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Voices From The Merry Cemetery

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, 14 Feb 2011
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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Feb. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tara
  • ASIN: B004GGO47Y
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,294 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

Shaun Davey is once again breaking new musical ground with his latest album 'Voices From The Merry Cemetery'. The music is the product of a highly unusual collaboration between the well-known Irish composer, working with Irish and Romanian musicians; it takes the form of a collection of thirteen specially-composed songs with words based on grave inscriptions from Northern Romania. The cemetery, in the village of Sapânta on Romania's border with Ukraine, is known as 'The Merry Cemetery' for its tradition of brightly painted, carved wooden crosses, each decorated with a painted bas-relief and poem describing the life of the departed. Some are full of pathos, others are light-hearted, often intentionally comic. It was from these epitaphs that Shaun derived the lyrics of the songs in 'Voices from the Merry Cemetery'. Some of the album was recorded live at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in the Evangelical Cathedral, Sibiu, Transylvania in 2009 where the Irish musicians travelled with support from Culture Ireland. The rest was recorded this summer in the Reformat Church, Sighetu, Maramures, during rehearsals for the concert in the Merry Cemetery itself as part of 'The Long Road to Sapânta Festival' organized by Irishman Peter Hurley. The recording features Irish artists Rita Connolly and Liam O'Flynn with the Romanian Men's Choir of the Theology Faculty, Sibiu, directed by Pr. Dr. Sorin Dobre with musicians from the State Philharmonia, conducted by David Brophy The Voices From The Merry Cemetery suite received its Irish Premier at a concert in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin on Nov 27th 2010. To mark the launch, Shaun Davey will attend the concert given by: the RTÉ Concert Orchestra with conductor David Brophy, vocalist Rita Connolly, and uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn, Gerry O'Beirne guitar, Noel Eccles percussion, David Leigh organist/keyboards, Eóin Ó Beaglaioch concertina/accordion, The Men's Choir of the Faculty of Theology from Sibiu directed by Pr. Dr. Sorin Dobre and the Dun Laoghaire Choral Society. The Mens Choir from Sibiu appear with support from The Romanian Cultural Institute. The concert was introduced by his Exellency Iulian Buga, Romanian Ambassador to Ireland. On Monday 29th November the Mens Choir from Sibiu were invited to meet President MacAleese at Aras as Úachtaráin.

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Format: Audio CD
Three modern orchestral composers from Ireland who immediately spring to mind are Phil Coulter, Bill Whelan and Shaun Davey. Each have a background with traditional `folk' links and it is possibly Davey who stands out for grand gestures when it comes to orchestration. For his latest project he has travelled to Romania in search of inspiration. Being of sound mind, Davey's (some would say) off kilter approach to subject matter, in this case a cemetery in the village of Sapanta bordering the Ukraine is also known as The Merry Cemetery due to its decoratively festooned wooden crosses accompanied by poems describing a celebration of the life of the departed. Pathos is the nearest we get to any maudlin thoughts and it has to be said the Romanian spirit regarding death is in most cases truly uplifting and possibly, akin with their Irish counterparts this is the nearest we might get to a `wake'. Of course, no Shaun Davey recording would be complete without vocal contributions from his wife Rita Connolly and amongst other musicians his Uilleann piper of choice Liam O'Flynn, Gerry O'Beirne (guitar) and Noel Eccles on percussion. The music on the recording is inspiring and more often than not all the more charming for its idiosyncrasies. I've always thought that in death, however painful, a loved one's life can be celebrated and personally speaking, if I had a choice I'd certainly like to be remembered this way.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique cross-cultural event 27 Mar. 2011
By M. D. HEALY - Published on
Verified Purchase
If you liked Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Master or Our Town by Thornton Wilder when you studied them in English class, this collection of songs should be right in your line. These 13 songs have words based on grave inscriptions from a cemetery in Romania that is famous for carved wooden crosses, each decorated with a sculpture and a poem about the departed by a local artist.

Davey, a prominent Irish composer, worked with Irish and Romanian musicians on the project of setting these inscriptions to music. Some of these songs were recorded in Ireland, while the rest were recorded at a local church near the cemetery in Romania. The singers and instrumentalists include some of the best in Ireland (including the composer's wife Rita Connolly whose amazing voice is featured in many of his works) and Mens Choir from Sibiu who appeared with support from The Romanian Cultural Institute.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 18 Sept. 2014
By TAMicheli - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Weird and wonderful.
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