Come to the Celtic fair for a festive gathering of tradition and innovation, Celtic music, a Renaissance spirit, and with diverse instrumentation and spellbinding percussive grooves.

Performed on hammered dulcimer, Irish flute, fiddle, guitar, soprano sax, woodwinds, and percussion. Produced by Bobby Reed. (45:26 minutes)

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“Pensive tones, mystical auras and all manner of merriment… Sansone performs in that hold-your-breath emotive style that has the listener hanging onto every note. This collection rings with the rich melodies of  centuries-old compositions, that lend a contemporary, groove based and new-age flavor. (full review in PDF)
~Dirty Linen Folk & World Magazine

"This outstanding album of centuries-old traditional tunes from the Celtic lands is masterfully arranged and performed by Maggie Sansone and her stellar guest artists. The passion and playfulness inspire the listener to dance and revel, just as it did hundreds of years ago."
~New Age Retailer



Maggie Sansone ~ Hammered dulcimer, Scottish smallpipes (Tr. 3, 9);
Bobby Read ~ soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, flutes (wooden flute, C flute, alto flute, piccolo), keyboard, percussion, and drum programming
Sara Read ~ fiddle
Rob Greenway ~ guitar, Irish flute, button accordion

Credits Production, musical arrangements, engineering, mixing, mastering: Bobby Read, Small World Audio, Afton, VA, ;
Executive Producer, musical conception, hammered dulcimer arrangements by Maggie Sansone;
Bodhran drum samples by Paddy League;
CD Booklet design: Amy White;
Cover Photo: Carcassonne by Galen;
"Forte" Hammered dulcimer with pedal dampers played by Maggie Sansone was built by Nicholas Blanton, Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Tune List

  1. Scottish Bransle (Arbeau, 1589) 3:07
  2. Celtic Jigs (Breton Jig/Castlebar/Train to Dublin (c) Maggie Sansone) 4:45
  3. Breton An Dro 3:58
  4. Circle Dance 4:34
  5. Dancing Reels (Watchmaker/High Reel/Silver Spear) 4:14
  6. The Butterfly Slip Jig Set (Comb Your Hair and Curl It/The Butterfly/Barney Brallaghan) 3:42
  7. Variations on an Irish Air (Pretty Girl Milking a Cow) 3:26
  8. Highland Boat Song (Arran Boat Song) 2:58
  9. Round of Loudéac/The Wren 3:01
  10. Irish Reels (Donegal Highland/Mother and Child/Woman of the House)4:31
  11. Maiden Lane (Playford, 1651) 2:35
  12. Four Renaissance Dances (Attaingnant, 1557) 3:57

Liner Notes from the CD Booklet

About The Music

In choosing this music, I was inspired by all of my musical experiences—from performing on large concert stages to joining in on Irish sessions at neighborhood pubs; playing a wedding processional march, and jigs for a children's maypole; offering an elegant pavane to King Henry VIII at a Renaissance festival and accompanying a set of reels for
Irish step dancers at a Celtic fair. Come join us now for a festive gathering at the Celtic fair! Maggie Sansone.

Notes on the music

1 . Scottish Bransle (pronounced "brawl") A lively dance from the Renaissance published in Orchesographie (1589) by dance master Thoinot Arbeau ( 1520- 1595).

2. Celtic Jigs. Picture a musical journey starting on the rocky Brittany coast with the Breton Jig, traveling across the sea to Ireland with a stop at Castlebar , in the western part of Ireland, where you hop on a Train to Dublin , a 150-mile ride that will complete our journey! Thanks to Rob Greenway for teaching me Castlebar, the inspiration for my own composition, Train to Dublin.

3. Breton An Dro. An Dro (Breton : "the turn") is an open circle dance in 2/4 with dancers linking their pinky fingers. Brittany, one of the six Celtic nations is located on the northwest coast of France and still retains its Celtic culture and language to this day. Imagine a gathering of musicians in colorful garb, instruments in hand, heading for merriment and revelry at the castle fair.

4. Circle Dance. A traditional Breton tune called an An Dro, where the dancers link their pinky fingers and go around together in a circle.The melody is based on an ancient modal scale typical of Celtic music and combined with its repeating phrases it has a mesmerizing sound that draws you in this wonderful and mysterious world of the ancient Celts.

5. Dancing Reels The Watchmaker/Highland Reel/Silver Spear. These are well-traveled tunes heard in Northumberland, Ireland, Scotland and America.

6. The Butterfly Slip Jig Set includes Comb Your Hair and Curl It; The Butterfly , an Irish step dancing favorite that lends itself to jazzy rhythms; and Barney Brallaghan.

7 . Variations on Pretty Girl Milking a Cow. Solo hammered dulcimer. This begins with the melancholy refrain of the traditional Irish air and evolves into an upbeat mood.

8 . Highland Boat Song. A beautiful air from Scotland also known as The Arran Boat Song.

9. Round de Loudeac/ The Wren. A set of traditional Breton tunes.

10. Irish Reels. This set starts with Donegal Highland , played as a slow air that picks up tempo into two Irish session tunes, Mother and Child and Woman of the House .

11. Maiden Lane. An English country dance tune that has become the "hit tune" at the Maryland Renaissance Festival where my merry band of musicians and I play it for King Henry and his court. I perform all of the parts including a counter melody from Early Playford for Early Instruments, Book 2 (Marshall Barron, Playford Consort Publications)

12 . Four Renaissance Dances (Première Suytte de Branles d'Ecosse). Four 16th century Renaissance dance tunes called branles (pronounced "brawl") from The Attaingnant Dance Prints (1557) published by Pierre Attaingnant (ca.1529-ca.1557)

Thanks to Tina Chancey, Paul Oorts, Karen Ashbrook, Ken Kolodner, Paddy League, Richard Crenshaw, Connie McKenna, Betsy Chalfin, Emily and Norman Sokoloff and the staff at Maggie's Music.

More recordings featuring Maggie Sansone:Mystic Dance, A Traveler's Dream, Celtic Meditations, Dance Upon the Shore, Mist & Stone Traditions; and Holiday recordings: Sounds of the Season, Sounds of the Season II, Merrily Greet the Time, A Scottish Christmas, Ancient Noels.

Celtic Fair
  1. Scottish Bransle (Arbeau, 1589) Maggie Sansone 0:58
  2. Celtic Jigs (Breton Jig/Castlebar/Train to Dublin (c) Maggie Sansone) Maggie Sansone 1:03
  3. Breton An Dro Maggie Sansone 1:00
  4. Circle Dance Maggie Sansone 0:51
  5. The Butterfly Slip Jig Set (Comb Your Hair and Curl It/The Butterfly/Barney Brallaghan)
  6. Variations on an Irish Air (Pretty Girl Milking a Cow) Maggie Sansone
  7. Highland Boat Song (Arran Boat Song) Maggie Sansone
  8. Round of Loudéac/The Wren Maggie Sansone 0:58
  9. Irish Reels (Donegal Highland/Mother and Child/Woman of the House) Maggie Sansone
  10. Maiden Lane Maggie Sansone
  11. Four Renaissance Dances (Attaingnant, 1557)