Photo stills from W5 concert
The world will come to an end but music and love will endure (Irish)

CD & song reviews
Raymond McCullough

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Listen to 'The great China Bike Ride'

Reviews of
The great China Bike Ride

Reviews, comments, articles (latest reviews first):
Wil Owen
Texas, USA, - 2007-01-06

"Having traveled to the PRoC back in '91, I related to many of the lyrics and consequently felt a connection with this song ["Ballad of Beijing"] right away - my favorite track on the EP is the instrumental, "Ar tir seo aguinne""

[ Read review ]

Al Mann
USA, Celtic Folk Podcast - 2006-07-27

‘Ar tir seo aguinne (Our Land)’

"This is a great instrumental tune from Raymond that forms many images when you listen to it. His music is always from the heart, whether it is from his experiences whilst travelling abroad or his faith or from his life growing up in a troubled country. An excellent variety of styles and influences make his work unique."

[ Listen to Al Mann's intro ] [ Listen to Al Mann's outro ]

[ Subscribe to the Celtic Folk Podcast ] [ Subscribe to the Celtic Folk Podcast via iTunes ]

Marc Gunn
Texas, USA, editor Celtic - Celtic music ezine - 2005-08-21

"... an Irish gem. I've wanted to feature this talented Irish songwriter for a long time ago. Raymond combines traditional Celtic music with contemporary songwriting while fusing musical styles from China and Israel with Celtic Christian themes. He has a totally unique musical style that's had him topping the charts on various Celtic Christian internet radio stations."

Shibu Narendran, (TLOM)
Pune, India, via AudioStreet World/Folk Forum - 2005-01-03

"Ballad of Beijing (radio mix)".. Wonderful song ! It's like a mix of hiphop (well, kinda) n classic n Celtic !! Great work !! Keeps my head nodding when the vocals (rap type) come in ..
Reviewers Pick Awards* for Ar tir seo aguinne (Our Land)
- 2004-10-04

*Potential Soundtrack overall, week of 4Oct2004
*Potential Soundtrack in Folk/Country, week of 4Oct2004
Genevieve Tudor
BBC Radio Shropshire - Shropshire, UK
- 2004-10-04

Enjoyed it - it has style. - reviews of Ar tir seo aguinne (Our Land)
‘Bassist55’ - NSW, Australia
- 2004-09-29

very unique intro leading into a fine tune! ... Clever and dramatic instrumental ... invokes many visual images in my mind

‘dixieddorf’ - Texas/Germany - 2004-09-27

cool piece of music. I could imagine this being a good piece for an IMAX movie, 3-D flying over Ireland in a helicopter
[ more reviews of Our Land ]
Chris Frank NC, USA
- 2004-09-13

very nice music, wed be glad to have you on our roster.
Barry Nothstine
Soul Frequency - WDNS, Kentucky, USA (+ internet!)
- 2004-09-08

very good stuff! Thanks so much for considering us to showcase your fine music. God Bless
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Ciro Velazquez
Eufonia - Monterrey, Mexico
- Sat. 2004-08-21

"McCullough’s ... is the kind of voice so characteristic, (but different among them), of the traditional singer/songwriter. A lot of feeling ... mandolins and flutes a big plus"
[ Read complete review ]
Naim Cinar
Radio OGU - (Osmangazi Univ.) Istanbul, Turkey
- Fri. 2004-04-28

My favourite songs are 'Ballad of Beijing' and 'Ar Tir Seo Aguinne' ... I feel the sound of 60's rock in your songs ... 'Wake up, you sleeper' reminds me of the sound of Dire Straits, ( I'm a fan :) ).
Jim Larkin
WBET Radio - Brockton, Massachussetts
- Fri. 2004-04-02

What I heard sounds great! I would love to have a copy to play on my Radio Shows.
Many thanks! I loved it.
Lee Templeton
One Night at McSorleys - Irish Music Internet Radio/
- Fri. 2004-04-02

Thank you for ... your new album, ‘The Great China Bike Ride’. I've only now had a chance to listen to [it]
Very cool! Planning on giving it some spin on the air.
Thank you again for thinking of McSorleys.
Sarah Meier
Radio AENA, Germany/Live 365
- Sun. 2004-03-28

I am always very glad when artists write us and even more if their music fit as well as yours ... a fantastic enrichment to our program!!!
Marc Gunn
Celtic MP3 Music Magazine, Texas - Sun. 2004-02-22

here's an interesting one ... an absolutely fascinating mix of Chinese and contemporary Irish songwriting.
Geoff Harden
News Letter, Belfast
- Fri. 2004-02-13

Bangor songwriter Raymond McCullough continues to promote his very different CD, The Great China Bike Ride
Johnny Hero Show
Downtown Radio (NI)
- Fri. 2004-02-06

Play MP3 Interview
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Review by Robert McMillen
Irish News
- Sat. 2004-01-31

Sound approach to oriental bike ride for charity

It's easy to see how the beautiful landscapes of China could awaken the creative spirit in you, but singer/songwriter Raymond McCullough did it the hard way. In October 1999, Raymond went on the Mencap China Bike Ride - despite not having been on a bike for 29 years!

"I thought I'd never do it," he said, "The journey was 444 kilometres long over four-and-a-half days. On the first day we did 40 miles instead of 40 km which was tough, but the following morning, we woke up in this beautiful hotel with the sun shining down on the pomegranate trees, and I had a shower, put the shorts on and thought, ‘I can do this’. By the third day I had caught up on the lead riders," says Raymond with obvious pride.

The scenery was breathtaking, he recalled, but going up 18 hairpin bends to get the views wasn't all fun!

Even on the flight to Beijing, though, there was a song brewing in Ray’s imagination. "Making our way over the Mongolian mountains, about six in the morning, I got this wee tune, three chords, in my head, and that became the chorus of ‘Ballad of Beijing’.

In the second week, whever I went I heard this particular tune played by three percussionists and I incorporated that into the song as well."

The ‘Ballad of Beijing’ can be found on ‘The great China Bike Ride’, a mini-album with five other songs from Ray’s vast repertoire.

‘Smoke goes up’ is a lovely song about Ireland’s smell of turf, which Ray wrote on a journey home from Cork through Ireland’s towns and villages. "The smoke goes up, the rain comes down," is an image many will find familiar!

‘1989’ is about the fall of the Berlin Wall and there is a lovely instrumental called, ‘Ar tir seo aguinne (Our Land)’.
Colum Sands - ‘Folk Club’ Play MP3
BBC Radio Ulster
- Sat. 2004-01-24

Raymond McCullough made a journey to the far side of the world recently on bicycle, and came home with a song that captures some of that Canterbury Tales-like feel of travelling with fellow pilgrims in a far off place. Here's a radio mix of the song with some of the atmosphere coming through on it very well - the ‘Ballad of Beijing’.

Some great photos of that jouney on the website as well!
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Review by Rodney Cordner
for - Wed. 2004-01-14

The great China Bike Ride - what a cracker title, what a cracker idea.

The main track, "The ballad of Beijing", I can best describe as a fusion of Chinese/Celtic/rap - really different. Two versions of it also on the album - the 8 minute one just a bit long for my taste, but still a great idea.

"Smoke goes Up" - a song I’ve heard Raymond sing many a time - is perhaps my favourite, a song about Ireland in the Irish folk ballad tradition and of course dealing with our little problems here in the North.

The collection finishes with a nice little instrumental, ‘Ar tir seo aguinne’, translated ‘Our Land’ - a piece of music that grows on you. Well done Raymond!
More chat with Gerry Anderson
BBC Radio Ulster
(N.Ireland) Tue. 2004-01-06

"Actually, I have every intention of playing it today. Where can this record be purchased?" etc.
Play MP3
Robin Elliot Belfast Citybeat (96.7 FM) Wed. 2003-12-31

"Good song ... 'Ballad of Beijing'. 'Smoke goes up' ... great stuff!'"
Gerry Anderson BBC Radio Ulster (N.Ireland) Thur. 2003-12-18

"Isn't that good? ... Very good indeed! Excellent! I must play a wee bit of that again."

Play MP3
Tommy Sands - ‘Country Ceilidh’
Downtown Radio
(N.Ireland) Sat. 2003-12-13

"A very interesting man! If you ever come across him you could do well to spend a few hours with him."
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