Castlebay LP
A Brief History

Castlebay was started in 1986 when Julia Lane and Mark McNeil, who were performing as the duo BARRA, joined forces with Fred Gosbee and Brian Chadbourne, who had been performing together since 1980. As a quartet, Castlebay performed at festivals and concert series throughout New England, upstate New York, and the Washington, DC, area. Before Brian left in 1989 to follow other pursuits, the band recorded an eponymous LP and three other albums.

Castlebay toured as a trio until 1993 and released three more projects. Mark stopped touring in 1993 but helped with the 1996 CD, "Run Before the Wind".

The Castlebay office has been located at 428 Upper Round Pond Road in Bristol, Maine, since 1989. The recording studio opened in 1997 Castlebay became incorporated in January, 2003.


Castlebay has remained focused on music and songs which can be defined as traditional Celtic.

Julia Lane:

"Back in the 1980's I was always explaining to audiences what Celtic music was because the term hadn't been popularized. In my mind it means the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, and the other Celtic lands. Nowadays I still have to explain what we do because Celtic music has come to be regarded as part of the New Age genre - not what we do at all!

"I love the stories, ever since I was a little girl. I always strive to take the audience on a journey with me which means providing a context in addition to the music.

"It is always so exciting to look out at an audience and see young people and old people, people in suits, people in bikers' outfits - all sorts of people - sharing this experience, these stories.

"That sharing, for me, is where the magic lies."

Fred Gosbee:
"There have been a couple of events in the past few years that have made the general public more aware of this tradition of music. After Ken Burns' series on the Civil War was aired I seldom played ANY aire on the fiddle without somebody asking if it was from the series. The other event to have a big impact was Riverdance. That really put Irish music on the map. We have had a lot less explaining to do since then.

"We include a large amount of traditional music in our repertoire and on our recordings and we strive to breath new life into the old music, sometimes with innovative arrangements, sometimes just playing simply as we can.

"Julia and I have both written a lot of new music - much of which passes as traditional. I often say that the traditional music has been our education.
"Although we are not 'traditionalist' we feel that we are part of a continuing tradition."

Where to see Castlebay

Castlebay regularly tours the entire eastern seaboard of the U.S. and has made annual tours of the United Kingdom since 1993. They have also performed in the Los Angeles area, Durango, Colorado, Fredrickton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Castlebay performs at festivals, concert series, and folk clubs. They also teach cultural history through music in schools, libraries, museums, and elder hostels. Since 1990 Castlebay has performed at over 450 weddings and innumerable other private functions.

Commissions and Special Projects
In 1998 Castlebay was comissioned by the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Association, in Scotland, to write music for "Sang O the Solway", a cultural celebration of the region. This two-hour piece was performed several times throughout southwestern Scotland, culminating in a concert at the 2001 Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.

Julia Lane has been researching an historic shipwreck for about three years and has written a historical drama with music based on the documents she has found. This multi-media production will include other musicians, readers, and projections. The Heartwood Theater will produce the first run which has been scheduled for May 2007.


As a duo,Castlebay produced 15 CDs between 1994 and 2006 in addition to work on other artists' recordings on both sides of the Atlantic. Included in their body of work is a six-part series of Celtic instrumental music, two holiday harp CDs, a winter humor CD, two CDs of original work (mostly songs), two CDs of traditional songs, and one live concert recording.


2007-06-03 Castlebay, Inc.
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