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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

IARLA O LIONAIRD

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published June 27, 2006

Invisible Fields
Real World

Unlike his two previous solo albums and his work with the hugely successful world fusion band Afro Celt Sound System, of which he’s the lead singer, O Lionaird’s Invisible Fields has a much more personal and organic sound. Although the production is very modern, with layered sound and rich textures, there are no club beats on his latest album, which is intended as a musical homage to the Irish language. The songs and performances blur the lines between the ancient and the modern, between the real and the imaginary. Much of the material, which includes a few English songs such as the acappella “I’m Weary Of Lying Alone,” stems from or is inspired by the sean nos tradition. O Lionaird sang in a choir as a child and that influence becomes especially apparent on a few tracks. “Tuirimh Mhic Fhinin Dhuibh,” which has a very bleak and spare sound, was arranged by Gavin Bryars and features a haunting viola de gamba. Invisible Fields is eerie and deep but it’s an album that does an excellent job of showcasing O Lionaird’s remarkable voice.