Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Northern Ireland: Sound Neighbours

The six counties which make up the north of Ireland, the area of the island which is part of the United Kingdom, hold beauty and welcome and legend, along with troubled political history which seems to come in waves. It is also the home place of many gifted musicians.

Sound Neighbours: Contemporary Music in Northern Ireland is a project the Smithsonian Folkways label put together several years back when Northern Ireland was featured as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, it includes songs which range over the landscape and ideas of the six counties.

northern ireland music sound neighbours coverNotable among the twenty tracks are piper Jarlath Henderson's The Old Bush Set, Bap Kennedy’s The Shankill and The Falls, Briege Murphy’s The Verdant Braes of Screen -- actually all the tracks are well worth your listening, from The Divine Comedy’s edgy political commentary in Sunrise to Niall and Cillian Vallely’s melodious The Singing Stream, to Tommy Sands personal and universal story of the north in There Were Roses. Tommy’s brother Colum Sands, himself an accomplished musician, wrote the liner notes which give a bit of context to each song and each artist, and contributes his own song Donegall Road.

you may also wish to see

music and hope: Derry
Ireland, north and south
Radio Ballads: Northern Ireland

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posted by Kerry Dexter at

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