Lorcán Mac Mathúna / The Arrows that Murder Sleep

Musicians :

Lorcán Mac Mathuna

Eoghan Neff

Seán MacErlaine

Daire Bracken

Recorded mixed and mastered by Liam Grant.

Recorded in Griffith College, Dublin.

Images by Rónán O Reilly

Texts and Graphic design by Lorcán Mac Mathúna


A Beautiful Album, The Arrows that Murder Sleep: Just in time for Samhain!

Nothing is better than waking up at three in the morning (after sleeping more than 8 hours) to the music of this fantastic Sean-Nós singer. His name is Lorcán Mac Mathúna and he is from Dublin. His newest album is The Arrows That Murder Sleep.The music glides in and out reflecting the ancient Irish atmosphere. It is an album for those who appreciate Irish music in its purest sense. This is the style/type that has drawn me to the genre. The vocal music. His voice represents the ancient and the modern Ireland. Backed by notable names in the industry, The Arrows that Murder Sleep is highly recommended for those who are passionate about the works of Iarla Ó Lionáird, Niamh Parsons, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Aoife Ní Fhearraigh and many more.

The album has twelve songs and features contributions from Eoghan Neff, Seán MacErlaine, Daire Bracken and the compositional beauty of Martin Tourish. This album also represents the best of Mac Mathuna’s compositions over a six-year period.

So what is the idea behind this album? I got this from the TradConnect Review:

The Arrows that Murder Sleep is a collection of sensual moments of ancient Irish literature, brought fully to life by a group of virtuoso musicians with powerful melodies and dynamic, cinematic, arrangements. It features songs taken from three major commissioned cycles (including the millennial celebration of the Battle of Clontarf, and the Life of Colmcille commissioned by the 2013 All-Ireland Fleadh cheoil, Derry). It includes two songs in English and nine in Irish. And it includes one solo Sean-Nós song (Contae Mhuigheo) and an instrumental response to that; (Paddy Lynch’s ship).

I love all of the songs in the album but River Roe is perhaps my personal favorite. I have to remind you that though this album might not appeal to all types of music listeners, this will definitely appeal to SERIOUS lovers of Irish music.

From the first track to the last, The Arrows That Murder Sleep unfolds like a beautiful but not hurried movie. Everything almost feels abstract as melodies and vocals flow in and out seamlessly. The talents and love that the musicians put in this project are commendable and I hope to see more releases like this in the future; and yes more albums from Lorcán Mac Mathúna. A big thank you to TradConnect for the sounds!

Here’s the wonderful text from the artist:


Putting these songs together wouldn’t be possible without the support and generosity of many people. From the people who contributed their skills and talents in making this album to the closer family relations who have given support and time to make it possible. Thanks to my musical companions: Martin, Eoghan, Seán, an Daire for starters. And Liam for taking on the task of capturing the music. Special thanks to friends and family. Especially to my constant companions ar an domhain mór seo: Emma, Aoibha, Meadbh “Tiny the Bearie,” and Fiach MacHugh.

Thanks also to those who commissioned works from me and the musicians on this album over the years. To Martin Harte in the Temple Bar Company; to Eibhlín Ní Dhochartaigh of Culturlann Uí Channáin and the Derry all Ireland Fleadh; to Armagh Pipers Club’s Brian Vallely; and Liam Carson of Imram. To an Comhairle Ealaíonn, CC Átha Cliath, and the NI Arts Council.

Thanks also to Brian Fay and the DIT fine arts students; To Rónán whose beautiful paintings adorn this digibook;  Úna for the technical know how ; Manus Ó Dhomhnaill and Mícheáil Ó Bhruadair for putting it on record at Port na dTrí Namhaid and death row respectively; to Dad and Mam for the love and perseverance and for getting the kids to love sean-nós. An tOll. Damian Mac Manus ó TCD agus Ann Marie Dowling as ucht cabhair len Seana-Ghaeilge. And to an tArd Rígh, Cormac Mac Cearbhaill, for his far seeing Copyright precedent in C.558 AD. We artists really needed that.

This album was produced with the support of An Comhairle Ealaíonn.

Buy the album here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lorcanmacmathuna1

Visit his official website: http://www.lorcanmacmathuna.com


Irish Music Useful Links

The traditional music collective is ever growing with people creating sites and musicians uploading more links to their works. I dropped by my buddies at the TradConnect forum and threw them a question. I was asking about useful topics because these past few days were trying. I think I am suffering from writer’s block.It is hard to think and writing was a struggle. But that is life. Sometimes you make it easy, sometimes you walk the hard road. And the hardest roads are the ones that shape you and make you think about what kind of person you are.

I have learned that anger can change you and turn you into someone else. But stepping back, and asking your soul is always helpful-but hard amidst the raging storm. I was off from an island vacation. I remember how angry the sea was and how scared I was. And I left it with the waves still angry.

Within this adventure. Our bus passed by a victim of  a motorcycle accident. I didn’t look at the window. People said there was too much blood. Then I look ahead just a few meters from the scene of the accident and realized how the world didn’t care. How butterflies and birds still dance in the wind. How people go on with their daily lives not caring that a tragedy has happened. And the sky was ever blue, not mindful of the darkness behind. Scenes such as these makes you think….how fragile we all are and how frail our voices can be, so helpless against the humdrum of the world around us. So there is no one to deal with your broken soul but you. Love yourself more…that is the only way to be saved! Because sometimes…no one will.

The guys are really helpful and enthusiastic . I like to thank Jim McAuley for the wonderful links he provided me. Here’s his video playing Parnell’s March and Strop The Razor.

Jim and Friend’s :Jim McAuley (fiddle) – Daire Taylor ( Pipes ) Morton Robinson ( Banjo ) and John Morrow ( Guitar ),, At of Local Session, all player’s are from East Antrim.


Below are useful links for those who are trying to gather more information about Traditional Irish music.

http://www.causewaymusic.co.uk/-Built by Dick Glasgow as a site dedicated to his music plus links to other sites. Very educational

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Ireland#Traditional_music-This is a wikipedia article about the music of Ireland.

http://www.standingstones.com/cmaoitm.html-The following discussion on the origins of Irish traditional music was assembled from several posts made by Caoimhín Mac Aoidh to the IRTRAD-L list. Caoimhín Mac Aoidh is an expert on the fiddle music of Donegal, which he has been collecting and studying for many years.

http://comhaltas.ie/?gclid=CPDE4Ye5jqoCFcIMfAodxjJtwAComhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann -From the website:is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. We’re a non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world, and as you can read in our history we’ve been working for the cause of Irish music since the middle of the last century (1951 to be precise). Our efforts continue with increasing zeal as the movement launches itself into the 21st century.

TradConnect:Connecting Traditional Irish Musicians Across The World

TradConnect was launched in April 2011 and is a new social network for people that play, listen to and enjoy traditional Irish music. The aim of the site is to connect people that are learning and playing traditional Irish music with other players in their area.

There is a kind of glow that happens when you meet a new friend. There is a sense of anticipation and wonder. We always start somewhere the way we end. TradConnect is like that. It is a community of musicians and music lover promoting traditional Irish music.

It came as a surprise when Tony posted a link on my blog. I always try to click on the profile of whoever has contributed their thoughts. Then I saw this site. Nanvigating is easy, and links are all placed just under the header. Not too much eye candy here as it prevents distraction.

Other than the videos of members playing music, one of the  interesting attraction is the chat room. There you will be able to share musical ideas with fellow musicians from all over the world. Tony, the site administrator also pops in and out once in a while and everyone is having a great time sharing a craic.

I am from the Philippines writing about Celtic music, and I am welcomed to the group with open arms. I am looking forward to share musical ideas with the members and write stories about them so that this great circle of musical tradition will be enjoyed by many.