What the Concert promoters say about Four Shillings Short:
““Four Shillings Short are the ultimate in coffeehouse entertainment. The variety of musical instrumentation really keeps me interested. Equal amounts of male and female energy keep the emotional content well-balanced. Song lyrics don't get hidden underneath too much accompaniment. Harmonies are sweet; instrumental solos spirited. And best of all, your demeanor belies a commitment to the ideal of rising up singing. The world could use a few more performers like Four Shillings Short." Chicory House Concerts Forty Fort, PA (2008)

 ““ They are not the Clancy Brothers or Jean Richie or Ravi Shankar but a combination of all three, laced with Irish (meaning dark) humor. The collection of instruments is museum-like and I’ve never seen the place so packed as it was last weekend.” San Gregorio General Store, San Gregorio, CA 2006)

 ““ “The wavering, mystical tones of the sitar hover behind the Celtic melodies like a sari-wrapped ghost hovering over the moors….the duo bring an experimental spirit to traditional music, mixing Irish, Indian, and American influences into a sound as multi-cultural as a U.N. meeting.” Albuquerque Journal 2003)

 “Four Shillings Short bring a fascinating mix of material, spirit and wit to the stage.  They are visually interesting with their eclectic array of instruments.  There is excitement, electricity and fun in their performance.” Dave Humphries, past President of the North American Folk Alliance/Director, Two Way Street Coffee House in Downers Grove, IL March 2003

 “On behalf of the Portland Folklore Society many thanks for the FANTASTIC show last Friday!  I really enjoyed your set and everyone I talked to did as well. I love all kinds of music and was thrilled to hear the sitar pieces and Sanskrit singing. I always really like performers to do political music. I think it's one of the most powerful agents of change. And thanks for getting everyone on stage for the last song: that was a sweet way to end the evening. You and Atwater/Donelly made for a wonderful evening of music, it was one of my very favorite shows of all 7 years I've been involved. I'm impressed with your dedication to music and applaud your gypsy lifestyle.” Jack Bohl, Portland Folklore Society, Portland OR, Jan 2004

“I first heard Four Shillings Short a few years ago. Though based more or less out of the Bay Area, Four Shillings Short are truly itinerant musicians constantly on the move. Constantly on the move also applied to their live performance; bobbing, weaving, swaying, changing instruments mid-song. They were an energetic duo: Aodh Og O'Tuama on whistles, Renaissance winds, and percussion, and Christy Martin on hammered dulcimer, mandolin, and sitar. Both were strong singers, and had a personable stage presence that made the audience members feel like old friends. Recently, I got to see Four Shillings Short live once again. It was a small venue, standing room only. As before, they were dynamic, and mobile; both musicians moved in a sort of dance as they played.  They garnered a standing ovation from the small, crowded audience.” Tim Hoke, President, Central Indiana Folk Music & Dulcimer Society, Sept  2002

“This group captures the essence of what I enjoy about traditional folk musicians.  These are excellent musicians that draw you in with great stories and jokes.  The music is icing on the cake.  These are entertainers in every sense of the term.”  Wayne Ellis, Every Other Weekly, Bellingham WA, May 1999

“Four Shillings Short is an off-the-wall neo-Celtic duo from San Francisco….they stretch the boundaries of folk music in unexpected directions.  Their music is a delight, their performance style unexpected and their instrumentation is a kick.”  Phil Shapiro, Bound for Glory, WVBR, Ithaca NY Sept 1997

“A California duo you must see to believe.  The arrangements of this husband-wife team are utterly delightful, filled with traditional instruments of both Celtic and Eastern Indian cultures and the familiar sound of American folk.  Four Shillings Short is a band riddled with child’s play, yet rich in the wisdom of old-timers who know better than to take themselves too seriously.  Their musical virtuosity makes old songs sound new and new songs sound like time-worn Celtic spells.”  City Pages, Wausau WI, Aug 2001



What the audience says about Four Shillings Short:

”The music was very rich, deep, spiritual, political, healing and much more!! It filled our souls with a much needed drink of vitaele!!  We look forward to your next concert.”    Rhea Sampson, Palo Alto, CA March 2003

“All the themes of violence/peace/fear/reassurance/extinction/courage/(fun)/& love were beautifully blended in your performance at the Rose, and "I Won't Be Afraid Anymore" perfectly tied it all together.” 
Bruce Maxwell, Santa Rosa, CA February 2004

“It would be easy to tell you in endless detail how delighted I was to happen to be in Border’s when you started to play and how intrigued I was by your mix of an Irish core with the rest of the world (both in space and time).  I could go on for days about your amazing use of the sitar and other instruments whose names I either can’t spell, have completely forgotten, or have never known.  But I won’t. Instead I’ll simply say “thank you” and plead with you to add a San Diego gig to the start of your next tour.”  Bob Cunningham, San Diego, Jan 2001



What the Music Reviewers say about our recordings:
“As I drove home, I listened to their latest release, Of Labour & Love. After several listenings of previous Four Shillings Short recordings, I was no longer taken off guard by their experiments. Instead of "Huh? What?", my reaction was now "Yes. Very nice." There's another Euro-raga, this time the English song "Ramble Away", but also a segment of an actual Indian piece, "Raga Pahari Dhun". There are several Irish tunes, mostly dance tunes, hewing close to the tradition, along with a Great Lakes shanty, and a 13th century Spanish tune. Contemporary songs are present as well, ranging from funny ("Have A Nice Day"; "You're Not Irish", where Cork-born O'Tuama can be heard adopting a nasal pan-North American accent), to bitter (Jez Lowe's "Spitting Cousins"). Guest musicians are used sparingly, for the most part, and this disc gives the most accurate feel of how the group sounds live. Of course, it wouldn't be a Four Shillings Short recording if it didn't have something unexpected, in this case the childrens' choir on "Common Thread". “ Tim Hoke, GREENMAN REVIEWS Indianapolis, IN  Sept 2002

REVIEW of Of Labour & Love “The sunrise of this CD, "Calliope House/Jig of Slurs," greets the listener like a conversation among morning birds. On the heels of that, "Both Sides the Tweed" is a well-done and entertaining song, too. As late morning is hinting at lunchtime we're treated to, "Have a Nice Day," a taste of Four Shillings Short's cynical side. "Heavens Gate" is a good midday tour de force consisting of several tunes quilted together as one, including a 13th century Spanish melody. "Foxhunters Jig" is a knee-bouncer for shy folks and a dancer for the extroverts. Night falls on this disc with an anthem called "Common Thread" that this duo learned at a peace gathering.  Understand that Christy, Aodh Og and their hired help are consummate musicians playing some new and some really old songs, with an Irish denominator. That said, if you're of Celtic heritage or are interested in something off the beaten path, this is an excellent CD to add to your collection.”  David Lilly, Louisville Music News, Louisville, KY Feb 2003
“Four Shillings Short, the duo of Aodh Og O’Tuama and Christy Martin, play their own uniquely eclectic brand of British Isles music.  Both excel at singing in traditional Celtic styles…The Boggy Spew makes for fun and adventurous listening.” Michael Parrish, Dirty Linen Feb/Mar 1999
“Eclecticism is the name of the game where ethnic folk idioms are freely mixed and matched and the result is a wondrously diverse and exciting work.  The Boggy Spew is sweet ear candy for those seeking a fresh and inventive look at traditional music.” John O’Reagan, Limerick, Ireland (Rock ‘n’ Reel Magazine Jan 1999)

“The intriguingly named Four Shillings Short (as in ...of a picnic) are based in California and are an Irish/American celtic band with a big difference as their musical potshots take in influences everywhere from Indian classical music to Irish traditional idioms via jazz, blues and psychodelia.  “Peace In Erin” sounds like Ravi Shankar and the Incredible String Band stranded in Cuil Aodha and “Kelptic Dulaman” anglicizes Donegal beatification of seaweed with Caribbean and Jazz touches and Christy Martin’s Appalachian style vocals.  “Julia Delaney” gets a Celtic Jungle treatment and “O Susanna” gets a thorough dusting down.  Christy Martin’s “Internet Blues” visits the Chicago Superhighway and adds yet another twist to an eclectic tale.  Four Shillings Short are a wild and crazy yet fascinating bunch and Kelptic OddYaSee is alternative neo Celtic folk of the first order.” John O’Reagan, Limerick Ireland for Rock ‘N’ Reel Magazine (Feb 1998)

“Four Shillings Short is another sort of group entirely, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink band performing wild and wacky arrangements of Celtic and other music.  Their latest escapade, Kelptic OddYaSee, contains folk and folk-rock versions of many traditional standards.  As a singer, Aodh Og O’Tuama reminds me of Jimmy Crowley at his most humorous, and Christy Martin, the other singer, is also jocular in tone.”    Steve Winick, Dirty Linen (June/July ‘97)

“Just a couple listens to Four Shillings Short’s Kelptic OddYaSee and you can tell something very unusual is happening with this band. Namely its that Shillings chieftains Aodh Og O’Tuama and Christy Martin have mixed Celtic traditional with Middle Eastern music, blues, Brazilian jazz and raga and God-knows-what-else.  There’s also a gritty rock feel that runs through the music; they see it as a response to the New Age airiness peddled by many traditionalists.  “ They’re so Windham Hill-y” Martin says of such bands, “they just don’t go far enough.”   Four Shillings Short definitely pushes the traditional envelope; as far as the Celtic end of it goes, it’s like Fairport Convention vs. the Pogues in a fight to the death.             Steve Palopoli, Good Times/Santa Cruz (March 1997)