“Quite apart from the musical qualities, enormous care and imagination has gone into the presentation of the project. It comes in the form of a small hard-back book, the CD slipped inside the rear cover. The contents are illustrated with rather dramatic photographs, the texts clearly printed in Irish and English, the margins decorated with border patterns in the style of William Morris (indeed they may actually be William Morris, though the booklet doesn’t say).
Beautifully produced then, and the same description can be applied to the music. Caitríona O’Leary here creatively explores ancient forms of Irish music, though she emphasises that she has been singing some of these songs for many years. Song plays a vital part in Irish culture – the Irish still use the phrase ‘abair amhráin’ meaning ‘to speak a song’ – indicating the close and overlapping nature of music and poetry. The music of a song can have a magical quality; it can be a spell simply to lull a child to sleep, or to ward off evil spirits who are often lurking nearby. In her notes, O’Leary makes the point that “Irish fairies are not like Disney’s Tinkerbell! They are mansize and menacing!” Most of the songs are in the Irish language, but track 14 contains Lollai litil child, from the so-called Kildare Poems of around 1330.”
SLEEPSONGS is also available as a digital download with a digital booklet on iTunes, Amazon, Classics Online and other digital service providers around the world.