I chose the Black, I chose the Blue,
I forsook the Red and Orange too,
I did forsake them and them deny,
I chose the Green, and for it I'll die…
That refrain, from "The Croppy Boy," tells of the pride of the Irish over centuries of resistance against "perfidious Albion," of the tragedy of people divided by politics, and of the power folk songs have to move the spirit. Pretty Anne Byrne of Dublin knows that power, and in her cool, sweet voice she sings in this album of Ireland's pride, along with some songs of other lands too.
'The Croppy Boy" dates back to the 1798 Rebellion, while "The Foggy Dew" (known also in a different erotic version) is only as old as the Easter Uprising of 1916. But most of Anne's Irish songs are about more peaceful subjects. Paddy Roche takes his turns with "Kiandra," about an abandoned husband (!) and "Captain Farrell," one of the most famous of Irish outlaw ballads. Anne sings the venerable Scots ballad of "Mary Hamilton" (Burns had a version of his own), supposedly about one of the "four Maries" attendant on Mary Queen of Scots. And just to round things out there are new ballads by Tom Paxton and the haunting "Plaisir d'amour."
Like a lark in the clear air, Anne Byrne's voice floats over the skilled guitar playing of Paddy Roche and Mick Crotty. Sometimes they sing along, or add a harmonica line, as in the haunting "Fiona and Shane."
This is an intimate kind of album, like friendly music making at a real Irish singing-pub, or at home, by three young Irish who really love what they're doing.