Moya Brennan and Cormac de Barra

New Voices & Harps review (30 Sep 11)

See this review of Voices & Harps at Irish Central:

Voices & Harps • Moya Brennan and Cormac de Barra

Cormac de Barra has long been the premier name mentioned among a sadly scarce breed: the Irish harpist. De Barra has played with many of Ireland’s best including The Chieftains and Julie Feeney. With roots in Cork, he is a studied and creative harpist, and his partner on this record, Moya Brennan is a fellow harpist and vocalist widely known as the “First Lady of Celtic Music.”

These two Celtic powerhouses come together for their aptly named album, Voices & Harps. The curt name of the album speaks to the very acoustic and sparing production choices throughout the album. And while the album has a simple feeling to it, as though the listener is seated in the room with the band, the intricacies of these expert players’ arrangements and skill of play is, as always, astounding. Brennan’s voice leads many vocal journeys into traditional Irish songs, flawlessly in the track “A Seanduine Doite.”

The album is a must have for any Irish-speaker or lover of the rhythm and beauty of the Irish language. Brennan’s performance of the classic “Taim Breoite Go Leor” is breathtaking and with added harmonies, it is stunningly tragic. De Barra is no vocal slouch himself. Lending harmonies to most of the record, he takes the reins on the haunting “Bean Duch A’ Ghleanna” and does it more than justice.

It is so rare that any piece of music gives the harp its fair dues and this album is entirely dedicated to it. Voices & Harps is a showcase of one of the most underrated and diverse instruments in the Irish trad genre.

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