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Ciara Considine: Tracks + Background

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Beyond The Waves - Ciara Considine - 2010

Recorded in The Green Box, Maidstone, Kent with Jonathan Vincent

1 Gaelic Child is an instrumental track I wrote years ago, remembering the energy I’d felt on my grandparents’ farms, playing as a child in the hen-sheds and hay-barns, with the sense of belonging and joy that I always felt there. I later came across some words of Steve McDonald from his song ‘The Child Of The Gael’ that resonated: “Wherever you go my love / Forever you’ll know my love / We will prevail, the Child of the Gael”. As we would set off for the boat back to the UK, I had often sensed that this was the unsaid message in my Granny’s farewell kisses.  Music by Ciara Considine / Words by Steve McDonald 

2 She's Like the Swallow is a traditional song from Newfoundland, an Atlantic Canadian province, with a rich musical heritage grown from the traditions brought to its shores centuries ago by the Irish, Scottish and English. Although we know little of the characters involved in the song, we do know that meadows and flowers were used as fertility symbols and the apron a symbol of pregnancy. Ever since Maud Karpeles (1930) and Kenneth Peacock (1960) collected the ballad, scholars and singers alike have been fascinated by its elusive beauty. Traditional / Arranged by Ciara Considine

Ciara Considine SingingJack FitzgeraldMatt Gabel

3 Is Ar Éirinn Ní Neosfainn Cé Hí translates as ‘For Ireland I’d Not Tell Her Name’. A traditional song, believed to have been written in 1810 by a native of Kerry, it was first published by E. Walsh in 1847. Tradition attributes it to a young man’s secret love for his brother's bride: Too poor to support her and too shy to propose, he had gone abroad to seek his fortune. But when he returned to claim his beloved, he found her married to his brother. He wrote this song for her but, for obvious reasons, refused to reveal her name. Written in old Gaelige, it’s translated words include “There is a beautiful young maiden / On the far side of my farm / Generosity and kindness shine in her face / With the exceeding beauty of her countenance”………“I would regale her with my story / And I longed to take her to my heart / Where I'd grant her pride of place / But for Ireland I'd not tell her name”. Traditional / Arranged by Ciara Considine

Tess LivingstoneCarys HughesRobbie Leahy

4 A Summer Dance At The Crossroads is a tune I wrote inspired by a poem by Limerick’s Michael Hartnett, ‘Death Of An Irishwoman’. The words “She Was A Summer Dance At The Crossroads” jumped out at me and I mixed my tune with 2 beautiful traditional Irish jigs ‘Brendan Coombes’ and ‘Shaskeen’. A Summer Dance At The Crossroads – Ciara Considine / Brendan Coombes – Traditional, arr. Ciara Considine/ Shaskeen – Traditional , arr. Ciara Considine

Jonathan Vincent Ciara ConsidineCiara Considine PianoJack Fitzgerald

5 On Raglan Road is the famous poem by the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, published in 1946. Kavanagh is ranked among the giants of 20th century Irish literature, alongside Joyce, O’Casey and Yeats. The song was born when Kavanagh met the singer Luke Kelly (from The Dubliners) in the Bailey pub, Duke Street, Dublin in 1966: as Kavanagh was asked to recite the poem he turned to Luke saying “I have a song for you”. The melody was taken from the old Irish song ‘The Dawning Of The Day’ / ‘Fáinne Geal an Lae.’
Traditional / Patrick Kavanagh / Arranged by Ciara Considine

Matt GabelTess LivingstoneCarys Hughes

6 The Linnet is a track with 3 tunes that were titled by my niece and nephew when they heard the music. A story emerged about a carefree linnet as it escapes from danger and flees into a wooded valley (the dingle).
The Linnet – Ciara Considine  / The Linnet’s Escape – Ciara Considine / Into The Dingle – Ciara Considine

Robbie LeahyJonathan VincentCiara Considine Flute

 7 Garden Valley is by the Scottish singer Dougie MacLean. A beautiful song about the forced emigration of the Scots in the 19th century, known as the ‘Highland Clearances’, the song speaks for itself. But it’s also a song that resonates with many a child of the Irish Diaspora too. Douglas MacLean

Jack FitzgeraldMatt GabelTess Livingstone

8 Sea Dance is another track that came into being from the imaginations of the Considine children! These 3 tunes emerged as stories about the Irish sea, some seagulls and an Atlantic storm, when they heard the music.
Song Of A Seagull – Ciara Considine / A Storm Of Seagulls – Ciara Considine  / Dance Of The Waves – Ciara Considine

Carys HughesRobbie LeahyMatt and Ciara

9 The Itinerant Singing Girl is a poem by Jane Francesca Wilde (Oscar Wilde’s mother) about a young girl singing and begging during the Great Hunger of 1847. Lady Wilde was a prolific underground poet from the 1840s, as editor of the ‘Nation’ newspaper, using the pen name ‘Speranza’. She moved from Dublin to London in 1879, where she lived in poverty, supplementing her income by writing for magazines and books. In 1896, dying from bronchitis, she asked for permission to see her son Oscar, who was by then in prison. Her request was refused. The powerful simplicity of this poem inspired me to set it to song.
Music by Ciara Considine / Words by Jane Francesca Wilde

Robbie LeahyTess LivingstoneCarys Hughes

 10 The Fields Of Athenry is a ballad written in the 1970s by Pete St John and set in the 1840s in Athenry, Co Galway, where ‘Michael’ was sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food for his starving family. “Trevelyan’s corn” refers to Charles Trevelyan, the Assistant Secretary to the UK Treasury during the Famine, which claimed the lives of at least 2 million people. He infamously penned his explanation of the Famine: “The Judgement of God sent this calamity to teach the Irish a lesson…”
Pete St John


11 Glowing Embers is a tune I wrote about the warm feeling at the end of a long night of music and friends, when the last few sparks of the fire glow and the music and chatter give way to the light of dawn. I mixed it with a beautiful air by the Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson, called ‘Da Slockit Light’ which means ‘The Broken Light’. Glowing Embers – Ciara Considine  / Da Slockit Light – Tom Anderson arr. Ciara Considine

Many Thanks:
To Jonathan, a joy to work in the Green Box with someone of your vision, talent and ears!
To Jack, Matt, Carys, Tess and Robbie, for your great talent and soulful tones!
To Karen and the kids, for all the home-made cakes and smiles!
To Fred, for great pictures and endless encouragement!
To Dad, you’ll always be an inspiration to me….

Beyond The Waves - Ciara Considine 

CD £7 + Free postage!

 


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Ó Mo Chroí - Ciara Considine - 2008

 Recorded in MA Studios, Bedfordshire with Noel Rafferty

1 Black Is The Colour 
This song dates back to the 18th century, the lyrics finally recorded in Dublin around 1916. Many believe it to be of Scottish origin from the line 'I go to the Clyde' - the famous Glasgow river. For me, it's one of the most beautiful and intimate of all these traditional folksongs. Traditional /Arr Ciara Considine
        
2 Kilkelly, Ireland 
This song arose from a series of historical letters found in an attic in the USA - letters between an Irish immigrant and his father. They discuss events in Kilkelly village, Co Mayo, after the Great Famine of 1847 in which one million people died and 3 million emigrated. The father repeatedly asks in vain for his emigrant son to come back home. Some 120 years after they were written, the letters were discovered and set to song, now a famous Irish ballad. Peter Jones
                
3 She Moved Through The Fair 
This anonymous folksong was first collected in Donegal by Pádraig Colum and published in 1909, though many claim it dates back to the medieval era. Its haunting lyrics and melody are loved the world over. Traditional /Arr Ciara Considine

4 The Flower Of Magherally 
Magherally is a small townland near Banbridge, Co Down. Essentially a love poem, the hope of an ordinary lad to win his love shines through. Yet a crucial line offers the suggestion that it may have been a marriage met with opposition: 'And let them all say what they will, and let them reel and rally O'.  
Traditional /Arr Ciara Considine


5 The Parting Of Friends
This ancient melody 'Scarúint Na gCompánaigh' ('The Parting of Friends') captures the unmistakable Irish melodic 'style'. It is written not in the major nor in the minor but in the Dorian mode, upon which so much of Ireland's traditional music is based. It's widely belived that it was composed in the 16th century and played only in homes and secret caverns in a time when Irish culture was forced underground. Traditional /Arr Matt Molloy

6 Spancil Hill 
On 23rd June each year, the famous Spancilhill Horse Fair takes place at the cross-roads four miles from Ennis, Co Clare. Michael Considine from Spancilhill was one of the 3 million Irish emigrants who boarded the infamous 'Coffin Ships' to the USA and Canada to escape famine. He left his 'love' Mary in 1870, with the promise of making a life for them in the US. However, aged 23 he suffered from ill-health after arriving in the USA. Knowing he hadn't long to live, he wrote the poem 'Spancilhill' to be sent back home, which was kept safe by his 6 year old nephew John Considine. Indeed Michael died in 1873, his body was eventually brought back and he's now buried in the Spancilhill graveyard. 'Mary' McNamara remained faithful to his memory and never married. Traditional /Arr Ciara Considine

7 Molly Bán
Printed in 1799, this song survived the generations as somehow a true story: As the sun set, Molly Bán Lavery made her way home from her uncle's house when a sudden shower of rain began. Taking shelter in a bush, she covered herself with her white apron. Meanwhile her lover had been out hunting all day and, as the light faded, was attracted to a patch of white among the misty leaves of a bush. Supposing it to be the whiteness of a swan's feathers, he raised his gun with true aim; to his horror he found his sweetheart Molly lying dead under the bush. Traditional /Arr Ciara Considine
 
8 My Lagan Love 
One could call the 'lily fair' ('leannán sídhe') in this song, the 'femme fatale' of Gaelic folkore. The muse of medieval poets, she had an irresistable potency in a time when love was seen as a 'sickness'. However, the crickets mentioned in the song are a sign of good luck, the sound of them on the hearth considered a good omen. It was the custom of newly-married couples to bring crickets from the hearths of their parents' homes, into their own.  Traditional /Arr Ciara Considine


9 Farewell My Love, Remember Me 
This final song appeared printed in Dublin in 1867. The song expresses the quiet courage of a loved-one boarding one of the infamous 'Coffin Ships' to escape the Great Famine. You're left almost wondering if he knows he won't survive as, with the benefit of history, we know most did not. Traditional /Arr Ciara Considine

10 An Gaoth Úr
'An Gaoth Úr' means 'The Fresh Wind'. I wrote it, inspired by the brisk sea-winds and peaceful magic of two family farmlands near the West Coast of Ireland - my father's and my mother's - Cloongarve (near the Moher Cliffs) and Turloughmore (Galway). Stretching back for generations, both farms are now derelict. The gate-posts lean, the window frames are rotten, the streams are dried-up with time. Yet they remain, as the Atlantic sea-winds kiss the landscape around them. Ciara Considine

Ó Mo Chroí - Ciara Considine

CD £7 + Free postage!



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