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Author Topic: Tim Janis: Celtic Heart PBS Special Writeup (Detroit)  (Read 67 times)
A Sprite so Complete
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« on: August 24, 2019, 06:04:25 PM »



"Tim Janis: Celtic Heart" PBS Special Writeup

Tonight [EDIT: June 23, 2019], I finally got to watch Celtic Heart on Detroit PBS!

I don't get that station in my area, so I had to have someone record it and traveled over the weekend to watch the recording.

The show ran for 90 minutes with the pledge breaks.

The show opened with a brief narration. It might have been Lynn doing it. I enjoyed it. Those were the only spoken words during the show. There weren't any song introductions or context for the songs. I thought they could have shown the song titles somewhere on the screen, but perhaps that's not Tim's style. I haven't seen his other DVDs yet.

Set List

1. Fairy Glen (Lynn + Mairead)
2. Isle of Sky (Lynn)
3. White Forest (Lynn + Mairead)
4. Winter's Gate (Lynn)
5. Fall of the Great Forest (Lynn + Mairead)

-- Pledge Break #1 --

6. The Ancient Woods (Lynn)
7. Through the Mountains (Lynn)
8. Hidden Forest (Lynn + Mairead)
9. Mountain at the River (Lynn)

-- Pledge Break #2 --

10. Shadow Glass (Lynn)
11. Kid ar an Sliabh (Mairead)
12. The Light of Highland Meadow (Lynn + Mairead)
13. Western Realms (Lynn + Mairead)

-- Pledge Break #3 --

14. Beyond the Evening Star (Lynn + Mairead)
15. Spirit Lake (Lynn + Mairead)
16. Celtic Heart (Lynn + Mairead)

-- Pledge Break #4 --

According to the interviews during the PBS special, the DVD will have 3 additional songs that were not in the PBS special.

The extra songs weren't mentioned in the PBS special, but comparing the album to the PBS special set list, the 3 extra songs are probably:

- Spirit of the Trees
- Light on the Sea
- The Ring of Brodgar

The Look:

The lighting was ok. They achieved some interesting contrast in shots using bright lighting behind the performers. There were a few instances were I thought the performers were being over-saturated with light (the type of thing that happens to a picture taken from a phone when it overcompensates for dark surroundings and overexposes parts of a scene). Overall though, she scenes from the concert, particularly the closeups, turned out great!

Crowd Shots:

As some of you know, I was in the audience at the York Community Auditorium in York for the two shows where this PBS special was actually recorded. I was sitting far to stage right for the first concert and closer to center in the second row for the second show. I wasn't really expecting to be on the special, but I was really surprised the first time they showed the audience. For one thing, the theater where the audience was located wasn't the same venue where the show was actually recorded.

Umm ... don't get me wrong, I'm grateful I was there to see it live, but what was the point of recording in front of a live audience if they weren't going to show the audience that was there? I guess we didn't have enough people in the auditorium or we weren't worthy of TV, because they spliced in crowd shots from some other concert at another venue. As far as I could tell, there were no actual crowd shots from the venue in York, Maine. I'm unsure if the crowd applause audio was from the concert in Maine or if that was injected from a different source.


Tim is known for his combination of music with natural footage in his DVDs and YouTube videos. Throughout the concert, they faded back and forth between the live performance on stage and pre-recorded segments with the performers on a rock near the ocean. There were also lots of stunning scenes of Irish landscapes (there may have been some scenes in there from other locations, but I think least most were from Ireland). The Cliffs of Moher made several appearances. I had seen some of the same scenes in his YouTube videos promoting Celtic Heart. While they were certainly lovely scenes, I found it a bit amusing that the scenery sometimes didn't match the song. "The Hidden Forest," for example, featured seaside cliffs. I guess technically it was a really well-hidden forest, because it didn't actually appear during the track. In my opinion, it was a minor but odd inconsistency.

The Sound:

The sound quality was excellent, in my opinion. The ethereal humming of the singers was both intriguing and soothing. Lynn sounded incredibly beautiful. Although she had the vocal spotlight for most of the show, she wasn't the only singer on stage. The backup singers were good. Australian singer Ella Roberts was particularly impressive. When I heard "The White Forest" on the album, I thought that was Lynn singing because it was so spectacular. But in that song, it was actually Ella! She has quite a voice!

Mairead sounded great as well. She moved around a bit, though not quite as much as in the Celtic Woman DVDs. While she had a few fun, energetic songs, it was her breathtaking performance in "The Hidden Forest" that stole the show for me. That is one of the most gorgeous things I've ever heard.

Pledge Breaks:

During each pledge break, there were 2 interview segments: the first with Tim Janis and the second with Tim accompanied by Mairead Nesbitt. The interviews were done live in the PBS studio. It was mentioned during the broadcast that the DVD has additional interviews with the performers. At least some of those interviews were recorded at the venue in York, Maine.

Tim talked about how he had seen Mairead on PBS (with Celtic Woman) and just had to have her incredible talent in Celtic Heart. He also mentioned that he liked listening to Mairead speak. That was pretty cute. She does have an adorable accent and tone.

Tim mentioned that he had seen Lynn in multiple PBS specials. Hmm, she was only a featured singer in one Celtic Woman special. Was a cameo from The Greatest Journey's documentary "The Journey So Far" shown on PBS (not just on the DVD)? Was she with Anuna on PBS? Was "Roots of Ireland" shown on PBS? Did she do pledge breaks for a Celtic Woman special in which she didn't actually appear? Am I missing something or has she been on PBS only once prior to this?

Mairead was really adorable in the interview segments. Mairead also talked about how talented Eimear McGeown (flutes and whistles) is. Mairead also talked about how the audience gives her the energy to perform the way she does. The PBS rep said Mairead had played a big role in making Celtic music popular across the US. Celtic Woman was never mentioned during the pledge breaks though.

The following pledge gifts were offered:

$60: Celtic Heart CD
$72: Celtic Heart DVD
$96: Celtic Heart CD + DVD bundle (with Tim's CD "Waters Edge," which is excellent but I already have, as a bonus gift)
$150: Pair of tickets to Tim Janis's show in Detroit in December
$250: Pair of tickets with Meet and Greet to Tim Janis's show in Detroit in December

To my surprise, the date for the show in Detroit (technically Royal Oak, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit) was not the same as the date promoted when I got the Meet and Greet tickets from PBS the day before they aired the show. My pledge confirmation email indicated (as originally shown) that the show was on Sunday, December 8th (a date that was in conflict with the Celtic Woman: Best of Christmas show in Denver). On the PBS special, they advertised the show was on Tuesday, December 10th. The show isn't yet posted on the venue site but PBS has since updated the date on the tickets offered through their website to December 10th, so I suspect that's the correct date. I suppose I'll find out when I get my ticket.  Roll Eyes


This was a nice concert special. The music was immensely soothing and along with the spliced in footage, it was visually stunning as well. It had a few quirks (the lighting was too strong in some cases, the scenes sometimes didn't match the songs, the lack of song titles, and the uh ... shots of the audience from some different venue). But in spite of those unusual choices, I thought it turned out very well and I definitely recommend watching it! I hope some of you get to see it later this year or next year on PBS. The DVD will hopefully be available soon as well for those that can't see it on PBS, or for those like me who want to treasure Mairead and Lynn's performances forever in our hearts.
Tipperary's best fiddler
Posts: 3025

Albuquerque 2009. Forever on my mind.

« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2019, 06:03:16 AM »

Thanks, Tom. I'm not sure what you mean about the crowd shots, though. I haven't seen the PBS special since it hasn't aired in my area but I have the DVD and I see you, me, and Mark Sterrett in quite a few audience shots. I wouldn't think they would edit in a different audience specifically for PBS.


Administrator Emeritus
Posts: 13028

« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2019, 06:02:55 PM »

Thanks, Tom! Great review!

An fidléir's mínealaíne i sprite iomlán sin
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