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Sean-Nos Nua

4.2 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 8, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Literally translating as "Old Songs Made New", Sean Nos Nua is a redefining moment in Sinead O'Connor's wayward career, an album composed of songs extracted from the bottomless well of traditional Irish folk song. Indeed, as many have proved in the past, this ancient repository is an apt source of material from which to draw and compliment the outsider's oeuvre of an artistic mutineer such as O'Connor, for, along with the customary stories of lust and heartbreak, Irish traditional song and verse--much like that of other folk song emanating from the British Isles--is stuffed to the gills with bloody narratives of tragedy, intransient rebelliousness and lawless skulduggery. Despite it's generous thematic share of ex-pat Paddies caught up in foreign wars, nautical misadventure ("Lord Franklin"), murder and piracy, Sean Nos Nua is a very feminine album, with O'Connor at her fragrant, interpretive best on the sorrowful "Molly Malone" and "Lord Baker", which finds Christy Moore revisiting the song he performed with Planxty on the 1982 album Words and Music . Intentions to "sex things up", as O'Connor puts it, give birth to an intriguing reggae undertow on "îr-, SŽ Do Bheatha 'Bhaile" while guest appearances from the Emerald Isle's most eminent bouzouki practitioner Donal Lunny, the Waterboys' Steve Wickham on fiddle, Sharon Shannon on accordion and ON-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood keep things fresh but traditionally firm-footed enough not to deter purists. And, who knows, the boozy Irish bards and archivists of the future may have occasion to recount the tales of the shaven-headed colleen from Glengeary who ripped up pictures of the Pontiff and whose backside never surrendered to the threat of a star-spangled kicking from the boot of Frank Sinatra. --Kevin Maidment


Sinéad O'Connor's first studio record since 2000's Faith and Courage takes her far into her Irish heritage with 13 traditional songs dusted off and set to new arrangements. Accompanied by stellar Irish and English-based musicians such as Donal Lunny (guitar, bouzouki, keyboard, bodhran, bodhran bass) and vocalist Christy Moore, O'Connor, who also coproduced, casts a hypnotic spell, making the old songs resonate with pulsing rhythms and sounds. Such contemporary treatment takes nothing away from the austere splendor of the material--in fact, this often seems a mystical recording just recovered from some ancient vault. Whether pining over unrequited love ("Peggy Gordon") or bemoaning the plight of a soldier who fled the Irish wars, only to be conscripted under Abraham Lincoln in the War Between the States ("Paddy's Lament"), O'Connor delivers an intimate and thoroughly mature performance, her whispered voice occasionally giving way to a primal scream. Melancholy to the core and astonishingly beautiful. --Alanna Nash

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Peggy Gordon
  2. Her Mantle So Green
  3. Lord Franklin
  4. The Singing Bird
  5. Óró, Sé Do Bheatha ‘Bhaile
  6. Molly Malone
  7. Paddy’s Lament
  8. The Moorlough Shore
  9. The Parting Glass
  10. Báidín Fheilimí
  11. My Lagan Love
  12. Lord Baker (with Christy Moore)
  13. I’ll Tell me Ma

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vanguard Records
  • ASIN: B00006J420
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,916 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Hogan VINE VOICE on October 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sine`ad O'Connor has found a perfect vehicle for her great talent. This is a collection of 13 cuts,most of them short,ballad like all of them traditionaly Irish. Th opening song is a hook, Peggy Gordon, a marvelously textured song of love{and the second longest on this album]. Others include LORD Franklin,the Stirring PAddy's lament, a haunting story of a conscript in the American civil war,the Gaelic Baidin Fheilimi,the longest song on this relese,Lord Baker is sung with Christy Moore,and it works very well.A great compilation of song,the outside of the Cd comes with a sticker from ms. O'connor" saying that this was the record she waited her whole life to make, and it sounds it. With the crystalline voice designed to break your heart, matched with the best arraingements,simple and elegant of her career, Sinead o'Connor has mad her finest recording to date. This is a near perfect album,and I highly recommend it .
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I have to confess that I am not the biggest Sinead O'Connor fan. I liked a few songs here and there in the past ten years but I wasn't really into her music as some of the reviewers here are. I was more indifferent to her music and just annoyed with her antics that I have seen on television. It wasn't until I heard Sinead's vocals on Conjure One's "Tears From the Moon" that made me re-think of her music. Her contribution on Rhys Fulber's new project just blew me away. Definitely one of the best tracks I have heard her sing on. I loved her thick Irish accent on the song. Plus a couple of my posting buddies over at MSN.com has raved about Sinead's new album of cover songs. I have heard nothing but good things about "Sean-Nos Nua". According to my friends, this album is all cover songs of traditional Irish songs. I love Irish music so that was a big plus for me to buy this album. I finally got around to buying "Sean-Nos Nua". I was definitely not disappointed in this album. Sinead's vocals were perfect for these songs. Doing an entire album of traditional Irish music was a brilliant idea on Sinead's part. Anyone wanting more poppier music from her should open their minds more, that or just should not buy this album if they want her to remain making pop music. I enjoy Irish music myself but I guess if people don't enjoy it and want Sinead to put herself in a rut by making the same ol' song over and over, so be it. I enjoy diversity. "Sean-Nos Nua" is a beautiful album. I absolutely loved "Peggy Gordon", "Molly Malone", and "Paddy's Lament" in particular. This entire album is a complete masterpiece. Fans of celtic music definitely would love "Sean-Nos Nua" as well as most Sinead fans. I may just have to check out her other albums in the near future. This woman is truly a talented and highly overlooked artist.
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I've hoped Sinead would record an entire CD in the Irish language ever since I heard her do one such song in concert several years ago. This new album is very strong, but I wish there were more than two songs sung in the Erse. The liner notes include Sinead's introduction to each song and it's interesting to learn why she was drawn to them. She doesn't come right out and define what "Sean-Nos Nua" means, but I gather it roughly translates to "songs done in the old style." It is a nice collection and her voice is as expressive as ever. The best moments for me are her duet with Christy Moore on "Lord Baker" and her version of the anti-war song "Paddy's Lament." A surprising inclusion is "Molly Malone," which I'm used to hearing as a sprightly song, rather than as the dirge it really is, as Sinead notes. I'm hoping this CD will be a success that will lead to another.
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one of the millions of things i love about sinead o'connor is her uncanny ability to surprise me (and everyone else, i suppose). just when you thought you've nailed her down and defined her, or she's run out of tricks to pull, she comes out with even more surprises. and these surprises never fail to, well, surprise and delight.
for my birthday, i asked my sister to buy me sean-nos nua in japan (i wanted to have the release with bonus tracks). it was about double the price. but it was okay because after i heard the 2 bonus tracks (spanish lady & marble halls), i thought that they were well worth the extra money.
i think i better veer away from talking about each track in detail. rather, i would talk about how wonderful the album is, as a whole.
in this album, i noticed that even after more than a decade, sinead hasn't lost her passionate, fiery, and mournful voice. although, there are lots of times that she seems to be just whispering and singing a lullaby to a sleeping baby, you could almost always hear that hint of contained anger (not hatred)--like an beautiful (in a morbid way) scar borne of a terrible wound. and somehow these whispers crush your heart. it's like you just want her scream her lungs out. yes, sometimes, she screams and make you feel "normal" again. but sometimes, she doesn't.
i must admit that the first time i listened to the album, i got a little distracted. well, when sinead sings a song, you tend to forget everything else--who wrote the song, where it came from, etc--she just transport you to a completely different reality where even "drifting leaves" seem significant and filled with passion. so, i forgot that the songs in sean-nos nua are actually traditional celtic songs.
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