I Could Read the Sky

I Could Read the Sky

4.0 1
by Iarla Ó Lionáird
     
 

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Of all the Irish music that's exploded on the global scene -- the Riverdancing, fiddling, piping, and whatnot -- pure traditional Irish a cappella, the style called sean nós in Gaelic, remains immune from commercialized razzle-dazzle. That's because the starkness of this haunting, ornate music has a habit of stopping listeners dead in their tracks. Iarla

Overview

Of all the Irish music that's exploded on the global scene -- the Riverdancing, fiddling, piping, and whatnot -- pure traditional Irish a cappella, the style called sean nós in Gaelic, remains immune from commercialized razzle-dazzle. That's because the starkness of this haunting, ornate music has a habit of stopping listeners dead in their tracks. Iarla Ó Lionáird is a young master of this ancient art. Perhaps better known for his role in the Afro-Celt Sound System, Ó Lionáird had his solo debut on the excellent THE SEVEN STEPS TO MERCY, a down-tempo affair matching his beautiful tenor with droning ambient music. For I COULD READ THE SKY, another stunning outing, Ó Lionáird broadens the sonic palette with the addition of guitar 'n' fiddle duo Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill and the vocal companionship of Sinéad O'Connor. Inspired by the movie of the same name, SKY's mix of traditional and more ethereal soundscapes contrasts Ireland's pastoral heights with modern Britain's dreary industrial towns, without resorting to ham-handed cliches like techno beats or crunching guitars. That subtlety is what's especially enchanting about Iarla Ó Lionáird's modern Irish music: Unlke the majority of Celtic-inspired recordings that purport to transport the listener with cloying effects, Ó Lionáird's heartfelt singing truly opens up the mystery and timelessness of Irish song.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
Iarla Ó Lionáird's second solo album is a significant departure from the first. For one thing, I Could Read the Sky is a film soundtrack (or, in the currently more popular phrase, a collection of "music written for and inspired by the film"), so it's necessarily more impressionistic and programmatic. But it's also quite a bit more beat driven than its predecessor, and, therefore, a bit more reminiscent of Ó Lionáird's work with his regular band, the Afro Celt Sound System. Even with the beats, the music is invariably moody and generally downtempo. Ó Lionáird's haunting voice has much to do with that overall mood; on the very dark "Iron and Gold" and his arresting version of "I Am Stretched on Your Grave," his voice soars like a bird over a rocky and twilit landscape of synthesized chordal washes and tweaked drum loops. But the judicious use of eerie spoken-word samples ("Knuckles to the Marrow," "In England") contribute to that ambience, as well. Other highlight tracks include a typically impeccable performance of "The Old Road to Garry" by fiddler Martin Hyes and guitarist Dennis Cahill. A surprise disappointment is Sinéad O'Connor's anemic performance of "Roisin Dubh." Highly recommended overall.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/10/2009
Label:
Real World
UPC:
0884108008324
catalogNumber:
84

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Iarla O Lionaird   Primary Artist,Piano,Harmonium,Keyboards,Vocals
Noel Hill   Concertina
Martin Hayes   Fiddle
Ron Aslan   Keyboards
David Bottrill   Piano,Keyboards
Caroline Dale   Cello
James McNally   Bodhran
Sinéad O'Connor   Vocals
Dennis Cahill   Guitar,Mandolin
Dermot Healy   Spoken Word
Felix Howard   Double Bass

Technical Credits

Noel Hill   Arranger
Ron Aslan   Arranger,Programming,Producer
Sinéad O'Connor   Arranger
Mike Coulson   Art Direction
Iarla O Lionaird   Arranger,Producer,translation
Athena Connal   Graphic Design

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I Could Read the Sky 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking