Welcome to the Cath Benefit CD website

Cath is a CD about connections – connections between musical traditions, between cultures, and between the past and the present. “Cath” means “battle” in both the Irish and Scots Gaelic languages, and the name represents both a connection between the two countries and the fact that all the artists on the CD have given generously of their time and talent to join the battle against Parkinson’s Disease. All the proceeds from the CD will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Most people hear “Celtic music” and think of the fast-paced rhythms of Riverdance or the haunting ballads of Celtic Woman. Traditional Irish and Scottish music is so much more. It is folk music in the truest sense of the word; its songs tell the story of the human condition, from grand themes of love and loss to humorous glimpses into every day life. The songs and artists on this CD illustrate that diversity.

The primary connection between the songs is their co-author, Melissa Tatum, who also serves as the CD’s producer. “When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s seven years ago at age 36, I benefited from the resources made available by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and this CD is my way of giving back,” explained Tatum. “Since I am not a singer, I reached out to my favorite artists, both those who are well-known and those who I think deserve broader recognition. Their enthusiastic responses were deeply touching, and I am tremendously grateful to all them for making this CD possible.”

In addition to connecting artists from different countries, the songs are also connected by a series of themes:

Connection between people and place. Irish music legend Robbie O’Connell (Kilmainham) tells the story of those who were incarcerated in Dublin’s Kilmainham Jail. The Máirtín de Cógáin Project (The Barman’s Blessing) delivers a parting song for the patrons at a neighborhood pub, and U.S.-based group Puca (The Village Green) sings of the generations who inhabited a village.

Connections forged by love. Cross-over folk/Irish singer Aoife Clancy (Love’s Touch) delivers a modern love ballad. Tullamore (Love’s Vigil) sings a love ballad set in the days when technology did not connect the world. Dene Foye (who wrote the music for half the songs on the CD) sings a song inspired by an incident that occurred when he was cleaning out his mother’s house after her death (Heirlooms).

Connections between people and politics. Scottish folk singer Ed Miller (Session Rules) speculates about the lessons that we can learn from the way a traditional music session works. Jil Chambless and Scooter Muse (Two Peoples) explore how the potato famine connects the Irish and the Choctaw, and Rick Ewing sings a song inspired by walking the battlefields at Gettysburg and Culloden (“Let Us Not Forget”).

Connections between people and nature. Internationally renowned Scottish folk singer-songwriter Jim Malcolm plays guitar and harmonica for his daughter Beth, who takes lead vocals on Painting the Seasons, a celebration of nature’s beauty. Three Weird Sisters (“Garden Club”) and Wild Mercy (“The Morning Song”) continue the theme by exploring the connection between people and nature from both a humorous and a serious perspective.

The CD is scheduled for release in September 2012. To find out more about this project and the status of the recording, explore the links in the red bar at the top of the page. For more information about the artists and the songs they are recording, click on the links in the right hand column.