SCREAMING ORPHANS – Sunshine And Moss (own label)

Sunshine And MossSunshine And Moss, the second album by the Co. Donegal Diver sisters opens with ‘Every Woman Gardens’, a steady-paced strumalong written by Padraig Stevens from The Saw Doctors about the consequence of every action, apparently inspired by an overheard conversation about giving a chainsaw as a present, the girls seeing it as about appreciating the simple things in life like gardening and valuing nature more than we do. The following ten tracks are predominantly their arrangements of traditional songs, the first being a spooked Exorcist-like icy piano backed ‘Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier’, the number starting off slow and gradually gathering pace.

Robert Burns provides the words for the accordion-shaped, Celtic flavoured ‘Heiland Harry’ while back home, the jaunty skip beat musical setting belying the tale of lovers parted, ‘Mary From Dungloe’ was written in 1936 by Donegal stonemason Pádraig Mac Cumhaill. ‘John The Shepherd Sel’ is the first of two lively traditional instrumentals, the second, initially opening with stately piano before the fiddles ignite, being six-minute album closer reel ‘Peggy On The Settle Sel’, both fine showcases of the sisters instrumental virtuosity.

In between times comes a soft, whisperingly sung, poetic, layered vocals, piano accompanied reading of 1876 standard ‘My Grandfather’s Clock’, rousing Irish traditional rebel number ‘Ye Jacobites By Name’, and ‘Pat Murphy’s Meadow’, originally a poem written in the 1930s by Newfoundland Irishman J.M Devine, set to music by Peter McNulty of the McNally family and popularised by Johnny McEvoy.

Prior to the final reel, the album winds up with a folk rock romp through Percy French’s ‘Eileen Oge’ also known as ‘The Shamrock Barndance’ [also called ‘The Pride Of Petravore’ – Ed] and, by way of contrast, the a fabulous a capella rendition of the traditional Industrial Revolution based love song ‘Factory Girl’. A highly accomplished collection of often inspired arrangements, Sunshine And Moss should firmly consolidate their rising position among the new breed of tradition-based but contemporary inclined Irish folk acts.

Mike Davies

Artists’ website:

‘Factory Girl’: