For joy of music

Posted on: 7th March, 2017

Category: Music

Contributor: Mark Holland

Hunky Dory Music Shop in Spiller’s Lane, Clonakilty stocks a huge range of instruments, accessories, CDs and vinyl. Contact Mark on 023 8834982 or pop in to have a listen.

Marcella O’Sullivan has just released her debut album, ‘Wood of the Pilgrims’, and at the risk of being sensationalist about it I am simply blown away.  The album is a stunning collection of original soulful songs, lyrics and melodies, beautifully sung using really tight vocal harmonies.  Some of the songs are stripped right back to the vocals or simple accompaniment while for others the orchestration is a lot more complex; subtle but complex.

In an interview with Marcella she could not speak highly enough of her friend and collaborator Christophe Capewell who she credits with some of the invaluable intangibles, and a few tangibles ones too.  He was able to shine a light to help guide her along the winding road that leads to the finished product, but maybe even more importantly he had the interest to provide a critical ear and the belief in Marcella to encourage her to see it through.

But for me the most intriguing piece of the whole story is arriving at this finishing point with such an impressive piece of work without the torture of formal training and not needing to get bogged down in the convention of the normal route.

Marcella loves singing, the joy of it. She comes from a good old Irish family of seven siblings who all like to sing; singing, and with sisters, harmonising, can be such a transcendent form of communication that is vocal rather than verbal.  Singing always played a large part in school, you know what they’re like in Ross, and as she moved on to study further in Cork, at UCC, found a natural home in the choir, a pattern that she found repeated (I know that’s what pattern tend to do) in other places that she moved to. There is a wonderful balance of giving and receiving singing with others in a positive social environment with the discipline of routine.

Studying languages, French and Italian, helped open the opportunity to travel and gives insight into the imagination of those cultures but ultimately exposes the range and restrictions of the language of the culture you are from yourself.  We often feel more than we are capable of expressing in words. To me, there is something very old or primal to the feeling of Australia and it was there for the first time that Marcella felt a rhythm in a place that she recorded her first melody and later added the words or lyrics that fitted into the tune.  For her the lyrics come ‘fully formed’ and fit the tune that they have come for, she has far more written than will fit on one album.

I am obviously impressed, but if you have the opportunity to indulge yourself, visit www.marcellaosullivan.com to download the album on bandcamp or itunes. Marcella has had to work to make the money to enable her to see this project through but now its done it does not have to be a commercial success, it’s a pure expression of her joy in music.

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