Most of you will be familiar with Fiachna Ó Braonáin one way or the other (or both). His remarkable work with Hothouse Flowers is hard to pass by and the voice he presents the shows on RTÉ Radio 1 with is simply irresistible. You could have all kinds of things going on through your day but once you hear him talking - all your worries and troubles disappear in a blink of an eye. This gentleman with a constant smile on his face certainly recognizes good music when he hears it. His taste is truly admirable and the warm personality shines through everything. The news about his first solo album Bougainvillea might have come as a surprise, not many people knew about it then. But that is the usual case with quality music - you have to look it up and dig deeper to find it. Ó Braonáin then only confirmed what people familiar with his work already knew - that he posses a huge gift that remained hidden and only bits and pieces were revealed for the outsiders. Now he releases the follower, brand new EP called Winter Sun.
Ó Braonáin's love for the sea is clearly shown in the beautiful arwork of the EP. We all know what he's capable of musicially yet he's not alone this time. He's got the multi-talented Clare Sands by his side like a skilled navigator. Big sea lover herself, she adds her trademark fiddle and sublime backing vocals to the smoothly flowing tracks.
The title instrumental track Winter Sun was written for a short film by Niall Meehan depicting the beauty of the sea. And you can almost hear the waves crashing on the shore at sunrise when listening to this beautifully atmospheric piece.
Bottle of Rum was originally recorded on Ó Braonáin's solo album Bougainvillea. This new version highlights the lower tones of Ó Braonáin's vocal. There's truly something mysterious about this man's voice. Clare Sands plays the fiddle again, sings backing vocals and arranged string section for this version. You cannot help but feel an element of Irish trad in the song. Y Pour yourself a glass of something before getting lost in the music.
Take A Look Around With You could be considered a tribute to an escape from the city to the sea. To the freedom of the sea, to the beauty of the nature. Who doesn't want to get away from the people from time to time and just be in nature?
Amrán na Trá Báine (Song of the White Strand) showcases Ó Braonáin's seán-nós abilities and it's mindblowing. The song features the voices of Gugulethu Cummunity Choir who bring in a sense of African music and the combination is powerful.
Winter Sun is a heartwarming collection of shiny musicianship and songwriting that brightens up the day and takes your stress and worries away with each passing wave.