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HANNAH FLOWERS - Amhran Na Cruite (Song Of The Harp) 

HANNAH FLOWERS - Amhran Na Cruite (Song Of The Harp) 
Private Label 

Hannah Flowers is a singer and harpist from the USA. Her debut album is as it states - a selection of songs primarily from the Gaelic tradition with harp accompaniment. It’s not a completely solo affair though as she is accompanied on some tracks by Daithi Sproule on guitar, Cory Froelich on flute and whistle, fiddler David Ochs, and Danielle Emblom’s step dance provides foot percussion on Is Trua Gan Peata An Mahoir Agam. Here we have several classic ballads. Among those are Roisin Dubh, Casadh an tSugain and Bucahail On Eirne - all receive fine unobtrusive treatments with vocal and harp paramount, with an occasional second instrument.

Hannah’s voice is sound and sweet and her approach to the songs is respectful and contemporaneously valid. Song and harp recordings within the Irish canon inevitably beg comparison with Mary O’Hara and Aine Nic Gabhain’s pioneering recordings from this genre. While more recent artists like Loreena McKennitt and Joanna Newsome have stretched the realm of the harp and vocal idea into wider World music and Acid folk cultures, the purity of the combination renders it strictly a folk ideal in its purest form. This singularity is retained by Hannah Flowers in her performances on Amhran Na Cruite and the songs receive pensive yet respectful treatments. This is not an earth shaker of an album, nor is it meant to be –rather it is a reinstatement of an ideal and a model of interpretation and accompaniment that benefits the source material while alluding to its rich legacy. Hannah Flowers knows the strength and history of this approach and her pleasingly undemonstrative yet affecting covers of these classic songs proves that.

John O’Regan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 127 of The Living Tradition magazine.