Lights In The Dark, 1998

Irish Voice

A Bright Shining Light

By Don Meade

LIGHTS In the Dark (Detour) is a collection if Irish-language sacred songs, lullabies and laments that features the gorgeous voices of three young female singers: Breda Mayock, a member of a well-known County Mayo musical family, Katie McMahon of the Dublin vocal group Anúna and, most impressively, Aran islander Lasairfhíona Ni Chonaola.French composer Hector Zazou is the only artist listed on the cover of the CD, but he would seem to have played mostly a producer’s role in the actual music. The sound is more than a bit “new agey”, but Zazou tastefully deploys a wide ocarina and some beautiful trumpet arrangements from Mark Isham. The shimmering sound effect, choral voices and assorted percussion fail to distract the listener from the sheer beauty of the three women’s singing. Mayock’s take on “Caoineadh na dTrí Muire” (“Keening of the Three Marys”) and McMahon’s version of the Irish carol “Seacht Suaiclcaí´na Maighdine Muire” (“Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary”) are both very impressive. It is Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola (pronounced Lassareena Nee Coneela), however, who has the most distinctive voice and musical sensibility of the three lead singers. Born in Dublin but raised on Inishere, the smallest of the Aran Islands, off the Galway coast, she delivers highly original and thoughtful interpretations on the bare three tracks she was allotted by Zazou.