Fionnuala Sherry : Songs From Before (2011)

front cover

Fionnuala Sherry is the violinist of the duo Secret Garden.

Knowing this, I felt quite a bit of pre-excitement even though there had been quite some time between the moment I acquired the album and the moment I actually listened to it.  And unfortunately, it didn’t me feel like I should have rushed to listen to it.

If there is a few elements that we can spot in this album, the re transcription and the setting of atmospheres would be the main one. When the sounds don’t make you travel subtly through time and space like the first song An Cuilfhíonn does, Song From Before will make you feel the power of time and the past like a non negligible presence through a wide range of sounds and instruments, notably the accordion which is remarkably well used here.

The plurality of instruments is well present for example in The Garton’s Mother’s Lullaby prominently being a guitar piece, a nice one, in which this instrument helps in setting a certain liveliness – the presence of voices very noticeable in this track for being very scarce in the album on the whole.

The great power and ability to musically paint an entire scene, couple with a nice conveyance of feeling really makes the strength of song #9 The Procession.

However, although this album is full of good ideas, and some interesting pieces of work as efficient as the basic ideas are ambitious, there is quite an important frustration left by most of the tracks. The constant effort to phase in modern sounds in an album which in general features pieces more turned towards timeless concepts is a bit perplexing and may appear as a waste for example in The Lark In The Clear Air and The Norwaygian Ministrel Boy.

In a few other pieces like The Crossing and My Lagan Love, it’s the great insipidity, that leaves a feeling a disappointment with this album which is way weaker than what Fionnuala Sherry has accustomed us with in the past as a part of Secret Garden.




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