Ciara Considine: Tracks + Background
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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