Shaun Davey is once again breaking new musical ground with his
latest album ‘Voices From The Merry Cemetery’ (TARA4023).
The music is the product of a highly unusual collaboration between
the well-known Irish composer, working with Irish and Romanian musicians;
it takes the form of a collection of thirteen specially-composed
songs with words based on grave inscriptions from Northern Romania.
The cemetery, in the village of Sapânta on Romania’s
border with Ukraine, is known as The Merry Cemetery for its tradition
of brightly painted, carved wooden crosses, each decorated with
a painted bas-relief and poem describing the life of the departed.
Some are full of pathos, others are light-hearted, often intentionally
comic. It was from these epitaphs that Shaun derived the lyrics
of the songs in ‘Voices from the Merry Cemetery’. View
Some of the album was recorded live at the Sibiu International
Theatre Festival in the Evangelical Cathedral, Sibiu, Transylvania
in 2009 where the Irish musicians travelled with support from Culture
Ireland. The rest was recorded this summer in the Reformat Church,
Sighetu, Maramures, during rehearsals for the concert in the Merry
Cemetery itself as part of ‘The Long Road to Sapânta
Festival’ organized by Irishman Peter Hurley. The recording
features Irish artists Rita Connolly and Liam O’Flynn with
the Romanian Men’s Choir of the Theology Faculty, Sibiu, directed
by Pr. Dr. Sorin Dobre with musicians from the State Philharmonia,
conducted by David Brophy
The Voices From The Merry Cemetery suite received its Irish Premier
at a concert in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin on Nov 27th
2010. To mark the launch Shaun Davey attended the concert by the
RTÉ Concert Orchestra with conductor David Brophy, vocalist
Rita Connolly, and uilleann piper Liam O'Flynn, Gerry O'Beirne guitar,
Noel Eccles percussion, David Leigh organist/keyboards, Eóin
Ó Beaglaioch concertina/accordion, The Men's Choir of the
Faculty of Theology from Sibiu directed by Pr. Dr. Sorin Dobre and
the Dun Laoghaire Choral Society. The Mens Choir from Sibiu appeared
with support from The Romanian Cultural Institute.
The concert was introduced by his Exellency Iulian Buga, Romanian
Ambassador to Ireland.