Weather in the Heart
'Weather in the Heart' was recorded in Dublin in 1995, and saw the core Carmina band (Pippa Marland - vocals, saxes, Irish whistles; Rob King - acoustic guitar, mandola; Pete Jacobsen - keyboards; and Nigel Thomas - double bass, Fender bass) join forces with some of the finest musicians in Irish traditional and contemporary music. Donal Lunny (Planxty, Moving Hearts, Bothy Band), one of the great innovators of Irish music, produced the album and also contributed bouzouki, bodhran and backing vocals. Ex-Van Morrison band virtuosos Richie Buckley (saxes) and Dave Early (drums and percussion) were mainstays of the album's rich sound, joined by John McSherry (uilleann pipes and Irish whistles), Laoise Kelly (Celtic harp) - two of the young rising stars of traditional music - and Mike Nolan (flugel horn and trumpet) - one of Ireland's best-known jazz players. The album was recorded almost entirely live in Westland and Windmill Lane studios in Dublin over a two week period, and the sheer intensity and joy of the performance comes across in the recording. The distribution of the album was severely hampered by the sudden closure of Bridge Street Records only months after the record came out, but since 1995 it has been released in many territories worldwide and it's reputation and following has been growing steadily. It has met with critical acclaim wherever it has been heard and has now been re-issued in it's full original form on the new independent label I&E Records, and features the song 'Concorde' which was immortalised last year when it was played by the Air Traffic Controllers at heathrow Airport as the Concordes made their landing after their last commercial flights. 'One of the most lyrical, surprising and enriching albums of the Celtic World' El Pais, Spain. 'very possibly a masterpiece' Taplas, UK 'Mesmerising...bewitching...Carmina's songs are effortless in the international language of love and the emotions' Irish Times 'The deliciously catchy single, Red River Valley, Girl, has been wafting out over our airwaves for a couple of months now, providing the perfect aural backdrop to the recent summer heatwave. Singer Pippa Marland possesses a singularly appealing, honey-smooth voice, blending the fragile tones of Tori Amos with the undeniable influence of Joni Mitchell's vocal phrasing. And while Carmina's Donal Lunny-produced debut Weather in the Heart is not entirely in that melodic vein, they nevertheless concoct a resonant, jazz-pop sound that floats along like a tropical breeze. The title track, with it's bossa-nova rhythms and brilliant saxophone solo - courtesy of sometime Van Morrison side-man Richie Buckley - best illustrates Carmina's strengths as a combo with no little musical assuredness. The group's more introspective side is revealed on haunting atmospheric ballads like Bird of Paradise and The Five Lakes, while Donal Lunny's influence is apparent on the Planxty-like Down to Land/Garret Barry's. What's more, The Leaving Wakes, a poignant tale of 1920's emigration, demonstrates Marland's ability to tackle more traditional material in the Dolores Keane vein. Piano player Pete Jacobsen reigns supreme on a version of Micheal O'Suilleabhain's Ah, Sweet Dancer, and also provides the instrumental highlights on the album's epic closing number Mountains of Prayer a soaring, eight-minute ballad which fittingly captures Carmina's multi-layered approach. Weather in the Heart is a brilliant debut from an outfit we'll be hearing more from in the near future. Count on it' Colm O'Hare, Hot Press Album Review (nine-star rating). 'Album of the Year! Perhaps I should try to be objective in this review. But what the hell, why should I? This is so consistently superb that I want to shout about it from the rooftops. Pippa Marland and Rob King, the compositional and inspirational heart of Carmina have crafted a unique blend of jazz and Celtic sounds; acoustic traditional and electric modern a la Van the Man pervade this collection, making it appeal to the head, heart and feet all at the same time. Special mention should be made of the magical and majestic contribution made by Pete Jacobsen on keyboards, and of Nigel Thomas' ever swinging double bass playing. Add to this the delicate shading provided by the percussion of the late Dave Early, nearly always using brushes or just hands on skins, and the lyrical tenor and soprano sax of Richie Buckley (who takes the lion's share of the solos) - both new boys but sounding as if they had been born into this band. If that were not enough, there are dashes of the harp of Laoise Kelly, the flugel horn playing of Dublin's Mike Nolan, the uilleann pipes and whistles of John McSharry, and finally the bouzouki and bodhran of producer Donal Lunny - all blending superbly to produce an album that I think Van Morrison would have liked to have made had he not been side-tracked by R'n'B. This is the sound of the heart and soul of Ireland, the breathy purity of the vocal sounds of the woman in English folk music, and the swing of jazz - all as delicately and inextricably interwoven as a Celtic knot. The sound of Carmina is the one that leads us from the past to the future right here in the present. Jazzy, timeless beauty with roots deep in the peat of Ireland's musical past - a five-star album that is utterly indispensable. Buy it, play it and then try to live without it' Phil Aldridge, Folk On Tap, UK 'Weather in the Heart' has just been re-issued in the UK in it's full original form, and this is the CD which is now available to you. Here is what I&E Director Andrew Cooper had to say about the re-issue in the sleeve notes to the album: 'We all say from time to time that a book, a film, a record has changed our lives. Only occasionally is it literally true. Weather in the Heart changed my life completely. I was running a music venue in Lincolnshire when I first heard it in 2000; an agent sent me a copy, hoping to persuade me to book Carmina for a gig. I sat down one Saturday afternoon to listen, expecting to flit across a couple of tracks, to 'get a feel' as music programmers do. An hour or so later I realised I'd been transfixed, listening intensely to every track as if my life depended on it, which in a way I suppose it did. The extraordinary quality of Pippa's voice and the chemistry - poetic, musical and spiritual - which combined in this wonderful piece of art were apparent on first listening: something which is true of only the finest works. Carmina came to the venue: and Pippa, Rob and Pete - and Carmina - entered and transformed my life. I am proud to be in a position, through I&E Records, to ensure that Weather in the Heart remains in the public domain, now that it's original commercial release has come to an end. It is, and remains, a true contemporary classic, whose time in many ways is yet to come. It may not change others' lives in precisely the way it changed mine, but I guarantee that everyone who listens to this gorgeous, profound, moving collaboration of talents will find their life enriched and renewed.' Andrew Cooper, I&E Records, April 2003. We hope you enjoy our music.