Irish Music Magazine

Irish Music Magazine
CD Review, The Place where life began – White Raven.

The trio White Raven are no strangers to these pages with live gigs in Dublin and their last album have all received glowing reviews in this mag.

To those who don`t know of their music, to put it simply, it is pure vocal music, some of it in three-part harmony, a rare thing within the Irish tradition. There really is a dearth if harmony vocals-only albums within the vast library that makes up Irish Traditional music, The Press Gang, Anuna, MacAlla, bits of the fallen Angels, the specialist Warp Four, possibly a few tapes of the unrecorded Garland and of course the bench mark for many, The voice Squad ( and White Raven came as close as a cigarette paper to those godfathers on Mo Ghile Mear and the Boys of Barr na Sraide).

Back to the back catalogue, it barely adds up to a dozen albums in forty years, so this new release recorded in 2005 in France, has the potential to be in select company and to make an instant mark.

A look at the track listing places the album in the standard folk catagory, with songs such as The Boys of Barr na Sraide (from which came the album`s title), All Around My Hat, The Dawning of the Day( superbly sung by Robert Getchell), Sinse Maggie went Away and Eric Bogles“All the Fine Young Men.There`s a lively jig, The Rose in the Heather from guest musician Gerry(fiddle) O`Connor which adds a centre to pivot around track 8. There`s a mellow combination of fiddle and vielle( from Shira Kammen) on the Scottish slow air dark island. Ten out of ten to the band for including all the song words in the liner notes.

The overall sound is more Feis Cheoil than Fleadh Cheoil, the trio takes a classical approach, so don`t expect the edgy-experimental harmonies of Cran or Teada. The music here is always measured, with precise singing, impeccable diction and well-conceived harmonies. In a way the music harks back to a time of less histrionic performances, before the era of Bob Dylan and his ilk, and as such it needs an effort on behalf of the casual listener to re-tune the antennae to this older more studious approach