The fine folks at Celtophilia were nice enough to give us an interview, visit their webpage at http://www.celtophilia.com/ But you can read the interview here: The Langer’s Ball is a hot new Irish group from the twin cities area, featuring Michael Sturm on guitar, mandolin, and vocals, and Hannah Rediske on the piano accordion and pennywhistle. They have been performing together since July of 2007, and have played a whopping 85 shows in a little over a year. We were lucky enough to get them to talk to us a little bit about what it’s like to be a two member band, playing such an intense schedule, and their debut CD, released just this month, called As I Roved Out. Celtophilia: You guys have been performing together for right at a year, have played over 70 shows in that time, and seem to be booked up currently. I’ve known groups who have been together for years who can’t keep that kind of schedule. What specifically do you attribute your obvious success as live performers to? The Langer’s Ball: Flexible work schedules, stubbornness and a lot of luck & hard work. We’ve been listening to Irish music all our lives and have a lot of great influences both locally & beyond. We both draw from our influences and really try to make each song stand on it’s own, but also as a collection, basically we try to avoid “throw away songs”. We are also really lucky to have such a great Irish music scene in the Twin Cities area, with so many great Pubs and festivals to play at. C: Do you find that performing as a duet limits your options, musically, or provides more opportunity to expand on your individual abilities? TLB: There is a little of both. We started small, and that’s where we are today. We’ve talked about adding members, but right now, we needed to release our album as who we are, and promote it as the 2 people who recorded it. Being a duo has pushed us to fill the space and create a full sound, but at the same time, we both work really hard all the time to create that, and we think that maybe, in time, we could ease the pressure with another member and create something bigger than the sum of it’s parts.
C: What should people expect when they put “As I Roved Out” in their CD player and settle in for a listen? TLB: They should expect a mix of Irish influenced music from across the board. We play a wide variety of songs and tunes, and we wanted to include that on this album. From the intense driving sound of “As I Roved Out” with bellowing accordion and a minor key tune, to the light jigs played on DADGAD guitar and whistle. From the modern “Galway Girl” by Steve Earle to the Pub favorites of Little Beggarman and Mick McGuire, and the “session” at the end with some Polkas and about as many instruments as we could fit into it. This album is a collection of music that we love to play, and a sample of what Irish music has to offer. C: I’m going to put you on the spot, now, and make you pick which baby you like the best. Which track from the CD is your personal favorite, and why is that one special to you in particular? Hannah - My personal favorite is “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. I had been hearing all sorts of harmonies in my head while playing this song, and I finally got to realize them when I got to play multiple instruments. The oboe has such a complimentary tone to the accordion, and the two worked so well together. On the other hand, the jigs are another favorite; they have a nice simplicity to them. Michael - I have a few favorites, The Star of the County Down is a sentimental song for me, as it is the 1st Irish song I ever learned to play over a decade ago, I love Matilda, and knew I wanted that on the album, but I had the most fun with the Polkas at the end of the album. My family comes from Cork, so I think there is some kind of a genetic memory in My DNA that drives me to play Irish Polkas. Hannah let me go wild on this one; I wanted Jaw harp and tons of strings, cymbals, accordion, bodhran and anything else I could think of. I tried to create a session on the album, and I’m really proud of how it turned out. It’s not the Chieftains or anything ground breaking, but it’s fun and captures the heart of Irish music to me. C: If you guys were stranded on a tropical island and could only play one song to convince the cannibals not to make you into stew, which song would you pull out of the arsenal? TLB: The Polkas have to win again, we think they are the secret weapon in our Irish music arsenal; they always get the crowd moving. When we play them live it’s just the mandolin and the accordion, but it’s got such an intoxicating rhythm, and we have a ton of fun playing them. We get to throw in a bunch of fun fills, change up the intensity with heavy bass on the accordion to light staccatos and full boar heavy playing, Michael plays the Mandolin behind his head and jumps all around. If they don’t decide they like us after that, I wouldn’t want to live on that island anyway, so I’d say “Eat ME!” Thanks again to Michael and Hannah for taking the time to answer our questions. Additional info about the band can be found at www.thelangersball.com or on their myspace page. Be on the lookout for a review of As I Roved Out in the coming weeks, right here on Celtophilia. Until then, Slainte!
We have launched our website at www.thelangersball.com. It's complete with streaming music, up-to-date events calendar, photos, and all other things Langer's Ball. We hope you will visit the site often, we have a very big summer coming up. We are going to be rolling out a new logo, new photos, a bunch more shows at new venues, we should have our first CD out in mid to late July, and much much more! Thanks for all your support, and check back often.