MACA, A new group, explore traditional music in
a fresh and exciting way. These young, energetic singers find their
roots in Celtic and Classical music and present a finely tuned live
performance of close vocal harmony.
MACA presents contemporary arrangements of age old
music from the Celtic tradition. The members of MACA are Caron Hannigan,
Peter Harney, Tara O'Beirne and Yvonne Woods. All are founder members
of Anuna and have also performed with many fine international musicians
including Elvis Costello, Davy Spillane, Sinead O'Connor, Mairead
Ní Mhaoinaigh, Barry Manilow, The Chieftains and Brian Kennedy.
They have been involved in the recording of several film soundtracks
and have also appeared on numerous live television and radio broadcasts
throughout the United States and Europe.
This wealth of diverse experience has nurtured the
unique fusion of contemporary and age old music which creates the
magical sound of MACA. "Blood and Gold", their debut album,
presents a range of styles from raw rhythmic mouth music to the heartscalding
caoineadh. This album also sees guest appearances by drummer/percussionist
Paul Moran (ex-Clannad & Davy Spillane Band) and Brendan Power, world
renowned harmonica player. The unique arrangements by this talented
group incorporate atmospheric use of sound and inventive harmonies
which open a new window to Irish vocal music. Herein lies the appeal
"MACA'S Debut album was recorded
in New Zealand while this vocal quartet were touring with Riverdance.
Caron Hannigan, Peter Harney, Tara O'Beirne, Yvonne Woods are all
former members of Anuna but their combined talents created an album
that, stylistically moved beyond Anuna.
Caron and Yvonne are classically trained singers while Peter brings
a rawness and Tara an innocence to the overall sound. Blood and
Gold is a mixture of mouth-music - a style of singing which originated
in Scotland in puritanical times when the playing of certain instruments
was banned, and MACA arranged traditional airs. These distinct styles,
four very different (but equally great) voices and lots of clever
harmonies result in an album loaded with variety. The mood shifts
effortlessly from ethereal to earthy, from almost classical to definitely
trad. When you listen to this album you won't feel like track hopping.
ANUNA fans will love it but I would also recommend it to the die-hard
Kay Lynch - Source Magazine
"The name Maca is from the famous Ulster saga, the Táin.
A woman called Macha is forced to give birth to twins while running
a race against King Conor's horses. As she died, she cursed the
men of Ulster: "May the men be as weak and sick as a woman in childbirth
at the moment of their greatest danger." As well Maca are four talented
singers. And there is no weakness in their voices. Maca are rooted
in Irish as well as classical music. "Blood & Gold" features the
trained voices of Caron Hannigan and Yvonne Woods (who studied in
the Royal Academy of London) against the "untrained" voices of Peter
Harney and Tara O'Beirne. The four are founder members of Celtic
vocal group Anuna and have performed with the Riverdance show. The
title track comes from Andy Irvine's Romanian anti-war song. There's
an emphasis on traditional English and Irish airs. There is also
the contemporary song "Rinn na Mara" written by John Spillane and
Scottish Port a Bheul (Mouth Music). Most songs are solo performances
with sophisticated backing harmonisation. "My Lagan Love" is lifted
by harmonica player Brendan Power. Percussion is added by Paul Moran
(Clannad, Davy Spillane band)."
Walkin' T:-)M - Folkworld
"A Celtic voice combo spawned from the
Anuna and Riverdance stable, this group got together while on tour
with the second troupe, and have put together a fine. The opening
Andy Irvine composition 'Blood & Gold' is angelic. The Mouth Music
made famous in Ireland by Dolores Keane is well revived, 'Cad e
sin do'n Te sin' is tastefully arranged and John Spillane's 'Rinn
na Mara' introduces that slightly off sounding harmony we've become
used to hearing in ensemble singing today.
The main attraction of Maca is the tuneful balanced harmony, evident
on most tracks, many of which are solo performances with backing
harmonisation. The lament 'I am stretched on Your Grave' sounds
a little too stretched and out of balance though with the rest of
the material. However the often covered 'My Lagan Love' breathes
anew to the lonesome blues wail of Brendan Power's harmonica, leading
and harmonising with the solo voice of Caron Hannigan. 'Ta Bean
Agam' is a fine lively end, and is the kind of stuff we could do
with more of. "
Ita Kelly - Irish Music Magazine