Singing From Memory
Sliced Bread Records
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Singing From Memory is a collection of one original instrumental and 13 traditional songs which was first issued in Ireland as Songs Of Our Childhood. It quickly became one of the best-selling albums of its kind in the country's history.
As the titles suggest, these are songs the Cassidys grew up with. Their interpretations catapult them into the 90s, so this is a warning for traditional purists: featured instruments include drums, electric guitars and keyboards, which in their arrangements are sometimes reminiscent of a bit of Steeleye Span, Morris On or Fairport Convention.
The five brothers sing in Irish Gaelic, so the listener can focus on the intertwining of their voices and intricate harmonies (both the Gaelic words and English translations are printed in the booklet). It should come as no surprise that the voices of the siblings blend very well together, allowing these songs to sparkle and shine.
As previously mentioned, the arrangements are not completely traditional, which gives a fresh spin to the songs. While some might take a little getting used to, I don't feel that it's too much. It's a full production with reverb, electronic sound carpets and samples of crashing surf, bells, etc., all creating a dreamlike impression. The listener's experience can be summed up with a quote from the New York Times: "the exciting sound of traditional and 20th century Ireland."
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The Cassidys :
Feargus - guitar, vocals
Aongus - fiddle, accordion, vocals
Seathrun - keyboards, bouzouki, vocals
Fionntan - viola, mandoline, vocals
Ciaran - bass, bodhran, vocals
Liam O Conchubhair - concertina
Niall Lacey - guitar
Diane Ni Chasaide - Indian Sharuti
Clare Daly - bassoon
Christy Sheridan - mandoline
Michael McCann - Egyptian drum
Peter Eades - keyboard, bass, lead guitar
Steve Cooney - bass, bongos, Spanish guitar
Paul Moran - drums
Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz (firstname.lastname@example.org)