Horslips called it The Tain and added electricity to the 12th century text collected in The Book Of Leinster from a much older story. Now, Sean-Nós singer Lorcán Mac Mathúna who last appeared in these pages with his Irish/Scandinavian fusion, Northern Lights, has taken a rather different approach.
The story of Cù Chulainn and Meadhbh and a quarrel over a prize bull includes mystical prophesy, a demonic transformation, a headless corpse still retaining the power of speech and lots of blood – it would make a blockbuster of a film. Lorcán has gone back to the book and based his lyrics on the original text to the extent of singing in Old Irish although, helpfully, the full text of the songs and a translation appear on his website 1.
Musically, Deep End Of The Ford mix old and new sounds. Martin Tourish plays accordion and piano, Seán Mac Erlaine plays bass clarinet, Eoghan Neff plays fiddle and Flaithrí Neff uileann pipes and low whistle and all five performers are credited as composers. Added to this are electronic sounds and looped tapes and the music is heavy on the drones – something of a Mac Mathúna signature sound.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that An Táin will be heavy going. Lorcán has a lovely warm voice and the music easily carries you away. This is another wonderful album. Dai Jeffries
2 Is this the first CD review to use footnotes? It’s worth reading the story in full, anyway.
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