The Cuckoo's Note
This beautiful collection of songs is the outward expression of Whisht's passion for all that is good and exciting in the song tradition of Ireland. Our traditional music has had a long exposure to international audiences, but the unaccompanied human voice has traveled less successfully -- with some notable exceptions.
With the 14 tracks on offer here, the listener has an opportunity to sample the wide range of such songs that are embedded in the canon. They can be melodic songs of loss or humorous songs full of wit and mischief.
Opening with "Edward on Lough Erne," the album will captivate even the casual listener. Veteran singer Paddy Berry takes up the vocals on "The Maid of Ballygow," a song thought to date from the early 1900s is south Wexford and collected by the singer after passing through the various performers of the locality. Other tracks go further back and further afield like "The Waterford Boys" and "The Irish Peasant Girl."
Meanwhile "The Auld Grey Man" and the wonderfully titled "The Nigglers from Ballyvaloo" present us with lovely slices of social history in song. A similar vein of past history runs through the powerful "Carroll Ban."
The Cuckoo's Note manages the seemingly impossible of delivering a combination of lesser-known traditional songs with the like of "Sliabh na mBan" mixed in and then stunning the listener to realise that "The Cold Hand of Greed" dates only from 1996 and the pen of group member Helen Kirwan, proving that music and song is timeless.
Whisht! is Paddy Berry, Darina Gleeson, Elaine Gleeson, Helen Kirwan, Paul O'Reilly and Niall Wall.
20 December 2008
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