Album Review / Gráinne Holland: Corcra

Corcra is Irish folk singer / singer-songwriter Gráinne Holland’s third album. It both continues the natural evolution of its very good predecessors and brings in some new elements as well.

Her songs have always been excellent: the ballads beautiful without being sappy or too ethereal, the ones with her band full-bodied without being too pop. The same goes for the material on the new outing, the difference being in the arrangements that have grown in detail and nuance. Corcra (‘purple’) features a lot to listen to, not because there’s much more instrumentation – there isn’t – but because she and producer Brian Finnegan (of the band Flook) have created a meticulously textured layers for each song. There’s an admirable richness here, lovely to listen to. And there are now some songs in English for the first time on her albums.

Already the opener, Mise Agus Tusa, is impressive. The organic beat swings dynamically and strongly, the ace band plays tightly and Gráinne’s voice effortlessly flies above the instruments. It’s so confident; these musicians know very well what they’re doing. And in the next song, Coinsias, Corp Agus Croí, the mood switches to peaceful and gentle, with every instrument doing just enough and just what’s right for the song.

The same assured command and warmth radiates throughout the album. My own favorites are in the center of the album: the mid-tempo Harry’s combines intense percussion and majestic melody while Béal Feirste, her love song to her home town of Belfast, is an uplifting and bright waltz full of life.

In short, it’s music that’s rich and visual and human; music that makes my days better and brighter. Warmly recommended.

Corcra is available as a CD on Gráinne’s web site, as download and streaming on iTunes / Apple Music and streaming on Spotify.

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