Songs of the Saints
Donohoe Songs of the Saints Bouzouki, electric guitar, doumbek, drum set, choir, turntables, acoustic bass, and more create the unique ensemble that performs the music of this album. The Songs of the Saints combines a lush choir with modern sounds and even a few from the Middle East. An eclectic and exotic mix of sounds provides the listener with a colorful array of voices from which the saints may speak. The "Songs of the Saints" album is the follow up to Donohoe's debut album "Shi Jing: Ancient Book of Songs." Like Donohoe's first release Shi Jing, this album is also best if listened to from beginning to end, or cover to cover. Each song leads wonderfully into the next like chapters in a book. A brief description from the composer Colin O'Donohoe regarding the music - St. Michael - A woman stands and prays for her angel to come and vanquish the evil. St. Michael soars above with his army of angels to fight the devil. A spectacular conflict between good and evil arises. These are the visions I had as I composed this piece. It brought me back to a time and place where I heard ancient instruments and familiar cries. I wanted to create a musical landscape that bridged the time and continents in an attempt to make it as universal as possible. The Bouzouki was the essential element in bringing this piece it's identity. I love how the percussion pushes the piece along and the vocals seem untouched by the surrounding passions of the orchestra. These unique elements made it the ideal choice for the first track of "Songs of the Saints." St. Francis of Assisi I love the story of this Saint. I love that he has done so much good and that so much good has been done in his name. He is a marvelous figure who answered God's call to him. I wanted the music to reflect the idea of being in a Church, hearing a prayer, and then springing to action. People are called in various places and at various times, it is up to us to answer that call. I wanted the music to answer that call! The high soprano takes over and sings a passionate melody. The percussion adds excitement and turmoil, the soprano returns and the piece finishes with a reflective piano. This allows it to bridge into the third chapter of the Songs of the Saints collection. St. Catherine of Sienna She is one of the most interesting figures that I wrote about. She has been noted to have had visions (some called them hallucinations) throughout her life. She persevered through so many challenges to accomplish great good in her life. The piece is placed in an odd meter while the melodies play in the traditional 4/4. This is purposely done to demonstrate the unstable ground on which she treads throughout her life. There are visions and sounds throughout the piece that serve as her visions or hallucinations. Above all else St. Catherine is a symbol of peace and hope. She was a true visionary who did great work in a time where woman were not highly regarded. My composition attempts to be a beautiful dedication to her. Songs of the Saints would not be complete without her inclusion. St. Brigid - Mary of the Gael A Pagan king lies dying and St. Brigid rushes to his side and preaches him the gospel. He is overcome with emotion at the telling of the words of God. He converts and while his body can't be saved, his soul is. My music has three main characters: St. Brigid, the king, and the Holy Ghost. It is a theatrical piece which strives to bring the listener to the very day in which this miracle occurred. This is one of the most theatrical pieces on Songs of the Saints. St. Sebastian This piece came to me as I was walking through the garden of a St. Sebastian church in Pittsburgh PA. I was inspired by the saint and the garden with it's beautiful statues to write this piece. I knew that I had to go home and learn more about this saint. The music works to bring the listener back to the state of mind I was in when the inspiration hit me: The magnificent church, the reflective mood, the feeling of pure beauty in a world so conflicted and troubled. The flute soars above the music and brings with it a sense of peace. The peace I felt that fall afternoon in Pittsburgh. I thought it the perfect mid-point for Songs of the Saints. St. Valentine The song is simple yet filled with metaphor. A quiet song about a girl hoping for a love and peace worthy of the name Valentine. I wanted it to be smooth, soulful, pretty, and sexy, all of which lead the piece forward. Not a ballad, but a piece about yearning, a piece about the desire to find peace through love. When writing the Songs of the Saints I felt it necessary to include one of the most famous of saints. St. Benedict During my time in Phoenix Arizona I worked for a wonderful parish named St. Benedict. During this time I loved performing on drum set for two masses a week. The people there were wonderful and I had the great opportunity to use my talents in helping people celebrate God. This congregation is the inspiration for the music. The music itself is solely about St. Benedict himself though. He was a great man who led to incredibly wonderful things done throughout the world. The seeds for the Songs of the Saints project were planted during my own time at a St. Benedict's parish. Hail Mary This is written from the perspective of Joseph. While he had great dreams from the Holy Spirit, it must still be difficult to accept the role he was given. It is my opinion that it may have been a larger inner struggle for him than the Bible describes to us. Mary deserves the highest seat among the saints for her most important role. She fulfilled her duties with unfrequented faith and love. For this I needed to include her in the Songs of the Saints album. Amazing Grace This is a beautiful song that I have played countless times. It remains as true and soulful today as when it was first sung. I only added my own personal style to it. I brought it into a minor key and stretched the meter a bit. This is the only cover song on the Songs of the Saints album. Sonata Lucia This is the 2nd movement of a three movement piece dedication to St. Lucia. It was written while I was losing my eyesight to macular degeneration. I thought while I was struggling with it that writing a piece to the patron saint of eyesight might bring me some comfort. It did successfully keep my mind and spirit on something positive. This is the only "classical" track on Songs of the Saints. It is a sweet farewell after such an intense musical experience.