Innovative Anglo-Irish quartet The Haar release their second album. Their debut, eponymous, album was described as “a splendid balance of swirling instrumental magic and beautifully sung narratives” by Folk Radio UK, and Where Old Ghosts Meet promises more magic across eight traditional Irish songs.
Matching the fresh talent of traditional Irish singer Molly Donnery with three of the most exciting instrumentalists on the folk and traditional music circuit: Cormac Byrne (Uiscedwr, Seth Lakeman), Adam Summerhayes and Murray Grainger (The Ciderhouse Rebellion, Words of a Fiddler’s Daughter), the band’s music is characterised by ‘live reactive composition’ – an improvised space from which Molly’s pure and unadulterated vocals can emerge.
They take familiar tunes and turn them into something fresh that mysteriously feels as if you have known it forever. As the band themselves say: “We let our imaginations run free with these old favourites.” The result is breathtaking beautiful, audaciously ambitious in its scope and, most importantly, a living document that proves the vitality of these ‘old favourites’.
A product of free-thinking and intuitive musicians at the very height of their powers. The concept might seem oxymoronic, but if you’re looking for the cutting edge of traditional music, it is here.
THE HAAR – THE ALBUM
Molly Donnery – vocals
Cormac Byrne – bodhrán and percussion
Murray Grainger – accordion
Adam Summerhayes – fiddle
Two musicians stand in a crowded pub on the Irish island of Inis Oírr; a flame-haired girl silences the room with a quiet unaccompanied song – Molly’s voice was worth the silence.
An impulsive decision follows, and at sunset the next day, Molly, Adam and Cormac meet at a timeless shipwreck on the wild Atlantic shoreline. They sit on a rock and a simple traditional song emerges – just voice, fiddle and bodhrán. No rehearsal, no arrangement – the song performed intuitively … the seed of an idea that grows into The Haar, the lineup completed when Molly and Murray (accordion) meet for the first time in the studio to record Irish traditional songs tackling love, poverty and oppression –subjects that link the peoples of these islands.
In the studio, the music flows from the bands first notes together – reminiscent of the haar, a sea mist that rolls in from the Irish and North Seas: fleeting, intangible, headily thick, suddenly overwhelming and then unexpectedly clearing for a glimpse of precious sunlight. The band make no plans, just letting the music create itself; the tracks on the album are the first and only versions, as unpredictable and ephemeral as the haar itself.