THE IRISH TIMES – May 24, 2004

THE IRISH TIMES – May 24, 2004

The candle-lit concert of Songs for Kings & Commoners by the vocal trio White Raven provided music-making of altogether finer finish. This is another multi-national group, with soprano Kathleen Dineen hailing from Country Cork, tenor David Munderloh from the United States, and baritone Raitis Grigalis from Latvia.

The music ranged from the 12th century songs of St Godric up to Spanish songs of the 15th century, and beyond to 20th century arrangements by the late John Fleagle, who set early texts for which no music has survived. And the voices accommodated to each other with such an apparent ease of clarity and blend that one could almost imagine the three singers had spent a lifetime performing together.

It didn’t seem to matter what musical material White Raven reached out to, or whether it was accompanied or not – Kathleen Dineen also played harp, and the trio were joined by Shira Kammen on vielle.

Everything they touched seemed to turn to purest gold.

Michael Dervan

The Irish Times 2003

The Irish Times (16.05.03)

White Raven
Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin

The declared aim of White Raven is to bring traditional Irish song into the realm of three-part harmony without the songs losing any of their original quality and simplicity. Kathleen Dineen (soprano), David Munderloh (tenor) and Raitis Grigalis (bass) have succeeded to an astonishing degree thanks to an unusual clarity of articulation and an exquisite vocal blend.

Some of the songs were collected from the late Elizabeth Cronin of Macroom; Dineen, from the same area, has a natural feel for the folk idiom, which she has transmitted to her partners, respectively from the US and Latvia. To hear them singing with the greatest fluency in Irish, Spanish and English was a joy.

Dineen sang Lord Gregory unaccompanied in true folk style and must have drawn tears to many eyes; hardly less moving was Grigalis when he sang The Lass of Aughrim, accompanied by Dineen on a small harp. She also played for The Last Rose of Summer, sung by Munderloh. Thomas More is not now esteemed as once he was, but this song and, more especially, Oft in the stilly night, sung by the trio, show he can still find a way into the heart.

Before one heard of Bach or Beethoven, one had heard many of these songs, including I know my love by his way of walking and The water is wide, I cannot get over, and to hear them so lovingly recreated was not only a trip down memory lane but also a revelation of their power still to stir the heart.

Douglas Sealy