Browsing Tag

Irish Folk

Grainne Eve paid a poignant homage to Sam Henry with her cover of ‘Maid of Culmore’

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.

Stream Maid of Culmore on Spotify and find out more about the exemplary artist and aural academic by visiting her official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Dora Gola – The Last Tear (Ostatnia Lza): Electronic Folklore Has a New Eloquent Author

For her latest single, The Last Tear (Ostatnia Lza), the electronic folk artist Dora Gola tapped into the divinity of her femininity to create an innately spiritual Clannad-esque score of pure beguile.

With her ethereal vocal timbre scintillating the orchestration of awakening Eastern beats and the reverb-swathed synth lines which give the release an ambiently explorative energy, the Polish Ireland-residing singer-songwriter and dancer reached the pinnacle of transcendent folktronica soul.

After her debut single, Dark Sand, saw her revered by Hot Press and The Irish Times Magazine as one of the most exciting acts to emerge from Ireland in recent years, expectations on the rhythmic seamstress were set high; with each new release, she’s surpassed all expectations.

Stream the official music video for The Last Tear by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sinéad Ann has released her spiritually spectral alt-indie-folk single, Four Walls

If any Irish folk artist has what it takes to surpass the fame of Glen Hansard in 2023, it is Sinéad Ann with her spectrally spiritual single, Four Walls, which haunts the middle ground between indie rock and alt-folk.

With vocals that command in the same celestially raw vein as Dolores O’Riordan and chamber strings aiding the depiction of the clash between our mortality and spirit, Four Walls makes no apology as it visualises the maleficence of our shadow selves.

Rather than painting the picture of incandescent innocence, Sinéad Ann elevated the murder-folk subgenre with her confession of nightmarish visions before taking her listeners to a place of enlightenment following the vanquishment of her demons. You couldn’t ask for a more scintillating narration of the triumph of good over evil. It definitively proves that nothing concerning the soul is ever black and white, crimson always has a part to play; it runs in our veins and has a role to play in redemption, whether that plays out in our shadow minds or in reality.

With more music in the baroque pipelines, any folk fans partial to expositions of the darker sides of the human condition will want to be part of the breakthrough artist’s ascent.

Stream Four Walls on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds will warmly render your heartstrings raw with ‘Who Really Wants to Get Clean’

Rossa Murray & the blowin' winds

The hype around the Irish alt-folk/rock outfit, Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds, may be louder than the melancholic quiescence in the title single from their latest EP, but the accolades are far from hyperbolic.

Who Really Wants to Get Clean is a cutting- with razor-sharp precision – exposition on society’s issues around addiction; so much pressure is put upon the people numbing themselves by any means necessary to change, while the societal issues that make it a necessity for so many get ambivalently swept under the rug.

I can’t even remember the last time a track hit me this hard. The evocative delivery, the desperation in the vignette, the agony that lingers in the tempo of the minor keys, the profoundness in the strings, it all synthesises into a tear-jerking performance that leaves you in a sombre state of contemplation.

Fans of Bill Ryder-Jones and Frightened Rabbit won’t be able to tear themselves away from the Rossa Murray & the blowin’ winds’ discography after Who Really Wants to Get Clean has warmly rendered their hearts raw.

The Who Really Wants to Get Clean – Part 2 EP will officially release on September 29th. Stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sahara CyberStars illuminated the airwaves with their alt-folk-rock score, Light Shines into a Space

After unveiling six LPs and six singles to date, the Dublin-forged, Australia-residing duo Sahara CyberStars, comprising the award-winning singer-songwriters Dave and Trish Long, exhibited how honed their synergistic sound has become in their latest single, Light Shines into a Space.

The duo may have gone down under, but their arcane Irish folk roots still linger at the epicentre of their theatrically inviting sound in Light Shines into a Space, which allows you to imagine how New Model Army’s post-punk musings would unravel with more ornate and orchestral instrumentals infused into their atmospheric stylings.

The deeply original score’s authenticity is only matched by the evocative pull of the release; from the first verse, you’ll be inseparably combined with the celestially scintillating experimentalism, which bends genres with the grace of an Olympian contortionist.

Light Shines into a Space is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

It is ‘All About You’ in Cristina Movileanu’s summer folk-pop serenade

If you noticed it got a little hotter on the 16th of June, that may have been due to the scorching hot summer folk-pop single, All About You, from the vibrantly vivacious singer-songwriter Cristina Movileanu.

Each year, artists compete against each other to orchestrate the hit that will become their audience’s upbeat soundtrack to the summer. Never one to make pedestrian or predictable moves, the Emerald Isle-haling originator created a gateway to a parallel world brimmed with positive energy and joyful moments.

The jangly upbeat indie folk guitar melodies will be your main mode of transport, while Movileanu’s soulful vocal timbre will take you the rest of the way. There really is no overstating how captivating All About You is. For your own sake, don’t hang around in delving into the carresive Elysian chemistry in All About You.

Check out the official music video for All About You on YouTube, or add the sun-bleached hit to your Spotify playlists.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Marlais looks ‘Out of the Window’ in his quiescently beguiling folk tale

Stream Of Forms by Marlais

Stuttgart, Germany-residing folk artist Marlais takes inspiration from the deep roots of English and Irish folk for his quiescently beguiling aural tales that transcend the commercialisation of Folk to outpour intimately uninhibited emotion.

His latest hymnal single, Out of the Window, is an arresting invitation to lose yourself in the narrative, which unfolds to the minimalist folk instruments and harmonically ethereal electronic motifs. It’s gospel for the impious, a triumph in connectivity through the ambient relay of sincere emotion that carries as much through the vulnerable vocal timbre as it does through the celestially sombre instrumentation.

Out of the Window, taken from his forthcoming LP, Stream of Forms, is now available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Intuitively spiritual rhythm meets sensual folk in DORA GOLA’s latest single, Dance with Danger

If any track is going to tempt the weary and wary out of their comfort zones after sanity diminishing lockdowns, it is the artfully fierce electronic folk-pop earworm, Dance with Danger, from the spiritually magnetic singer-songwriter, DORA GOLA.

With the intuitiveness of the rhythm, you scarcely need her bio to tell you that she’s a dancer. Her connection to music is enviably strong, but at least she’s had the grace to share her natural gift with the world through emboldening hits that tease your rhythmic pulses as much as they stir the soul.

Following the release of Dance with Danger, the Poland-born, West Ireland-based artist will continue to make her discography a rediscovery of ancestral roots, mystery and sensuality. We can’t wait to hear what follows. She shines luminously bright in a sea of ego-driven artists.

Dance with Danger will hit the airwaves on June 17th. Stream it here.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Laura Elizabeth Hughes – Pandemonium: Atmospherically Raw Neo-Classic Folk

With her latest release “Pandemonium”, Irish Folk singer-songwriter Laura Elizabeth Hughes orchestrated a tenderly pensive soundscape which will soothe your soul while simultaneously sending piercing aural daggers through your skin.

The soft vocals resoundingly fall into the atmosphere of the stripped-back single which utilises gentle piano melodies to complement Laura Elizabeth Hughes’s equally as ethereal vocals. From start to finish, you’re gifted with soft evocatively-charged alchemy.

I’d assume that anyone with the ability to listen to Pandemonium without feeling any discernible visceral emotion was categorically dead inside. It captures the chaos of our dystopic times while serving as a delicate reminder that we can still thrive within it.

Pandemonium is simply stunning. You wouldn’t find a more resonant single from an up and coming artist if you turned on the radio today.

Pandemonium is available to stream via Spotify.

You can keep up to date with the artist’s latest releases via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast