FolkWorld #75 07/2021
© Ellie Byrne PR

Along the Arc of the Atlantic Seaboard

Atlantic Arc

Artist Audio

Atlantic Arc is a collaborative ensemble of renowned traditional musicians and singers from Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, under the musical direction of Dónal Lunny, one of Ireland's most accomplished performers, composers and producers.

Dónal Lunny

Artist Video Dónal Lunny @ FROG

Having formed in 2016 for a series of one-off shows, including Cork Folk Festival and Celtic Connections, the members discovered a shared interest in further exploring and cultivating contemporary expressions of traditional music. This connection set Atlantic Arc on a course of openness and curiosity which over the past 5 years has led to a powerful live repertoire of original, traditional, re-arranged and shared material, drawn from their Irish and Scottish musical ancestry. “The heart of this music is found in the Celtic countries along the arc of the Atlantic seaboard, from the west of Ireland to the coast of Galicia and expressing it in fresh ways that link it into contemporary music,” says Donal Lunny.

Their first single, My Son David, was recorded over a full day in Malbay Studios County Clare, engineered by Martin O’Malley. The song is a dark murder ballad and a conversation between a mother and her son. It is a variant of the song "Edward" associated with the singing of Jeannie Robertson from Scotland. The track features the vocals of Atlantic Arc’s two distinctly expressive singers, Pauline Scanlon and Jarlath Henderson. Although the musicians arrived in studio with the basic plan for the song, the band's natural chemistry soon sparked off and the arrangement eventually shaped into the song as you hear it now.

Plans to record a full album had to be shelved last year due to the Covid crisis: "For the past year, Covid restrictions have made it impossible for us to meet and rehearse. However, we sustain the determination to record our music because of the creative chemistry that makes this combination of artists very special. So we have decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund our debut album. It will enable us to come together long enough to record an album that will capture the unique spirit of the music which we love. We have been working remotely, writing and collecting fresh material, and we're hoping to rehearse together before recording in early summer."

Atlantic Arc is Dónal Lunny on bouzouki and guitar, Pauline Scanlon on vocals, Jarlath Henderson on vocals, guitars, uilleann pipes and whistles, Pádraig Rynne on concertina, Aidan O'Rourke on fiddle, Sharon Howley on cello, Davie Ryan on drums, Ewen Vernal on bass and Graham Henderson on keyboards.

Photo Credits: (1) Atlantic Arc, (2) Dónal Lunny, (3) Jarlath Henderson, (4) Pauline Scanlon, (5) Pádraig Rynne, (6) Aidan O'Rourke (unknown/website).

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