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Declan de Barra: Song of a Thousand Birds

11 songs from Gaelic singer-songwriter Declan de Barra make up this excellent release. Declan's style is quite unique. He has a wide range and highly emotive style which is at its most effective when the lyric is tragic. The deliberately rustic pronunciation of words like my (mee) the (dee) and thing (ting) is slightly annoying and unnecessary but apart from that the songs are engaging and moving.

Bhodran and cello provide principal support to Declan's understated acoustic guitar work, beautifully combined in particular on the aching lament "Blackbird song". The piano-led ballad "Someday soon" and echoing guitar accompaniment to "Apple Tree" or the even plainer "Curfew" demonstrate the simplicity of composition and keep the songs focused on the lyric and expressive nature of Declan's heartfelt delivery. Despite the minimalism, there is a depth and warmth to the songs which emerges with repeated listens.

Traditional themes are only infrequently to the fore such as in the almost English folk ethic of "Leaves in the Autumn" or the protest title track "Song of a Thousand Birds". The typical tempo is mostly slow but shifts up a gear for "Welcome Home" and the forceful and dramatic "3 days from now".

Fans of the quirkier style of singing such as Jeff Buckley or Nick Cave will find a lot to like about de Barra's songs. His previous work can be found in releases by bands NIL and Clann Zu.

Track Listing
1. Throw your arms around me
2. Song of a thousand birds
3. Blackbird song
4. Someday soon
5. Apple Tree
6. Leaves in the Autumn
7. Slow dissolve
8. Welcome
9. Three days from now
10. Curfew
11. Improv at 20,000 feet

Added: May 31st 2007
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Translation Loss Records
Hits: 2642
Language: english

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