“author: Frank Mills, "brigit's Feast", Journal Of Celtic Spirituality Delightfully enchanted, exquisitely performed" are the only words that can possibly describe this CD compilation from award-winning harper and storyteller Joanna Mell. This is my first experience in listening to Joanna Mell who has previously released three highly acclaimed albums. Songs and Stories, Ms. Mell notes, is an organic whole, "representing an evening with a Celtic bard, utilizing all the bardic arts." As I listened to Joanna Mell's refreshing, rapturous vocals - really tales - fitted to the lilting strains of the harp, it transported my heart and mind to ancient Ireland. I was so taken up with the music that I almost didn't even realize when the CD stopped playing; the music keeps playing over and over again in my head. That's the effect that Joanna Mell has on her listeners. There is no question about it; Ms. Mell has gone beyond the representation of an evening with a Celtic bard, she is the ancient filidh, the ancient poet and storyteller, in modern garb. It was the bard of old, whose music achieved the culture and lore of ancient Celtic society, and Songs and Stories is indeed "bardic". Ms. Mell, however, unlike the bard, but much to our delight, performs on both the Celtic and neo-Celtic harps while singing in English and Gaelic. To get the most out of the music, I would suggest that before you listen to Songs and Stories, you read the well-researched capsules of the Celtic lore behind each piece found in the jacket. And be sure to read the inside cover of the jacket first. Our readers who reside in or near Bucks County, Pennsylvania, can enjoy the pleasures of Joanna Mell's bard gift at Granny McCarthy's Tea Room in Bethlehem every Wednesday afternoon while sipping High Tea.” - Frank Mills
— "Brigit's Feast"
“Harpist/singer/storyteller Joanna Mell, a staple at three Bethlehem staples (Musikfest, Celtic Fest, and Granny MacCarthy's Tea Room), offers a captivating Celtic chronicle on "Songs and Stories". She performs yearning ballads (Southwind) with sweet grace, haunted airs (The Foggy Dew) with tangible tang. Sandwiching stories of harp legend Turlough O'Carolan with his tunes, she weaves a colorful tapestry of his rise from awful to king musician for the queen of fairies. Mell's singing is ribboned, silky, hypnotic. Her soft, throaty speaking transforms stories into lullabies. Her program notes are revealing, as is a short review of Irish harping and harpooning (in 1603 Queen Elizabeth I ordered "Kill all the harpers, wherever found, and destroy their instruments"). More often than not, Mell fulfills her goal of recreating a hearth-side performance in an 18th century manor house.” - Geoff Gehman
— The Morning Call
“Very comforting harp music! author: Sarah This is one of my very favourite harp CD's. It is incredibly comforting and beautiful! Calming, meditative music, clears the clutter of the mind. author: Malachy Grange RN I found myself breathing slower and deeper when I listened to this CD. The gentle, relaxing melodies and the beautiful harp tones induced a sense of relaxation and inner peace”
— CD Baby
“Exactly what was needed for a relative on hospice. author: Barbara McCarter I first heard your CD at Robert Wood Hospital NJ when my husband was seriously ill. I now have it and listen quite often. Then when a relative was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I sent him one and the family was so impressed. They are also from Bucks Co. Pa. and familiar with the lake pictured on the cover. I plan to share it with our sharing ministry at church as it is so relaxing and soothing.” - Barbara McCarther
— CD Baby