Modern Celtic singer-songwriter Heather Dale shifts easily between the ancient and the modern. While her inspiration is firmly rooted in Celtic mythology and history, her musical style is anything but traditional. Her innovative songs range from Celtic folk-pop to bluesy rock... each strengthened by her rich vocals, evocative tunes and intelligent lyrics.
Her 2004 schedule includes the Dehwelans Festival (Cornwall UK) and a special invitation to join over 100 other artistic leaders at the Mythic Journeys Conference (Atlanta, GA). She is booked for a featured concert at Hugh’s Room, Toronto’s top folk venue. Heather’s research into the British King Arthur legends has led to numerous invitations from universities, historical societies and literary conferences to appear as a guest lecturer. And all this from a young Canadian artist, not yet thirty.
Heather's lifelong passion for music led her to learn a wide array of folk and classical instruments, as well as refining her vocal talents. Her first solo performance came in 1997; she now tours with a 4-piece backing band, in addition to her engaging solo shows.
As demand for her recordings continued to grow, Heather founded AmphisMusic, a thriving independent record label, in 1998. The critically acclaimed "May Queen" (2003) marks her fourth independent album release. It joins her previous recordings: "The Trial of Lancelot" (2000), "Call The Names" (2001) and "This Endris Night" (2002). Sound clips and further information are available at HeatherDale.com.
Her body of work has now spanned a decade and garnered a strong fan base across North America and Europe. Her recordings reach ever broadening audiences, and continue to carve a place for Heather Dale in the minds of Celtic music fans all over the world.
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Highlander Radio ReviewOne of the benefits of running a Celtic internet radio station is discovering new musicians that should be introduced to our listeners. Let’s face it – not everyone can be featured on Highlander Radio and for us we pride ourselves on offering quality musicians and music. We have certain expectations that the quality, style and music of the artist must fit to our broadcast image. Heather Dale immediately caught our attention because she sings about the stories of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. And while our broadcast is not limited to Renaissance music, Heather has done an excellent job in combining Renaissance and Celtic to compliment her mastery of instruments and vocals. Heather focuses on the ancient legends of King Arthur, hence her album "The Trial of Lancelot", and she considers herself a modern Celtic singer, songwriter and instrumental performer.
Highlander Radio received two of Heather Dales CD's; "Call the Names" and "The Trial of Lancelot." We immediately found her music both enticing and addicting. The lyrics and melodies are uplifting! The clarity and emotion in Heather’s voice is certainly world class – reminding us of some of our favorite female Celtic musicians. So it comes with pleasure to report that her image, story and music all live up to our high standards of Highlander Radio.
In a sea of never ending Celtic music titles, remakes, and renditions, it is a breath of refresh-ness to hear stories of substance along with her creative musical scores. Her songs are so uplifting that you might even find yourself standing at the edge of Camelot! Combining her striking vocals, natural story telling and original musical composition produces some of Highlander Radio's favorites: "Culwch and Olwen", "Inspiration", "King of All Trades" and "The Trial of Lancelot." Equally important are the attractive album covers and gorgeous inserts – giving complete lyrics to all of the songs. (Go ahead and sing along!)
Heather Dale is from Toronto, Canada. She is a very talented young lady - having 15 years of private piano training in additional to playing several folk instruments: hammered dulcimer, wooden recorder, tin whistle and bodhran (Irish drum). She states on her website, "I have a habit of picking up things just to see if I can make a noise with them." Well, if that’s the case then we highly suggest that she continues "picking up things" to make her beautiful “noise” and we will highly anticipate her next album release!
Highlander Radio highly recommends Heather Dale and her albums: "Call the Name" and "The Trial of Lancelot." Her music will make a fine addition to any Celtic music collection – going beyond the mix of today and giving a glimpse of our ancient and lustrous past.
Takes inspiration from the history of Britain and Europe, and ancient legends like the tales of King Arthur. These legends are vastly popular in North America, as an inspiration for art and spirituality.
Based in Toronto, Canada. Has been playing piano since age 3, with 15 years of piano training in various styles. Lifelong choral and solo vocalist, and started being recognized for poetry at age 6.
Since 1993, she has been writing new songs based on historical and legendary themes, earning fans among Renaissance enthusiasts worldwide. She is now reaching a broader audience with her Modern Celtic recordings.
Owns and manages her own independent record label (Amphisbaena Music), to promote progressive music inspired by the past. She has released two independent CDs: The Trial of Lancelot (2000) features her original Modern Celtic songs based on King Arthur legends, and Call The Names (2001) is a full hour of original folk music inspired by Renaissance life. Currently working on a new solo CD based on the King Arthur legends, May Queen (for release in 2002).
A featured solo performer at the Ontario Renaissance Festival, and featured guest of Toronto's Ad Astra Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention. Part of Indigo Books/Music's "Mood Indigo" concert series in 2001. Solo performances at Toronto venues: C'est What, Free Times Cafe, Oasis. Featured vocalist in Alexander Gralant's Canadian short file First Light., and in the theatre production of Knave of Hearts by Todd McGinnis.
Interview with Heather DaleHighlander Radio: We see from reading your website that you have been a musician since a child. What exactly influenced you to perform in the Celtic/Renaissance genre. Did you have any role models or early recollections of desiring to be a performer?
Heather Dale: My earliest influences definitely came from my parents' love of folk music. Instead of listening to Sharon, Lois and Bram, I grew up listening to Peter, Paul & Mary singing old traditional ballads and protest songs from the 60's. I learned Irish folk songs from the Clancy Brothers right alongside Canadian and American artists like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Gordon Lightfoot. Folk music taught me that good songs have a story to tell, which is something I really believe in with my own music.
I actually remember the first Modern Celtic artist I heard: my brother belonged to a record club, and on a whim I ordered Enya's "The Celts" album. Listening to it on an old walkman, I suddenly looked up at my mother and said, "Mom, there's someone out there who writes songs like I do!". My early compositions had an airy, layered quality, and Enya was the first commercial artist that had seen success with that kind of sound. I was hooked. I knew right then that there was a place for my original music, and I never looked back. I collected albums by Clannad (after discovering their music on the "Robin: The Hooded Man" TV series), Enya, Loreena McKennitt (I still remember the thrill of hearing her album "The Visit" for the first time), Mike Oldfield, Calverley, and a host of others. If it was Celtic, I was interested... and they all influenced my style in their own way.
Highlander Radio: Can you offer any advice for young children/people interested in becoming musical performers.
Heather Dale: The distilled version is to find something you enjoy, whether that's singing or playing an instrument, and get good at it. Do it a LOT. Play fun songs, along with your boring practice scales. Stretch your mind. Keep at it, even in the face of thoughtless people who say you'll never get anywhere. Everyone has different abilities, but no one who practices and keeps tackling new challenges ever stays at the same level. One day, you just look back and realize you're doing something amazing.
Highlander Radio: In addition to singing, performing and composing, we understand that you manage an independent record label called Amphisbaena Music. What made you decide to take on this role along with your responsibilities as a performer?
Heather Dale: The desire to control my own future. When you understand every aspect of your career, you can make the informed decisions necessary to keep it moving forward. I came to the realization early in my career that I was capable of doing almost all of the basic duties in a recording team: writing the music, performing it, designing album covers, keeping track of income... For the things I didn't know about, like sound recording or promotion, I started looking at books and talking to people. The great thing about running your own label is that you can do all the management work for free; I wouldn't be willing to ask anyone else to do that. The flip side, of course, is that all the income that you are able to generate comes back into your pocket. As I establish myself more solidly in the industry, I'm able to hire other people to help with different aspects of the business, but that option doesn't really exist until your career gets to a certain level.
Highlander Radio: Do you have a regular band of musicians that accompanies you on tour?
Heather Dale: I mostly do solo shows where I accompany myself on piano; they're far easier to schedule! I do have a band that I work with regularly though, called The Commoners. Working with them gives me the option for fuller arrangements on tour, and also gives me a creative outlet where I don't always have to be the lead songwriter. Our shows incorporate some of my original songs, as well as other material we write as a band.
Highlander Radio: We were impressed with your interest in the middle ages and King Arthur. What interested you in this time period?
Heather Dale: It's hard to put a finger on it. I remember loving fairy tales and old legends as a child, and reading a lot of modern fantasy fiction as a teenager. But my passion for it really crystallized when I found an organization of Medieval re-enactors called the Society for Creative Anachronism. Suddenly I had an opportunity to put my love of legend into practice, by creating new songs that not only re-interpreted the stories from 800 years ago, but which also captured the ongoing activities of the 'Current Middle Ages' of these modern Medievalists. I've had a lot of solid support from the SCA over the years, and it's helped to spread my music out to mainstream music audiences all over the world.
Highlander Radio: As you know, Highlander Radio is based in the United States. Do you have any future plans for concerts over the border?
Heather Dale: I've had a lot of grassroots support from the States, and I definitely expect to do shows there within the next two years. The difficulty lies with organizing a cross-border tour -- I simply don't have the experience to find and book the right venues. Once my next major release "May Queen" is out though, I will be on the hunt for a tour promotion team who will help make that kind of tour a reality.
Highlander Radio: Thanks again for taking time out of your schedule to talk to Highlander Radio. We look forward to the release of your next album - May Queen.
Heather Dale: My pleasure! And many thanks for featuring my music on your great station.
Listener CommentsMember Name:
Peder PiperDate Posted:
always strikes a refreshing newness even after multiple plays.She has a clear clean voice that lifts the songs she sings to a higher sky and brings backs dreams and legends to a contemporary experience. She reminds us in song of the greatness the human spirit can achieve. She is a deep breath of fresh air.
Member Name: garfieldpurrs
Date Posted: 22-Nov-2006
I requested a song of her's for "Song Of The Year 2006"
Member Name: MDF3530
Date Posted: 21-Nov-2006
Latest news from Heather Dale (I subscribe to her mailing list):QUOTE Hi everyone:As promised, here's one of two email updates for you -- my brand new CD "The Hidden Path" has arrived! It's a 14-song collection of live foot-stompers, rare studio recordings, and other tasty tidbits; have a listen to sound clips at www.HeatherDale.com/THP. The CD can now be securely ordered online at The Heather Dale Store. I hope you'll consider sharing my music with your loved ones this holiday season; I'm genuinely honoured that you choose to support my work. A couple of other quick things: Have an idea for a fabulous Christmas concert in Ontario? We're interested! Ben and I would be happy to come and perform at your local church, community hall, restaurant, nursing home, house concert (ie. fun private concert in your own living room, for you and 15 or more friends), or other venue. Please contact Ben at bookings@AmphisMusic.com, with any Ontario-specific ideas! "The Legends of Arthur" songbook is in the final manufacturing stage, and should be released in a week or so.Firm plans are finally afoot to resurrect The Amphisbaena Project -- an online community of historically-inspired recording artists. We will again be distributing rare indie CDs by Conn MacNeill, Morgana bro Morganwg, and many others. We may not have Amphisbaena running in its new form in time for Christmas, but we're are actively working to make these recordings available again early in the new year. Bear with us!We've added a Sudbury date to our current northern Ontario tour: SUN Nov 26 at 7:00pm. Church Of The Epiphany (85 Larch Street, Sudbury, ON, 705-675-2279). Tickets $10, available at church office during regular business hours, or contact Patricia Park at (705) 524-0424 to reserve. Visit www.HeatherDale.com/shows for up-to-the-minute concert additions (psst... we have more Toronto dates in the works).I'm off to northern Ontario and Manitoba...Cheers,Heather. Response:
Member Name: Macfive
Date Posted: 20-Nov-2006
Did anyone recommend a song of hers for Song of the Year 2006 - Celtic Radio?
Member Name: Dogshirt
Date Posted: 20-Nov-2006
I can't stand this woman! I have not heard ONE of her songs that I have not hit the mute button on! NOT my cup of tea!
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