The band Nantathren was founded 1998 by Martin, the lead-singer, and Catriona, a fiddle player. Soon after they were joined by a drummer called Miriam and started out to build up a repertoire. Before their first concert ever Catriona left the group and they were left at two musicians. Later that year Martin asked Roger, whom he knew from school, to join the group with his bass guitar, so they formed a nice little 3-piece combo with voice, drums, bass and guitar.
But that wasn't folk-ish enough and they went on looking for a fiddle. After a while they were successful at that, too, although "find" might be a slight understatement. Martin got to know Mirjam who played the saxophone at that time but couldn't hide for long that she had played the violin until a while before, so he persuaded her to join Nantathren with both these instruments. Then Miriam "the drum" started singing, too, so their group now consisted of two voices, a guitar, bass, violin, saxophone, drums and guitar.
It was like this that they played their first concert at a wedding party and also showed their talent at (yet only) a few other concerts. Because the concerts weren't coming in dozens the group decided to put out a demo record to get noticed in the culture scene. To keep to their budget (they were all students at the time) they recorded twelve songs in only two Sundays and started putting together the cover design and what not for this demo themselves.
This whole thing took them quite some while, not the least because they were students, but also because at first the demo was supposed to be an old fashioned tape cassette (in the manner of many great Admiral James T. records, who was also the person to record their sound in the DALA Studios). After a long wait for the company to supply the tapes they figured out that this wouldn't work and opted for a CD, so they started to reshape the original designs to fit the new size.
In 2001 before it was finished, however, Martin went to Glasgow, Scotland, for something over 9 months (as a part of his studies) and left the group bereft of their lead vocals. While he was away the others improved their play on their instruments and Miriam the drum took up the tin whistle and the bodhran. Roger had already started a course in a music school before Martin left and perfected his bass playing there. Mirjam "the fiddle" decided to drop the saxophone in favour of improving her violin to fiddle playing (which is a difference not to underestimate). Besides that they also managed to get the demo CD finished by the end of that year.
In the beautiful, lively city of Glasgow Martin was not idle either. While turning to the good ales available in Scotland and at first being content with listening to music visiting pub concerts all over the town, he soon discovered a tremendous session in a small pub on Woodlands Road. The first time he was there he already got to know the "boss" of the session, Stef who was in charge who was going to start what next. In the manner of the very friendly and embracing Scots and especially Glaswegians, Martin was invited to join the session, and from that moment he took part actively in the folk scene in Glasgow. Sunday and Tuesday nights were reserved for the Uisg Batha session from then onwards where he got to know a lot of Scottish musicians, learned to love playing tunes and also got to know many more folk songs worth playing.
He brought back some songs none in Switzerland will ever have heard, because they were written by Scottish songwriters, and those tend to keep to the island. He got to know Ian Davison, one of the best songwriters in the place, as well as Clova, a fabulous folk group from Glasgow, who also write their own songs. Some songs of these people are now found in the repertoire of Nantathren, because the whole group is rather fond of them.
Something else Martin brought back with him from Glasgow was the Mandolin. In the Uisg Batha he got to know Phil who later became the boss of the session, and this man played the Mandolin so well, that Martin decided to try it, too. Admittedly the success in learning this instrument is rather limited, but the tunes he can play, he can play, and the songs he accompanies with the Mandolin are fair enough, as well. But the best thing is, that now the virus has passed on to Mirjam and she will start learning the Mandolin very soon.
When Martin came back from Scotland the CD was at last finished, and the group was again able to play some gigs, having now a demo they could send to the pubs and clubs. Their first concert after Martin's return was actually just three weeks after his arrival, at the Grienen open air, where they had played the year before, too, just before Martin left. The CD made it possible for them to play various gigs, but they were not completely satisfied with the disc.
It began to sound old and, after all, it was just a demo. Roger had made a lot of progress, thanks to his talent and to the school he attended, Miriam had taken up more instruments and Mirjam had also worked hard on her fiddle. Also their repertoire had now grown to more than three times what it was before and many of the songs on the demo had been sacked in favour of much better ones. So they decided to record a new CD and this time it was going to be more than just a demo.
Back in the DALA studios in early 2003 they took a full week to record 18 songs for their album. They had not yet decided on a name for it, nor spent many thoughts on the design, when the recording was finished and the CD had been mastered at the Gallus Tonstudios. When things were underway, photos had been taken and there was something like a cover design coming together, Miriam "the drum" left the group for personal reasons and a new commitment to rock music. This slowed the production of the CD down drastically. Having some concerts in the pipeline, the three remaining members had to rehearse hard to change the arrangements of all the songs to fit the new line-up without the drums.
Because Martin kept brining along new songs to play (traditional Folk is endlessly resourceful of good songs), the production of the CD basically came to a standstill in early 2004, yet it all was worth a little wait, after all. During the summer the design was completely changed in favour of a digi-pack instead of a conventional CD case, thus abandoning the idea of a CD booklet, improving the whole looks immensely. But also in another respect it was worthwhile waiting a little longer to finish the production. In September 2004, by mere chance, Roger found a label that was willing to promote and distribute our CD in all of Switzerland, which will make things much easier than it would have been doing all this themselves.

2012:

Fit as a fiddle!

Once again Nantathren has some news for you!
As of the beginning of May Andrea has joined us as our new fiddler, and already she has played her first concert with us.
We were received well when we played a wee concert in the "Alterszentrum Kehlhof" accompanying the presentation of the book "Faltern" (M. Pfirter, N. Oehrli), and the three of us loved playing it.
We enjoy being a trio again and hope for many more fun concerts, private or public, where Andrea can show people her skills on the fiddle, the tin whistle, as well as her beautiful voice.

 

February 2013:

We did it! SHE did it!

At last we have had our first "real" concert with our new fiddler Andrea, after nearly a year of waiting.

After being thrown in the cold water, but only into a shallow pool, shortly after joining us last year, she has now taken the big plunge! She showed us and the world that she can do longer concerts than half an hour. The gig in the Sudhuus in Hochdorf was a real success, and we loved playing it! We're really looking forward to our next gigs! I hope you too :)

 

May 2013:

 

Spring again!

Once again, May brings great joy to our band (even if nothign much has happened this past year).
At the end of April / beginning of May, Nantathren was joined by Rebecca, and we are four again now, as it used to be in the olden days. The instruments may not be the same as they used to be back then, but Rebecca has brought in various instuments that she plays, so now Nantathren is more at liberty than ever in their choice of instruments. We now have the following at our disposal: 2 guitars, 1 bass, 1 fiddle, 1 flute, 2 tin whistles, 1 banjo, 1 mandolin, 1 accordeon, 1 male & 2 female voices.

February 2014:

 

Nothing new on the Winti front?

Since our website is up and running again, thanks to our Super-Tosi, it might be a good time, to write something new on here (for once it doesn't take a full year to do that).
We have been playing a few smaller and bigger gigs again last year after up-sizing to four musicians again. Naturally, we have a few new gigs lined up for Paddy-Day, as is wont for a folk group, and we'd love to welcome you to one of these shows!
Also, we have a very faint and foggy plan to record one or two songs sometime during this year, so people can listen to what we sound like now (not too different from the old times, I think.)But first we're off to Jona, Lyss and Lenzburg.
Really looking forward to these gigs!

 

 

March 2014:

 

 

The month "Irishuary"

Already we're going into March again, and that usually means a lot of work for us as a folk-group. On and around St. Patrick's Day there's always a lot of events to celebrate the old chap, and as is wont, we usually have a play in some of those. On March 1st we're in Jona, on the 14th ind Lyss and on the 15th in Lenzburg.
Web-Links to the places of venue can be found under "Live".

Naturally we'de be more than happy to welcome some of you guys to one of these venues! So, see you!

 

Summer 2014:

And yet they move!

The last update on our website is from quite a while back, yet, we're still here and we even do do something, now and then. After the couple of gigs we had in March, we went to record some demo-songs in a small studio in June. Unfortunately, they're not mixed yet, so as we could let you all listen to them because of the summer holidays which cut out a couple of weeks from everybody's work-time. We have already had a first mix to listen to, but there's still a lot to be changed until we'll be happy with the sound. Aside from holidays and recording we have also upped our repertoire by a couple of songs, because there's still so many beautiful and great songs out there to be learned. Learning new songs usually works best, if we have no gigs lined up, so we always have to balance those two things out, sometimes in favour of playing live, sometimes in favour of rehearsing new stuff.

In October we'll be in Basel, but unfortunately the venue is more or less private, and we couldn't fit in all of our fans anyway ;-)

But for those who can wait a little bit longer, we have the prospect of playing at the Appowila Highland Games in September 2015. It's scary how far ahead we sometimes have to plan. Feels like we're a big number ;-) Anyway, we'll most likely be playing a couple of gigs there and try to get the people into a Scottish mood. What fun!

Naturally, we're always available for more gigs, so if you're planning anything, give us a shout!

 

December 2014:

Holidays are Coming

Too much time has passed since the last update, and the holidays are knocking on the front door already. We’re hoping Santa Clause will be bringing us our demo-songs, so we can unwrap them under the Christmas tree. In any case, holidays also means that all of us have more to do at work and a little less time for rehearsals, but we’re positive that this will change again towards the gigs already planned.

The first ones will be in March for St. Patrick’s Day naturally. We’ll be playing in McArthurs Pub on March 13 and 14, once in Thun and once in Lenzburg (dunno which is when). On Paddy-Day itself will be at the Penny Farthing in Aarau, so we’re positively doing a pub-crawl over those days…

As I wrote in the last update, we will be playing at the Appowila Highland Games in September (5th and 6th to be precise), where we will have several smallish gigs over the two days. Additionally, we’ll be playing support for Ortodox Celts on the Saturday night, which we’re really looking forward to! Let the fun begin!

 

Later in December 2014:

 

Back to Square One

Just before New Year's Eve, or Hogmanay as my dear Scottish friends would say, terrible news reached us from our fiddle player Andrea.

She is going to leave us for a job in Tessin, which seems to be more important to her than the band. We hope she will still play the gigs with us that are already planned, but nevertheless we're looking for a new fiddle as soon as possible.
Thanks a million to Andrea anyhow for the time and energy invested into Nantathren, and especially for all the fun we had together.

We don't mind the gender of the new fiddler, but naturally she or he will have to fit into our little group of three that's still left.
If you think you're the one for us, plase feel free to contact us on the e-mail adress in  the menu "contact", or if you think you know someone who might, please be so kind to tell them.

The concerts already lined up, on March 13 and 14 at the McArthurs Pubs in Thun and Lenzburg, on March 17 at the Penny Farthing in Aarau, as well as the Appowila Highland Games on September 5 and 6, will be played as planned. If not as a quartet surely as a trio, but at least as loud and merry.
:-)

Naturally, we're still always available for more gigs, so if you're planning anything, give us a shout!

 

Spring 2015:

 

Advance to Go

Once again we have good news to report, as we have made a whole course around the playing board compared to our place 2 months ago. We have already found a new fiddler, and we’re having a great ball every time we rehearse together. Ursula is from bonnie Schaffhausen and brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy to our sessions. We’re quite confident that at the rate she’s learning the songs, we’ll soon be able to play gigs with her.

Of course we can also still rely on our old fiddler Andrea who will keep playing with us for the currently announced gigs. So everything’s fine for St. Patrick’s Day! In the Live tab you can find those concerts, and we’d be ever so glad to see a few friendly faces at those venues.

Anyhow, we’re always open for new booking requests, provided the planned date works out with our progress with Ursula. But don’t hesitate to ask if you’re planning anything folky. You never know!

Cheers and slàinte mhath!

 

September 2015:

 

Done and dusted!

Our new fiddler Ursula has already played her first two concerts, and everything has gone very well. We’re all really happy that Nantathren can keep on folkin’ with her support.

Also we’re very pleased that new requests for gigs keep coming in. This goes to show that Irish and Scottish folk are still very much in demand, which is a brilliant thing!

Naturally, we’re always open for further requests, so don’t hesitate to ask us if you’re planning anything folky.

Our next big highlight will surely be the Appowila Highland Games in Abtwil, where we’ll be playing Saturday and Sunday (I think) in September.

Only thing to say to that: freeeeedom!

 

October 2015:

 

Scots, wha hae...

Sadly, the Highland Games' weekend is already over. It's been a brilliant weekend for us, 
even if 5 gigs in 2 days is plenty. And we hadwere allowed to extend one of the sets to fill time while the main act,
Orthodox Celts were kept waiting in Austria by the people from customs. That was more fun for us than for them, I'm sure, 
but the crowd got a longer gig than expected from it. Some even danced on the tables!

Now we're looking forward to our annual appearance at the Guellegans Pub, and also our first (but hopefully not last) gig 
at the Zytclub in Zug in early December. After that it'll soon be Paddy Day again. It's amazing how time flies!

See you soon, everyone, and stay safe!

 

March 2016:

18 years but not aged a day

Even if it's hard to believe, Nantathren has now been about for 18 years, and we probably played gigs nearly as many times on St. Patrick's day's nights. Naturally we won't sit idle either this year, although up to now we only have a concert planned on the 17th, like last year in the Penny Farthing pub in Aarau. If you want to check back, if something else has come up meanwhile, maybe closer to your place, please check the live-tab on our site. 

Besides this gig we have mainly planned private events, such as a wedding, a 60th birthday and (hopefully) a big party of a neighbourhood-club (hard to explain to non-Swiss people I think, something like a village-fair).

Of course, we like to play these kinds of events, and if you're planning something of the sort, don't hesitate to ask us. But we also always like to play public venues, so our friends and relations can come along and have a ball (and a drink or two) with us.

And naturally, as soon as the text is online, another gig falls in the front door. On St. Patrick's day Saturday, we're playing the Krone 94 in Willisau. Come along and have a listen!

Anyhow, see yous on Paddy-day! Cheers!

 

October 2016:

 

Slowly but surely 

It feels like two years since the last update, but even though it's been quite a while, it's not THAT bad. A lot of things have happened in our band since St. Patrick's Day. We have played at a knightly wedding on Burg Hohenklingen and at a most relaxed and relaxing birthday-celebration in Weinfelden. Furthermore we could be seen and heard at the district-festivities in Stäfa.
In september three of the four of us took a little musical holiday and made a trip to Scotland, or rather Glasgow to be precise. We have heard many a new tune and song, but we have also noticed that a lot of the old, tried and tested stuff, that we carry in our band-backpack, is still received very well, too. We had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, and we have played all the sessions that we wanted to play, and then a few! It's been so great!
Even before unpacking after the holidays, we already played another wedding party in Winterthur, in the Rote Trotte, just round the corner from our beloved Gaswerk.
Reading only of private functions in our list of gigs could lead people to believe, that we never play publicly, at all, but that's not really true. In the coming months we have a few concerts lined up, which might not be just down the street, but still worthwhile!
On the 22nd of October we playing at the Guellegans in Basel, where we have been tolerated to play for this great bunch of people for quite a number of the past years. On 25th of November will be at the Gädelibar in the Café Löwen in Waldstatt AR, and on the 21st of January we'll be playing at the Schmidechäuer in Burgdorf BE. We are really looking forward to these gigs and hope to see a lot of you people at these venues!

See you soon, and think when you drink!

 

March 2017:

Once again St. Patrick’s Day is approaching at seemingly (more than) light-speed, so I feel it’s time for another wee update for our web site.

Many a fun concert we had in 2016, among them our annual appearance in the Guellegans Irish Pub in Basel. But also the new year has seen us on stage in the Schmidechäuer in Burgdorf (BE). In March there are three gigs lined up. The first is a private matter at the brewery-pub of the Öufi brewery in Solothurn; we’re really looking forward to tasting the beer there ;-)

On St. Patrick’s Day we’ll be at the Fukeneh Pub in Eiken (AG) (and yes it’s really called that) and on the March 18th we’ll play in our hometown Winterthur at the Sahara Bar. That’s something to look forward to even more!

flyer sahara bar 2017 ellen 1 20170228 1862415042

Between gigs we keep trying to learn new songs so we can vary our concerts even more. But variation also comes with our instruments. Rebi has now also taken up the Mandolin, as her slender female fingers are more suited to that instrument than Martin’s fat sausages (those are okay for a banjo, but not the mandolin).

In any case, we hope to see a few of you people at one of our gigs.

Have a good time, wherever you are and slainté!

 

summer 2018:

 

Changes are here to stay

The world is changing every day in so many respects.
These days we have storms like never before, and earthquakes a-plenty. Some countries elect a totalitarian leader, while others go for a super-tramp (or what was that thing in card games again?). Luckily, there are other countries with a (at least seemingly) normal president, even if they eat a lot of snails beside that.

Not even our band gets around changes, and we regret to have to announce that Ursula and her fiddle have left us again, after two and a half years playing with us. Thanks a lot for having played with us!
This doesn't change anything in respect to our enthusiasm to play music, nor our ability to do so, even for a live audience. But naturally we would love it even better with four people than with three, so we are looking for a new fiddle: info's here

Another little change on our web-site: we've done away with the guest-book. As the bots in the internet seem do get really clever, and being (mostly) the only ones to post in there, we've decided, we don't need that anymore. So if you want to contact us, or send us comments, please do so via e-mail. Thanks! :)

Fortunately, some things never change. The next St. Patrick's Day will (all too) soon be upon us, and we hope to play a few live gigs around that time.
Another annual happening (nearly as annual as the Paddy-Day) is our gig at the Guelle-Baiz in Basel. They celebrate their tenth anniversary, and we feel like we've played there about twenty times already. It's going to be fun, so let's do it again!

Besides that, we don't have many gigs to announce, but this will definitely be something that will change, sooner or later.