Album Review - Moya Brennan & Cormac De Barra / Voices & Harps

The cover of Moya Brennan's new album Voices & Harps tells the tale of what lies inside for the listener.  The cover is refreshing and stark with its white and gold.  All that lies inside does indeed glitter and is most assuredly gold.  From one of this country's most accomplished performers, you would expect nothing less.  Echoes of a past as illustrious and award laden as any artist could aspire to fill the notes between the lines.  With Cormac de Barra they take us deep into the heart of their music with arrangements and songs as haunting and intricately arranged as any they have produced before.  Moya and Cormac both come from large musical families in Ireland and "their mutual admiration for each other naturally developed into a stimulating musical relationship." This then is the "culmination of their friendship and creative synergy over the past decade" Cormac is renowned internationally as "a versatile harp virtuoso" and together they are a very potent force.

In essence this is classic Moya Brennan on an album that is filled with lush and intricate melodies and airs, some new and other well known standards.  Most alluring is a hushed and whispered version of She Moved through The Fair.  Though known for decades it is again a pleasure to marvel at its beauty in the hands of these artists.  The voice is everything and Moya has lost none of her innate abilities to interpret and present music and song that inspires and awakens your inner consciousness.  An Seanduine Dóite with fiddle and harp sparkles and Casadh mo Chroí is as haunting as any that she has recorded before.  Lush multi layered vocal arrangements, that hark back to the earlier material that so established her as one of the worlds most recognised Irish recording artists, are everywhere.  The inclusion of something as well known as Carolan's Concerto must have been a big album decision.  What can you do with a tune as well known as this.  Well here is an idea. Simply play it well on harp and don't dilute its inherent beauty with over-complicated arrangements or ideas . Masters of their art do simple things well, and that is what we have here.  However the highlight is three songs that close out the album.  Bean Dubh a' Ghleanna sung by Cormac, and Táim Breoite go Leor and Go Brách by Moya.  Simply outstanding. 

On Voices & Harps Moya Brennan and Cormac De Barra are back on familiar territory and are in terrific form doing what they do best. If you like the back catalogue you will not be disappointed. Voices & Harps is a captivating and enchanting collaboration between two of Ireland foremost talents.  In a word, beautiful

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Comment by Lars 'Larry Mór' Mott on May 31, 2012 at 9:00

Looking forward to see Moya live at Öland Irish festival in July! : )

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