Fields of Athenry
Mary Behan Miller's latest CD, The Fields of Athenry is her second solo Celtic CD and features the song of the same name by Pete St. John. This CD, like most of Mary's other CDs is available at the special 3 for $15 price. Special pricing information can be found in the links at the bottom of this page. As with Mary's first CD, A Celtic Journey, the tracks include songs from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The new CD also includes Farewell to Nova Scotia, a region of Canada with a rich Celtic tradition. Some of the selections are quite old including Brian Boru's March (combined here with the Scottish ballad I Know Where I Am Going) and Be Thou My Vision with lyrics that were written about a millennium ago. The melody for this song is Slane and is also very old. Two other old compositions, Madam Maxwell and Loftus Jones by the Irish Baroque composer Turlough O'Carolan comprise another track. Molly Malone is also found on the CD and while the lyrics are dark, the melody is upbeat. Similarly the lyrics for Where the Blarney Roses Grow describe a man who falls under the spell of a beautiful damsel. Sadly the woman takes advantage of him and spends all his money. The melody is much happier than the lyrics here too. Sir Eglamore is another song with a lively melody and somewhat grim lyrics that describe a ferocious fight with a dragon. However, Sir Eglamore wins the battle so at least here the ending is happy. The other tracks on the CD are more pensive and wistful. The famous Welsh ballad The Ash Grove and the Scottish tune Kelvin Grove both describe painful partings and longings for times past. The lullabies The Castle of Dromore and The Skye Boat Song are expressions of anxiety regarding the young in a dangerous world. The "wild banshee" of the first lullaby is the harbinger of death, a fate that the mother fervently hopes will not happen to her baby. The Skye Boat Song describes the successful escape of a very young Prince Charlie after his forces were defeated by the British at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Other solo CDs by Mary Behan Miller include the previously mentioned A Celtic Journey with favorites like Danny Boy and An Irish Lullaby and the Welsh lullaby Suo Gan popularized by the movie Empire in the Sun. Mary's Kids' Songs and Lullabies CD includes songs for both very young and somewhat older children. Lullabies include All Through the Night and Hush Little Baby. For older children, Bingo, Grandfather's Clock and The Crawdad Song can be heard along with other selections. The CD American Pie features the Don McLean song of the same title and a wide variety of earlier American songs that include Battle Hymn of the Republic, Sloop John B, Shenandoah and a medley of songs by George M. Cohan. The Cat Came Back, a highly amusing song about an indestructible cat, can also be heard. The CD Amazing Grace, perhaps not surprisingly, contains the track of the same name along with a collection of other sacred favorites. Two of the most ancient songs are in Gregorian chant, The Magnificat and Salve Regina and date from medieval times. Other somewhat newer tracks include For the Beauty of the Earth, How Can I Keep from Singing and the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria. Holy Manna, sung in the style of the Sacred Harp tradition is another track on the CD. Simple Gifts can also be heard with several new verses provided.