Saoirse/ Callan : On the Bright Road
Lynn Saoirse is an award-winning Irish harper who lives in Connemara. Her repertoire is based around traditional Irish music: from lively dance music like jigs & reels to the haunting slow airs of ancient times. She has recorded four albums of her own as well as being a featured artist on 3 other recordings. She has performed throughout Europe & the USA, as well as the Caribbean, Argentina, Nepal & Egypt. Her most recent album, 'On the Bright Road' was released in September 2002 to critical acclaim. To quote the review in Irish Music magazine: 'Lynn Saoirse's harp playing has soul and feeling... and is a joy to listen to.' The late great harpist Derek Bell of the Irish traditional group The Chieftains also wrote about Lynn: 'There is an exquisite delicacy all through her playing.' Dirty Linen, the US Folk music magazine, said of her first album (Champions of Ireland: The Harp) 'Saoirse's harping is always engaging, rhythmically precise and clear in tone.' This album features the great Máirtín O'Connor on accordion, Liz Kane on fiddle, Tommy Hayes on bodhrán and percussion, Jesse Smith on viola & fiddle, Garry O'Briain on guitar and mandocello, as well as Leon Agnew and Colm O'Donnell on flute. The beautiful, ethereal voice of Barbara Callan herself features on the songs in the Irish language. As Babara was too ill to complete the project, Rosanna McCafferty added her strong vocal talents to the more upbeat songs and Harry Bent's warm tenor voice brings depth and strength to songs like Oilean Choill Dara and The Flower of Killary Bay, about love and loss in Connemara. Together Lynn and the late Barbara Callan were members of the group Cluain, and in her last few years Barbara wrote a number of heart-breakingly beautiful songs, many of which are on the CD 'On the Bright Road'. The noted BBC folk music presenter Mike Harding had this to say about her: 'The old Tate and Lyle syrup tins used to have a picture of a lion on them and the motto: 'Out of sweetness, strength.' Anyone who had the privilege of spending time with Barbara Callan will know what that means because if ever there was a mixture of sweetness and strength, she was it. A fighter of a woman who managed to make her influence felt in the sweetest way, she was also a fine musician and songwriter. I'm one of the lucky people Barbara touched with her life and like many others I feel honoured I knew her. This CD is a loving tribute to a great woman.' Albert Einstein said, 'There are only two ways to live your life; one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.' Barbara always looked for the miracle. Musicians on the CD besides Lynn & Barbara are: Garry O'Briain: mandocello & guitar, Mairtin O'Connor: accordion, Jesse Smith: fiddle & viola, Tommy Hayes: percussion, Liz Kane: fiddle, Colm O'Donnell: flute, Rosanna McCafferty: vocals, Harry Bent: vocals, Eddie Lee: acoustic bass, Leon Agnew: flute, Rob Thornburg: fiddle & hammer dulcimer, Dave Hogan: low whistle, James Sheridan: mandolin, Mary Finn: accordion. NOTES ON THE CD: 1.GRANUAILE Much has been written about Granuaile, 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...she did not recognise Queen Elizabeth's sovereignty over her fief, and when she saliled 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. Rosanna McCafferty: vocals Garry O'Briain: guitar Mairtin 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 (trad. Hornpipes) Lynn Saoirse: harp Colm O'Donnell: flute Tommy Hayes: bodhran 3.INIS BO FINNE A song Barbara wrote about the legend of the origin of the island of Inishbofin off the Galway coast: the name of the island translates from the Irish as 'the island of the White Cow', this being a reference to a powerful Celtic Goddess. Barbara Callan: vocals & guitar Mairtin O'Connor: accordion Jesse Smith: viola Lynn Saoirse: harp Tommy Hayes: chimes Eddie Lee: acoustic bass 4. THE HELEN'S KITCHEN WALTZ Written by Lynn after one of those perfect nights of endless music & craic at Clifden Arts Week which started in Helen Geoghegan's bounteous kitchen and ended back there again at 5am with a waltz around the kitchen to Dolores Keane singing 'Galway Bay.' Dedicated to those best of woman friends who were there: Carmel Dempsey, Michelle Mulhaire, and, of course, Helen herself. They each embody grace, kindness and generosity...as well as serious doses of hilarity. Lynn Saoirse: harp Mairtin O'Connor: accordion Garry O'Briain: guitar Liz Kane: fiddle Eddie Lee: acoustic bass 5. AN FEILEACAN (The Butterfly) A song Barbara wrote in Irish about the butterfly.... The ancient Irish, like many other cultures, saw the butterfly as a symbol of the soul. There is still a tradition that a butterfly entering your home is a visit from a dead loved one. Barbara Callan: vocals & guitar Lynn Saoirse: harp Rob Thornburg: hammered dulcimer & fiddle Dave Hogan: low whistle & bodhran 6. QUADRILLE RUMLE (trad. Danish) A plucky version of a terrific tune! Lynn Saoirse: harp Garry O'Briain: mandocello James Sheridan: mandolin Jesse Smith: viola 7. NA BEANNA BEOLA (The Twelve Bens) A praise song which Barbara wrote for the mountains at the heart of Connemara. Barbara Callan: vocals Lynn Saoirse: harp Tommy Hayes: Tibetan singing bowl Jesse Smith: viola 8. LEITRIM FANCY/ AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES (jigs) The first one is traditional and the second one is composed by Lynn. Colm O'Donnell: flute & tin whistle Liz Kane: fiddle Lynn Saoirse: harp Tommy Hayes: bodhran 9. OILEAN CHOILL DARA (The Island of the Oakwood) A love song written in Irish and sung in a macaronic version with Harry singing the Irish and Rosanna singing the English translation. Rosanna McCafferty: vocals Harry Bent: vocals Lynn Saoirse: harp Jesse Smith: viola & fiddle 10. THE TAR ROAD TO SLIGO/ CALLIOPE HOUSE (trad/Dave Richardson: jigs) Lynn Saoirse: harp Leon Agnew: flute Tommy Hayes: bodhran 11. MO GHRAGHAEL (My Bright Love) A slow air written by Lynn. Lynn Saoirse: harp 12. THE FLOWER OF KILLARY BAY Barbara based this song on a true story of two lovers who lived (and eloped!) in the early 19th century. A new song to add to the 'follow your heart, not your purse' genre of traditional ballads. 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 (trad. Reels) Lynn Saoirse: harp Mary Finn McCrudden: piano accordion Garry O'Briain: mandocello 14. SUMMER OF MACHA Barbara wrote this song inspired by her visits to Macha Nocht, the local Connemara name for one of her favourite mountains. In Irish it means Naked Macha, and is named for one of the more wild Irish Goddesses. Rosanna McCafferty: vocals Lynn Saoirse: harp Jesse Smith: viola Tommy Hayes: chimes.