Posts Tagged ‘jarlath henderson’

Top of the World June 2016: The best new releases

Posted on May 5th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the June (#118) issue.

Imarhan (City Slang)


The young Touareg band Imarhan release an enthralling collection of songs, drawing influences from a variety of subjects and musical styles to create a dynamic and diverse debut album.

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Sociedade Recreativa
Sociedade Recreativa (Jarring Effects)

Sociedade Recreativa Cover

With help from producer Maga Bo, Brazilians Sociedade Recreativa create a memorable album mixing traditional instruments and sound effects.

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Robert ‘Robi’ Svärd
Pa’ki Pa’ka (Asphalt Tango Records)

Robert 'Robi' Svärd - Pa'ki Pa'ka Cover

Trained as a classical guitarist while growing up in Australia, Swedish guitarist Svärd showcases his unique and individual take on flamenco music on this beautiful debut.

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Afro Celt Sound System
The Source (ECC Records)

Afro Celt Sound System - The Source Cover

A reenergised Afro Celt Sound System return after more than a decade since their last album.

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Jarlath Henderson
Hearts Broken, Heads Turned (Bellows Records)

Jarlath Henderson - Hearts Broken, Heads Turned Cover

Piper-turned-singer Jarlath Henderson releases a confident debut as a solo artist. Displaying impressive arrangements and musicality, the album exudes a youthful yet matured sentiment.



Anian (Real World)

9Bach - Anian Cover

9Bach deliver a cohesive set of original and traditional Welsh folk songs on their third album, a soulful and brooding project that explores themes of human nature and the outside world.

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Sierra Hull
Weighted Mind (Rounder Records)

Sierra Hull - Weighted Mind Cover

This album captures the mind of a maturing Sierra Hull, looking for direction in a changing world, showing off her ability as a talented instrumentalist and a sensitive songwriter.

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Joe Driscol & Sekou Kouyaté
Monistic Theory (Cumbancha)

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Monistic Theory Cover

Rapper Driscoll and kora player Kouyaté collaborate once again, seamlessly blending their own unique styles to create their own musical language.

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Gambari Band
Kokuma (Membran)

Gambari Band - Kokuma Cover

This nine-piece are a prime example of the great music currently coming out of Mali. Their debut, full of uplifting harmonies and explosive polyrhythms, is a captivating listen.

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Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble
Sing Me Home (Sony Music Masterworks)

Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble - Sing Me Home Cover

Cello icon Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble release their most diverse project yet, covering a range of musical worlds, from Mali to China.

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Jarlath Henderson – Hearts Broken, Heads Turned | Album Review | Top of the World

Posted on April 28th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Jarlath Henderson-©Misha Somerville-Free3

Words by Rob Adams

Jarlath Henderson - Hearts Broken, Heads Turned Cover

Turns out that piper and whistle-man can sing as well

Jarlath Henderson hinted he could sing, as well as playing startlingly good uilleann pipes and whistle, on his 2013 Air-Fix album with fellow piper and co-leader Ross Ainslie. The slightly tentative, boyish voice of back then has given way to something altogether more confident and forthright, if still with a certain youthful charm and innocence at times. This is the Tyrone-born Henderson’s first release as an artist in his own right.

Hearts Broken, Heads Turned is an auspicious debut, with Henderson sounding like a young Paul Brady on ‘Ye Rambling Boys of Pleasure’ and elsewhere bringing to mind Andy Irvine’s gentleness and Len Graham’s sensitive pacing. But he’s not walking in anyone’s shadows as he and his band give each of these eight traditional songs a contemporary setting of its own that retains and respects its integrity.

There’s great variety of arrangement, bringing acoustic guitar, fiddle, piano and bass together with subtle electronica, samples and beautifully judged horns. ‘Young Edmund in the Lowlands Low’ becomes an epic of atmosphere, drama and nuance, Henderson’s voice coming across boldly over drones, keys and electronic sounds before the pipes themselves make a grand and telling entrance. ‘The Slighted Lover’ dances a jazz waltz; ‘Fare Thee Well Lovely Nancy’ is reborn as a 21st-century shanty and ‘The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow’ boasts uplifting vocals buoyed by energetically riffing bass, searching fiddle and pipes, and wafting brass.

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Introducing… Jarlath Henderson

Posted on March 24th, 2016 in Features, Recent posts by .


Jo Frost catches up with the Irish doctor and piper-turned-singer Jarlath Henderson as he launches his debut solo release

Seasoned folk fans might ask why the uilleann piper Jarlath Henderson needs introducing. After all, he first made his mark in 2003, becoming the youngest ever winner of the BBC’s Young Folk Awards (aged 17). So frankly he’s more like a veteran than a newcomer. However, he’s about to launch his debut solo album, Hearts Broken, Heads Turned – comprised entirely of traditional songs. “I wasn’t really wanting to rush it,” says Henderson, “it’s been over ten years since I got the Folk Award, so I was like, it’ll happen when it’s right.”

The Northern Irish musician has lived in Glasgow since 2010 and his new album involves some top-notch fellow Glaswegians – Hamish Napier, Innes Watson and Duncan Lyall, plus some sonic wizardry from adoptive Scot, Andrea Gobbi.

Known largely for his piping skills and collaborations with the Scottish piper Ross Ainslie, it comes as a surprise to hear Henderson’s highly distinctive singing voice. “I love singing but I never really sang that much at secondary school when I was playing the pipes – it was tough enough in an all-boys school to be a piper, it wasn’t exactly very cool!”

The group’s first live airing was at this year’s Celtic Connections festival in the Old Fruitmarket where Henderson and his band played the album in its entirety. The songs are largely drawn from Henderson’s Irish roots. “I guess they came from osmosis really. It’s a collection of songs that represent me musically in the last ten years… Songs I’ve literally grown up with,” he explains. And they’re a sombre lot too, with themes of darkness, despair and death predominating. “I make no exception for the sentiments of the songs, they’ve stood the test of time for over 400 years so far! These songs are closest to my heart. I think I’m just a bit of a dark soul. I guess I do a lot of light music in other bands, particularly with Ross [Ainslie]; we have a laugh. This is something different.”

This serious side to Henderson possibly results from his double life – when he’s not lugging his pipes and whistles around on tour, he’s scrubbing up and doing A&E shifts or locum work in a hospital. Juggling two completely contrasting careers as musician and doctor surely takes its toll? “I think too much of one thing would be bad for me – I like the balance,” says Henderson, explaining that the two do complement each other. “There’s a lot of time management issues, multi-tasking issues – communication skills is what it’s all about. I remember a really good lecture at uni, about ‘medicine is not a science, it’s an art.’ There are massive similarities in some respects.”

The album’s title, Hearts Broken, Heads Turned, is a quote from a book written by Dr William Osler, who died in the early 1900s. “It’s really kind of early mindfulness; Osler was basically saying live for today, don’t be walking around in bits about what happened yesterday and hoping what’s going to happen tomorrow.” This transpires to be the overriding message in the songs too – “things happen in life, we feel them and the same things have happened a hundred times before, so don’t dwell on it.” Henderson’s new singing venture may be unexpected but it’s certainly impressive and marks him out as an innovative musical talent.

DATE Jarlath Henderson and his band will play at The Old Queen’s Head, London on March 30 for the tenth anniversary of the Nest Collective
ALBUM Hearts Broken, Heads Turned will be reviewed next issue (May, #117)

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