2016 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Celtic Skies is the third album from Irish composer/pianist/keyboardist Eamonn Karran. This album sees the artist moving in a somewhat different direction with female vocals on several tracks (in English). Karan provides all of the instrumentation except for Craig Karolus’ orchestration on one track and Robert Peoples’ violin on two others. Karran’s focus in his music is to offer help and healing for those who need it, and much of the music on this album speaks of loss and longing. Other pieces describe vivid landscapes and the beauty of nature, offering a place of comfort and peace.
Celtic Skies begins with “Irish Skies,” a poignant ballad of a lost love sung by Erin Kelly. Piano, uilleann pipes, and strings create a rich background to the sweetly touching vocals. “New Life” is mostly solo piano with light orchestration, expressing the wonder and joy of birth. “As One” is a very dark love song with vocals, powerful drums that suggest wartime, and pipes that suggest the Irish countryside. This is a very touching and affecting song, and it sends chills down my spine every time I hear it - a favorite, for sure! “Boy Buries Mother” was inspired by a poem by Dylan Walshe, and Karran composed the music to fit the words. Sung by Emma Lusby, it’s a heartbreaker. “Ley Lines” softens the mood considerably with a gently soothing piano solo that is very easy to get lost in - also a favorite! “Wildflowers” begins with the drone of bagpipes and occasional drums. Female voices weave in and out of the song while uilleann pipes carry most of the mournful melody - very beautiful and very sad. “Lost Souls” sounds like it could be very dark, but this is actually one of the lighter pieces on the album. “Ocean” is a soothing and hypnotic duet for piano and violin (Robert Peoples) - my favorite track on the album! Peoples also adds his haunting violin to the dark and dramatic “Curse of Glenveagh.” “From Afar” is a gorgeous instrumental that overflows with longing and nostalgia. “Late Night Piano” begins as a solo, gradually adding light orchestration and subtle tonal colors. The title suggests someone sitting alone at his or her piano, going deep inside and expressing his or her deepest emotions with total candor and honesty, and that’s exactly what this piece feels like - a heartfelt ending to an excellent album!
Celtic Skies is available wherever Real Music’s albums are sold. Recommended!
July 4, 2016