Light of Lights - Solas na Soilse

A hauntingly beautiful album of Christmas songs from the Irish Celtic tradition with Bardic poems, songs of the people and contemporary sean-nos songs.

(Producer: Máire Breatnach)
Solas Album  Cover image
This is a unique CD of Christmas songs in the Irish language which presents these beautiful songs, many of which have never been commercially recorded before, in a way which is immediately accessible to a mainstream audience. Produced by Máire Breatnach, the overall effect is warm, sensitive and enlivening.

The songs:

The CD features many different types of song, with varying styles of accompaniment, from the full ensemble sound of guitar, fiddle, viola, uilleann pipes, button accordion, flute and bodhrán (eg Tracks 3 and 10) to the simple, unaccompanied voice on a few tracks. The sensitive, subtle guitar style of Bill Shanley provides the perfect support for the clear, pure singing of Finola Ó Siochrú on such tracks as “Suantraí na Maighdine”(Track 15), “A Dhia na Nollag” (Track 2) and “Oíche Nollag” (Track 1).

Produced by Máire Breatnach (who also plays keyboard, fiddle and viola), it features vocals by Finola Ó Siochrú, Bill Shanley on guitar, Éamonn Galldubh on uilleann pipes and flute, Tomás Ó Briain on button accordion and Fionán de Barra on bodhrán.

All of the songs but one could broadly be described as being in the traditional idiom, but here receive a very contemporary treatment. They cover the whole spectrum of songs in Irish from 17th century Bardic poems, to folk songs, to recent compositions based on poems by contemporary Irish poets. Also included is one song in Scots Gaelic with the original Scottish air which Cat Stevens used for “Morning has Broken”.

So, “Light of Lights”, with such a rich variety of songs, both old and new, offers a new and fresh palette of Christmas sounds, with something for everyone.

Finola possesses a voice of remarkable clarity and purity...”The Examiner This is a unique CD of Christmas songs in the Irish language which presents sixteen beautiful songs, many of which have never been commercially recorded before, in a way which is immediately accessible to a mainstream audience. The title comes from the prayer Solas na Soilse/Light of Lights, (Track 5) to bless the candle as it was lit to place in the window on Christmas Eve. All of the songs, except Oíche Chiúin /Silent Night (Track 16) could broadly be described as traditional but here receive a very contemporary treatment. They cover the whole spectrum of songs in Irish from 17th century Bardic poems, to folk songs, to recent compositions based on poems by contemporary Irish poets, such as the lively Cuireadh do Mhuire/Invitation to Mary (Track 9) by the renowned poet from the Aran Islands, Máirtín Ó Díreáin, which has not been recorded before. Finola’s detailed sleeve notes and lyrics provide a great resource. Finola’s clear, pure hauntingly beautiful voice excels throughout and justifies the critical acclaim that accompanied the release of her debut album Searc Mo Chléibh/Love of my Heart.There’s varying styles of accompaniment, from the full ensemble sound of guitar, fiddle, viola, uilleann pipes, button accordion, flute and bodhrán (e.g. Tracks 3 and 10) to the simple, unaccompanied voice on a few tracks. The sensitive, subtle guitar style of Bill Shanley provides the perfect support for the clear, pure singing of Finola Ó Siochrú on the Christmas Lullaby Suantraí na Maighdine (Track 15), also A Dhia na Nollag (Track 2) and Oíche Nollag (Track 1). Produced by Máire Breatnach (who also plays keyboard, fiddle and viola), it features Bill Shanley on guitar, Éamonn Galldubh on uilleann pipes and flute, Tomás Ó Briain on button accordion and Fionán de Barra on bodhrán. “Light of Lights” is a fresh unique alternative sound for Christmas. The recording was made possible with the support of Foras na Gaeilge, the booklet is grant aided by the Arts Council.

Independently released/ Catalogue No: FOSCD002, distributed by Claddagh.

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(Searc mo Chléibh and Solas na Soilse)