On the Bright Road
Lynn Saoirse

Click to order On the Bright Road


CD Sleeve Notes

On the Bright Road - Collection of songs about ConnemaraA 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, Co. Galway.
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.

Track Listing

Sleeve Notes

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, buy drugs online pharmacy, 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 family home.

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 second one.

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.

Track Listing

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: bodhrán
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: acoustic bass
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

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