Re: Róisín ReImagined
Sean-nós songs for voice and orchestra, with Dónal O’Connor (fiddle)and Mick O’Brien (pipes) providing instrumental support on some selections.
A few quotes from the Kickstarter page describing the project:
“There has been a noted waning of popularity for these songs, due to the decline in the language, the difficulty in execution, and their perceived inaccessibility for those outside the tradition.
“It is appropriate that these songs be performed with orchestral arrangement in a contemporary idiom, given that the context in which many of them were composed was that of the Classical music and literature of medieval and post-medieval Ireland.”
“It is hoped that, by presenting these works in this way, we will stimulate performer and audience interest in the Classical Sean Nós repertoire, while at the same time re-contextualizing them as a vital and living expression of contemporary Ireland.”
I really enjoyed this album. This might be a hot take among the the slow air enthusiasts out there, but I have always struggled to appreciate solo instrument slow air playing (instrumental versions of these songs for those not in the know), as well as the unaccompanied vocal versions (I mention slow airs in a review about a vocal recording since that is how I most often hear these songs performed). And I don’t think I’m alone. Slow air playing in the sessions I’ve been to (in the U.S. at least) have often been an excuse for other musicians to get up and take a break, and for the non-musician patrons to go back to their conversations. All of which speaks to disengagement and a lack of understanding.
Here however, with the clear harmonies of the arrangements and defined rhythms, I feel these songs are now more accessible. Will the purists like it? I suppose it depends on how open-minded you are. If just reading “Irish Chamber Orchestra” turns you off, I doubt you’ll be turned around by anything you hear. Six different arranger/orchestrators were used, and a few songs have a lush orchestral sound, reminding me of something I might hear on a period-piece film soundtrack. There are a few more lively tracks where the pipes and fiddle feature prominently, and I expect these will be of the most interest to tune players.
NOTE: I bought this as a digital download, and on the Bandcamp page, “An Bharaille” and “Haigh Didil Dum” are listed in reverse order. Not sure if the CD booklet also has this error.
Re: Róisín ReImagined
Muireann’s voice alone is worth the price of admission, I don’t care what she sings. As for the chamber music arrangements, they’re an acquired taste, I suppose, but I find them quite pleasant.