Review Archive

Re-release of ‘Sean-Nós Nua’ from Sinéad O'Connor

(March 26, 2013)

There’s something endearingly wonderful about dusting down well-loved treasures, scurrying away the residue of familiarity and bringing their splendour back to life ... that’s the recipe behind the (1) re-release of ‘Sean-Nós Nua’ from Sinéad O'Connor. Should anyone be unfamiliar with ‘Sean-Nós Nua’, it’s a Sinead OConnorcollection of traditional Irish songs. Freely translated the title means ‘Old Songs Made New’ or ‘New Old-Style’ and references the Sean-nós style of traditional Irish music.

Oft-praised for the quality of her emotive voice and lyrical interpretation, Sinéad O'Connor imparts unfathomable depths to both traditional and original songs that once heard stay with you forever. The songs on ‘Sean-Nós Nua’ embody heartache, resignation, war and rebellion - the staple material of Irish songs - all delivered in Sinéad’s inimitable style.

From a singular and possibly iconic rendition of ‘Peggy Gordon’ to equally emotive interpretations of ‘Molly Malone’, ‘Lord Franklin’ and ‘The Parting Glass’, there’s a typical O’Connor edge to these songs. There are those that consider this outspoken singer takes liberties with songs to create her own versions ... in my view she takes a song, enhances it, makes it her own and that colours every other interpretation. And some folk don’t like that - well that's tough. There’s also a couple of Irish Gaelic songs to savour, the celebratory ‘Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile’ and the soul-searching ‘Báidín Fheilimí’ and were that insufficient legend-lore there’s the deeply moving fable ‘Lord Baker’ in company with Christy Moore.

If you missed ‘Sean-Nós Nua’ first time around or if your copy has gone walkabout, then invest in this re-release - it remains a treasure.

The musicians on ‘Sean-Nós Nua’ are Sinéad O'Connor (vocals) Alan Branch (percussion) Abdullah Chhaddeh (quanun) Nick Coplowe (Hammond) Pete Lockett (percussion) Cora Venus Lunny (violin, viola) Donal lunny (acoustic guitar, bouzouki, keyboard, bodhran, bodhran bass) Kieran Kiely (whistle, accordion) Skip MacDonald (electric guitar) Christy Moore (vocals) Rob O Geibheannaigh (flute, strings, whistle, piano, guitar, banjo) Carlton ‘Bubbles’ Ogilvie (drums, bass, piano) Bernard O’Neill (acoustic bass) Professor Stretch (drum and bass programming) Sharon Shannon (accordion) and Steve Wickham fiddle, mandolin, banjo).

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

Note: (1) First released in 2002, ‘Sean-Nós Nua’ went out of print with the takeover of the original record company. The rights to the album reverted to Sinead. Dublin-based record and music publishing company Irish Music Licensing (IML) approached Sinead to re-issue the album and she agreed.

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