CD Review
Lynn Saoirse

 

 

On the Bright Road - Barbara Callan & Lynn Saoirse

Review of "On the Bright Road" in Irish Music Magazine - June 2003

14 tracks, 51 minutes

On the Bright Road is a collection of new songs "of and about Connemara " written by the late Barbara Callan, and it's mixed with tunes old and new featuring the harp playing of Lynn Saoirse who is co-producer (with Garry O'Briain) of the CD. It seems that Barbara became too ill to continue recording for the album, and Rosanna McCafferty was asked to step in and sing the remainder of the songs. So this CD can really be regarded as a memorial to Barbara Callan (1949 - 2001), and a fine one at that.

The songs are written in English and Gaelic, and deal with quite a range of subjects; Granuaile, also known as Grace O'Malley, "The Pirate Queen" who was based off the Mayo/Connemara coast in the 16th century; Barbara had a great love of the myths and legends of the west and this is seen in her song Inis Bó Finne (Isle of the White Cow, a reference to a Celtic goddess), and in An Féileacán (the Butterfly; the ancient Irish believed that the spirit of the dead could return at times as a butterfly to people and places they had loved).

Na Beanna Beola is in praise of the Twelve Bens, the mountains that give Connemara, Co. Galway, its distinctive appearance. Oileán Choill Dara (The Island of the Oakwood) is a macaronic love song; and there's a second love song too, called The Flower of Killary Bay, based on the true story of two young lovers who eloped. The last song on the CD, Summer of Macha, returns to the theme of myth and legend, and treats of the Macha Nocht, one of the Twelve Bens.

Lynn Saoirse's harp playing has been described as "rhythmically precise and clear in tone"; and it has soul and feeling too, and is a joy to listen to. She provides a selection of hornpipes, a waltz, a Danish quadrille, jigs, reels and a slow air. Session musicians include Mairtín O'Connor on the accordion, and Tommy Hayes on the bodhrán.

For more information on the CD please click here

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