Atmospheric Beauty and Top 10 Trad Albums

Sinead O’Connor  Image Credit: Neal Preston/Corbis

I am a big fan of atmosphere. Atmosphere is another piece of a puzzle that every recording has. People who work with sound are masters of these by incorporating effects like reverb, echo, delay and attack- things that we refer to as ‘wet sounds’. Not all atmosphere is achieved inside a studio. Most of the great things you hear can be reproduced outside in enclosed spaces like churches or a small space with walls and ceiling aligned perfectly to create that bounce of sound. Most of these songs I featured here are either live performance or recorded songs but they all have one thing in common-they create atmosphere.

Today’s play list is all about traditional sessions held in open as well as enclosed spaces like churches. The beauty of live music plus the spiritual atmosphere that surrounds these performances are your perfect getaway to the stressful surroundings that mark day to day relationships at work and outside. So journey with me today as we both explore the music and the people who play these tunes.

Dave Sheridan playing the flute, Michael McCague playing the bouzouiki & Donal McCague playing the fiddle in a concert which took place as part of the Steeple Sessions 2011 season at the Unitarian Church on St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin on September 20th. The tune is called The Independence Hornpipe

Donal is one of our guests before and it is great to see him continue to win fans in the traditional scene. Check out my interview with him here:

Donal O’Connor playing “Tune for Rose”, a tune for his grandmother and fiddle teacher Rose O’Connor at the Steeple Sessions on August 11, 2011 at the Unitarian Church in Dublin.

Laoise Kelly playing a piece called “Sliabh na mBan” on the harp at the Steeple Sessions on August 23, 2011 at the Unitarian Church in Dublin.

Ali gets a go of a Steinway Grand at Colchester Arts Centre! Filmed during our UK tour April 2011. Mike and Ali play 42 Beech Avenue and Cavers of Kirkcudbright.

Twins Mike and Ali Vass performing together. I am posting my own review of String Theory which is a new project by Mike Vass so watch for it .

Been a big fan of Iarla since his work with The Afro Celts Sound System. His voice is as exquisite and the heavenly lights of the Aurora Borealis. It stops you on your tracks and grabs you. I can close my eyes while listening to him and I feel like I am in a different place. To have a beautiful voice like that and to move souls…that’s got to be something! I think I am having an epiphany now LOL!

More about this recording here :

This is a tragic piece about lost love. This song was written in 1909 although the original pre-dates this. But a song collector and publisher named Herbert Hughes heard the melody while in County Donegal and approached the song writer Padric Colum with the last two lines of the song and asked him to write a version.

Iarla Ó Lionáird Dublin mbac bac Bhaile Baile Brian Kennedy Átha Cliath teilifís teilifis TG4 Gaeilge TG4Gaeilge Celt Celtic Ireland Irish Ceol Gael Gaelic Folk Eire Traditional RTE World television programme Mick O’Brien Dubliners

Sinéad left out some of the song.
Usually the third verse is
“The people were saying no two were e´er wed,
But one has a sorrow that never was said,
And I smiled as she passed with her goods and her gear,
And that was the last that I saw of my dear.”
and the last verse should start:
“last night she came to me, my dead love came in”
This is where the young man denies that he murdered his young love.

In the last verse we hear the line, I dreamed last night my young love came in. The original line is, I dreamed last night that my dead love came in (implying she haunts him for what he done).

The song has been used in several movies including Brave Heart.

Siոeаd O’Cοոոοr oո іTuneѕ

I don’t think any playlist is complete without the beautiful voice of Sinead O’Connor. In a way I totally get her. The passion and intensity she place on her songs and the emotional force in which she lives her life is something that speaks to me. We all have our little Sinead’s in us all..


Top Ten Traditional Albums – March 2012(TradConnect).

Find out more here: 



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