Colum Sands,
All My Winding Journeys
(Spring, 1996)

It may be a 1996 release, but All My Winding Journeys is just as relevant today as it was when Colum Sands first sang his songs of life, love and war. Part the great Sands Family, he is one of the best writers and performers on the Irish scene today.

Having said that, I must admit that one of the best tracks on this CD of treasures is a song in English and German. "Goethe's Song" is a masterpiece as Colum takes a poem by the great German writer and adds music to produce a bilingual folk song.

He shows his instrumental virtuosity on the beautiful O'Carolan piece "Eleanor Plunkett" before going on to interpret a great traditional ditty as only his cheeky accent can do. It is one those comical story songs handed down in the tradition and with a lovely chorus. It is called "Jackson, Johnson, Jameson and I."

"Buskers" is a heartfelt tribute to the singers of songs from Clones at a Fleadh Cheoil through Cologne and Sarajevo and back to Grafton Street. Here we meet "Maggie the traveling singer who sang her songs along a road often walked before." Then "on the streets of Sarajevo Smailovic takes his cello and slowly starts to play" while in Cologne Klause the Fiddler who "left the orchestra behind him so that everyone could hear him play."

Colum always has a fun song in the mix, and there are few funnier than "Directions," as he learns how to get from A to B. "One of These Days" is inspired by a Spanish proverb that tells us "tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week." So we find a philosophy of many lands.

Colum Sands performs 11 tracks here that mix traditional, new and poetry. It ranges from Ireland through Germany and most of Europe. It could be classed as a European Union album but it is much more exciting and melodic than that sounds.

It may be difficult to obtain this album, but then, what important item falls into our hands? Make the effort, sit back and absorb this collection.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 6 November 2004

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