadia's repertoire features both original songs and compositions and traditional Celtic folk songs and harp tunes. Requests for musical collaborations have lead to various expanded arrangements of her songs, including for string quartet, organ and four part choir.
Mick Fitzgerald grew up in Dublin and still lives there. He was born into a highly musical family
and is a man of many talents: a former journalist he now works mainly as an actor, an author, and a
musician. He was a member of bands like Tipsy Sailor and The Wild Geese, with the Wild Geese he toured
all over Europe in the eighties, before settling on acting as his main profession. In Dublin he stood on
stage in plays by, among others, Oscar Wilde and Brendan Behan, and he appeared in a large number of films.
In 2010 a collection of his stories was issued, "Session" (Songdog Verlag, Vienna), in 2011 his third
solo-CD "Streetwise" (Mogg Records) followed. A new book is due to be published soon.
Gabriele Haefs was born in Wachtendonk near the Dutch border and today lives in Hamburg. She studied Folklore,
Celtic languages and Scandinavian languages, which shows her geographical preferences. She has done research
and written about - among other things - myths and fairytales, and she also works as a translator, her most
well-known translation is the German version of Jostein Gaarder's "Sofie's world". In 2010 she published,
together with Anne Bubenzer, a book on Oslo: "Auf der Suche nach Ibsens Badewanne" (Picus Verlag, Vienna).
At present she is working on a book with stories about Irish music, together with Mick Fitzgerald.
Willi Basler was born in Franconia - yes, this is a small part of Bavaria, well known for the wine produced
there. And the patron saint of the wine makers is Kilian, an Irish monk. This is why Willi is hibernophile and
was driving the project as co-producer of the CD.