FolkWords Reviews

‘Behave the Bravest’ from Nuala Kennedy - a voice that pulls emotion from thin air

(January 10, 2016)

‘Behave the Bravest’ is the latest solo offering from Nuala Kennedy, and if after the possibility of Christmas excesses you are in possession of any cash whatsoever, this is where you should invest it. Nuala Kennedy is one of those inimitable custodians of traditional Irish music that remain true to nualakennedy+behave+the+bravesttheir roots but continue to reimagine and reinvent, along the way taking traditional ballads to original places and imploring you to follow. With a touch on flutes and whistles that exudes empathy and borders on the symbiotic, she coaxes pure emotion from the instruments and augments that talent with a voice that pulls emotion from thin air and pours it into your ears.

There’s a mournful opening with the wistful longing of ‘Lovely Armoy’, the sorrowful love of ‘His Bonnet So Blue’ before the vibrant tune ‘Le Funambule (The Tightrope Walker)’ washes in with its energy and animation. Two of the songs, ‘Mo Bhuachaill Dubh Dhonn’ and ‘Úrchnoc Chéin Mhic Cáinte’ are sung in Irish Gaelic, and whether or not you have the language, just listening to Nuala’s clear voice is all the understanding needed. There’s a stunning version of ‘Fair Annie of Loch Royanne’ that once heard will stay with you for many a day, as will her Terry Pratchet inspired rendering of ‘Death And The Lady’.

Playing on ‘Behave the Bravest’ are Nuala Kennedy (vocals, flutes, whistles) Shona Mooney (fiddle) Michael Bryan (guitar) Donald Hay (drums, percussion) with on selected tracks Eamon O’Leary (guitar, bouzouki, vocals) Johnny Connolly (button accordion) Mathias Kunzl (drums, percussion) Joe Philips (double bass) Paul Savage (additional percussion.

Find Nuala Kennedy and ‘Behave the Bravest’ here: www.nualakennedy.com

Review: Tim Carroll

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