With Special Guests:
Gerry O'Beirne: Guitar
Michael Rooney: Harp
James Blennerhasset: Bass
Mick Kinsella: Harmonica
Oisin MacAuley: Fiddle, Strings
All lyrics available at www.muireann.ie
"There's something for everyone on this album. It'll appeal to a wide audience, fans and new listeners alike". Annemarie de Bie Living Tradition
"One of the earthiest and most distinctive voices, not just in traditional circles, but anywhere." Siobhán Long, Irish Times.
"A vocalist of exceptional talent and sensitivity... a major solo force in Irish traditional music." Earl Hitchner, Irish Echo.
"This is one of those albums that you have to sing along to and if you need the words they are all there on Muireann's excellent website.
If we gave stars this would be a galaxy." Seán Laffey, Irish Music Magazine
An Buachaill Caol Dubh:
A Single Thread:
The Leaving of Liverpool:
- Bó na Leathadharce
- An Buachaill Caol Dubh
- Gold Hills
- An Chiúrach Bhléinfhionn
- 'S Ar Maidin Moch is Mé ar mo Leabain Bhog
- A Single Thread
- The Leaving of Liverpool
- Cois Abhann na Séad
- Another Day
- The Bold Fenian Menl
- An Clar Bog Déil
Recipient of the 2011 Gradaim Ceoil TG4 Amhránaí na Bliana/Singer of the Year and lead-singer and flute player with the group 'Danú', Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh grew up in Dún Chaoin, Co. Kerry. There, she was immersed in the vibrant West-Kerry music tradition. Her father, a fiddler, would bring her to music sessions from a young age. There she began to play music on the flute and tin whistle and to sing sean nós (old style) songs, learning from wonderful local singers. She was awarded an M.A. in Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick in 2002. She has tutored both flute and singing in the University.
Muireann toured and performed with various musicians and groups before joining Danú in 2003. In 2004 Danú won the BBC 2 Folk Award for "Best Group". At the same awards the song "The County Down" by Tommy Sands that Danú had recently recorded won "Best Song". Muireann herself won "Best Singer" at the liveireland.com Awards in 2005. She has toured the world with her music visiting countries as far flung as India, Bulgaria and Jordan and performed for such dignitaries as An t-Uachtarán Mary McAleese, An Taoiseach, The President of Bulgaria and the EU Assembly. She continues to tour regularly with Danú.
Now a regular contributor to television and radio programmes at home and abroad, she featured prominently in the BBC series 'Transaltantic Sessions' in 2011 alongside Eddi Reader, Jerry Douglas, Sharon Shannon and Béla Fleck. She also co-hosted and performed at the 2007 and 2009 Gradam Ceoil TG4 and has presented and contributed to many music programmes, nationally and internationally, on television and on radio. Most recently Muireann co-presented and performed on the TG4/BBC Alba series Tigh an Cheoil, and Geantraí na Nollag 2012.
Muireann is extremely sought after both as a vocalist and flute player and has collaborated with many musicians at home and abroad such as Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, with whom she recorded the album Dual, Darrell Scott, Liam Clancy, Na Píobairí Uilleann, and the Philip Kutev Choir of Bulgaria. She also regularly gives workshops in singing and flute playing.
Muireann is also featured on Danu: Seanchas
Press ReviewsR2 Magazine Sept/Oct *****
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (pronounced Muren Ni Gowliffe) is probably best known as the lead singer and flute player with the Irish group Danu.
Growing up as she did in Dun Chaoin and with a ?ddle-playing father, she was immersed in the West Kerry music tradition from a young age. Ar Uair Bhig An Lae opens with 'Na Leathadhairce', with its infectious chorus and a sensitive harp accompaniment from the wonderful Michael Rooney, and lyrical harmonica from Mick Kinsella.
Muireann has a sublime voice that blends to all styles of music, traditional - and contemporary. Few other singers could deliver both the traditional 'An Buachaill Caol Dubh' and the modern 'A Single Thread' (by Ger Wolfe from Cork) with such sensitivity and skill, each destined to be the definitive version of the song.
On 'The Leaving Of Limerick', Muireann is accompanied by Gerry O'Beirne on guitar and Oisin McAuley on fiddle. Their combined arrangement of this well-known song is original and excellent. The album ends with the beautiful love song 'An Clér Bog Déil'. Muireann's version is nothing short of perfection here, showcasing not only her vocal control and range but also, above all, her feeling for the story. Superb! Keith Whiddon
The Living Tradition 97
Muireann's voice to me is butter?ies and dappled light - especially in lrlsh. Like butterfly wings, her vocal embellishments are so precise and at the same time so intangible. Muireann makes it completely unnecessary lo. as they say, 'have' any Irish. She sings a whole emotional spectrum into the notes, making the song bypass the brain and go straight for the soul. You will feel what it means. Bo Na Leathadhairce really does sound like there's either a one-homed cow, or someone who's into poitin, dancing around. l don't know if Muireann actually smiles while she sings bouncy songs like this and An Chitirach Bhlélnlhlonn, but it sure sounds like it.
The harp is lovely support for Muireann's voice in 'S Ar Maidin Moch and Cois Abhann Na Séad, though I could happily listen to all of the songs without any accompaniment, as in An Clair Bog Deil.
I really feel that the songs in Irish suit Muireann best The exceptions being The Leaving of Limerick and The Bold Fenian Men, which isn't strange, considering their structure.
Gold Hills and A Single Thread are fine, but without the personal background, somewhat vague in their poetry to an outsider Another Day is lovely, though a bit instrumentally hijacked. I wonder at the difference in approach - the Irish or Irish traditional based songs all have such 'to the point' and very supporting accompaniments. Don't get me wrong, the musicianship is amazing. but it might be better served on its own instrumental album with a few songs with Muireann on it.
There's something for everyone on this album. It'll appeal to a wide audience, fans and new listeners alike. Listen to it one song at a time; one for every small hour you have all to yourself. Annemarie de Bie
Co. Kerry-born Muireann has been charming audiences in her role as principal singer with the band Danú for quite a number of years now, yet out of the band context, she's surprisingly only released two solo records (Daybreak in 2006, and now this and the acclaimed Dual album in company with Éamon Doorley, Julie Fowlis and Ross Martin.
In 2011, she was the proud recipient of the coveted Gradaim Ceoil TG4 Singer of the Year award, and her latest release builds on that success with a strong collection of songs delivered both in English and Irish (the balance tipped just marginally in favour of the latter amongst the eleven tracks). The former category includes especially persuasive, miraculously poised renditions of Kate Burke's Gold Hills, the traditional The Leaving Of Limerick, Peadar Kearney's The Bold Fenian Men and Cork songwriter Ger Wolfe's exquisite A Single Thread. But it's arguably in the Irish-language material that Muireann knowingly excels, as you'll hear in her wonderfully wrought interpretations of the 19th century sean-nós song 'S Ar Maidin Moch is Mé ar mo Leabain Bhoig and the beautiful love song An Clár Bog Déil (sung unaccompanied, and a rapt treat to close the disc) in particular.
In order to realise her special interpretive vision, Muireann's gathered around her a small and expert ensemble comprising some of the finest musicians Ireland can muster: Gerry O'Beirne (guitars), James Blennerhasset (bass), Michael Rooney (harp), Mick Kinsella (harmonica), Liam Flanagan (banjo) and Billy Mag Fhloinn (bodhrán), with fiddle supremo Oisín McAuley taking additional responsibility for the luscious yet understated string arrangements. There's not a disappointing track here, and I can only judge The Small Hours a resounding success and definitely worth the extremely long wait. Seek it out - and soon! David Kidman July 2013
The leading female Irish vocalist of our day is quite likely Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh . She is the former Female Vocalist of the Year here. Her new solo album again puts her in the front runner position for this year's Award. You know her, or should, as she is the singer for the popular group Danu, but it is in her solo work where she really shines. Like on this album, the English title of which is The Small Hours. We were hipped to this album by the great Alan O'Leary at Copperplate in London. Thank you, Alan, and thank you Muireann. She is just wonderful. Bill Margeson
Irish Music Magazine
This is the latest album from Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh holder of a Gradam Ceoil, (Amhranai na Bliana/Singer of the Year 2011) and rightly so as you will discover on this exquisitely recorded album. Muireann, also sings with Danu. Any band's singer will tell you there's always more tea in the pot and on this disc she makes a fine brew of a blend of Irish and English songs.
Techincally Muireann's diction is crystal clear, her intonation always at ease with her backing musicians, whether it is on a sean-nos song or a contemporary ballad. In an era where far too much folk music is made by breathy girly voices barely in tune, Muireann is a strong and confident singer, her vocals are never
strident or forced, for example her rich alto voice glows against Michael Rooney's harp accompaniment of on An Buachaill Caol Dubh.
Her website shows her walking the strand, wind in her hair and directly below it the opening line of Bo na Leathadhairce (The one horned cow), code for a missing potion still.
Thios cois na toinne 'sea beathaiodh mo chaora
(Down by the shore my sheep was nourished).
Muireann lives in the West Kerry Gaeltacht, where she told the local paper 'I have returned to the source where I got all my music in the first place. It inspired me to record my new album, which is all songs, some of which I have been hanging onto for some time.' An Chiurach Bhléinfhion she had from Cait Ni Riain when Muireann and her young family moved to Baile Bhoithin.The bridge between the verses features Muireann on whistle, stunning stuff.
The capable hands of Donough Hennessy and Ivan O'Shea are responsible for the production and Muireann called on musicians Gerry O'Beirne, Michael Rooney, Mick Kinsella, Oisin McAuley, Liam Flanagan, and husband Billy on bodhran to give a distinctive backdrop to her singing.
Of the 11 tracks, 5 are in Irish, the rest in English, the programme has 1 song in English on the first half of the album, one in Irish on the second half, it has the feeling of a well-worked out set, and would transfer easily to a live stage.The selection of modern songs includes Ger Wolfe's A Single Thread, Cold Hills by Kate Burke, and Another Day by Tim O'Brien.There is as intriguing traditional ballad, The Leaving of Limerick was this the precursor of the more famous Leaving of Liverpool? It's a question Muireann asks and is sure to send folks off to Mudcat in search of an opinion or two. This is one of those albums that you have to sing along to and if you need the words, they are there on Muireann's excellent website. If we gave stars this would be a galaxy. Sean Laffey