DOWNPATRICK folk choir Voices of Lecale have celebrated the launch of their latest CD ‘Voyages – Songs Of The Sea‘.
At a party at Downpatrick Golf Club on Monday night (7 October), the many guests enjoyed a live performance of the songs featured on the CD and snapped up their own personal copies, many of which will no doubt be given as Christmas gifts to family and friends at home or away this year.
The CD was officially launched by singer-songwiter Fil Campbell. Originally from Belleek, Fil and her percussionist husband Tom McFarland have produced a large body of work for Irish TV, ‘Songbirds‘, in addition to a number of high-selling CD’s and work together developing young singers and helping older singers find their voices.
Tom runs their recording studio (Ballyneddan Studio, Rostrevor) and it was there and at Mourne Grange, Kilkee,l that the choir’s CD was recorded over the summer.
The choir’s Musical Director Laura Plummer talke dto Down News about the new CD. She said: “This new album takes the listener on a voyage on the high seas from Ireland, to the Isle of Mingulay, up to Scandanavia and over to New York, before turning south to the Caribbean and down to Brazil and then on to Hawaii.
“There is a wide mix of songs and shanties from the calypso of ‘Banana Boat Song’ and the upbeat ‘New York Girls’ to slower songs and airs such as ‘The Dark Island’. Of local interest is a new version of a beautiful tune ‘Inis Oirr’, originally an instrumental piece by Thomas Walsh for which I wrote lyrics.
Another new piece is ‘The Turn of the Tide’, a slow air on the small Scottish pipes by Killyleagh piper, Willie Garrett. I am very proud of the choir and how far it has developed over the past six years. This new CD is our best to date and we are all really looking forward to promoting it in the months ahead.”.
Voices of Lecale Chairperson Grainne Gibson said: ‘We are really delighted with this CD. Many of our favourite songs are included – we had talked about making a CD about the sea for some time now. We got the chance to perform the songs at the Strangford Lough Maritime Festival and also at Fiddlers’ Green in Rostrevor so the songs will stay with us for a long time.
“We had some great musicians joining us – Willie Garrett, Dan Hull, Declan Plummer and Tom McFarland with uillean pipes, Scottish small pipes, whistles, concertina, mandola, djembe and bodhrán – this really enhances the singing. Once again all proceeds from the sale of the CD are going to charity – this time it’s PIPS, an organisation that works to prevent suicide.”
In thanking those who had supported the project Laura mentioned some individuals who had helped make the CD happen. She said: “We’re especially grateful to the Camphill Community at Mourne Grange in Kilkeel for providing such a beautiful recording venue; to Tom McFarland our sound engineer who was a joy to work with, to our wonderful guest musicians, Willie, Declan, and Dan and to everyone who has helped with donations and sponsorship – we are putting up a full list on our website.
“The Voices grew out of their ‘Singers’ Circle’ night-class and the choir would not be here at all if it were not for the help from the Down Arts Centre. Over the years they have provided unfailing support.’
The community choir was founded in 2007 and has gone from strength to strength with a previous sell-out Christmas CD, radio performances and concerts around the County Down area. It is a registered charity and its patron is Tommy Sands.
The CD’s, priced at £10, will soon be on sale via the choir’s website with other retail outlets planned in the run-up to Christmas. Voices of Lecale will be singing at the St Patrick Centre and Down Arts Centre over the Christmas period.
Further information is available on the choir’s website: