Cuan, is an album featuring Colleen Raney and Colm MacCárthaigh and it has been on our player quite a bit recently. It's a beautiful album by someone that is an undiscovered gem on this side of the pond. In the USA she has been actively gigging, recording and performing for some time and in the process has found her own deeply felt interpretation of some old and new traditional material. Raised in Seattle, she has lived in New York and now calls Portland, Oregon her home. This is the latest in a run of albums that started with 2008's Linnet which showcased this new voice on the scene as well as her songwriting abilities. 2011 brought her second album Lark which saw her producing as well as preforming.
This album has understated excellence in the music presented and manages to capture the true essence of the songs through the voice of Colleen. Considering that the accompaniment is solely by Colm MacCárthaigh, with the exception of Matty Einion Sears on bodhrán it is astoundingly simple, beautiful and honest in its approach. The majority of the tracks are traditional and include classics like Lord Franklin, The Night Visit
and Annachie Gordon.
The Gerry O' Beirne composition Western Highway
is a classic rendition and Colm also adds a vocal on Roger The Miller.
The ability to approach an album in a simple uncomplicated manner requires a lot of self restraint. Belief in yourself, your voice and your studio partner can yield great results. Add to this the ability to give meaningful and reflective interpretations to the material and you have what is a great "stripped down" album of traditional song. Beautiful.