Saturday, January 14, 2012

Songs of Love from the Celtic World: A Stor Mo Chroí

Love: subject of eternal questions, eternal answers, and loads and loads of songs and tunes. Love from many directions is the focus of A Stor Mo Chroi, a two disc collection of thirty tracks. Artists from the varied worlds of Celtic music contribute music, among them Niamh Ni Charra, John Spillane, Capercaillie, Damien Dempsey, Loreena McKennitt, and Grada.

In case you were wondering what A Stor Mo Chroí means, it can be taken several ways. In Irish mo chroí means of my heart, and a stor may mean thing, treasure, value, and is sometime used as a shortcut for dear or darling. Listen to the songs and see which meaning suits you.

It’s a well sequenced collection in both sound and idea. The steady beat of percussion in Lumiere’s version of Fair and Tender Ladies, a song well known on both sides of the ocean, leads into the thoughtful work of Davy Spillane on pipes and Sean Tyrell on a stor mo chroi songs of love and loss celtic musicvoice in the song Starry Night. Eddi Reader, from Scotland, is supported by her regular road band collaborator Alan Kelly on a graceful tale of friendship and love written by John Douglas called I Hung My Harp upon the Willow. John Spillane’s gritty take on his own song of lovers’ regret, When You and I Were True, illuminates the traditional tale of another sort of lovers’ parting, She Moved through the Fair, as presented by Loreena McKennitt. The sequence which leads from the tale of passing glimpses of a possible love in Spanish Lady (set in fine harmony by Maighread and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill) through the rambler song Free and Easy by Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh to the lively melody and enigmatic questions in in the song Wedding Dress from T with the Maggies will draw you in and make you think as well.

There are, as the subtitle of the collection promises, songs of both love and loss, and songs of reconciliation, reflection, and fun, as well. They come from well known artists, rising stars, and several groups and artists you may be less familiar with if you live outside of Ireland. All the tracks are worth your listening, though, and so is the sequence of tale and sound they weave. Colm O’Siochain, who thought up the album concept, is also responsible for the way the songs unfold. Even if you know all the artists, you will want to check out this collection to explore the way the songs illuminate each other here.

It’s good, too, the find the work of newer artists and well known musicians alongside bands and artists who have gone on to other things, such as a song from the short lived Skara Brae and and an early track from Paul Brady and Andy Irvine, as well as a classic take on Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh’s Raglan Road by the late Luke Kelly. It’s also good to see the collection wind to a close with Pauline Scanlon’s offering of All the Ways You Wander, a song John Spillane wrote for his daughter.

you may also wish to see
Americana and western songwriter Michael Martin Murphey’s song about
A Long Line Of Love
Music Road: a bouquet of Celtic love songs & tunes
Music Road: from Donegal:T with the Maggies

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Blogger Anjuli said...

Another great recommendation. What a great idea having so many different artists in one place- diverse and yet with one focus. I do like songs that make me think - and as you have mentioned here there are songs which will make me do that- and other songs which I can just sit back and let them flow over me.

5:56 PM  

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