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Night Owl

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Album Review

Like Ralph Stanley and June Tabor, Dolores Keane is one of those rare singers whose voices mellow and improve rather than weaken with age. Also like June Tabor (though not like Ralph Stanley), she has broadened her stylistic range and her performing repertoire in recent years, still focusing on the traditional music of her native Ireland but also exploring themes from other cultures and tunes by modern songwriters. Night Owl opens on a somber note, with a despairing song apparently about the Northern Irish Troubles, and the mood is scarcely lightened at any point thereafter; there is a gorgeous rendition of the mournful "Wind that Shakes the Barley," one lament, two back-to-back farewells, a lover's plea, a tale of mass martyrdom, and a song inspired by the street urchins of Sao Paolo. By all rights this should be a terribly depressing album. But Keane's singing is such a joy, and the instrumental accompaniment so well arranged and expertly played, that every moment is a pleasure, if a bittersweet one. This is one of those albums you'll find yourself giving to friends as gifts.

Biography

Born: September 26, 1953 in Caherlistrane, County Galway, Ire

Genre: World

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

A member of one of Ireland's most respected singing families, Dolores Keane is the possessor of some of the sweetest tones in Celtic music. The first vocalist for Irish band De Danann, Keane has sung with the Chieftains and Planxty, as well as with her husband, John Faulkner, and on her own. Keane's musical career began at a very early age. By the time she was five, she was already singing with her aunts, Sarah and Rita Keane, well-known singers of old Irish ballads. Invited by Johnny Moynihan...
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Night Owl, Dolores Keane
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