CD Sleeve Notes
collection of new songs of and about Connemara written by Barbara
Callan; together with tunes (some old, some new) featuring the harp-playing
of Lynn Saoirse.
Produced by Garry O'Briain & Lynn Saoirse.
Recorded at Gateway Studio, Oughterard and The Fort, Roundstone,
Engineered by Bruno Staehelin & Richard McCullough.
Mixed & mastered by Bruno Staehelin & Garry O'Briain.
All Songs written by Barbara Callan
All tunes traditional except for The Helen's Kitchen Waltz, Away
with the Fairies, and Mo Ghrághael; all written by Lynn Saoirse,
and Calliope House by Dave Richardson.
1) Granuaile Much
has been written about Granuaile ( in English, Grace O'Malley),
the 17th century "Pirate Queen" who was based off the Mayo/Connemara
coast. In reality she was a Gaelic chieftain living in a time of
transition to English ways. Her traditional right to levy taxes
on ships and livestock passing through her domain went unrecognised
by the English. In turn she boarded English vessels to collect her
traditional dues and so, in English state papers, she is accused
of Piracy. In fact she did not recognise Elizabeth's sovereignty
over her fief, and, when she sailed up the Thames to meet Elizabeth
I, she stood before the English queen as an equal and refused to
bend her knee. This is a song of her sailors, whose fierce spirits
perhaps still follow the ocean paths.
2) Joe Skelton's / The Smell
of the Bog (trad) Hornpipes
3) Inis Bó Finne
Barbara dedicated this song to Susan Gallagher who shared her love
of local legend, myth and magic. This is the story of the creation
of the island of Inishbofin, a place dear to both their hearts.
It was also mapped by her husband Dave with whom she led nature
and archaeological walks on the island over several years. The name
Inishbofin translates from the Irish as the "Island of the White
Cow"; the White Cow being a reference to a powerful Celtic goddess.
4) The Helen's Kitchen Waltz
(Lynn Saoirse) Written after one of those perfect nights
of endless music and craic during Clifden Arts Week. It had all
started with one of Helen Geoghegan's "dinners that couldn't be
beat" and ended up many hours later back around her kitchen table
again. Finally at 5am Helen put on Dolores Keane singing "Galway
Bay" and we four who had lasted the pace finished the festivities
with a waltz around the kitchen. So this is for those best of women
friends who were there: Carmel Dempsey, Michelle Mulhaire, and,
of course, Helen herself. They each embody grace, kindness and generosity...
as well as serious doses of hilarity.
5) An Féileacán The
ancient Irish, like many other cultures, saw the butterfly as a
symbol of the soul. And they believed that the spirits of the dead
could return at times to people and places they had loved as féileacáin
. There is still a tradition that a butterfly entering your home
is a visit from a dead loved one. This was written after Barbara's
very dear father's passing and an experience she had with quite
an extraordinary butterfly as she was sorting his papers in the
6) Quadrille Rumle
(Danish Quadrille) I first heard this when Buttons and Bows played
it at a concert in Clifden and it knocked me out. I would never
have recorded it had I known Garry would be listening to my attempt
at it, but he created a new arrangement around the harp and it seems
to work even without the fiddle and accordion; rather a plucky little
version this way.
7) Na Beanna Beola
A praise-song for the Twelve Bens (known in Irish as Na Beanna Beola,
the Peaks of Beola), the mountains at the heart of Connemara. When
Tommy Hayes came into the studio with his marvellous "bag of tricks"
he mentioned that he had some Tibetan singing bowls. The biggest
and most resonant one came directly from the Himalayas in Nepal
and "just happened" to be in the right key for the drone we needed
for this song. Having travelled from Chomolungma (the Tibetan name
for Mt Everest, which means "Mother Goddess" in their language)
to our own humble peaks, it is certainly at home on this song.
8) Leitrim Fancy
(trad) / Away with the Fairies (Lynn
Saoirse) Jigs : All I can say is, God bless Colm for tackling the
9) Oileán Choill Dara
A love song written in Irish and sung here in a macaronic version
with Harry singing the Irish verses and Rosanna the English translations.
10) The Tar Road to Sligo
(trad) / Calliope House (Dave Richardson) Jigs
11) Mo Ghrághael
:"My Bright Love" (Lynn Saoirse) A slow air for those I love.
12) The Flower of Killary
Bay Based on a true story which Barbara got from Mary Coyne
of Cleggan. Seamie and Noreen lived (and eloped...) in the early
nineteenth century. A new song to add to the 'follow your heart,
not your purse' genre of traditional ballads!
13) The Sweetheart/ The
Laurel Tree/ The Chicago (trad) Reels
14) Summer of Macha Macha
Nocht is the local Connemara name for one of the Twelve Bens (shown
as Mughanaught on maps). In Irish it means Naked Macha, and is named
for one of the more wild Irish Goddesses.
1.) Granuaile (Barbara
Callan) Rosanna McCafferty: vocals/ Garry O'Briain: guitar/ Máirtín
O'Connor: accordion/ Jesse Smith: fiddle/ Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Tommy
Hayes: djembe/ Eddie Lee: acoustic bass/ Harry Bent: harmony vocals
2.) Joe Skelton's / The Smell of the Bog
(hornpipes) Colm O'Donnell: flute/ Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Tommy Hayes:
3.) Inis Bó Finne (Barbara Callan)
Barbara Callan: vocals & guitar/ Máirtín O'Connor: accordion/ Jesse
Smith: viola/ Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Tommy Hayes: chimes/ Eddie Lee:
4.) Helen's Kitchen Waltz (Lynn Saoirse)
Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Máirtín O'Connor: accordion/ Garry O'Briain:
guitar/ Liz Kane: fiddle/ Eddie Lee: acoustic bass
5.) An Féileacán (Barbara Callan)
Barbara Callan: vocals & guitar/ Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Rob Thornburgh:
hammered dulcimer & fiddle/ Dave Hogan: low whistle & bodhrán
6.) Quadrille Rümle (trad. Danish)
Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Garry O'Briain: mandocello/ James Sheridan:
mandolin/ Jesse Smith: viola
7.) Na Beanna Beola (Barbara Callan)
Barbara Callan: vocals/ Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Tommy Hayes: Tibetan
singing bowl/ Jesse Smith: viola
8.) Leitrim Fancy (trad. jig) / Away
with the Fairies (Lynn Saoirse) Colm O'Donnell: flute & tin whistle/
Liz Kane: fiddle/ Garry O'Briain: mandocello & guitar/ Lynn Saoirse:
harp/ Tommy Hayes: bodhrán
9.) Oileán Choill Dara (Barbara Callan)
Rosanna McCafferty: vocals/ Harry Bent: vocals/ Lynn Saoirse: harp/
Jesse Smith: viola & fiddle
10.) The Tar Road to Sligo/ Calliope House
(jigs) Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Leon Agnew: flute/ Tommy Hayes: bodhrán
11.) Mo Ghrághael (Lynn Saoirse)
Lynn Saoirse: harp
12.) The Flower of Killary Bay (Barbara
Callan) Rosanna McCafferty: vocals/ Harry Bent: harmony vocals/
Garry O'Briain: guitar/ Lynn Saoirse: harp / Leon Agnew: flute/
Eddie Lee: acoustic bass
13.) The Sweetheart/ The Laurel Tree/ The
Chicago (reels) Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Mary Finn McCrudden:
piano accordion/ Garry O'Briain: mandocello
14.) Summer of Macha (Barbara Callan)
Rosanna McCafferty: vocals/ Lynn Saoirse: harp/ Jesse Smith: viola/
Tommy Hayes: chimes