Friday, March 02, 2018

Ireland's Music: Aine Minogue: In the Name of Stillness

Music is framed in silence. There’s a saying that as a painter paints on canvas. so a musician paints on silence.

Silence and stillness often go together. They are not the same thing, though. In both silence and stillness, there is music.

Music partners often with dance, and with other sorts of movement -- clapping, stamping feet, and such. Yet music, in both creation and listening, may also be framed in stillness.

Aine Minogue has called her most recent album In the Name of Stillness.

Minogue’s instrument is the harp. She is from Ireland, born in County Tipperary and with a master’s degree in traditional Irish harp performance from the University of Limerick. She has been resident in the United Staes, in New England, for some time.

You may hear the landscapes of both places in the nine instrumental and one vocal track on the album. They are all original compositions. Titles include Sitting Pilgrimage, Quiet Absence, Chant of Eternity, and Home of Belonging. In the Name of Stillness, Minogue’s fourteenth recording, is the second in a series she is calling Celtic Meditation Music. “Whether it’s used in meditation or contemplation,” Minogue says, “stillness helps to open or create more space for ‘something else to come in’ … more peace, clarity, balance, serenity, perspective. For me, stillness says it all.” 

Each piece, and the album taken as a whole, does invite reflection, and coming to a place of stillness. Music and the spaces between the notes blend into each other and lead the listener on a journey of spirit, and indeed, hope. Minogue’s harp leads the way, in quiet conversation with. on occasion, guitar, cello, oboe, clarinet, and keyboards.

In the sleeve notes which accompany the recording, Minogue has chosen words to go along with each track, which, she says, may be helpful to think about in establishing the mood of each piece. These include ideas from sources ranging from Wendell Berry to Thomas Merton to Chief White Eagle.

In the series of videos created to go along with the music (one of them is below) images and these words offer additional material for reflection. Each composition, Minogue says, is a "combination of blessing, community, ritual, and intention,” all things that are integral to Celtic spirituality and tradition. Silence which frames lines and notes of music is a vital part of composition and communication of musical ideas; one might almost say that Minogue’s work leads to contemplation of silence within the notes as well. Take a listen.

You may find out more at Aine Minogue’s web site.

You may also wish to see
Music for Winter’s Changes at Wandering Educators, which includes a video of another track from In the Name of Stillness
Winter Through a Musician’s Eyes, at Perceptive Travel
Music and Mystery: A Conversation with Carrie Newcomer
Ireland’s Music: Cara Dillon: Wanderer

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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