The Henry Girls,
Between Us
(self-produced, 2003)

The Henry Girls is a group of three girls -- just as the name suggests. They are Joleen, Lorna and Karen McLaughlin, and between them they provide the vocals on these 12 tracks and, between them, play harp, piano, accordion, tin whistle, bodhran and fiddle. The CD Between Us is a joy to hear, with fresh interpretation of traditional pieces interspersed with new compositions, some by the ladies themselves.

There is little information given directly on the insert but from reading the credits, I detect that these are natives of County Donegal and have received some exposure on local radio in the region. Maire Breatnach co-produced the album with the girls and the recording was accomplished in Letterkenny. All of which goes to prove that, in this modern age, excellent musicians and singers who once had to live in hopes of attracting a major label can now bring their talent to a wider audience. I am delighted that the technology has progressed to allow us to hear the brilliant performances of this group far beyond the Persian Bar.

The album has a fine balance between vocals and instrumentals. I particularly enjoyed the accordion work on the lovely "King Street Waltz," which is credited to the Henry Sisters. Having praised an instrumental, I must say how good I found the vocal offerings. Little information other than composer credits are given, which is a pity because I am always intrigued by how songs come about.

They do not confine themselves to the Irish tradition. They provide a fabulous version of the Scottish "Hori-Horo" and, not content with the British Isles, transport us to exotic shores for a Javanese traditional item called "Gambang Suling." This is a lovely, haunting tune that will linger in your mind for days. One of my favourite songs is "After the Night Before," which is more of a good, true, country style song and could be a breakthrough hit, if it got the airplay.

The Henry Girls will surely be a force to be reckoned with as time goes on. The variety of styles and the obvious talent make this a CD worth making an effort to find.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 6 March 2004

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