In the Home of my Ancestors

Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest

Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest
In the Home of My Ancestors
Locrian Records, 1997 (

Gavin O'Loghlen & Cotters Bequest
My Mother's Country
Locrian Records, 1998

Cotters Bequest is a six-piece band from South Australia, led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Gavin O'Loghlen. (Cotters were landless agricultural laborers who suffered under the absentee landlords of Ireland.) O'Loghlen used the heritage of his parents (and his wife's parents) as the building blocks for these CDs. The first CD begins in Ireland, with a number of pieces focussed on the beauty and mystery of the land. It takes landmarks such as the burren (County Clare) and the rock of Cashel as touchstones. One of the central sections of the CD is a five-track suite on the Irish famine, an event which led to the voyage of some of O'Loghlen's ancestors to Australia. Sung in Gaelic and English, the songs include spiritual overtones ("Gallorus Oratory"), rousing sentiment ("And the Donkeys Inherit the Earth") and a gentle lament ("Eviction 1849").

In the second CD O'Loghlen looks to the lands of his wife's origins, which include England, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. As in the previous CD, many of the tracks are inspired by landmarks such as Hadrian's Wall, St. Michael's Mount (in Cornwall), Silbury Hill and Stonehenge. This makes the CD a form of musical archaeology, excavating these sites for their keys to the celtic spirit. The songs are performed in English, Cornish and Manx Gaelic. All material, on both CDs, is written by O'Loghlen (with some assistance on one track).

The band displays a remarkable linguistic diversity, as well as proficiency on a wide range of instruments such as whistles, fiddles, guitars, accordion, percussion, keyboards, pipes and cello. The material includes a fair amount of Clannad-like atmospheric settings, but also other tracks with worldbeat elements. A third album in the trilogy is planned, this time to focus on what happened to the Celts after they ended up in Australia.

To pull off a totally original set of CDs is a tough task. Traditional music has such a storehouse of fine tunes and songs that one person cannot hope to consistently write up to this exacting standard. Nevertheless, these two CDs are an impressive collection of celtic-inspired material, with some definite high points.

- Ivan Emke, Rootsworld

"A Superb CD"

Unfold the small leaflet that flutters from within the admirably informative jewel case booklet and it is no surprise to find reference to four Irish cultural icons ... Clannad, Riverdance, Enya and Wolfstone.

Creator Gavin O'Loghlen is honest enough to admit that "In the Home of my Ancestors" Celtic fusion music, created and recorded in Adelaide, not Ireland, is "in the style of" the aforementioned entities.

And clearly, it is, without any loss of originality by O'Loghlen, whose homage to the land of his Irish emigrant great-grandfathers Micheal O'Loghlen and John Henry Cahill has produced a superb CD.

Inspired by O'Loghlen's visit to the west of Ireland, from whence his forebears departed for Port Adelaide in the 1850's and 1860's, it seamlessly weaves song with instrumental to create vivid images of 19th century Ireland.

The musicianship of O'Loghlen's Cotters Bequest ensemble is strongly Irish. Angelee Theodoros' pure, soaring soprano would win her the lead in any Riverdance troupe.

Bob Crimeen - Arts Editor - Sunday Herald Sun Melbourne

What the other critics have said :

"An hour of magnificent music filled with magic and mystery - a tribute to the genius, sensitivity, superb talent and professionalism of Cotters Bequest"

Richard O'Brien - Irish Ambassador to Australia


"A journey in song and one of the highest quality works I've heard in Australia"

Paul McCann - "Craic with Mc" Irish Radio Programmes


" A CD that ranks with the very best of Patrick Cassidy, Maire Breatnach, Joannie Madden, John Whelan and John Doan"

Gerry Duane - Shades of Green and Gold


" A sonic and musical masterpiece performed by talented Australian musicians"

Howlin' Wind - Australian and International Flautist


"A wonderful musical journey presented in true Celtic tradition - sensational"

Bill O'Brien - Chairman 1998 Kapunda Celtic Festival


"I know this style of music very well - and this band is very good, very tight"

John MacNally - International Irish tenor

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