A Sligo Musical Milestone
SLIGO 19/10/2010: Set for a Halloween release, NoCrows on the Moon is the third release from the eclectic Sligo based acoustic music group NoCrows. With more original material than their previous records and no less than twenty musical guests from eight countries, including Sharon Shannon, French star Cali, Donegal fiddle maestros Fidil, Mallorcan songstress Miquela Lladó and jazz drummer David Lyttle amongst others, NoCrows on the Moon represents a collaborative and creative milestone for the group.
Already available to download from itunes, the CD will hit the stores on Saturday October 30. To celebrate the CD release, NoCrows will perform a selection of tunes at 3pm in Johnston Court Shopping Centre in their native Sligo.
NoCrows embody the vibrant, multicultural Sligo arts scene. The legendary Shoot the Crows Wednesday pub session that gave birth, and – indirectly - a name, to this group, continues to this day, with Swiss mandolinist/cellist Anna Houston, Mallorcan guitarist/vocalist Felip Carbonell joining Dublin born, Sligo based Steve Wickham on fiddle and vocals, and the group’s only Sligoman, Eddie Lee on double bass, for tunes galore.
Friend and colleague, Russian violin virtuoso Oleg Ponomarev, who has joined NoCrows as special guest on many concerts and festivals in recent years, plays a leading role on this album, contributing two original tunes and his virtuosic violin on several tracks.
The collaborative process was the key to the creation of NoCrows on the Moon, and as a result of musical collaborations in several countries the album is more eclectic than ever. Original tunes abound, many to be heard for the first time, such as the album’s opening tune, Anna Houston’s anthemic Cormac’s Fancy. This features Donegal piper Doimnic McGiolla Bhride, Sligo Bodhran legend Junior Davey and a recording debut by Anna’s 15 year old son Darragh Houston on piano. October Snow set features Anna’s sister Karen on Bouzouki and the lads from Fidil as special guests. Some, such as Steve Wickham’s Pascal, have been fan favourites for some time. In keeping with the song’s plaintive French theme, Steve’s friend, French rock star Bruno ‘Cali’ Caliciuri translated the song into French (L’Appel de la Lune), flew in and performed it at Urs Lanz’s Doocastle studio, with a backing track featuring the other two members of Eddie’s Sligo based trio The Odd Couple (Kieran Quinn, piano and Ken McDonald, drums). Sharon Shannon, who has toured with both Steve and Eddie in the past, played accordion on another Wickham original, The Magician. Greek duo Haig Yazdjian (Oud) and Vangelis Karipis (percussion) make a breathtaking cameo on Eddie’s Troy, a tune inspired by their performance at Cairde Festival in Sligo a year previous. Jazz drummer/percussionist David Lyttle features on several tracks including Eddie’s other original, “Dolmen Dance” and Steve’s bebop-v-Irish trad romp Charlie Parker’s Trip to Doolin. Felip Carbonell’s Mallorcan connection brought NoCrows to the sunny island once again in June 2010 and they took the opportunity to visit a studio and record the Mallorcan traditional Jota des Bellveure with Balearic singing legend Miquela Lladó. Back in Sligo, Felip’s friend Miquel Barcelo added some traditional Mallorcan percussion and whistle. Sligo based flute player Collette Sheerin gave her tune, the haunting “Shoot the Crows” favourite, Marian’s Demise, to NoCrows for this CD and also guests on the track. There are but two cover versions on NoCrows on the Moon, a stirring version of Radiohead’s Exit Music for a Film, featuring Aminah Hughes on vocal, and a live concert favourite, a unique take on Pachelbel’s Canon, affectionately renamed Packie Bell. Finally Steve’s colleague from The Waterboys, Mike Scott, contributed what Steve described as “soundscape alchemy” on some of the tunes, as well as the album’s title. The download version of the CD contains a bonus track, Steve's own English language version of Pascal.
The official CD launch concert has been confirmed at The Model on November 26, when the band will be joined by several of the album’s guests.