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

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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:

Buíochas

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

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Two New Albums by Allison Crowe

Two New Albums by Allison Crowe

Souling

Album description/liner notes:

Allison Crowe’s gorgeous voice brings tidings of comfort and joy with “Souling” – her 11th full album release.

The artist, one of our greatest living musicians, singer-songwriters and performers, has always created authentic music.

With this newest song set her voice is heard wholly a cappella.

The songs themselves have a purity of expression – a 21st century take on music of faith and spirit – sounds and themes aired by carollers and soulers of old.

I am listening to Souling by Allison Crowe. It is a holiday album from the pretty Canadian singer/songwriter. What makes it different from her other albums(or any holiday albums from any artist ) is that it’s recorded entirely in a cappella.

It reminds me of many genres including old African-American spirituals. Her singing style is unique as at times there something pop about it , in other times , it is predominantly a soulful voice. But mostly her leanings are in Folk music.
Souling  as I mentioned is a holiday album and everyone who drops by at home will hear this  being played every now and then. It doesn’t sound intrusive. But it is also not something you can ignore because her interpretations of traditional materials are  like no other.That is why it is hard to compare her to other artists. Sure, guitar and piano are her prime instruments but her singing has an earthly and sensual quality. More bluesy than folk but more folk than rock.
There are 11 tracks in Souling. When you listen to each song, you will notice the scales she is using in her arrangements. This is the style I am talking about, which makes her renditions interesting. The fact that she has a strong soulful voice, makes Souling a perfect vehicle for her unique artistry.
I have my personal favorites including The Holly and the Ivy. Her background vocal harmonies remind me of water currents running underneath the sparkling surface. Her arrangements are undeniably exquisite. With the abundance of airy fairy artists out there, Allison Crowe has a style that sets her apart from the rest of her Canadian peers. Coupled with her appearance that reminds me of Pre-Raphaelite women, she creates a compelling combination of the earthly and the spiritual.
Wassail Song is another favorite as her background vocals capture the atmosphere of a chapel. Souling is an album that redefines the usual traditional holiday tunes and also about how they are being rendered. It is in this rendition that an artist tells the listeners her true identity. It’s beautiful and fresh, something that can start the test of time and seasons.
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Newfoundland Vinyl II

Album description/liner notes:

As with following William Blake’s roadmap to eternity’s sunrise, fans of musician Allison Crowe know to kiss “the joy as it flies.”

Right now, Crowe is soaring – bringing her “Tidings” tour from Canada’s Pacific coast to its Atlantic shores. And she’s on the wing with two new albums: ‘Souling”, an a breath-taking cappella collection of traditional Christmas carols, and “Newfoundland Vinyl II”, a many-splendoured music mix – songs of, and from, her island home.

  After listening to the atmospheric and sparely populated world of Souling, Newfoundland Vinyl II is like stepping into the familiar terrain that Allison Crowe is known for. As always, her guitar sparkles with energy and joy.
I am amazed that she is able to court listeners from all genres. Her forte has always been acoustic playing. There is something rugged and simple about Newfoundland Vinyl II. No wonder she made a cameo appearance in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel last year. Yes she is in the movie(as a brunette singer with a guitar) performing in this little bar before Clark Kent gets harassed by guy who gets his truck smashed up like a pancake.
The penchant for a cappella and vocal harmonies are still there. And  she is a great story-teller. Listen to the poignant ballad The Water Witch and tell me if you are not moved by the emotions underneath the seemingly simply arrangement. She incorporates a range of materials and subjects in her songwriting. Perhaps this has something to do with her independent way of making music. I learned interesting bits in my research

“After learning how the mainstream recording industry operates, inspired by the examples of Ani DiFranco and Loreena McKennitt, and Creative Commons licensing opening new avenues for musicians, Allison Crowe launched her own record label, Rubenesque Records Ltd. The label was incorporated in 2001 and began operations with the release of an EP in 2003. She has created and released the following albums independently.”

Simplicity, leisure and sensuality are all found in Newfoundland Vinyl II.There are also different instruments- both traditional and modern , appearing in each song. One  example is the song Out from St. Leonard’s. The instruments play with each other in a call and response fashion.

I think every album  of an artist is a ‘love letter’ to the world. It is a message in a bottle. And there is power in something when you express it and that expression took time and effort. Because you can fake things through flourishes and production. But you could never fake the truth behind the songs. And I guess this is what The Newfoundland Vinyl II is about. It is about singing from the heart. It is about singing the songs of people that have been passed from every generation. The enduring sentiments in all these songs make them powerful and no matter how you sing them – you sing the toils, pains,heartbreak and joy of souls across time.

Serundal:Channeling Celtic Myths on the Coil of New Age

Serundal:Channeling Celtic Myths on the Coil of New Age

Hypnotic, soothing and beautiful. It is always a blessing when musicians reach out to CMF to let me hear what they are doing. Wales is the homeland of Serundal, a duo composed of David king and Maxie. Maxie reminds me a bit of the lead vocalist of another Welsh duo Ceredwen. But Serundal’s songs are less wispy and more organic.

Like their New Age peers, Serundal relies heavily on atmospheric tunes and steady beats. These aspects give each songs room to breath on the part of the listeners. Whither you want something soft to play on the background while doing something else or you really want to dissect the mythical inspirations behind the tracks, Serundal has them.

Stone of Destiny, The Hag of Winter, White Stag and The Water Dance are among the best examples of their captivating sound. Their music can be described as electronic/New Age with songwriting structure heavily influenced by folk music. You can sample more of their tracks if you go to their CD baby page http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Serundal.

Band bio(from their facebook page)

Biography
UK Songwriting Contest 2010 four tracks submitted- Three from ‘Land of the     Sixth  Moon’  one from ‘Yule’ all voted semi-finalists 2010. 2009 Semi-finalists in the UK songwriters Contest for ‘Lady of the isles’
Members … David: producer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist/lyrics / vocals Maxie: research/ lyrics/lead vocal
Hailed by one reviewer as ‘the new Clannad’ since 2006  Serundal has produced eight full albums and two E.Ps have been released.       Maxie has been a published poet since the age of  fifteen, and Serundal was first born through a    combination of her ideas set in poetry and David’s musical  creativity.      Together, born of Scottish, English and Welsh ancestry they have managed to weave together what has been described as ‘a truly magical mix of  Celtic and Anglo-Saxon storytelling traditions with the energy of 21st century arrangements.’      Their music has been described as ‘timeless’ ‘cinematic’ and ‘visual’ and since 2007, they have been a featured artist on www.ubl.com      Their track  ‘Lady of the Isles’ (Waiting Rooms) has reached number 20 in the world chart of 521 artistes in  www.iacmusic.com      Through listeners votes their songs have scored highly in charts like www.songvault.fm where Serundal was the first artiste in the folk genre to have  fifteen tracks on the songvault directory and to receive permanent airplay
‘The Elven Robe’  featured on Gene Godfrey’s Classic f.m  www.angelfire.com      ‘The Storm’ featured on Andrew John’s station on www.celticaradio.com       ‘The Elven Robe’ played on Bill Everatt’s Underground www.celticaradio.com       ‘Lady of the Isles’ played on Highlander radio (Live 365) www.celticradio.net       ‘Snowy Owl’ on Deep Cuts radio    http://www.live365.com/stations/4music2       ‘Incantation’ reached number 2 in the folk charts on www.somojo.net
Both Ab Initi (2006) and ‘Leylines’ (2007) have received excellent reviews.
Christmas 2008 saw the release of ‘Dark Days White Knights’ an album based on medieval Celtic and Arthurian legend, which has taken their musical journey into the world of progressive folk.
In the summer of 2009  ‘Lady of the Isles’  (Waiting Rooms 2006) was voted one of the songs to make it to the semi-finals of the prestigious UK Songwriter’s Contest, a remarkable achievement since this was Serundal’s first submission and there were over 6,500 entries of a very high standard.
Christmas 2009 sees the release of ‘Yule’ a special edition Christmas E.P  a magical mystical blend of the Winter Solstice and the Christmas story.
Follow Serundal on twitter www.last.fm/serundal www.myspace.com/serundalmusic www.serundal.com www.cdbaby.com
members of:  http://www.songwriters-guild.co.uk/

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To those who are trying to get in touched with me, I took a one month off from facebook. Please use my email joseromel.labatos@gmail.com. To current contacts all my fb messages go directly to my windows mobile but I would not be able to see your posts.

I Will Carry You-Shishonnah

(R) Jenne Lennon (L) Liz Madden Photo by Roland Labana

(R) Jenne Lennon (L) Liz Madden Photo by Roland Labana

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.  ~Christopher Reeve

Hope is the physician of each misery.  ~Irish Proverb

The new single from duo Jenne Lennon and Liz Madden known as Shishonnah will definitely thrill fans of Loreena McKennitt, Connie Dover and Enya!  The song  “I Will Carry You” starts out with a gentle piano melody that builds up into a sweeping choral and chamber extravaganza. The classically trained  lush voice of Jenne, and Liz’s supple ethereal folk voice compliment each other well- like they’ve been born to sing together. This song talks about hope and healing amidst all the pains that life hands us. Listening it again and again is such a joy!

Their first single Dance with the River is so unique and powerful. Especially the chanting  and percussion part. This is a kind of song that I think Capercaillie wish they recorded.

Jenne Lennon:

Known as “The Janis Joplin of Celtic Music!”, Jenne’s mission as an artist is to become the first American singer/songwriter internationally known in the new genre of Celtic World Fusion music, and to use her music as a platform for social awareness of poverty, AIDS and Native American rights http://jennelennon.com/   and http://www.glencoerecords.com/

Liz Madden

“If a harp had a voice, it would sound like Liz Madden.  With a sound that flows through the air like rose petals through a wind chime…” Gregg Senko of Why So Blu?

A patron of the Irish charity Bee for Battens, Liz is also a supporter of the Children in Crossfire charity and recently performed at two events accompanied on guitar by Richard Moore, Director of Children in Crossfire. Liz had the honor of singing ‘A Price for Love’ written by the late Christie Hennessy, patron of Children in Crossfire. Liz is the first artist since Christie Hennessey, to sing this wonderful song. Along with various other charity work and activism, Liz has also just completed her first book entitled ‘Letters from The Ancients’. http://www.lizmaddenonline.com/