Taken from Grainne Eve’s debut album, The Songs of Sam Henry, the standout orchestral folk single, Maid of Culmore, is so much more than a narrative tale; the inexplicably anachronistic arrangement conjures panoramic imagery to ensure you’re not solely looking at a portrait of the lyrical protagonist, you are in the landscape within her, completely abstracted from the 21st century.
The debut LP is just a scratch on the surface of the Portstewart, Northern Ireland-hailing folk singer-songwriter’s lifelong mission to understand and pay homage to the legacy of the folklorist and ballad crafter Sam Henry, who was integral to the preservation of Northern Irish folk tradition. Grainne Eve is currently in the final stages of writing her PhD, which focuses on Henry’s vast folk collection after completing a BA and MA in Music at Newcastle University.
‘The Songs of Sam Henry’ made its official debut on July 8th, 2022, at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine. The album launch event was graciously introduced by the renowned TV presenter Joe Mahon. It was also presented live on Raidio Failte as part of the Belfast TradFest 2022 and received airplay on BBC Radio Ulster. Notably, ‘The Songs of Sam Henry’ earned a nomination for the NI Music Prize in 2022. Here’s to hoping we hear plenty more from Eve in the not-too-distant future.
Review by Amelia Vandergast