MÁIRÉAD NESBITT – CELTIC VIOLIN
WITH KARL NESBITT – FLUTE, LOW WHISTLE, BOUZOUKI, DIDJERIDOO. MICK O’BRIEN – UILLEANN PIPES & WHISTLE.
OTHER GUEST MUSICIANS:
KATHLEEN NESBITT – FIDDLE, JOHN NESBITT – ACCORDION, SEÁN NESBITT-ACCORDION, NATHAN PACHECO – VOCAL, NOEL ECCLES- PERCUSSION, NICK BAILEY- PERCUSSION. CASHEL SET DANCERS: GRÁINNE UÍ CHAOMHÁNAIGH, ÁINE CODY, BERNIE SULLIVAN AND COLEMAN LYDON.
THE ORCHESTRA OF IRELAND: LEADER KENNETH RICE. CONDUCTED BY LIAM BATES.
It is past one in the morning and I am listening to Hibernia by Máiréad Nesbitt. After many live performances all over the world and being on stage viewed by thousands of people, confidence and sheer talent have been translated into this album of fifteen tunes. One thing I am certain even before hearing this album is that she is a musical force unparalleled in any genre.
Hibernia is the classical Latin name for Ireland. Quite fitting as this album resonates her musical discipline and the visual approximation of the new Irish music. NY Times calls her “The demon of a fiddle player.” I think this is accurate because when she takes the stage , she is like a tempest. The energy is infectious! There is that distinctive characteristic about her music that’s both playful and primal.
There are many fantastic tracks in Hibernia. I was surprised when the opening tune Hollowed Fire is a mellow track because the title sounds like it came from the climax of Riverdance. But it is also an appetizer of what’s to come – the motif of the whole album. Her violin playing is pristine as ever, combining cinematic/visual style to a music that is captivating.
Hibernia tracks are representative of her part in Caltic Woman. You can imagine this played live with her prancing on stage with the rest of the musicians. But unlike Celtic Woman, this is her own solo effort, backed the best musicians in the field. I admit the high points of the album for me are the quieter tunes like the sublime Seán Ó’ Duibhir A Ghleanna. So why Hibernia?
As stated in the liner notes:
Steeped in the traditions of both Classical music and Irish folk music, Máiréad brings the seemingly irreconcilable worlds of the Celts and the Classics together to create an exhilarating album of the music and tunes of Éire. HIBERNIA, the Classical name for Ireland, features beautiful slow airs, vocals, lively dance tunes, and ferocious, fast-paced reels all anchored by Máiréad’s stunning violin performances. The album features orchestral suites of all original music by Máiréad herself, along with Colm Ó Foghlú and Liam Bates.
For the virgin ears, Hibernia combines the grand tradition of Celtic woman but it is also grounded to the intimate elements of traditional Irish music- which is her her as an artist after the last album Raining Up. It is also worth noting that this is also a sort of family musical affair. She is joined by her siblings including Karl Nesbitt whom I had the honor to interview in the past. Also added is a unique performance by Nathan Pacheco on To Bring them Home, which is worth anticipating.
Hibernia is(as a recording) a wild Irish fairy on the brink of madness. The excitement, danger and exhilaration are all here. And artistically? She is more like Jimi Hendrix meets Rachmaninov. So expect enchantment from the one and only Máiréad Nesbitt!