Gráinne Holland releases her first album of original songs

Gráinne Holland

Corcra is Gráinne’s first album of her own original songs. It was produced by renowned musician Brian Finnegan, recorded by Seán Óg Graham and features the best of Irish and Scottish musicians including Aidan O’Rourke, Liam Bradley, Brendan Mullholland and Cormac Mac Carthy. When it comes to the songs, the stunning opener is ‘Mise Agus Tusa’, meaning me and you, a beautiful song written for her husband Frainc, Harry’s, a song about her father which she wrote shortly after his death in 2007 and ‘Lonn Dubh an Gheimhridh’ which describes the sadness that we often experience in winter when the days grow shorter, the trees lose their leaves and everything seems to sleep. Gráinne wrote this song about just that feeling. On a lighter note we have ‘Miracle’, written after the birth of her first son and ‘Béal Feirste’, a tribute to her home town of Belfast.

Born and raised in Belfast, Gráinne’s love of Irish music and song began at an early age. A product of the Gaelic language revival in the North of Ireland, she was brought up with both Gaelic and English and attended the first Gaelic-medium school in Belfast. It was here that her love of traditional song was fostered.

Gráinne released her debut album of traditional songs with contemporary arrangements; Teanga na nGael in 2011 to great critical acclaim. She followed it up with a second studio album Gaelré in 2015 which was published under the Gael Linn label. Gráinne has toured and performed at many major festivals both at home and abroad. She is also a successful producer and presenter in Irish language media.

“Gráinne’s voice soars and swoops and glides like a swallow in the sublime Irish summer sky” Damien Dempsey

Artist’s website: www.grainneholland.com

‘Lonn Dubh an Gheimhridh’ – official video:

Ulaid & Duke Special – crowdfunding project

Ulaid

Ulaid & Duke Special would like to record (with a live audience) an album of material which they have written and arranged together called ‘The Belfast Suite’. They’re asking for your support in order to make this happen.

Ulaid are Seán Óg Graham, John McSherry and Dónal O’Connor. McSherry and O’Connor are the creative force behind the highly innovative traditional band At First Light, and Graham is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest accompanists and he tours and records with the successful and dynamic group Beoga.

Drawing on their influences from the traditional music world and pre-rock and roll song writing, Ulaid’s collaboration with Duke Special combines their talents to create an original work called ‘Belfast Suite.’ Exploring the collection of noted historian and antiquary – Francis J Bigger, they have written new compositions inspired by obscure treasures found among the Bigger collection and by the incredible story of the city of Belfast.

Why: 

Ulaid & Duke Special have been writing/arranging and performing together since early 2016 and would love to make a live record of the material that they have compiled i.e. ‘The Belfast Suite’. Having performed the music throughout Ireland and the UK in the Autumn of 2016 and having received a hugely enthusiastic response, the lads have decided to put this incredible music to tape! In order for this to happen, however your assistance is required.

When:

Friday the 20th & Saturday the 21st January 2017

Where:

Analogue Catalogue Recording Studio, Rathfriland, Co. Down – This amazing Analogue Recording Studio is set in a 3 storey stone mill overlooking the stunning Mourne Mountains in County Down. The live room will host the band and 45 lucky guests who will get to enjoy the live recording session and be a part of this amazing project

Who:

Ulaid (John McSherry, Dónal O’Connor & Seán Óg Graham) & Duke Special and ……….of course……… YOU !!……..

What:

A recording to tape (Analogue) with a live Studio audience, some booze, some grub, lot’s of craic, and the opportunity (should you holler and cheer loud enough) to be on the record.

  • They’ve got some great rewards on offer in return for your support:
  • an advance digital download of Ulaid & Duke Special’s ‘Belfast Suite’ before international release
  • a limted edition, hand signed Vinyl LP of Ulaid & Duke Special’s ‘Belfast Suite’ before international release
  • a credit on the recording liner notes
  • BUT BEST OF ALL  a VIP opportunity to join them in the recording studio to enjoy the session in person with complimentary food & drinks, and get to hang with the band after the show, plus all of the above!!

If successful, the money will be spent on venue hire, the audio engineer’s fee, accommodation for the band and crew, mixing, mastering, artwork, duplication, postage, travel costs, photography and filming of the events.

We look forward to celebrating its completion with you in the beautiful Mourne Mountains in County Down in January 2017.

WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT THIS CAN’T HAPPEN SO THANKS EVER SO MUCH IN ADVANCE.

To participate go to:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ulaid-duke-special-live-recording

Artists’ websites:  www.ulaidmusic.com / www.dukespecial.com

BEOGA – Before We Change Our Mind (own label BEOGA 06)

Before We Change Our MindBefore We Change Our Mind is the fifth studio album from Antrim-based band, Beoga. Their line-up was completed in 2005 after their debut album by fiddler/vocalist Niamh Dunne who bought a new dimension to a band that was dominated by accordion and keyboards plus Eamon Murray’s dynamic bodhran playing which is still an essential ingredient in their sound. What they might change their minds about remains unclear.

The majority of Beoga’s music is written by box-players Seán Óg Graham and Damian McKee. Although there are four medley sets both Graham and McKee have a liking for single compositions that move maybe half a step away from the Irish tradition. Graham’s ‘Eochaid’, ‘Aurora’ and ‘Valhalla’ and McKee’s ‘Jump The Broom’ all exhibit the roots of the tradition but unostentatiously do something new with it. The last of these is a particularly lovely piece.

The songs come from outside the band. The lively ‘The Bonny Ship, The Diamond’ is the second new version of this old song that I’ve encountered so far this year – it could be the start of a trend. Tommy Makem’s ‘Farewell To Carlingford’ is treated to guitar – Graham, again – and Liam Bradley’s piano with the bodhran and McKee’s accordion showing great restraint in the background. ‘Like A Dime’ comes from Eamon O’Leary’s album, Old Clump, and ‘Wexford Town’ is a much older song from the Irish traveller musician, Pecker Dunne, probably best known for ‘Sullivan’s John’.

Before We Change Our Mind is a light-hearted album, sometimes wistful, sometimes exuberant and a perfect release for early summer.

Dai Jeffries

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Artists’ website: http://www.beogamusic.com/

‘Eochaid’ – official video:

JOHN McSHERRY DÓNAL O’CONNOR SEÁN ÓG GRAHAM Ulaid (own label JD5001)

JOHN McSHERRY DÓNAL O’CONNOR SEÁN ÓG GRAHAM UlaidHere we have three of the finest players in Ireland today. John McSherry (Uillean pipes and low whistles), Dónal O’Connor (fiddle and keyboards) and multi-instrumentalist Seán Óg Graham have been founders and members of so many great bands – names like Lúnasa, Beoga, Lá Lugh and Fiddler’s Bid.

So you might expect something rather special from Ulaid and you’d be right to. On paper it doesn’t look very different from any other album. O’Connor and McSherry have composed several tunes and the rest are traditional and there is a guest musician in the shape of bouzouki player Ruben Bada. They take the habit of giving sets “pet” names to the point of absurdity with ‘No Room To Wriggle In The Cauldron’ – this really has to stop right now.

Where Ulaid is different is in the way it sounds. Sometimes it’s obvious as in the gorgeous air, ‘The Return To Madagascar’, translated from flute to low whistle. Sometimes it’s more subtle, like the guitar figure that introduces the opener, ‘Top Up For Seamus’, as though the band were just settling themselves down before O’Connor’s fiddle picks up the first tune. Even though most of the tracks are quite long the music tends to skip along and sometimes a piece is over before you’ve really got into it. They can go flat out for impact as with the second part of ‘Roll It There, Roisín’ – and if you understand that reference you really should stop watching daytime TV – but there is something to delight in every track.

Dai Jeffries

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


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Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: www.ulaidmusic.com

‘Roll It There, Roisín’:

THE RAPPAREES: Re:Session (OWN LABEL)

ReSessionRe:Session is the third album from Belfast band The Rapparees; an album of songs about Ulster or written by Ulster writers.

The material varies from the traditional ‘Slieve Gallion Braes’, an old song about hardship and rising rents to Barry Kerr’s song of ecological revenge, ‘Mother Earth’. This album, particularly the instrumental sets, are weighted towards modern material although it can be hard to tell sometimes and I’m still not sure if ‘Belfast Mountains’ is a variant on the traditional song collected by Lucy Broadwood or a new version (mostly) written by Alan Burke. What it does mean is that the record presents a smooth spectrum from the obviously traditional to the definitely modern.

The core instrumentation is guitar, banjo, fiddle and bouzouki but each of the chaps plays three or four instruments and three of them take lead vocals. Producer Liam Bradley plays keyboards and Eamon Murray provides percussion with distinguished guests including Beoga’s Sean Óg Graham and singer Pauline Scanlon. The music is largely up-tempo, even the tale of the harsh conditions in ‘Derry Gaol’, and the more reflective pieces, like ‘The Stranmillis Fox’ and ‘Randalstown Rambler’, often have an optimistic outlook – OK, not ‘Belfast Mountains’ or ‘Slieve Gallion Braes’ – but Re:Session won’t have you crying in your poitine.

Dai Jeffries

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