Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is best known for her work with Irish super-group Danú - recent recipients of the BBC Folk Music award for Best Band and a group considered by many to be the most significant new traditional band in Ireland. This exciting and eclectic 12-track collection... more
Star quality is a rare phenomenon -- a bewitching magnetism impossible to define, yet when present, we recognize it instantly. Singer and traditional musician Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh possesses that level of magic, mesmerizing audiences world-wide since she joined forces with scintillating Irish music ambassadors Danú in 2003.
The Cork Evening Echo’s Paul Dromey hailed Muireann as "a real find," and the Danú albums which feature her -- The Road Less Travelled (2003) and When All Is Said And Done (2005) -- drew lavish praise from critics in Ireland and beyond. "An accomplished vocal talent in both Gaelic and English, her singing has a rich fluent quality," said John O’Regan of Irish Music Magazine. Reviewing Danú in concert for The Irish Times, Siobhán Long singled out "the balance Nic Amhlaoibh achieves, armed with one of the earthiest and most distinctive voices, not just in traditional circles, but anywhere."
March 14th marks the US release of Daybreak: Fáinne An Lae, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh’s enchanting debut solo album on Compass Records. This exciting and eclectic 12-track collection showcases Muireann’s sparkling vocal talent, along with her consummate artistry on both flute and whistle. Most of all, it casts light on her intuitive ability to research and tastefully select from both the traditional and contemporary music repertory, re-interpreting and delivering her chosen songs and tunes with heart-warming eloquence.
Contemporary compositions from Richard Thompson ("Persuasion") and Gerry O’Beirne ("Western Highway" and "Isle of Malachy") flow seamlessly into traditional songs such as "Free and Easy" (learned from the singing of Róisín White), "Slán le Máigh", "The Emigrant’s Farewell," "An Spealadóir," "Banks of the Nile," the lovely lullaby "Seoithín Seothó," and a heartfelt rendition of "The Parting Glass." Muireann’s flair as a traditional instrumentalist is showcased on two sets of tunes.
Musicians making guest appearances on Daybreak include Danú colleagues Oisín McAuley and Eamon Doorley; guitarists Gerry O’Beirne, John Doyle, Tony Byrne, and Shane McGowan; Scottish singer Julie Fowlis; and percussionist Billy Mag Flohinn.
A native Irish speaker, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh spent her formative years steeped in the music, song, and culture of the West Kerry Gaeltacht, where her fiddle-playing father Feargal was a major early influence. As a Fine Arts student in Dublin, and later Limerick (she holds an M.A. in Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick), she was a familiar and sought-after participant on the traditional music session circuit there. Now a regular contributor to television and radio programmes at home and abroad, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh was featured prominently in the recent "Highland Sessions" BBC television series, which celebrated the best of Irish and Scottish traditional music and song.
Self-produced, Daybreak is an engaging and expressive debut, crystalline in clarity and dazzlingly beautiful from beginning to end. Even amidst the current widespread renaissance in traditional Irish music, the work of Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh shines out like a beacon. Her approach to her craft is thorough, fashioned from sterling technique and a comprehensive understanding of the music’s roots.