The Cassidys - Singing From Memory

Singing From Memory

The Cassidys

CD-SB71180

Sliced Bread Records
P. O. Box 606
Blue Bell, PA 19422

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Guntram Gudowius
(GuntramG@pride.de)

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."

Track List:

  • Oro Bog Liom I (oro move her gently to me)
  • Oro Se Do Bheatha 'bhaile (oro, you are welcome home)
  • Bheir Mi O (Vermeo)
  • Beidh Aonach Amarach (ther's a fair tomorrow)
  • Do Bhios-sa La i bPort Lairge (one fine day in Waterford)
  • An Bhfaca tu mo Sheamuisin? (did you see my Seamusin?)
  • Cill Chais (lament for Cill Chais)
  • Trasna na dTonnta (over the waves)
  • Tiocfaidh An Samhradh (summer will come)
  • Baidin Fheilimi (Phelim's little boat)
  • Oro Mo Bhaidin (oro my little boat)
  • Cad E Sin Don Te Sin (it's nobody's business)
  • Oilean I (Iona island)- Seathrun O Casaide
  • Fainne Geal an Lae (the dawning of the day)

The Cassidys :

Odhran - uileann pipes, fiddle, whistles, vocals
Feargus - guitar, vocals
Aongus - fiddle, accordion, vocals
Seathrun - keyboards, bouzouki, vocals
Fionntan - viola, mandoline, vocals
Ciaran - bass, bodhran, vocals

Also Appearing:

Cairtiona Ni Chasaide - vocals on 1. and 11.
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
Produced by Seathrun O Casaide and Odhran O Casaide (except tracks 2 and 14 produced by Steve Cooney)

Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz (rschwartz@oeb.harvard.edu)

Copyright 1999, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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