Secret Garden’s Fionnuala Sherry stands on her own in Songs from Before
That distinctive John Edward Betts violin from 1790 is Fionnuala Sherry’s instrument of choice in both live and studio sessions. And like her choice of instrument, the style of most songs in her album Songs from Before (released in 2011 by Hearts of Space Records) never stray far away from the subtle mood of Secret Garden-with notable exceptions in some tracks. I am talking about the stunning rhythmic drum work in Lark in Clear Air and the experimental/ambient style of My Lagan Love.
Songs from Before is clearly a nod to Irish traditional music but with modern arrangements, and sans the neo-classical style of Secret Garden. Perhaps there will always be challenges in projects like this one. Will be some of the parts be any lesser than the whole? Will her musical efforts get noticed away from the shadow of million-selling duo that are Secret Garden? But many have ventured this path: Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance, Moya Brennan of Clannad and even Karen Matheson of Capercaillie, among others. I think her strength is in her classical discipline. Couple that with her pop sensibilities and you get a modern album that is also timeless due to its traditional spirit.
I remember one early morning while riding the bike. I was playing this album through my bluetooth speaker attached to my messenger bag. I stopped by a bridge just in time for Lark in Clear Air to play. And it was quite a musical moment.The sweeping view and the stately sound seemed to have created that synergy which was spiritual. I understand that her music is always rooted in nature. There is something organic and soothing about her style. It’s like being inclosed in a thick foliage. It is a private moment keeping the world at bay. Even if it’s just for a span of forty minutes. And it is good enough.
Have you gotten your own copy of Canvas by Moya Brennan? Yes it is out now. Here’s the editorial review via Amazon:
CANVAS is the ninth solo album from the First Lady of Celtic Music, Moya Brennan. This collection of original songs is steeped in her Celtic roots – Moya comes from Donegal in the NW of Ireland. But, more than ever before, the album has a contemporary twist due in no small part to her co-writers/ composers, daughter Aisling and son Paul, both in their early twenties with strong ambient electronica and contemporary singer-songwriter influences. Moya s haunting, ethereal, vocals have been her unique hallmark both in her years with Celtic music pioneers, Clannad, and in her own solo recordings and film work. The album contains some songs in Moya s native language, Gaeilge, while other songs celebrate, for instance, elemental/environmental themes or lament the child victims of needless war and conflict. Musically the record unveils a spectrum from poignant, fragile beauty through to dramatic, symphonic peaks. The album title comes from Moya s rediscovery of her love for painting. She painted the cover and art featured throughout the CD package. Canvas combines the simplicity, depth and beauty of the extraordinary skills which makes Moya unique in her field. Grammy award winner Moya has sung on most of the world s great stages and has collaborated with many notable artists including Bono, The Chieftains, Bruce Hornsby and Robert Plant. Among her movie credits is her collaboration (and co-writing of the end title song) with Hans Zimmer on King Arthur.
For Drum Fannatics!
This is interesting! As a percussion enthusiast this is a great find for me. Big thanks to Matthew Bell for pointing this out to me. More about this project from Contemporary Bodhran:
Kit Chatham, Matthew Bell, Alex Kuldell, Josh Dukes, and Ryan Mullins play a variety of percussion and stringed instruments in a Genre-defying instrumental mashup. Features Mandolin, Banjo, Highland Bagpipes, Jaw Harp, Irish Flute, Guitar, Kanjira, Pipe Band Snare, Rope Tension Bass Drum, Rope Tension Snare Drum, Bodhrán, tabla, drumset, and programmed percussion.
There you have it for now.