Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New Music 2016 - Part 14 - Paula Ryan - Let Me Fly

New releases and artist confirmations of festival dates are both starting to warm up now, even if the weather isn't. There are certainly exciting things on the horizon but today I've decided to go with a very recently released album.

Paula Ryan - Let Me Fly (self-released, 19 February 2016).

This is certainly an album with strong elements of folk, and Irish folk too for a couple of tracks are sung either in whole or part in Gaelic and some of the instrumentation flows from that. This includes bouzouki so file that influence under 'Planxty' but only for now; it is a subtle indication of the need to look much further than that here.

A number of songs here have distinctly African influences and instrumentation [A Thousand Smiling Faces, Lion In A Cage - in particular] and I have to say that I am drawn as much to these as the more, um, traditionally traditional songs. So what?
It is true that I have fallen for specific examples, particularly when seen and heard live, a few times before... I'm beginning to think that I might need to pay the
 panopoly that is 'World Music' more attention. One thing that I don't like too much, and it has nothing the do with any of the music itself, is the semantic associated with that term itself. There seems something rather dismissive, indeed disparaging, about lumping the vast proportion of all worldwide musical tradition together under a catch-all couplet.

After that serious interlude, for in large part the album is playful (not least the silliness of Honest John), here is the track listing:
  • A Thousand Smiling Faces
  • Let Me Fly
  • SuantraĆ­ Donnacha
  • Honest John
  • Lion in a Cage
  • Havin' the Craic!
  • Black Swan
  • Don't Cry
  • Castaway
  • The Funny One
  • Song for Conor
  • Donnacha's Lullaby
The modern side of English folk is here too. The title track is a song-biography of aviatrix Amy Johnson.
Donnacha's Lullaby is SuantraĆ­ Donnacha in English.

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