Following on from the release of her critically acclaimed EP ‘Tírdhreacha Agus Fuaimdhreacha’ (Landscapes & Soundscapes) and smashing subsequent singles ‘Awe na Mná’, ‘Sail On’, and ‘Keep the Flame Burning’, sixth generation fiddler, bilingual singer & multi-instrumentalist Clare Sands shares her self-titled album - out now, on CD and digital.
The album is a celebration of resilience, love and hope. It explores tradition, the sea, and the power of women through the dark and light, love and loss, and the rise and fall. Written and recorded over two years along the West coast from Mizen to Malin, Clare found a path where the Irish and English languages, Traditional, Folk, and Contemporary music meet. Clare’s distinctive melodies, pulsating rhythms and powerful voice are interwoven with spoken word guests Manchán Magan, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, Fiachna Ó Braonáin & Tommy Sands, and musical guests Aisling Urwin, Steve Cooney & Susan O’Neill.
“This Fearless Folk album is for the young and the old, brave and the bold. Join me in this celebration of resilience, love and hope. Bígí liom.” - Clare Sands
And fearless is just the right description. You sense that from the frst note. This is a lively, courageous, wild collection of songs celebrating the freedom, both artistic and human, going back to your roots, discovering yourself going beyond. The hypnotic rhytms tend to reach our ancestors, connect with the deepest corners of the soul. For Sands, singing as Gaeilge is natural and you get the impression she's her true authentic self expressing herself in the language many have forgotten.
The album paints a vivid picture not just through the musical soundscapes but also through nature, you often hear the waves on the recordings, another important element for Sands, avid sea swimmer. It's refreshingly unique how she can mix both languages not only in one song but sometimes in one sentence, perfect example of which is Sail On.
The power of the spoken word never loses its impact, quite the opposite. And when placed appropriately in the tracklist, it suddenly turns in one of the highlights. This is the case of Abair Liom Do Rúin (Tell Me Your Secrets). The spoken word intro, courtesy of Tommy Sands, followed by danceable fiddle melody and Clare's insistent delivery, creates a standout track. And you even forget that you may not understand what the song says. But when the soundscapes connect with the soul, no words are needed.
Salthill Prom is another album highlight. Haunting and nostalgic, atmospheric and powerful, this true call home smells of the western sea. The spoken word part as Gaeilge from Fiachna Ó Braonáin (Hothouse Flowers) only adds to the intimate feel of the track. The instrumental outro is cheerful, upbeat, somewhat continues the motive from precedent track Carry My Song. And of course, the ever present sound of the sea.
This is a fine debut of an adventurous artist keen to explore, connect, experiment.
The Green Room, Dingle - October 5th - [Ticket Link]
The Cobblestone, Dublin - October 6th - [Ticket Link]
The Duncairn, Belfast - October 8th - [Ticket Link]
Dunfanaghy, Donegal - November 25th [Ticket Link]
An Taibhdhearc, Galway - November 26th - [Ticket Link]
Manchester Folk Festival: October 14th [Ticket Link]
German Tour: October 28th - November 19th [Ticket Link]