now playing: Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh: Daybreak/Fainne an Lae
Daybreak: Fáinne an Lae
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is perhaps best known as lead singer with the top Irish band Danu. Her solo album is a venture into music she wanted to explore a bit differently than work within a seven piece trad based band would allow.
The dozen tracks she offers, ten songs and two instrumentals, comprise an interesting and lovely journey. Her opener, Gerry O'Beirne's Western Highway, is an evocation of travels, leaving loved ones behind, risks in such changes, and life beyond the city lights, among other things, and Nic Amhlaoibh leaves room for all the levels of the song in her interpretation. It's also a song which evokes the quiet spaces of the west. Nic Amhlaoibh is from the far westernmost part of Kerry, which finds expression in her her singing here. There are songs from the west of Kerry, as well as ones which had their origins in other parts of the island, including the rambler's song Free and Easy, from Down. There's an emigrant's song, a lullabye in Irish, another song from O'Beirne, one from Richard Thompson, and a set of tunes [Nic Amhlaoibh's instruments are flute and whistle] with Donegal and Scottish roots. She closes with the traditional song Parting Glass. "When you're in a band, you sort of feel invincible, you know," Nic Amhlaoibh says, "making a a solo album is such a soul baring thing to do for an artist." This is her first solo project, and it's well worth your listening. Nic Amhlaoibh is currently working on a duo record with Scots singer Julie Fowlis, and will appearing in the US in the autumn as host of series of live programs about the pipes called Piperlink,
Here is a video of Nic Amhlaoibh singing "An Spealadóir," a West Kerry song which is on the record, and together with Michelle Mulcahy on accordion she plays two reels: "The Caucus" and "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" on flutes and whistles. Billy Mc Glynn is on guitar.
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