Traditional Irish Music
“Kind Providence”, the latest CD from Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne, consists of material gathered over many years and honed meticulously to deliver a wonderful mix of songs, carefully chosen from a repertoire of over a hundred! Of the 12 tracks that made the final version, four are unaccompanied; the way in which Niamh’s voice was recorded became critical to the overall sound achieved.
I met Niamh and Graham recently and they described the use of a larger space with reflection filters to obtain a better vocal sound. Graham, already a fine accompanist, has developed his understanding of music technology by undertaking formal study in this area in recent years, and the results are very impressive. For many years he thought that Niamh’s vocals had not been recorded optimally, and they both feel that this has been addressed on “Kind Providence”. All through the recording, the accompaniment is carefully moulded to the vocal, with an additional gem in Graham’s version of “The Monaghan Jig” as an instrumental track.
“These are songs I really love”, said Niamh. “I wanted the album to be quite traditional, and I had an opportunity to record original songs from Irish songwriters. Some songs worked better unaccompanied so we decided to include four.” Graham described the recording process – “I would have recorded vocals, achieved a working version and then added accompaniment. I enjoyed experimenting and deciding what worked best. A lot of sounds that seem to be keyboards were achieved using processed electric guitars and a music workstation called Ableton Push ”.
Niamh and Graham have worked together for 16 years and have developed a very intuitive method of collaborating which works very well. Niamh: “When I learn a song, it’s always a vocal only, and accompaniment is developed from that. For each song, I bring it to Graham as a full vocal, and he decides what is needed to present the song in the best way possible.” Graham: “I learned a lot about music technology including surround-sound, and decided to use the voice and guitar as an organic source, then developing the overall track using various studio devices”.
Niamh and Graham have numerous offers to perform in the coming months, and will be promoting the CD as a natural process. It has already had very favourable reviews, which they are both delighted about. It is just the latest chapter in a long story of high-quality musical achievement, individually and together. Both Niamh and Graham gratefully acknowledge the support of Niamh’s mother Máire in bringing “Kind Providence” to fruition.
Outside performing, Niamh continues to develop and mentor traditional musicians of the future through her long-standing involvement with the Ceoltóir course which is run in Ballyfermot College of Further Education, Dublin, and she mentions many established performers who have come through the ranks.
Check out “Kind Providence” – it’s a stunning collection of songs from two of our very finest traditional musicians. See my separate CD review on TradConnect.
You can purchase the CD at .... http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/niamhparsons
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