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Lake of Shadows

Phil Coulter

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Album Review

Phil Coulter may have made his name way back when as a writer of pop hits, but since then he's practiced his craft on a broader musical canvas. Here the art becomes more intimate, dealing as it does with a most specific place in Ireland, Lough Swilly, and its associations, both warm and tragic, with his own history. In the '80s, the lake claimed the lives of both his brother and sister, but he remains drawn to it, and its pristine memories of his childhood vacations. The musical result isn't a million miles from the neo-classical Celticisms of Peadar O'Riada — who helps out here — but also tinged with sorrow, as on "The Shores of the Swilly," beautifully and sparely sung by Sinead O'Connor, which is the tale of Cyd Coulter's death. There's history in actor Liam Neeson's spoken-word piece, "The Flight of the Earls," and the mournful simplicity of the hymn "For Those in Peril on the Sea." There's also plenty of orchestral sweep to the melodies, evoking the water, which brings some of the album perilously close to new age music. Always, though, Coulter knows when to back off and not let things go too far. Even "Prayer for the Fishermen," with Roma Downey's invocation, never reaches overkill. In essence, this album is a catharsis of spirit and a memorial, and Coulter's touch ensures that it succeeds as both.

Biography

Born: February, 1942 in Derry, Northern Ireland

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Composer, producer and performer Phil Coulter was the reigning king of contemporary Celtic music, becoming the best-selling Irish artist of his generation. Born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1942, Coulter began his career while studying music at Belfast's Queens University, writing the Capitol Showband's 1963 hit "Foolin' Time" and later penning the ensemble's 1965 Eurovision Song Contest entry "Walking the Streets in the Rain." Other notable compositions of the era include Twinkle's 1964 smash "Terry"...
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Lake of Shadows, Phil Coulter
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