(Celtic Collections, 2002)
Meav has a sweet and very clear voice, which is very well suited to the collection of songs, most of which have a maritime connection. Silver Sea conjures visions of beauty and tranquility, which the voice of Meav delivers.
John Spillane is one of the best songwriters currently producing material in Ireland, and Meav opens the CD with his excellent song "You Brought Me Up." It is a tale based on the myth of the selkie where a seal comes ashore and lives as a human, but eventually returns to the sea. Meav's clear, cool voice is perfect for the song and the theme. She shares writing credit with Conor O'Reilly on "The Wicked Sister," an adaptation of "Two Sisters" dating from the 17th century.
I listened to "Morning in Bearra" without reading the notes and was delighted to hear a beautiful song in the Irish language with a very familiar air. It is a tune dating from before 1850. This song dates from 1901 but the air got a new lease of life as "Danny Boy." The CD is worth buying just to hear the original of one of the most hackneyed of Irish airs.
Track 4 is a fascinating combination. Meav has put music to a piece from Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Again, the sea is evident in "Full Fathom Five." Her melodic voice blends beautifully with the language as on the "The Waves of Tory," an emigration song in reverse. She expertly combines the native tongue with English.
She does not confine herself to the songs of Ireland. Her version of the Cornish song "A Maid in Bedlam," about a girl committed to a mental asylum, is beautifully rendered with every word clearly enunciated.
"Silent O Moyle" is an old Irish air that was given new lyrics by Thomas Moore. He based his words for this song on the ancient myth of the children of Lir, in which the king"s offspring were transformed into swans.
Meav shows her versatility and international interests with her final track, "Youkali Tango" by Kurt Weil and Roger Fernay. It is an unusual piece at the end of a very Celtic CD, but it works and suits her voice and delivery very well.
This is a musical treasure of an album.