Belfast singer/songwriter Padraig Lalor and his album Light Up tell stories of exile, share local history and bring a little peace to the chaotic world of 21st century. The artist himself says he wanted to tell stories that show what it was like growing up in the troubled city of Belfast. We don't hear that many songs with such personal touch about these times so that's where Lalor's work definitely catches listener's attention.
With this album, Padraig Lalor has explored the modern Irish song even more. The opening track The Jeanie Johnston is an upbeat tune telling a story of a famous ship which travelled between Ireland and North America in 19th century. The song talks about emigration, an important topic in Irish history, but this time in a happy way, as thepeople on the ship were searching for a better life abroad. The replica of the ship can be seen in Custom House Quay in Dublin.
Light Up Your Hearts brings back the melancholy and sadness of traditional Irish folk songs. Above all there is an evocative vocal of Sarah Passmore. We can enjoy the nature of Sarah Passmore's voice again in Slowlier where her vocal brings us the sensation of fairies, of the myths and legends of Emerald Isle. Lagan love is another evocative ballad where you get saddened by a departure of a loved one, another element of exile. There's the element of escaping the Irish famine that took place between 1845 and 1852.Western wind starts with drums and whistles and gives us the feeling of an optimism whereas in reality it's a song about regret and we can feel the sadness when the violin joins in. Exiled describes the difficulty of leaving your country (in this case for Australia) and starting your life elsewhere. The emigration is very powerful issue for the Irish and we can say that nowadays there are more Irish abroad than on the island.
Padraig Lalor is a storyteller who's showing us how the history of one's country could be beautifully transformed into a timeless art.