Voice of the Heart:A Mother’s Embrace by Tom Phelan and The Martin Healy Trad Band


In the end, memories are all that we shall have. It’s almost three years and I still cry at the passing away of my mom. Well, not as often as before. But we all have our moments. I think, when we deal with the passing away of someone we love, it’s always the feeling that we didn’t have more time speaks louder. Not all of us live lives ideally. Though it is what we aspire to have. But when everything is silenced by distance and time, one thing remains: love is the  most powerful thing in the universe. Love creates a bond that is stronger than death.

This is what this song is all about. Love-a mother’s love. I stumbled upon it and the thought behind the music is captivating:

I love the candid simplicity of the style.

This brought me to this idea that no arrangement is lofty enough. No poetry is ever adequate. And no eloquence is fervent enough. A son’t love to his mother could never be measured by anything..other than the feeling itself.  And this song speaks that sentiment of longing. And no matter who or what we are, loss is a great equalizer. And love is love regardless of the style in which we sing it.

Don’t forget to check out more amazing songs from this band via YouTube.

Here’s an info about the trio:

The colourful trio include Martin; Tom Phelan, a Jesuit brother based in Dublin’s Gardiner Street: and Kerryman Niall Brosnan, who plays the accordion.



Even in the Shadows by Enya Premiered Today, Friday the 13th.

Even in the Shadows by Enya Premiered Today, Friday the 13th.

Screenshot of her recent Amazon interview with questions asked by fans

A screenshot of Enya: A recent Amazon interview with questions asked by fans

With Dark Sky Island, Irish singer-composer Enya has brought a lot of fullness not just vocally but also emotionally. The latest single Even in the Shadows deals with the end of a relationship but arranged in an upbeat way that sets the balance to the rather sad subject.

She started working on the album around 2012. It was a time of great turmoil for me personally. Another devastating personal loss followed a year later and you have to understand why I am looking forward to this new release. It’s like whatever happened to me in the past few years eventually led to this moment of clarity and yes why not a good soundtrack for that!

Perhaps a lot of bloggers out there would marvel at the technical details of the song(so many) but I am writing in a personal point of view like how her music means to me. We all experience loss in big or small ways. But it teaches us humility and kindness. That even experience or caution could not save us from things that are beyond our control. And in this trial by fire we get to know who we are and what we are capable of achieving.

Even in the silence
I hear my heart
It’s still a part of you
And even in the morning
when light has come
I don’t know what to do.

This is a very ‘human’ song that Enya has ever composed in her career. Not that she hasn’t sung anything like that. A Moment Lost and Last Time By Moonlight are examples of how she appeals to our sensitive side. In So I Could Find My Way, I think I wept the day I heard it.So yes Even in the Shadows is a perfect pop song. Think Brian Wilson and Phil Spector. The drum and bass parts are insistent that make you feel like you need to move. In the chorus part with the lines:

I could fall and keep on falling
I could call and keep on calling

You can notice her voice breaking and plunging into a dark contralto. It’s like she is singing this tune in an old crumbling castle overlooking a grey morning outside, with leaves falling all over the place. You can feel the desolation but also an inner strength as propelled by the rhythm and the higher choral parts. Roma Ryan is a lyrical genius. Her words resonate to all regardless of experiences. We all feel them. And Nicky Ryan made the music so huge and so powerful.

Even in the Shadows is perhaps the new direction for Enya. And when you lived life within the shadows and light, you sometimes loose that anchor. And you have nowhere to go but the future. And you perhaps end up like this beautiful tune. Full of excitement and healing.

Dark Sky Island her latest album will be available worldwide on November 20, 2015. Visit www.enya.com for more details.

Going Home by David O’Leary (named as Ireland’s most exciting young tenor).

Going Home by David O’Leary (named as Ireland’s most exciting young tenor).

David O’ Leary is an Irish tenor with a bright voice. Going Home was released in 2011 and I feel a bit sad that I missed the whole official release event. His repertoire does not end in Classical and traditional Irish tunes. He also sings standards.

One of the heartwarming tracks in the album is his rendition of  Smile. I love the crystalline way  of how the instruments were recorded, couple that with his pristine voice and you get an album that will appeal to many people including those who don’t really listen to Celtic music.

Going Home by David O'Leary

Going Home
by David O’Leary

So who is he? The young tenor from County Wexford has studied voice in New York City. His credits include performing for President Bill Clinton and Irish-American philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman at the prestigious Metropolitan Club-Irish Central.

Going Home has eight tunes. The album opens with Black is the Color which is very familiar to all those who love Irish ballads. It is followed by a Catholic hymn called The Lord is My Shepherd. Then there’s  Smile, Carrickfergus and the Elvis Priestly classic Can’t Help Falling in Love. Il MoCuore Va is an Italian rendition of My Heart Will Go On (which was also covered by Sarah Brightman and originally recorded by Celine Dion). Danny Boy is perhaps one of the most dramatic and touching songs in the album. The orchestra is just superb. It ends with the haunting Going Home.

This is a good holiday album! Get it here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davidoleary1

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

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

The Lush and Vibrant “The Promise” by Caitlin Grey is Here!

I am enjoying the new album of Caitlin Grey called The Promise. One thing I noticed upon playing this album for the first time is her beautiful and supple voice. It has the ease of a folk singer and the refined muscle of a classically trained vocalist. She uses these influences seamlessly in this new album, consisting of twelve songs.There are original songs as well as interpretation of traditional materials. I love her rendition of She Moved Through The Fair because of its melodic simplicity and emotional power. a1763992850_16

The title track is something that will please fans of Clannad, Loreena McKennitt and Anuna or even Secret Garden. Her arrangements are also spot on. I love the drumming on this one because it sounds almost like a pop ballad. But then again we know that with Ms Grey, every song can be a magical journey between classical and folk.

Her approach to singing tells you  this is how to sing these songs. Yes, especially these kinds of songs because it takes a special artist to pull this off. Because in the hands(or throat) of an ordinary singer, they will sound weird. These songs choose a singer and that singer is Caitlin Grey. I love it when she harmonises in some songs.They sound whispery, airy and crystal clear. I love the style of Innisfrie because I love movie soundtracks. Ailein Duinn is haunting  especially with the harp. An original from Scottish group Capercaillie for the movie Rob Roy. I love her singing in Scottish Gaelic. She maintained the beauty of the original but added her own unique style.

I love ballads that build up gradually. And this is the style that is present in most of the songs in The Promise. Black is the Color is another personal favourite. She sings that sense of loss where words fail.

In My Awakening, I like that part of the chorus where she sings the line “..When all my life fades away in tomorrow..” deeply moving! In Anam Cara, her voice is a powerful instrument that can transport us to anywhere in the world where she wants to take us. Call of the Clans closes this wonderful album with an arrangement that can rival any operatic aria. Listen to the latin chants at the end of the song. If that does not conjure something in you, then you are not human.

The Promise is a work of magnificent sound craftsmanship and artistic maturity. Looking forward to her third album!

Amazing Songs For This Week.

Amazing Songs For This Week.

Erin So Green.  

Think of the best melodic folk bands in the 70s and then combine that with pop rock sensibility and you have one of the best songs to come out this week. It’s by Northern Ireland singer/songwriter Dee McIlroy. Listen to his Soundcloud page and also listen to his other tunes and I am sure you will appreciate them all.

           Tracks from The Wild Atlantic Way – A Journey in Irish Music       

For lovers of traditional Irish music this playlist compiled by Tradconnect is a must. It will introduce you to the many wonders of Celtic music and the amazing musicians that inhabit this world. Listen to Danú, The Kilfenora Céílí Band and Kíla. These tracks will rouse you from your sadness and take you to the magical world of a musical style like no other. The Wild Atlantic Way is a compilation album of many artists within the genre.

Richard Parkes from Newtownards, Co.Down on bagpipes, and Trevor Stewart from Belfast on Uilleann Pipes, playing a hornpipe called Jimmy Blue, followed by a selection of jigs. 1996.

This is a beautiful blast from the past. The amazing skills of these musicians will leave you breathless. As if you are chasing after beautiful luminous balls bouncing in the countryside. I had to play it again and again because it is simply irresistible.

February 2015 Celtic music updates.

February 2015 Celtic music updates.

..And so we have amazing tunes to start the big bang of Celtic music for 2015!

Welcome to my ‘conversational post’ where I talk like a normal person especially when I am not doing album reviews or interviews. 2015 brings us fantastic tunes in the trad and fusion department. Celtic music is colorful as it embraces many. I will

The winning image from the Bodojo Header competition by Matthew Olwell.

The winning image from the Bodojo Header competition by Matthew Olwell.

bring you fresh uploads from musicians you have not or probably heard already. But guess what they have in common? Yes it’s fantastic music. These are artists who dedicated their lives in perfecting their craft. They have released albums independently and I think their persistence is admirable. Especially in a world where ‘common’ or ‘ordinary’ music is praised. But think about it. What’s so great about common right? Why not spice up your life with something you seldom read up the Billboard or Rolling Stone reviews. Why be part of the herd when you can be different. Think different. Act different and dare to be you.

This is a fresh upload from Irish musician Enda Seery(with James Hughes). I think a new album is on the way. What do you think? I love this tune.


I will be posting an album review of this amazing artist. He is John Breen. 


Have a taste of Buan, the new album by Danu. Yes they have a new album out if you haven’t heard yet. It’s been creating quite a stir in the trad community these days. Worth a check! Thanks to Trad Connect for this link.


Fans of Scottish artist Julie Fowlis will be pleased. She has released a new album called  GACH SGEUL – EVERY STORY. As always, her vocals are in between the haunting realm of Celtic music and the simplicity of indie pop. Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/juliefowlis


Bodhran Drum Solo – Abe Doron

Fans of bodhran music will love this! I love the bodhran and I am trying to be an expert but I guess I need more time. If you want to check out anything related to this instrument then be part of Bodojo https://www.facebook.com/groups/bodojo/?fref=ts

Have a great weekend everyone and more to follow!

The Gorgeous Linda Welby on Irish Country Radio Music


Refreshing Country with an Irish flavor.

Hi folks, if you want to hear the songs of Linda Welby or songs related to her style then you need to tune in to tune in to http://www.irishcountrymusicradio.com/.  Her voice is soothing and beautiful. She sings of songs that come from the heart. When you hear her, it seems like she is singing what you feel. She taps into that humanity in all of us, breaking the barrier between the artist and the listeners. This is the kind of honesty that is hard to reproduce using studio gadgets and production gloss…because this comes from no other place but the heart.

Linda Welby-When you’re down and out


How to Make Trippy Music

Check this video out from Kendall McGuire


And yeah here’s a youtube video you might like:

Violin Lessons : Various Types of Violins

Brian Boru Lyrics and Translation (Gaeilge, Brezhoneg and English)

(This video is done by Snuffesnuitje who, like me is also trying to find a good translation. His effort is highly recommended).

Alan Stivell’s 1995  hit does it for all generations

Been listening to Alan Stivell’s 1995 album Brian Boru today. There are actually two versions of the title track. One is the album version (Longer with elaborated percussion arrangement) and the radio edit which has been used in compilations.

There is a lot of everything for everyone in this album. Pan Celtica sums up what he does, combining the brotherhood of the Celts, covering not only his native Breton language but Gaelic as well. Although some people might be new to the style (Breton music and language is considered ‘harder’ than its Irish and Scottish counterpart) this will prove to be a good listening experience. A balance between groovy alt rock tracks with jazzy ,folkie and calming numbers; his harp shines through.

I have been looking for a translation of the title track that is appropriate and I found one. This is done by a guy that goes with an online name mhwombat: Now, it’s actually done both in Gaeilge and then in Brezhoneg repeatedly. http://www.irishgaelictranslator.com/translation/topic27600.html

Brian Bórú
Alan Stivell
Maraíodh Brian Boru chun beatha na hÉireann
Síochain in gCuige Uladh agus i mBaile ‘Cliath
Aontacht an teaghlaigh, aontacht na dtuath
Aontacht an domhain is na gCeilteach
Brian Boru will die for the life of Ireland
Peace in the province of Ulster and in Dublin
Family unity, tribal unity
Unity of the world and the Celts

Diouzh nerzh ar c’hadou da nerzh an ehan
Diouzh ‘bed doueek bennozh ar c’haroud
O neart an chatha go neart na síochana
On bhith dhiaga beannacht an ghrá
From plenty of battle to plenty of peace
From a world of diving blessings, love
From plenty of battle to plenty of peace
From a world of diving blessings, love

Duirt siad gurbh é seo sochraide ar muintire
Gur choir duine bheinn sollunta féin
Bíodh nach raibh brónach
They said that this was a procession of people
That people would be solemn
Be, were not sorrowful ??? Can’t make sense of the Irish ???

Marv Brian Boru ‘reiñ buhez ‘n Iwerzhon
Dihan e Bro-Ulad ha ba kêr Dulenn
Unded an tiegezh, unded an dud-mañ
Unded ar Gelted hag an douar
Brian Boru will die for the life of Ireland
Peace in the province of Ulster and in Dublin
Family unity, tribal unity
Unity of the world and the Celts

Maraíodh Brian Boru chun beatha na hÉireann
Síochain in gCuige Uladh agus i mBaile ‘Cliath
Aontacht an teaghlaigh, aontacht na dtuath
Aontacht an domhain is na gCeilteach
Brian Boru will die for the life of Ireland
Peace in the province of Ulster and in Dublin
Family unity, tribal unity
Unity of the world and the Celts

Diouzh nerzh ar c’hadou da nerzh an ehan
Diouzh ‘bed doueek bennozh ar c’haroud
O neart an chatha go neart na síochana
On bhith dhiaga beannacht an ghrá
From plenty of battle to plenty of peace
From a world of diving blessings, love
From plenty of battle to plenty of peace
From a world of diving blessings, love

Tá muid ‘nos na haimsire
Go h-airid an ghrían
Agus thogh muid áit bhóg cois ashann
We are like the weather
Especially the sun
And we choose a soft place beside the river
Note: I suspect ashann = abhann


Don’t forget to catch the music festival devoted to minority languages: Liet 2010. Here’s what I copied form the website:

The finalists of Liet International 2010

Faroese and Vepsian band in the final of Liet International 2010

In this pic: Fiach Moriarty

In this pic: Fiach Moriarty

The selection jury of Liet International 2010 has selected the last five finalists of the 7th edition of European minority language song contest Liet International 2010, which will be held in Lorient, France on the 27th of November. The independent jury, which was composed of independant music experts from Brittany, Friesland and the Council of Europe, had a tough job. They listened to 46 songs in 21 different minority languages from all over Europe, from Galicia to Russia, from the Faroe Islands to Cyprus. Also the variety in styles was huge, ranging from folk to rock, rap, pop, tango and even folkopera.

Out of those 46 songs the jury has selected the following five artists for Liet International 2010 in Lorient, Breizh/Brittany, France:

1. Rachel Walker, Fada Bhuam, Scottish Gaelic
2. ORKA,
Rumdardrongurin, Faroese
3. The Temporary, Cupan Toast, Irish
4. Mafia Gallega, Billarda Sempre, Galician
5. Jousnen Jarved, Verrez Tullei, Vepsian song from Russia

It will be the first time that Liet International will present songs in Faroese and Vepsian. Faroese is a minority language in Denmark, spoken by 48.000 people on the Faroe islands. The Liet Foundation is impressed by the quality of the music production in this small nation. The song of Eisvor Palsdottir was one of the nine songs Liet International received. All songs were of good quality and produced professionally. Vepsian is endangered Finn-Ugrian language spoken by only 4.000 people in Russian Karelia.

Five other bands/artists already qualified for Liet International earlier this year by winning a song contest in their part of Europe.
These five artists/bands are:

6. Xera, the winner of the Premiu al meyor cantar, Asturias
7. Pia Maria Holmgren, winner of the Sámi Grand Prix, Sámi from Sweden
8. Equal Souls, winner of Liet 2010, Fryslân
9. Stéphane Casalta, winner of Suns, Corsica
10. Resistence in Dub, winner of the public vote of Suns, Friûl, Italy

During the coming weeks the Festival Interceltique de Lorient (FIL) will select a Breton song and artist for Liet International 2010. As the host of the European minority language song contest it is their privilige to do this. This means that, apart from the Breton finalist, the line-up of Liet International 2010 is ready.

The seventh edition of Liet International is the first which will take place in France. Liet International was invited to Lorient, Brittany by de Region Breizh/Bretagne and the Festival Interceltique de Lorient (FIL). Since 2008 Liet International is organised under the patronage of the Council of Europe. Liet International is also supported by the the autonomous region of Asturias in Spain and by the province Friesland in the Netherlands.

Liet International was conceived and developed in Friesland, the Netherlands, by the Liet Foundation in 2002. Since then Liet International has become one of the larger events for the promotion of minority languages to a larger audience, attracting lots of media from all over Europe. The last edition of Liet International took place in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, the Netherlands in 2009 and was won by Sámi rockband SomBy from the north of Finland.

Remembering Seán Ó Riada’s (1931-1971) Timeless Song (With Lyrics and Translation)

Seán Ó Riada (1 August 1931 – 3 October 1971) composed this timeless piece “Women of Ireland“, or “Mná na h-Éireann.

by Kate Bush

By Sinead O’Connor

Ta bean in Eirinn a phronnfadh sead damh is mo shaith le n-o
‘S ta beann in Erinn is sa binne leithe mo rafla ceoil no seinm thead
Ata bean in Eirinn is niorbh fhearr le beo
Mise ag leimnigh no leagtha ! gcre is mo tharr faoi fhod

Ta bean in Eirinn a bheadh ag ead, liom mur bhfaighinn ach pog
0 bihean ar aonach, nach ait an sceala, is mo dhaimh fein leo
Ta bean ab fhearr lom no cath is cead dhiobh nach bhfagham go de
Is ta cailin speiruil ag fear gan bhearla, dubghranna croin

Ta bean a dearfaidh da siulainn leithe go bhfaighinn an t-or
Is ta bean ‘na leine is is fearr a mein no na tainte bo
Le bean a bhuairfeadh baile an mhaoir agus clar thin eoghaln
Is ni fhaicim leigheas ar mo ghalar fein ach scaird a dh’ol

There is a woman in Ireland who would give me jewels an my fill to drink, a woman
Who would think my simple singing swelter than the music of strings, a woman
Who would prefer me dead…
There is a woman in Ireland who would be jealous if I got one kiss from elseone…
There is a woman… and I see no cure except the flowing of drink.